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Old 03-07-2010, 11:19 AM   #1
LittleRickyII
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Default The Joan Crawford THE LUCY SHOW Scandal

Joan Crawford famously -- or rather, infamously -- appeared on an episode of The Lucy Show that was originally broadcast on February 26, 1968. In this 1968 clip, Miss Crawford is interviewed at the airport upon returning from a trip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHYlWlXkiHk

I'm not saying this interview clip necessarily proves anything, but . . . let the discussion begin.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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Everyone's been posting (on YouTube) that she's drunk. I have a feeling Miss Crawford wasn't just drunk, but probably also mixing in the old painkillers pretty good with it.

ROFLAMO by today's standards.....being rolled in, in basically an adult baby carriage, trashed to the nines, holding a kid and then puffin' away on the smoke - all with gloves and a hat on! Just looks hilarious to me now. Yup, she was quite the roll model for the adoptive mom eh?
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:59 PM   #3
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Not only that, Joan's adopted daughter, Christina, had a starring role on the now-defunct soap opera The Secret Storm in 1968. Christina suddenly needed to be hospitalized for emergency surgery and Joan volunteered to fill in for her. Joan was 40 years too old for the part, despite makeup and a wig and was supposedly drunk.

Here's an article about it, and photos of both Joan and Christina in the role of "Joan Borman Kane" on The Secret Storm.

http://www.classictvhits.com/show.php?id=515

The Secret Storm was a soap opera which aired on CBS from February 1, 1954 to February 8, 1974. In a controversial move, CBS brass ended the serial just one week after its twentieth anniversary. 5195 episodes of the show were aired. The Secret Storm was created by Roy Winsor, the man responsible for the long-running soaps Search for Tomorrow and Love of Life. Gloria Monty of General Hospital fame was a longtime director of the series.

At the soap's center was the Ames family, a prominent clan in the fictional Northeastern town of Woodbridge. The Ames family consisted of Peter, his wife Ellen, and their three children: Susan, Jerry and Amy. The mother Ellen was killed off in the first episode and subsequent stories focused on the widower Peter raising his three children.

Thirty years after the show's cancellation, the show is most famous for, arguably, the most shocking case of stunt casting in soap history. When Christina Crawford suddenly fell ill with an ovarian cyst, her adoptive mother, Joan Crawford, filled in for her, even though she was thirty years older than the character. She was a major embarrassment to Christina as it was evident that she was drunk on the live episode transmission. Christina's character was written out soon after. Christina's illness, her tenure on the soap and her battles with her mother are well chronicled in her book Mommie Dearest, a tell all book of her life with her famous mother. While Christina does not draw an explicit parallel, she implies that her character, a bitchy persona named Joan, is somewhat based on the stories she told of her mother.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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Default Lucy was a "perfectionist"...

...if you weren't "prepared" to play your role before filming began, she literally let you have it! Joan was no exception- she was supposed to do a "Charleston" in the episode, but in rehearsals, she could barely move her legs. Lucy kept saying, "Pick your feet up!" and "When did you ever win a Charleston contest?". The, she warned her, "If you don't do it right, it's out of the show!!". Later, Joan said something like, "And they call me a bitch!". But then, Joan often brought her "Pepsi" cooler on the set for "inbetween refreshment", which was full of vodka.


Incidentally, the episode was adapted by Ray Singer from a 1955 episode of "IT'S A GREAT LIFE" he wrote with Dick Chevillat, featuring silent film star Laura LaPlante as the victim of Steve, Denny and Uncle Earl's "help" in trying to create a "comeback" for her (even though she was perfectly happy in retirement until they "butted" in).


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Old 03-08-2010, 02:54 AM   #5
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I'd like to see that Lucy Show episode to see how it turned out.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by comedyfreak
I'd like to see that Lucy Show episode to see how it turned out.

Here's a butchered version of it. It's not a great episode, but not because of the problems on the set. And you can't tell watching it there had been any tension. I think Joan, like Tallulah Bankhead ten years earlier in a similar situation, pulled it off just fine.

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGa4M0zmOLI

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAjLqm5QWIk

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsntZtKixtM

I certainly understand Lucy's impatience from a business perspective. Her show wasn't like doing a movie, where production can stop for a couple days, or other scenes can be worked on, while one of the stars goes home to recover from an "illness." Weekly television production works at a much, much more hectic pace. They couldn't just say, "Joan is not doing well today, let her go home and we can pick this back up in a week," because in a week they would be busy on the next episode. The schedule during the week was very regimented: lines, marks, songs, choreography all had to be learned and perfected by Thursday evening when the cameras rolled. And unlike sitcoms these days, which take about three hours to shoot, Lucy shot her shows straight through within an hour. So they had to get it right the first time. There was no wiggle room and no leeway for actors who were not completely sharp and on their toes.

But on the other hand, alcoholism is an illness. You just can't tell an alcoholic, "you want a drink, well too bad, we have a show to do," and expect them to turn off the addiction just like that. It doesn't work that way. So I understand Lucy's pressure and schedule and time is money, blah, blah, blah, but I also sympathize with the fact that what an alcoholic really needs is help, not ridicule, which is probably only going to drive them to drink more. And Lucy was insensitive in that regard.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:58 PM   #7
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Despite the backstage antics.......I love the episode.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:02 AM   #8
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yea, I've heard that Lucy wasn't very nice to some of her guest stars. When Tallula Bankhead guest-starred on "THE LUCY-DESI COMEDY HOUR" once, Lucy was REALLY mean to her.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treky
yea, I've heard that Lucy wasn't very nice to some of her guest stars. When Tallula Bankhead guest-starred on "THE LUCY-DESI COMEDY HOUR" once, Lucy was REALLY mean to her.

Or could it be that almost all observers who were on the set during the rehearsals have talked about Bankhead acting like she was either drunk or stoned the whole time that would cause someone to be mean? I mean, if I was the producer and it was my money being used/wasted, I would be upset as well!

In one of the books it talks about how Bankhead striped in one of the meetings when Vivian said she liked her sweater. And either Weiksopf or Shiller has said how Bankhead kept talking about how she was recovering from "triple pneumonia" ... you know, the kind in all three lungs! Regardless of what when on behind the cameras, it's still one of the Lucille's finest TV shows ever in my opinion.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:49 PM   #10
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"Triple pneumonia"? That's one I've never heard before.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benno123
Or could it be that almost all observers who were on the set during the rehearsals have talked about Bankhead acting like she was either drunk or stoned the whole time that would cause someone to be mean? I mean, if I was the producer and it was my money being used/wasted, I would be upset as well!

In one of the books it talks about how Bankhead striped in one of the meetings when Vivian said she liked her sweater. And either Weiksopf or Shiller has said how Bankhead kept talking about how she was recovering from "triple pneumonia" ... you know, the kind in all three lungs! Regardless of what when on behind the cameras, it's still one of the Lucille's finest TV shows ever in my opinion.

Triple pneumonia! I agree with you, though, that Bankhead episode was terrific. You would never know watching it the turmoil that had been going on on the set. So many similarities between what happened then and with Crawford later.

I think it's interesting who had real difficulty with Lucy. It seemed to be other big stars that were either inebriated or otherwise might have been too full of themselves and their status and maybe felt they were above having to put in the intense work required in television. Besides Bankhead, it seems to have been movie stars like Crawford, Joan Blondell, Burton and Taylor. But TV stars like Carol Burnett, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, who were used to the rigors of television, got along fine. And occasionally other big movie stars like Ginger Rogers and John Wayne got along fine with her as well.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:50 PM   #12
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One thing I find interesting is how everyone talks about what a horrible guest star Rudy Vallee was, especially on Here's Lucy. I know Lucie Arnaz has said so (and in Jamestown in 2004 someone asked her a question about her least favorite guest star and she something like "I don't like to talk ill about people who are no longer here, so I won't, but that person was horrible, mean and just rude. **Cough** Rudy Vallee."

I was just reading or watching someone about the Batman series a couple of weeks back, and someone who was in the cast or crew was mentioning how the worst guest star on that series was Rudy Vallee. How rude, mean, and always cursing her was. Very interesting that it wasn't just on Lucy's series, either. (And it seems to me in the book Lucy In The Afternoon it even has Lucy quoted as saying how gross and rude and mean Vallee was as well, but I could be mistaken on this one.)
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:19 PM   #13
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It sure would've been fun to be a fly on the wall behind the scenes!!
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:50 AM   #14
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Default It was...

...Yvonne Craig who said, of Rudy's appearance in his 3-part 1967 "BATMAN" episode, that he was an "absolute churl".

I had the pleasure of meeting Vallee in person at a 1978 "Old Time Radio" induction ceremony. Or, to be more accurate, partial pleasure. After he finished performing a brief audio/visual account of his career (he went so far as to recreate his conducting his Coast Guard band during World War II by "conducting" a transcription of it), I stepped forward to shake hands with Rudy on his performance. He turned away, and ignored me. I didn't know then that he didn't shake hands with strangers because he was a "germophobic"...but that still didn't excuse his abruptness with me. He also had a big ego as well, although thankfully I didn't see that part of him that afternoon....

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