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Old 12-29-2009, 02:46 PM   #1
patrickinstardom
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Default Lucy's tape facelift (hour shows)... did she really look better?

Hey,

As many fans know, Lucy started with wigs and her tape facelift (as she never wanted real plastic surgery) on the third episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour: Lucy Hunts Uranium. Ethel makes a brief reference to her new hair style.

I admit I looked at an earlier episode of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour... because of the hair she does look different, but I wouldn't say she looks better.

The change is so subtle, but not so because the new hair made her look so different.

It seems to me that when her later series were on, such as "Here's Lucy," you notice the wig more and her eyebrow placement and thus maybe she made the "lift" tighter?

But I don't know how much better it made her look. Lucy herself says she liked how much better she looked, and the fact she felt it hampered her physical comedy was okay because of this... this is what I remember from "The Lucy Book." Of course, she adjusted and got used to it and thus everything worked out... in other words she didn't look frozen.

But you know how it is; we are our own worst critic and a little reduction of lines may not be noticeable to the general public but is noticeable to us under bathroom style lights.

What are people's thoughts?

I am a very visual person and I didn't notice very much difference in her face beauty-wise. Maybe there was a tiny bit of sagginess that was lifted, but really it was minuscule.

Also, what I notice is that the eyebrow position might have changed, but it doesn't really lift anything to make a difference. The wig made her look different.

This is my observation from her Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours.

Comments are greatly appreciated!

~Patrick
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:29 AM   #2
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Interesting, as I had read that Lucy's first use of tape lifts was at the suggestion of Ann Sothern at the time of Lucy's appearance on The Ann Sothern Show in 1959.

A picture of the Arnaz family on the steps of an airplane taken at about the same time showed that, at this stage, Lucy without makeup looked very weather-worn.

During the Lucy Show years I think the TV makeup was not only necessary but quite effective in that it did make her look better if not much younger. Candy Moore on the other hand has said she didn't see why Lucy subjected herself to the rigors of such extreme makeup, saying she was a "handsome woman" without it.

It seems to me the Here's Lucy years took the greatest toll on her appearance, in some ways to an even greater degree than the 12 years between Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy. I mean, in 1968 she did that 'glamor shot' for the opening sequence and almost looks like Lucy Ricardo in it. But at some point during the next 6 years her makeup morphed into the mummified appearance that she had in the specials of the late 70s and early 80s.

In fact, her hair and makeup for Life With Lucy were the same as the final season of Here's Lucy and it's surprising how little different she looks. But then, her longtime makeup artist Hal King said years later "toward the end it was awfully hard to make Lucy look good" and the 'end' he speaks of is ca. 1973. After that, it was just a matter of doing the best she could.

You might think that at that point it was time to stop bothering to crank her face, but there's also the story of the little child who met her backstage ca. 1970 and, knowing no better, said "Lucy, what happened to your face??" I have seen candid pictures of her from around that time which confirm that the difference between candid Lucy and a well lighted and fully made-up Lucy is startling.

It's sad really when you think about it...her choices were appear unnaturally painted and lifted or brutally reveal her aged appearance. If you haven't seen a picture of an un-made-up elderly Lucy, you can't appreciate the appropriateness of my word choice.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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I also was under the impression that the tape/bandage procedure under the wig didn't begin until much later than the Uranium special. I could be wrong, but I thought it was later. As for the position of her eyebrows, Lucy claimed that back in the 30s, she plucked her eyebrows so much they never grew back. So the eyebrows you see later on were just painted lines on her face, not actual eyebrows. If you look at very close-up shots of her, it seems this is true. If so, I'm glad she painted painted on these eyebrows because a face without eyebrows would look really strange.

As for whether she needed this bandage procedure done, I do agree it made a great difference. I remember seeing a picture of her at a private party in 1970, standing with Gary and Desi. She looked considerably older in that photo than she did on Here's Lucy at the time.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:33 PM   #4
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I'm totally bias, but I think Lucy looked great - generally younger than a woman her age. Her slender figure contributed to her youthfulness. Smoking didn't help skin (or her heart), but she was an attractive woman from the beginning to the end.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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Not to mention that attitude plays a part in our appearance, the early seasons of HL to me, she looks more vibrant and energetic than the last 3 seasons of The Lucy Show! HL represented a new era for Lucy--working with her kids, getting back the old ILL writers and having Viv for occasional appearances--really gave her an oomph that showed in her appearance, IMO.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:45 PM   #6
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Well, according to "The Lucy Book," the facelift and wig procedure started with the third Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour... and I can see she looks different.

But I do have to agree that she did look overly done in later years. There are photos of her where she looks like she's trying too hard to turn back the clock. I know people have different opinions about this.

Depending on the photo during the Here's Lucy period, she looked either better or worse... I'm referring to just her in make-up - publicity photos. It seems to me that she looked different in the series itself than in photos; she wore her makeup differently perhaps. The photo used for the Here's Lucy Season One disc set shows someone, to me, who's trying "too hard" to hold back time.

Even the shot used during the opening sequence of Here's Lucy (shot back in 1968) was not the most flattering IMO... she looked younger in the series itself... then it may have to do with the camera work and makeup used uniquely for such shots.

She looked fabulous many times in Here's Lucy; not in publicity photographs; her huge painted eyebrows are a little startling. I think they should have thinned it a little bit.

Anyway, that's my opinion. Here's a tidbit from "The Lucy Book" about her "facelift" - it's taken from the section on the third episode of "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" when she started with the facelift / wig trick.

From pp. 121-122:

Quote by Irma Kusely (I included the entire quote by Irma, which talks about Lucille's hair in general as well as the wigs):

"That 'bun' hairstyle was Lucille's idea. Neither Bert French nor I ever liked it. I kept asking Lucille to let me cut it and give her a more modern look. She resisted, because Desi liked long hair. Finally, I proposed the idea of her using a wig, jjust to see what it would look like. I bleached the hair all around her hairline so none of it would show through, and ordered a stylish, short wig.
From this point forward (with a couple of exceptions), every time you saw Lucille Ball in public, she was wearing a wig ordered and styled by me. The wigs gave me an opportunity to bandage her skull and help smooth out the wrinkles. I made little braids in special places, then pin curls with the rest of her hair. Then I had a hose stocking cap I used, covered by a skull bandage. I made it very tight, making both her head and face a smooth surface. Then I put the wig on, made an eighth of an inch shorter than her own hair, matching her own hair line. Eventually, Lucille cut her own hair as well. Although the process could sometimes be painful, I made it as comfortable for her as possible. After awhile, she hardly knew the difference."

Lucille Ball's comment follows:

"I didn't like the "clamps" at first. I felt like I couldn't move my face, and that it hampered my comedy. But there was no denying how much better I looked on film. Irma was right."

~Patrick
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:47 AM   #7
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Can you imagine how painful that had to be! Yikes! She did look good though so I guess to her it was worth it.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:59 PM   #8
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That quote isn't really telling me that the temporary facelift coincided with wearing wigs. Irma says she first proposed the wig to Lucille -- not the wig and the facelift, just the wig -- to see what it looked like, not that she proposed it so they could do the tape procedure. And she seems to be implying that, once Lucy started wearing the wigs, that then gave her the opportunity to do the facelift procedure. I was under the impression, just by looking at the shows, that the facelift thing didn't start until after the first several episodes of TLS because, in the first batch of episodes, her skin looks kind of saggy to me. If I remember correctly, it was in the "Astronaut" episode that (to me) her skin suddenly seemed more taut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickinstardom
Well, according to "The Lucy Book," the facelift and wig procedure started with the third Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour... and I can see she looks different.

But I do have to agree that she did look overly done in later years. There are photos of her where she looks like she's trying too hard to turn back the clock. I know people have different opinions about this.

Depending on the photo during the Here's Lucy period, she looked either better or worse... I'm referring to just her in make-up - publicity photos. It seems to me that she looked different in the series itself than in photos; she wore her makeup differently perhaps. The photo used for the Here's Lucy Season One disc set shows someone, to me, who's trying "too hard" to hold back time.

Even the shot used during the opening sequence of Here's Lucy (shot back in 1968) was not the most flattering IMO... she looked younger in the series itself... then it may have to do with the camera work and makeup used uniquely for such shots.

She looked fabulous many times in Here's Lucy; not in publicity photographs; her huge painted eyebrows are a little startling. I think they should have thinned it a little bit.

Anyway, that's my opinion. Here's a tidbit from "The Lucy Book" about her "facelift" - it's taken from the section on the third episode of "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" when she started with the facelift / wig trick.

From pp. 121-122:

Quote by Irma Kusely (I included the entire quote by Irma, which talks about Lucille's hair in general as well as the wigs):

"That 'bun' hairstyle was Lucille's idea. Neither Bert French nor I ever liked it. I kept asking Lucille to let me cut it and give her a more modern look. She resisted, because Desi liked long hair. Finally, I proposed the idea of her using a wig, jjust to see what it would look like. I bleached the hair all around her hairline so none of it would show through, and ordered a stylish, short wig.
From this point forward (with a couple of exceptions), every time you saw Lucille Ball in public, she was wearing a wig ordered and styled by me. The wigs gave me an opportunity to bandage her skull and help smooth out the wrinkles. I made little braids in special places, then pin curls with the rest of her hair. Then I had a hose stocking cap I used, covered by a skull bandage. I made it very tight, making both her head and face a smooth surface. Then I put the wig on, made an eighth of an inch shorter than her own hair, matching her own hair line. Eventually, Lucille cut her own hair as well. Although the process could sometimes be painful, I made it as comfortable for her as possible. After awhile, she hardly knew the difference."

Lucille Ball's comment follows:

"I didn't like the "clamps" at first. I felt like I couldn't move my face, and that it hampered my comedy. But there was no denying how much better I looked on film. Irma was right."

~Patrick
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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Unfortunately for Lucy there is no procedure to erase the effects of decades of cigarette smoking.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:03 AM   #10
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Wow, that procedure sounds complicated! I guess it must have worked, because Lucy's face was fairly smooth until her later years in life.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:00 PM   #11
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I think people tend to be a bit harsh on Lucy regarding her makeup during the TLS and HL years. You've got to keep in mind that heavy makeup -- false eyelashes, mascara, eye shadow -- was very much in vogue during that time. There was nothing unusual about the amount of makeup she wore.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:15 PM   #12
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I always found that a rather odd notion...TAPING your face. I haven't a clue how one "successfully" does that. I think there was an attempt, perhaps solely on Lucy's wishes, to give a more clown-like appearance. Carol Burnett had similar makeup procedures. To give more exaggerated facial features, a more clown-like look.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucyandethel
I always found that a rather odd notion...TAPING your face. I haven't a clue how one "successfully" does that. I think there was an attempt, perhaps solely on Lucy's wishes, to give a more clown-like appearance. Carol Burnett had similar makeup procedures. To give more exaggerated facial features, a more clown-like look.

Yes, that is true, at least with respect to her lipstick. She made her lips appear larger with the lipstick to draw attention to her mouth and her expressions.
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:22 PM   #14
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When she changed her look she lost her character and what made her funny. Her expressions changed. On I love Lucy she could make me laugh with just a look. She looked like a completely different person on The Lucy show. I agree the closest she ever came to looking like Lucy Richardo was the glamor shot in the Here's Lucy theme. I wished she had that look the whole series. It would have been so much better.
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