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Old 09-06-2017, 08:58 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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I Liked Lucy, But...

Watching Lucy with a critical eye as an adult, was Lucille Ball as talented as we think? True, she had comedy down pat. She could have been a sister to the Marx Brothers. However... could she even dance or sing? Seems like she can't. Instead, she fakes it well usually by goofing off and/or making a half-hearted effort to perform. So, I have to ask: Was Lucy really that bad at singing and dancing?
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Last edited by Jinx; 09-06-2017 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:02 PM
seal_cleaner seal_cleaner is offline
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Well, she was in a Marx brothers movie. Her comedy was pretty broad, and not to modern tastes.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:10 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Well, she was in a Marx brothers movie. Her comedy was pretty broad, and not to modern tastes.
I believe I've seen all the Marx Bros movies, but I do not recall her in any of them. ...Might you be thinking of that one "I Love Lucy" episode starring Harpo Marx? If not, which Marx Bros movie did you have in mind?
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:13 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Check her out in "The Dark Corner," a film noir private-eye movie, where she's the wise-cracking secretary with the heart of gold. A sterling serious performance, showing that she was good at more than just comedy.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:16 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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"Lucy Ricardo" couldn't dance or sing well - but Lucille Ball did just fine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWhNTbehIhM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOwnsoqQA8U (at least as well as every actress was expected to do in the old star system).

Last edited by Andy L; 09-06-2017 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:19 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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She seemed to have timing but not a great voice. She worked as a chorus girl early in her career so probably could dance a little. I think she was as good a dancer and singer as the typical comedian, which is not great, but good enough for comic purposes.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:22 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
I believe I've seen all the Marx Bros movies, but I do not recall her in any of them. ...Might you be thinking of that one "I Love Lucy" episode starring Harpo Marx? If not, which Marx Bros movie did you have in mind?
She was in "Room Service" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_Service_(1938_film)
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:40 PM
seal_cleaner seal_cleaner is offline
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Not one of their better movies. It was not written specifically for them. Still fun to watch though.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:47 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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But did you ever want to see her tits?

* American Gods reference.
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  #10  
Old 09-06-2017, 09:48 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Here's Lucille Ball in 1974's Mame. This is 15 years after I Love Lucy went off the air.

Even for a woman in her 60's, her voice was pretty well shot at that point, but within her limited range, she was hitting the notes and styling the words well enough that the studio didn't think it necessary to dub in someone else. Her dancing was at least up to the "soft shoe" level needed for a musical.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:57 PM
madsircool madsircool is offline
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She was also in a 3 Stooges short.
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:43 AM
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Her daughter Lucie Arnaz says that in real life Lucy was funniest imitating other people. Their speech patterns, body gestures, holding a cigarette, etc. She did that well enough that Lucie would be cracking up "Oh Mom, that didn't really happen, did it?".

Like her first husband Desi, she was also very good at business and trusting her instincts and she used that talent in television. When most of the other people wanted to drop "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible" as too expensive for Desilu, she said no, I like them. God only knows how much money those two franchises have brought into Paramount.

Her comedy must still be pretty popular. In recent years CBS has broadcast a colorized episode of "I Love Lucy" and it has done well in the ratings, even with the 18-35 demographic.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:11 AM
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She evidently sung well enough to star in a Broadway show.

In any case, I never cared much for Lucy's comedy. It's just slightly better than the Ritz Brothers.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Check her out in "The Dark Corner," a film noir private-eye movie, where she's the wise-cracking secretary with the heart of gold. A sterling serious performance, showing that she was good at more than just comedy.
"The Big Street" with Henry Fonda, playing a nightclub performer who is paralyzed and homeless, taken in by Henry Fonda and his friends. I just saw this recently, thinking it was some kind of 'caper' movie, and was surprised how very dark it was. Such anguish and bitterness expressed by Ms. Ball over her sad fate.

Oh, and she was in one of my favorite mid-late 30's movies, an ensemble, but she did her part: Five Came Back, about a plane that went down in the Amazon jungle, with disparate characters. VERY suspenseful and engrossing, though dated.

Last edited by salinqmind; 09-07-2017 at 09:50 AM.
  #15  
Old 09-07-2017, 10:18 AM
Don Draper Don Draper is offline
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
I believe I've seen all the Marx Bros movies, but I do not recall her in any of them. ...Might you be thinking of that one "I Love Lucy" episode starring Harpo Marx? If not, which Marx Bros movie did you have in mind?
I don't know about the Marx brothers, but she was in a Three Stooges short.

Ball was a credible performer. She certainly had comic timing, could deliver lines well, and in the rare instance where she does a 'serious' song & dance performance, performs well. You have to remember that her character is pretty well established as not being especially talented. It would seem too out of character for her to suddenly dance like Ginger Rogers or sing like Doris Day. So, even when "Lucy Ricardo" would strut her stuff, Lucille Ball likely held back a little to stay true to the show.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
Watching Lucy with a critical eye as an adult, was Lucille Ball as talented as we think? True, she had comedy down pat. She could have been a sister to the Marx Brothers. However... could she even dance or sing? Seems like she can't.
Does anyone hold her up as a talented dancer or singer? She's considered talented because of her comedic skills. Maybe I'm missing something but this feels a little like saying "Sure, she had great comedy chops, but could she patch drywall? Was she really talented?"
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:33 AM
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With all the physical (pratfall?) comedy she did, I can't imagine she wouldn't be a good dancer.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
Watching Lucy with a critical eye as an adult, was Lucille Ball as talented as we think? True, she had comedy down pat. She could have been a sister to the Marx Brothers. However... could she even dance or sing? Seems like she can't. Instead, she fakes it well usually by goofing off and/or making a half-hearted effort to perform. So, I have to ask: Was Lucy really that bad at singing and dancing?
I used to date an actress. She said that it took a great singer to sing badly, a great dancer to dance badly, and a great actor to act badly. There's nothing half hearted about performing badly on purpose on stage or TV. It takes great talent to do so.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:38 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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She said that it took a great singer to sing badly, a great dancer to dance badly
Julia Louis-Dreyfus must secretly be the reincarnation of Ginger Rogers!
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:49 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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I agree with Jophiel. She was a goddam comedy actress. Why not ask if Groucho's singing and dancing was a match for Crosby and Astaire? Is this some weird sexist thing?
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:45 PM
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus must secretly be the reincarnation of Ginger Rogers!
Okay, maybe "great" wasn't the right word to use, but I imagine saying that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a good actress is not controversial. And as an actress, she can move her body, on command, in ways that audiences find entertaining, and that's far more than I, an actual bad dancer, can do. And not just "entertaining" but she can sell "bad dancer" to audiences, whereas I would just look like a very poor actor trying to dance well and failing. Her dance was funny and entertaining despite being "bad", mine would be cringeworthy, embarrassing, and not at all entertaining.

It takes talent to dance badly, is what I'm saying. Maybe not Fred Astaire talent, but talent nonetheless.

And of course Lucille Ball was amazingly talented, in many ways. I wouldn't have believed that was really in question after all these years.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:08 PM
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus must secretly be the reincarnation of Ginger Rogers!
Unrelated trivia question: What do Constance Bennett and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have in common?
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:41 PM
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But did you ever want to see her tits?

* American Gods reference.
Celebrity Sleuth magazine had a topless pic of a young Lucille Ball.
  #24  
Old 09-07-2017, 07:27 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Celebrity Sleuth magazine had a topless pic of a young Lucille Ball.
If there was ever a post that needed a link, it's this one.
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:39 PM
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If there was ever a post that needed a link, it's this one.
No idea if it's on the Interwebz. I saw the actual magazine 30 or so years ago.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:02 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Fred Astaire danced really badly in Swing Time. He had to take a lesson from dance instructor Ginger Rogers and kept fucking up so he could keep holding her in his arms. Her boss (Eric Blore) fired her for failing to teach him anything, so Fred had to do his real thing to save her job.

The tune was Jerome Kern's "Pick Yourself Up." Swing Time is consider the best Astaire/Rogers film by dance professionals. The clip is well worth watching.
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  #27  
Old 09-07-2017, 09:54 PM
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Celebrity Sleuth magazine had a topless pic of a young Lucille Ball.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
If there was ever a post that needed a link, it's this one.
I'm not going to post it because the spoiler tags are all FUBAR, but it's easy to find on Google.
  #28  
Old 09-08-2017, 07:55 AM
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Unrelated trivia question: What do Constance Bennett and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have in common?
Over a thousand views, and no one has guessed?!?

SPOILER:
They both knew someone named "Cosmo" (Topper and Kramer, respectively).
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  #29  
Old 09-08-2017, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
Does anyone hold her up as a talented dancer or singer? She's considered talented because of her comedic skills. Maybe I'm missing something but this feels a little like saying "Sure, she had great comedy chops, but could she patch drywall? Was she really talented?"
That's what I came in here to say. It's like the probably apocryphal story about Fred Astaire's screen test result; "Can't act, slightly bald, can't sing, dances a little.". Comedy is the hardest damn thing in the world, and the OP tosses it aside like chopped liver. Which, come to think of it, is also pretty damn good.
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Old 09-08-2017, 01:26 PM
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Is that sort of like how, in Hollywood, you need to be beautiful to play someone who's "ugly"?
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Old 09-08-2017, 01:41 PM
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I agree with Jophiel. She was a goddam comedy actress.
She didn't start out as a comedy actress, that is just where she finally found massive success in her late 30s. But she began work as a model at 18 and over the first couple decades of her career her jobs in film and on stage included song and dance as well as dramatic roles.
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:01 PM
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Oh, and

[Moderating]

I'd like to think that we can have a discussion about an actress's level of talent without having to share porn in the thread. Let's cut the discussion of where, whether, or how to see Lucy's tits.
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:23 PM
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Lucy's tits.
Band name!!

  #34  
Old 09-08-2017, 04:21 PM
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Lucy and Desi broke a lot of barriers in the early days of TV and as stated above, she kept a few good things going that otherwise wouldn't have.

Considering her success and obvious intelligence, it would be absurd to say that she didn't have talent, or wasn't very talented.
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  #35  
Old 09-08-2017, 04:34 PM
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Oh, and

[Moderating]

I'd like to think that we can have a discussion about an actress's level of talent without having to share porn in the thread. Let's cut the discussion of where, whether, or how to see Lucy's tits.
Not complaining about the moderating or moderators, because of that inst-ban, but I'm thinking you didn't see American Gods.
  #36  
Old 09-08-2017, 09:16 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I didn't see American Gods, but I did read it. That's why I let the initial comment slide. It was only when people starting taking it seriously and discussing how one might actually see said tits that I felt the need to intervene.

For the benefit of those who do not know American Gods, the original statement was meant to highlight the ridiculous crassness of the media. Highlighting the crassness is fine; I just didn't want us to take part in the crassness ourselves.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:53 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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For those of you who didn't get the reference in my original comment;

In the show, American Gods, Gillian Anderson* does a fantastic job as Lucy, appearing on every TV in a store to attempt to sway Shadow Moon to their side.


* She actually plays Media, one of the new gods, who takes the form of past stars. In this case, Lucille Ball.
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  #38  
Old 09-08-2017, 11:12 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Okay, maybe "great" wasn't the right word to use, but I imagine saying that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a good actress is not controversial. And as an actress, she can move her body, on command, in ways that audiences find entertaining, and that's far more than I, an actual bad dancer, can do. And not just "entertaining" but she can sell "bad dancer" to audiences, whereas I would just look like a very poor actor trying to dance well and failing. Her dance was funny and entertaining despite being "bad", mine would be cringeworthy, embarrassing, and not at all entertaining.

It takes talent to dance badly, is what I'm saying. Maybe not Fred Astaire talent, but talent nonetheless.
Several years ago, probably around the time he was on Dancing with the Stars, I came across a reference to actor Alfonso Ribeiro having a background as a dancer. I found this surprising, as Ribeiro is probably best-known for his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Carlton, a notoriously bad dancer. It had been many years since I'd watched Fresh Prince though, so I pulled up a video of Carlton dancing on YouTube.

I don't know much about dance, but it does seem obvious now that Carlton's dancing isn't bad in the sense that it's unskilled. It's bad in the sense that it's goofy and unhip, which is appropriate for the character. Carlton is not trying to do cool dance moves that he lacks the technical ability to pull off, he's properly executing dance moves that aren't cool (and are exaggerated for comedic effect). "Doing the Carlton" the way Ribeiro did it would take more energy and coordination than an untrained and unskilled dancer like me could manage. If you put me on camera and told me to dance badly, you'd get a sort of halfhearted attempt at a 1960s style TV backup dancer -- basically just some hip swaying and slow arm movements.
  #39  
Old 09-09-2017, 08:31 AM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
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Here's Lucille Ball in 1974's Mame. This is 15 years after I Love Lucy went off the air.

Even for a woman in her 60's, her voice was pretty well shot at that point, but within her limited range, she was hitting the notes and styling the words well enough that the studio didn't think it necessary to dub in someone else. Her dancing was at least up to the "soft shoe" level needed for a musical.
Lucille Ball broke her leg in a skiing accident in 1972 and was in a cast for much of that season's "Here's Lucy". She was 61 at the time. Whether that would have affected her dancing for "Mame", I don't know. Sometimes you don't heal as well when you are older.
She also was a cigarette smker. In the 190s with her failed comeback, her character was supposed to be a health fanatic when in real life she just quit smoking after 30 years (the characters on "I Love Lucy" were encouraged to smoke by their tobacco sponsor).
  #40  
Old 09-10-2017, 01:29 PM
Skinnybones Lampshade Skinnybones Lampshade is offline
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While she is no Ginger Rogers, she is lovely and graceful in this clip where she dances with Van Johnson from an "I Love Lucy" episode.

Also, note her fine acting chops as "Lucy Ricardo" transitions from almost too nervous to move a muscle into enjoying her golden chance to dance with a big celebrity. I think she more than holds her own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzHnxAY3mG8

The quality of the image here is quite poor, but there may be better versions of the same clip available elsewhere on the net.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:07 PM
Skinnybones Lampshade Skinnybones Lampshade is offline
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To add to my post above, there is also a colourized clip with a sharper image of this on youtube. I didn't link to it because it kind of jerks in the middle, as whoever is recording it off a television slips momentarily.

I think this (link in the post above) is Lucy at her most graceful ever. Certain movements are a little off balance; you can certainly tell she is not accustomed to dancing this way daily. On the other hand, her athleticism, body control and some really lovely arm movements, taken with her acting the character flawlessly throughout the scene, impressed me very much
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