Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lucy & Desi

My boyfriend was cleaning out his garage on Sunday, and among the books he was getting rid of was "Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple" by Warren G. Harris. I had a pretty good idea of the story already, but I still learned some things. First, there is an amazing amount of sexual activity in the book. Lucy was busy, Desi was busy; then they got married, and Desi was still busy.
When Lucy was a contract player at MGM, she sought out comedy master Buster Keaton. He was on the lot working as a poorly paid gag writer for Abbot and Costello, and Red Skelton. Lucy became friends with him, and got him to teach her about slapstick.
The cinematographer on "I Love Lucy" was Karl Freund, who had photographed "Dracula," "Key Largo," and one of my favorites, F.W. Murnau's "The Last Laugh."
In September 1953, Lucy was called before a closed session of the House Un-American Activities because she was registered to vote as a member of the Party in the 1930s. Lucy said that she'd done this to pacify her grandfather, as did her brother and mother. She worried, understandably, that she and Desi would lose everything they'd worked for. "I Love Lucy" was already a hit. Then Walter Winchell picked up the story, and Lucy's anxiety grew worse. Desi loved going to the racetrack, particularly the Del Mar. One of his fellow racing enthusiasts was J. Edgar Hoover. Desi called Hoover, Hoover told Desi that the FBI had no evidence against Lucy, and that was the end of that.
The link above is to the Lucy and Desi Museum in Lucy's hometown of Jamestown, New York.

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