Lucille Ball FAQ (2011/Applause Publishing) + Lucy:
A Legacy Of Laughter (Mill Creek DVD set)
B+ Picture: C Sound: C Extras: C Episodes: C+
Ball continues to be one of the most influential and important figures in the
history of the entertainment industry.
Now in 2011, she would have been a century old and some people have been
noting and celebrating this. We now have
two new releases (which happen to be using the same full color promo still of
her) including a really fine new book that delivers information that ranges
from the obvious to the kinds of facts that only diehard fans would know.
Lucille Ball FAQ (2011/Applause Publishing) by
James Sheridan and Barry Monush is 450 pages (our copy was a softcover, but it
is nicely bound) and it is pretty thorough and impressive. Though some may see it as a book of lists as
well, that is not a bad thing as this makes for a solid resource. The biography of Lucy is extensive, while
there is more biographical information about her co-stars, family, producers,
co-workers and friends than you might expect.
I also liked the details about her business side, including how she
built Desilu with Desi Arnaz, how they eventually bought out the RKO Studios
(where she once worked), the great work Desilu did over the years and how she
continued to make TV afterwards with a new company and new ventures.
successes are well documented, as well as disappointments like Life With Lucy,
Mame and many personal pains she went though.
I also liked the list of pilots Desilu produced that usually did not
sell, but often turned up in their anthology series, though you can see in the
end she (having bought Arnaz out years before after the divorce) has two big
hits on her hands (Mission: Impossible
and Mannix) and a third show that
was not doing as well, but would take off in syndication later (Star Trek).
liked other projects she was almost part of, her radio days and there are also
some nice stills. Was anything
missing? Maybe some more information on
the advertisements she did for her various shows or earlier print ads, but the
book is impressive and worth going out of your way to get.
Lucy: A Legacy Of Laughter is the latest compilation from
Mill Creek and mostly features poor copies of episodes from The Lucy Show, which are a mixed bag (the
1.33 X 1 image and The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound are a few generations down)
that are more dated than ever since CBS started issuing Official DVD sets with
copies made from the original camera materials, which you can find elsewhere on
this site. Even the documentary here is
short and weak, so you’d be better off getting the book above. However, the set does have another extra in
five episodes of the Betty White series Life
With Elizabeth and they are very interesting, but
deserve their own set with White’s Date
With An Angel in restored copies.
- Nicholas Sheffo