Saturday, August 6, 2011

Three Little Pigskins (1934)

Starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Curley Howard, and Larry Fine) and Lucille Ball. Directed by Ray McCarey. The stooges are mistaken by a gangster for the "Three Horsemen of Boulder Dam", famous football players. Hired to play for his team, they blow the big game and get it in the end.

Sorrowful Jones (1949)

Starring Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, William Demarest, Arthur Space, Bruce Cabot, and Thomas Gomez. Directed by Sidney Lanfield. A young girl is left with the notoriously cheap Sorrowful Jones as a marker for a bet. When her father doesn't return for her, Jones learns that taking care of a child interferes with his freewheeling lifestyle.

The Big Street (1942)

Starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Agnes Moorehead, Ozzie Nelson, Barton MacLane, Ray Collins, Hans Conreid, Eugene Pallette, Louise Beavers, and George Cleveland. Directed by Irving Reis. The busboy at a New York nightclub worships the vain and throughly selfish star attraction of the club. When she is crippled by a fall downstairs caused by a blow across the face by the sadistic gangster who owns the club, the young man selflessly waits hand and foot on the ungrateful singer.

Lured (1947)

Starring Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, George Sanders, Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, and Alan Napier. Directed by Douglas Sirk. A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. After a dancer disappears, the police enlist an American friend of hers to answer advertisements in the personal columns to lure the killer out of hiding.

The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Madge Blake, and Bert Freed. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Despite his reluctance and misgivings, a civil engioneer and his fiancée buy a large trailer home so that they can save money that would otherwise be spent on a house and also be able to travel around the country to various projects that he is working on. The honeymoon trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains rapidly becomes a series of disasters including his new bride's attempts to cook dinner in a moving, rocking trailer.

Too Many Girls (1940)

Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Ann Miller, Richard Carlson, Eddie Bracken, and Frances Langford. Directed by George Abbott. Four all-American football players decide to forgo their college careers when they are hired by a wealthy businessman to be the around-the-clock unknown bodyguards of his fast living, mean-spirited and spoiled daughter who has just enrolled at Pottawatomie College.

Critic's Choice (1963)

Starring Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Jim Backus, Rip Torn, John Dehner, Jesse Royce Landis, Marie Windsor, Richard Deacon, Jerome Cowan, and Joan Shawlee. Directed by Don Weis. A theater critic reviews a new play that was written by his wife. Once she completes the initial draft, she is eager for his opinion. He complies. He hates it and tells her so. Instead of folding under, she is even more determined to get the play produced just to prove her husband wrong.

Easy to Wed (1946)

Starring Lucille Ball, Van Johnson, Esther Williams, Keenan Wynn, Cecil Kellaway, June Lockhart, Ben Blue, and Grant Mitchell. Directed by Edward Buzzell, Buster Keaton, and Edward Sedgwick. A wealthy businessman threatens to sue the local newspaper for two million dollars for an article which states that his daughter is chasing after married men. The paper's star reporter is sent to chase after the girl to prove that the story is actually true.

Stone Pillow (1985)

Starring Lucille Ball, Daphne Zuniga, Rebecca Shull, and Anna Maria Horsford. Directed by George Schaefer. An aging homeless woman befriends a naive young college graduate working at a homeless shelter to learn about the homeless. Taking the young girl into the streets, the older woman teaches her about survival.

Stage Door (1937)

Starring Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Adolphe Menjou, Jack Carson, and Franklin Pangborn. Directed by Gregory La Cava. A rich society beauty has decided to see if she can break into the Broadway theatre scene without her family connections. She goes to live in a theatrical boarding house and finds her life caught up with those of the other residents and the ever-present disappointment that theatrical hopefuls must live with. Her smart-mouth roommate is approached by a powerful producer for more than just a role. And Terry's father has decided to give her career a shove by backing a production for her to star in, one in which she's sure to flop.

The Dark Corner (1946)

Starring Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix, Craig Stevens, and Kurt Kreuger. Directed by Henry Hathaway. A private investigator has just moved to New York from San Francisco where he was framed by his former partner and unfairly spent two years in jail. When he invites his secretary to have dinner with him, they see a man wearing a white suit on their tail who turns out to be a private investigator hired by the former partner to follow him.

Fancy Pants (1950)

Starring Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Bruce Cabot, Norma Varden, and Eric Blore. Directed by George Marshall. An American actor impersonating an English butler is hired by a nouveau riche woman from New Mexico to refine her husband and headstrong daughter. Complications arise when the town believes the butler to be an Earl and President Roosevelt decides to pay a visit.

Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)

Starring Lucille Ball, William Holden, Janis Carter, Charles Lane, James Gleason, Gloria Henry, George Cleveland, and Will Wright. Directed by Lloyd Bacon. A bookie uses a phony real estate business as a front for his betting parlor. To further keep up the sham he hires a dimwitted young secretary, figuring she won't suspect any of his criminal activities.

The Facts of Life (1960)

Starring Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Don DeFore, Louis Nye, Robert F. Simon, Louise Beavers, Ruth Hussey, Vito Scotti, Philip Ober, and Mike Mazurki. Directed by Melvin Frank. A middle-aged man and woman, both married, are thrown together accidentally when their spouses cancel out of a planned vacation and, as a result, they fall in love with each other. Though prepared to run off together, in the end they decide that adultery at their age just isn't worth the trouble.

Her Husband's Affairs (1947)

Starring Lucille Ball, Franchot Tone, Edward Everett Horton, Gene Lockhart, Dwayne Hickman, and Frank Wilcox. Directed by S. Sylvan Simon. An advertising genius resents his wife's meddling in his business even though her suggestions are often on target.


Today August 6 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of comedy legend Lucille Ball. Lucy was born in Jamestown, New York, on August 6, 1911. The stagestruck teenager began her show business career as early as 1926. She got jobs in chorus lines but got fired from them, then made a successful career as a model. In 1929 she became ill with rheumatoid arthritis and spent two years in hospitals and a wheelchair, returning in 1932 to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. By 1933, she was appearing in small parts for United Artists, Columbia, and RKO pictures. She appeared in a 1934 Three Stooges short, Three Little Pigskins. In 1937, she landed a part in the film Stage Door and her career took off. Most of her roles at this stage were wise-cracking dames. There were a few dramatic roles in such films as Five Came Back in 1939, The Big Street in 1942, and The Dark Corner in 1946. Also in 1946 she stole the show in MGM's Easy to Love. Things started to move in the right direction for Lucy in the late 40s with a string of successful starring roles in Miss Grant Takes Richmond in 1949, The Fuller Brush Girl in 1949, Sorrowful Jones in 1949, and Fancy Pants in 1950, co-starring with Bob Hope. In 1951 Lucy and her husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, decided on the strength of a running skit they had performed on his recent cross-country tour, to draw up a format for a television show together. The result was I love Lucy, which debuted in October 1951 and quickly became the most popular TV comedy series of its time. The show was a consistent hit throughout its six-year run. From 1962 to 1974 Lucy starred in two other successful TV series, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. Lucy attempted a TV comeback in 1986 with a new series, Life With Lucy. But the series was cancelled within two months. Her last public appearance, just one month before her death, was at the 1989 Academy Awards telecast in which she and fellow presenter, Bob Hope, were given a standing ovation. Lucille Ball died of heart failure on On April 26, 1989. She was 77 years old. Her ashes were initially interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles but in 2002 her children moved her remains to the family plot at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown, New York.

Lucille Ball at her last public appearance
at the 61st Academy Awards in 1989
just four weeks before her death