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This Day in GINGEROLOGY - May 25th

1867: J. Malcolm Dunn (born James Malcolm Dunn), who starred with Ginger in the film “The Sap from Syracuse” (as Captain Barker), was born in London, England.

1963: Ethan Laidlaw, who starred with Ginger in the films “The Tip-Off” (as a Henchman), “Magnificent Doll” (as Sanders), and “The first Travelling Saleslady” (as Juror), died in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 63.

1974: Donald Crisp (born George William Crisp), who starred with Ginger in the film “Broadway Bad” (as Darrall), died in Van Nuys, California, at the age of 91.

1977: Ginger’s mother, Lela Rogers, who starred with Ginger in the film “The Major and The Minor” (as Mrs. Applegate), died in Palm Springs, California at the age of 85. She was cremated and her ashes interred at the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California, where Ginger’s ashes would also be interred.

2000: Francis Lederer, who starred with Ginger in the film “Romance in Manhattan” (as Karel Novak), died in Palm Springs, California, at the age of 100.

2016: TCM aired “Rafter Romance”.

GingerTelevision...

Next GingerFilm(s) (on TCM - all times Eastern):

June 3, 2017 @ 6:15 A.M. Week-End at The Waldorf
June 23, 2017 @ 11:30 A.M. Flying Down to Rio
June 23, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M. Top Hat
June 23, 2017 @ 2:45 P.M. Swing Time
June 23, 2017 @ 4:45 P.M. Carefree
June 23, 2017 @ ^:15 P.M. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

Next GingerFilm(s) (on FXM Retro - all times Eastern) - NOTE - the FXM Retro site is kinda 'cryptic' as far as specific times, so please check local listings for 'specific times':

...No Films Scheduled...

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday to Lucille Ball!!!

WE LOVE YA, LUCY!!!

...ya know, it's pretty seldom that we here at G-ology post anything that isn't 100% Ginger, but, today is a exception that I am SURE Miss Rogers would approve of...and that's to celebrate the 100th birthday and awesome career of one of the funniest (and prettiest) ladies EVER, Miss Lucille Ball!
 ...of course, Lucy and Ginger were best buds (not to mention distant cousins), so... let's review some of the cool things that these ladies had in common! [...just as a 'editorial note', I will try to give proper 'background' to folks, places, etc. that Gingerologists (should) know, but visitors to the site may not... and BTW, for any of you Lucy fans that are visiting...thanks for stopping by!!!]
Lucille Desiree Ball was born in Jamestown, New York, on August 6, 1911, three weeks after Ginger entered the world over in Independence, Missouri... as mentioned, Lucy and Ginger were distant cousins. Lucy's dad died before she reached the age of four, forcing her mom to work several jobs to make ends meet; Lucy and her younger brother were raised by their grandfolks. This somewhat echoes Ginger's upbringing, with no dad and a working mom aided by grandfolks...

Lucy enrolled in a drama school in NYC as a teenager, but was deemed 'too shy' by the staff, and was sent back home...BTW, a young Bette Davis was one of her classmates during her brief enrollment.
Lucy's first film appearance was in 1933's Roman Scandals from MGM, as one of the "Goldwyn Girls" - shown above (well, looks like she got over her shyness! :-P )  Soon after she would be contracted to RKO Radio Pictures, where she would immediately strike up what proved to be a life-long friendship with Ginger Rogers, who had quite a few movies under her belt, and was just starting to ride the wave at RKO with Fred Astaire in their classic films, while at the same time enjoying 'solo' success headlining other RKO features.
 In the mid-thirties, Lela Rogers (Ginger's mom) set up workshops on the RKO lot for the younger actors and actresses ('contract players'), and Lucy was among them (others included Betty Grable, Leon Ames, Tyrone Power, Joy Hodges, Anne Shirley, and Phyllis Fraser). Ginger notes in her biography, Ginger: My Story that Lela knew that Lucy had MAJOR potential, and would invariably become a huge star: "The studio told my mother they were thinking of letting Lucy go. My mother said firmly, "You fire Lucy... then I'll quit. Lucille Ball is one of the most promising youngsters on this lot. If you're stupid enough to do that, the minute you let her go, I'll snap her up and take her to another studio and see that she gets the roles she deserves!""
Lucy and Ginger appeared in five RKO films together: Roberta (pic above...hmm...could that be ostrich feathers?), Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Stage Door, and Having Wonderful Time, the latter probably being the most substantial role for Lucy of these mentioned (although she does have some nice moments in Stage Door as well...).
 Here's a cool excerpt from Ginger's bio regarding their friendship, from a moment in the late 30's, when Ginger was dating James Stewart (which ironically parallels the scene from Stage Door capped just above, regarding dinner, anyway):
 "...At the time that we were dating, Jimmy (Stewart) and Henry Fonda were roommates. Hank was seeing Lucille Ball and the four of us often double-dated. The boys took us dancing at posh places like the Cocoanut Grove or the Trocadero, but they were too cheap to stay there for dinner. Instead, we ended up for dinner at a little hole-in-the-wall called Barney's Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard. 
One night, after a hearty meal at Barney's, the boys took us back to their apartment. Everything appeared very romantic, as the lights were turned down low and soft music played in the background. Before Lucy and I knew what happened, we were danced into the kitchen to wash a week's stack of dirty dishes. So much for romance; maid duty was uppermost in their minds. But still, two nicer men you couldn't hope to meet."
It was during the filming of 1940's Too Many Girls for RKO that Lucy met Desi Arnaz... after a few false starts, they eventually fell for each other, and were married in November 1940.
Of course, Lucy and Desi basically single-handedly created the situation comedy ('sitcom') for television with I Love Lucy, the greatest TV show of all time...always will be. A cool twist of 'irony' is that they bought the old RKO Studio in 1957 for their Desilu Productions...pretty cool for a 'contract actress' who was about to be given the boot from the studio she eventually bought.
Lucy's television career was legendary, and she ended up having four shows 'post' I Love Lucy: The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life With Lucy.
Lucy and Desi had two kids, daughter Lucie Arnaz (1951) and son Desi Arnaz, Jr. (1953); Junior's impending arrival into the world was worked into the show as the main story line over the weeks, and yielded huge ratings.

Lucy and Desi divorced in 1960, but remained friends. Lucy remarried a year later, to stand-up comedian Gary Morton; they remained married until her death in 1989.

Although Lucy died in 1989, six years prior to Ginger's death in 1995, it is of note that Lucy left us on April 26, whereas Ginger left us on April 25. Again, April is TRULY my least favorite month, y'all...
I know most of y'all have seen this, but it is just too cool not to tack on for this occasion... it's from "Here's Lucy" aired on November 22, 1971...the episode was entitled, "Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea", and this is the final scene, where Ginger and Lucy, along with Lucy's daughter Lucie Arnaz, all kick up their heels and crank out a good ol' Charleston (which, BTW, is to my knowledge the only 'official' footage of Ginger EVER doing the Charleston (not counting the 'outtake' from Roxie Hart)... Gingerologists know that is a bit odd, since she won the Texas State Charleston Championship back in 1925...that just makes this clip that much more special!)
video
Well, once again, Happy Lucytennial, y'all! I am pretty sure there will be Lucy airing in several places on the tele this weekend (...although I also thought the same thing about Ginger...oof) - anyway, hopefully you can catch an episode or two, to be reminded of just how awesome this lady was!

KIG (and Lucy-Like, too!!!)

VKMfanHuey
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4 comments:

  1. good job on sharing the Lucy love! The OGRE definitely approves. After all it was Lucy who got me interested in classic movies. You should check out The Affairs of Annabel. I think its on tonight after Stage Door. Classic Lucy but it was made in 1938. also Hallmark channel is doing an I Love Lucy marathon!

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  2. Happy Birthday Lucille Ball!!! :)

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  3. A really nice post, Huey. I knew Lela was instrumental in Lucy's career, but I didn't know about her intervention when Lucy was to get the boot. That was fascinating stuff. I knew nothing about Lucy before her I Love Lucy shows...a truly groundbreaking comedy. So I was very surprised when in learning about Ginger to learn likewise about how Lucy worked her way from bit parts to starring roles for RKO. In fact, right now I'm about to get Meet the People released in 1944 in which she achieved top billing over Dick Powell.

    Meet the People poster

    One thing that sometimes is lost in Lucy's great comedic performances is that she had a great wit, too. Perhaps the funniest show I've ever seen was an hour long interview that Merv Griffin did with Lucy, Carol Burnett and Phyllis Diller. Lucy and Carol had me laughing till the tears came...both truly funny without a script.

    CHEERS to Lucy on her hundredth...for the great entertainment she gave us and for her excellent choice of good friends :-)

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  4. "The Affairs Of Annabel," in which Lucy plays fictional film star Annabel Allison, with Jack Oakie as her peripatetic press agent (they encored their roles in "Annabel Takes A Tour"), is a charming little second feature that includes a few references to Ginger Rogers (why not -- it was an RKO picture!). Moreover, many of the exteriors were filmed in the Encino house owned at the time by director Raoul Walsh (and soon to be the residence of Ginger's friend Carole Lombard and Clark Gable).

    ReplyDelete

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