Posts Tagged ‘Lucille Ball’

I Love Lucy

Today would have been comedienne Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday.  It’s said that she can be seen on television somewhere around the world any moment of the day, most likely in her classic series I Love Lucy.

Growing up in the 60’s, it was not a personal favorite of mine.  It seemed very old compared to the sitcoms of the day with its very 1950’s settings , hairdos and clothing.  The credits seemed dark and the theme music didn’t have the goofy jingle quality of the 1960’s sitcoms that I watched at the time.   But that was the perception of a child.  Over the years these ideas have faded away and the show  began to shine for me as the classic it always has been.

I Love Lucy became the template that most sitcoms tried to emulate and most ended being mere shadows of Lucy.  The show had everything– a deep and talented cast, great writers, and great production values.

And Lucy.

The more I watch this show, the more I appreciate the immense talents  of Lucille Ball.  Her comedic timing is perfect and her naturalness on camera pulls you in.  In lesser hands, her title character could have appeared irritating and might have turned off her audience but Lucille Ball made them love her flaws and identify with the way she often found herself  finding improbable trouble.

Her physical comedy was remarkable.  She was trained as a dancer and you could see it most shows as she moved gracefully through the sets and danced with husband Ricky.  But when she danced for comedic effect, it was pure brilliance and a testimony to her  to her talents as a dancer.  I still outright laugh at some of the dancing  bits even though I’ve seen them over and over. 

I often think of her when I head out to Erie, PA and pass through the area where she was born and raised around Jamestown in western New York.  It’s an area that is surrounded by a rural emptiness that most people don’t associate with New York and I can imagine how a young and talented girl in the Roaring 20’s might have dreamed of escaping to the bright lights of NYC or Hollywood.  Well, she did but she did return and is buried in Jamestown, not far from the museum there that honors her and Desi Arnaz.

Anyway, here’s to Lucy on her 100th.  May your show forever run.

Here’s her theme song with lyrics sung by Ricky in a n episode.  The actual theme music was an instrumental piece but the lyrics capture the memory of the show well.

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I wasn’t going to post anything today but when I flipped on the television first thing this morning to check out the news an episode of “I Love Lucy” was on with Ricky singing a beautiful song called Similau.  I’ve seen every episode of the show many, many times over the years and am always amazed at how talented Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were.

Everyone knows about Lucy’s comedic sklils but it’s her dancing that I really admire.  She plays up the clumsiness in her  comedy dance routines creating bits that make me laugh every time I see them.  But periodically she flashes the grace and movement of a real dancer.  I don’t think a less talented dancer could create the comedic effect of her often failed dance attempts on the show.

Desi also flashed his wonderful talents on the show, both as a comedian and a real entertainer.  There are a number of his performances of songs on the show that I find really really fascinating with their Cuban beats that were popular in that time.  Of course, there was his signature Babalu but it’s songs like this one, Similau, that captivate me.  Not what you’d expect from one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.

I couldn’t find the version of the song from the show which featured a really interesting and more pronounced rhythmic counterpoint but this is an equally fine version taken from the Peggy Lee radio  show of that time. 

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