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Old 11-22-2014, 12:11 AM   #1
Flying Dutchman
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Default Was Lucy's Popularity Dying?

I love Lucy so much and would hate to think of this about the Queen of comedy, but is it possible that after "Here's Lucy" that she was being left behind for newer comedians and newer levels of comedy like 3s company? Come the 80s she did Life with Lucy, but it only lasted 13 episodes and that was the end of her TV career. Or was she just getting too old and frail to do TV anymore, and decided to hang it up? When I look at today's comedies, and how ridiculous some of them can be, it makes me miss Lucille Ball all the more. I mean I would give anything to see her in a new TV sitcom if it were possible, if only just to remind me of how it once was. R.I.P. Lucy.
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Old 11-22-2014, 06:49 AM   #2
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I don't think her popularity was dying, she did have health issues. She did Life With Lucy because she didn't want people to think of her last role as a bag lady. I miss her because no other comedians are better than her, she didn't have to be vulgar to get laughs.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Dutchman
I love Lucy so much and would hate to think of this about the Queen of comedy, but is it possible that after "Here's Lucy" that she was being left behind for newer comedians and newer levels of comedy like 3s company? Come the 80s she did Life with Lucy, but it only lasted 13 episodes and that was the end of her TV career. Or was she just getting too old and frail to do TV anymore, and decided to hang it up? When I look at today's comedies, and how ridiculous some of them can be, it makes me miss Lucille Ball all the more. I mean I would give anything to see her in a new TV sitcom if it were possible, if only just to remind me of how it once was. R.I.P. Lucy.
When Life with Lucy was airing, I Love Lucy was still in widespread syndication. It was an iconic show and remains so. In fact, the"I Love Lucy" Christmas Special that CBS aired last year was the highest rated special of the Christmas season. So CBS is bringing I Love Lucy back next month. The success or failure of a show has to do with more than just its star; there are other elements that matter as well: the writing, the cast. And yes, the actor's age may matter as well if they're performing a certain type of comedy (note that Stone Pillow a year earlier had been a ratings success). Mary Tyler Moore made several attempts at series after The Mary Tyler Moore Show, all of which all failed. But to this day, she is revered. Andy Griffith did a sitcom after The Andy Griffith Show that bombed. That doesn't mean people suddenly didn't like him. He later succeeded with Matlock. Dick van Dyke did sitcom in 1988 that was pulled off the air as quickly as Life with Lucy. But several years later, he hit with Diagnosis: Murder. You mention Three's Company, but two years earlier when it became Three's a Crowd, it failed. But John Ritter came back years later with Three Simple Rules.

I think people make too big a deal of the significance of the ratings failure of Life with Lucy. If you've seen the show, no it's not great. It's not horrible, either, but it's great. Life with Lucy aired Saturday nights at 8:00 on ABC. A few years ago, I went back and looked at the ratings history of that time slot and found that Life with Lucy performed exactly as every other show that appeared in that time slot over the course of 20 years. http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/...ight=Life+Lucy

Conclusion: Lucille Ball was ultimately competing against Lucille Ball. People go out on Saturday nights. They need an extra special reason to stay home and watch TV. The only way Life with Lucy could have succeeded in that time slot was if it were at least as good as Lucille Ball's old shows that were on every other day of the week in reruns, which it wasn't.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:35 PM   #4
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Thanks Little Ricky for setting things straight. What you said makes allot of sense.
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:47 PM   #5
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From what I've seen of Here's Lucy, I just didn't find it funny. I mean it seemed like every show she had a guest star. That could get old real fast. Again, if you find it funny, thats ok. It just seemed like something was off with the show and I can't explain it.
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Old 12-05-2014, 05:47 PM   #6
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From what I've seen of Here's Lucy, I just didn't find it funny. I mean it seemed like every show she had a guest star. That could get old real fast. Again, if you find it funny, thats ok. It just seemed like something was off with the show and I can't explain it.
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comedyfreak
I don't think her popularity was dying, she did have health issues. She did Life With Lucy because she didn't want people to think of her last role as a bag lady. I miss her because no other comedians are better than her, she didn't have to be vulgar to get laughs.
Personally, I think at that point in her career it would have been wise for her to continue doing more serious work as opposed to more Lucy. Stone Pillow had a rather weak script, but Lucille Ball's performance was wonderful. She was a great dramatic actress, and with her age and changes in her voice, she could no longer pull of the innocence of Lucy Ricardo -- that ingenue quality -- which was a big part of the essence of her Lucy character. Supposedly she had been offered a role on The Golden Girls. If she had to stick with comedy, that probably would have been more suitable for her at her age, rather than continuing the wide-eyed innocence of her Lucy character. She had an Elaine Stritch/Bea Arthur type quality that makes me think she could have pulled that off very well. But really, I think it would have been great to see her in dramatic roles. She was also offered the title role in Driving Miss Daisy and I think it was a tragedy for her that (supposedly) her husband, Gary Morton, turned it down.

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Thanks Little Ricky for setting things straight. What you said makes allot of sense.
I'm glad to hear that. Like I said, for 20 years ABC couldn't score a single hit in the time slot, even with other big hitters like Redd Foxx, Tony Danza, Jeff Foxworthy and George Segal (as well as series that had been big hits on other nights). So it wasn't just about Life with Lucy.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:19 PM   #8
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I think "I Love Lucy" was so engrained upon the American consciousness as a whole, that shows afterward "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" were not as funny to us. We were so used to having Ricky, Fred & Ethel. The Lucy Show had Ethel "Vivian", but she left after 2 or 3 years, and it was just Lucy by herself pretty much. Gale Gordon was a great comic actor and foe for the various Lucy characters, but it just wasn't the same to me, and I'm sure to others too. That being said, I'd much rather watch "The Lucy Show" or "Here's Lucy" than just about anything that current sitcoms have to offer.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:55 AM   #9
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The "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" wound up in the Top 20 in the ratings for the week, with even higher numbers than last year (when CBS did a repeat broadcast a couple weeks later because they were so pleased with the numbers), and in spite of going up against the football powerhouse, so that should answer the question. The special had a ratings tie with Modern Family.

http://www.mercurynews.com/tv/ci_271...vision-ratings
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:12 AM   #10
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I Love Lucy was so great that anything paled in comparison. The best writers and cast in the history of TV. I've heard Hollywood professionals commenting on Lucy's later shows that instead of Lucy being an integral part of the show, she was just a prop for silly sight gags that happened to her. Here's Lucy was a vanity project where Lucy could work with and promote her children - who weren't very talented compared to their parents - instead of doing a great show, which by then may not have been possible.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:39 PM   #11
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Btw, did you like Here's Lucy? From what I've seen and I'll admit I havent seen much, I just didnt like it. It seemed more about having guest stars than it actually being a funny show. I didnt like Gale Gordon in this role. I dont know why I just didnt like him in this role.
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mets82
Btw, did you like Here's Lucy? From what I've seen and I'll admit I havent seen much, I just didnt like it. It seemed more about having guest stars than it actually being a funny show. I didnt like Gale Gordon in this role. I dont know why I just didnt like him in this role.

I really don't remember much about it which pretty much says it all. I remember that Lucy's children were on the show and she was over the hill. It was similar to hearing all about the great Yankee teams of the past and all I saw was an over the hill Mickey Mantle.
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Old 12-21-2014, 09:12 PM   #13
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By the time "Here's Lucy" premiered in the fall of 1968, you have to remember the "Lucy" character had starred in 180 episodes of ILL, 13 episodes of Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour & 156 episodes of "The Lucy Show". That is nearly 350 episodes! By any means, a character has exhausted most of the realistic situations he/she can be in. "Here's Lucy" to me was largely recycled "ILL" and "TLS" scripts anyway.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:55 PM   #14
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If you are like me and saw the Lucille Ball's sitcoms in reverse chronological order and were also very young, you may have enjoyed watching ILL more.
I remember watching ILL as a kid. It was the first LB sitcom that I saw. I knew nothing of LB's previous work. Also as a kid, LB didn't look to old to be playing the part.
It's similar to when I watched Happy Days growing up, Fonzie didn't look that old to be graduating High School. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that Henry Winkler was already 32 when his character graduated.
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:03 PM   #15
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Lucielle Ball lost steam by 1968...she got discouraged to be in movies once Mame became a flop! Then she was in Life with Lucy and her fame was fading by then.
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