I love Lucy.
I also love Lucie.
Mother and daughter worked together often, but the best reminder is the entire six-season run of Lucy's top-rated sitcom Here's Lucy: The Complete Series. The 24-disc box set, filled with extras, will be released by MPI Home Video on March 25. The legendary queen of television comedy is joined by her real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., as well as Gale Gordon, her co-star from the earlier Lucy Show. Ball plays Lucille Carter, widowed mother of teenagers Kim and Craig. Lucy works for her brother-in-law Harry (Gordon), who owns Carter's Unique Employment Agency, leading Lucy into endless predicaments and hilarious hijinks.
Here's Lucy: The Complete Series gathers all 144 uncut and digitally remastered episodes together for the first time and features a wealth of special features. They include: episode introductions; featurettes; Let's Talk to Lucy lost interviews; special TV appearances and interviews; Treasures From Lucy's Vault; special U.S. savings bond episode and public service film; slide shows; series production files; original CBS-TV network and syndication promos and original sponsor billboards.
I caught up with Lucie on a Monday afternoon at the Connecticut home she shares with hubby Larry Luckinbill whom she married in 1980. Having a conversation with Lucie is like having a chat with her mom (and I have)---both Now we have her, even if just for a few minutes. Want more Lucie? But the box set, take a week off work and get ready to laugh until it hurts
Your mother was a genius, even though she told me she was not, making an indelible mark on TV history. So many people think Lucille Ball is Lucy Ricardo.
Yes. Audiences know Lucille Ricardo but not Lucille Ball. For decades, the one question people have been asking me is “What was she really like?” From the looks on their faces, they want a happy answer. They do not want to believe that my mother was not the woman who stomped grapes or who sold Vitameatvegamin. I tell then Lucy Ricardo was a character, while Lucille Ball was a real person, responsible and serious.
I spent a day with Lucy at her house. I was sitting this close to my idol! And how I remember she firmly reminded me that she was not funny.
Exactly! Thank you for this. My father always saw things funny, buy my mom was an actress who understood how to make things come to life. She always said to her writers, ‘On paper, it’s not funny. My job is to help make it believable.’ It was the writers who made her funny. She always gave them credit, and people need to know that.
I Love Lucy turned 60! Why do we love Lucy so much?
I wish I could that one. My mother and father never thought the show would last all these years. When they were alive, they were delight that Lucy was still on the air and being broadcast in 80 countries and in seven different languages. That made them proud. Mom was very proud that parents could feel safe having their kids watch the show---the show’s humor was clean, funny and not corny. I Love Lucy never poked fun at religion or politics or ethnicity. Except for my father’s accent, and since he was the one who always came out right, it was okay! I Love Lucy had all the right elements---great cast, great writers. Great directors. Lucy would get into all kinds of terrible situations but in the end, everything turned out well and Ricky never lost this love for her. And that was the most important element: unconditional love. I think that, perhaps more than anything else, is what the show has survived. Laughter is a powerful healing medicine.
Your work on Here's Lucy went from small roles to co-starring status. Was that fun?
Fun? Working with my mother was the best training ground. It was like going to comedy school every day.
You’re 62 and look 32. The answer?
I wish I knew! I am lucky and have good genes. I sometimes look in the mirror and see a bit too much chin, and I ma not happy with that. I try to eat well, no sweets. And I take vitamins. I am not an exercise freak, but I do major workouts twice a week when I am in New York.
Looking back, I guess I should have been more serious about Broadway. When I left They’re Playing My Song, I should have gone into the next big show and the next one and next one. But I was offered a film with Olivier and Neil Diamond [The Jazz Singer]! How could I say no? Any decision I have made has been mine. And one of the biggest was that I never wanted my career to interfere with my family. I didn’t want to raise kids the way my parents raised theirs. So I got rid of the live-in nannies and housekeepers sop that I was there for my children. I didn‘t want to be 90 years old and on my deathbed to be told by my kids, “You were too busy to be there for us. We are now to busy to be there for you.’ That ain’t gonna happen.