“Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball,” is a fascinating piece of work authored by Stefan Kanfer. It is truly unique in its ability to capture the passion that Ball brought to her work, while facing countless hardships in her personal life. She brought joy to millions, while never letting the stress of her real life obstacles break through. That took not only a great deal of courage, but immense skill as well.
The character that this woman possessed in almost unimaginable. During her journey toward stardom, she worked hard and was never too proud to turn down even the smallest of roles. Making her first uncredited appearance as a Goldwyn Girl in “Roman Scandals,” back in 1933, she continued to rigorously pursue her goals. The studios had trouble finding the right roles for her, and tried several different makeovers to make her stand out from the rest of the starlets. Being a natural brunette, one studio head had the brainstorm to have Lucy become a blond.
Ball made several well-received films such as “Big Street,” “Dance Girl Dance,” and “Big Street,” and yet could not break out of her persona as the “Queen of B Pictures.” It would not be until years later, in preparation for “Du Barry was a Lady,” that Lucy’s tresses were dyed the flaming red that would make her an international icon.
Who knew back then that the brand new frontier known as television would be the one medium that would make Lucy a household name. Together she and her husband Desi Arnaz made history countless times throughout the run of the show, I Love Lucy.
*They depicted the first inter-racial marriage on television. Additionally, it was the first show to incorporate a story-line about pregnancy (this was just not talked about back then and she had to use the word expectant, NEVER pregnant. The sponsors were very concerned about how the public would respond to this private topic). Desi invented the re-run and the process of shooting with three camera filming simultaneously.*
Many people do not realize that after the end of “I Love Lucy,” she followed up with another successful show entitled, “The Lucy Show.” During the first three seasons of the show, Vivian Vance returns as Lucy’s comic foil. However, Vance looks much younger and is dressed in a more sophisticated style than is observed regarding her role as Ethel Mertz. The other interesting fact about this show, is that with the exception of the very first season, the entire series is filmed in color. For Lucy fans, it enables people to see the truly red hair that she was known for.
Below are some thought provoking quotes made by Lucy courtesy of brainyquote.com.
* “I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.”
* “I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.”
* “In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.”
She brought joy to millions, displayed bravery when it counted most and never lost site of what truly matters in life. For those reasons among countless others, in my eyes, she will always be the First Lady of Comedy and of my heart. ❤