Now, about Amazon’s rejuice of six years of 180 weekly half-hour Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz “I Love Lucy” TV shows, which premiered 70 years ago.
Making millions, the DesiLu company episodes attracted more viewers than a President Eisenhower speech. Maritally, the glamorous comedienne and Cuban bandleader with the lousy English were less successful. Constant fights. On-set and at home. She an upstate New Yorker. He, a boozer and cheater. Married 1940, divorced 1960. Him: “Why she upset? I only go with hookers, and they don’t count.”
I’d see them in NYC’s Chinese restaurants. And in my usual high-class reporting style, I once wrote what Lucille Ball and Monica Lewinsky had in common: “They both like a good Cuban.”
Now Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. are producing this “Being the Ricardos” in their parents oldie style. Writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s opening scene was to be a Monday table read, then progress through production to the week’s filming. Lucy and Desi are, reportedly, Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. Long back when I first heard about this, Lucy was to be Cate Blanchett.
Roles that got away from them
Stars like a Cate or Nicole can cop in and out of roles. They can dislike a script, resent another actor, hate the part, fail to love the director or get a better job.
Whoknowswhy Reese Witherspoon was set for “Romeo + Juliet” but Claire Danes got hired. Weknowwhy at a “Cape Fear” audition she lost composure meeting De Niro and so they took Juliette Lewis.
In 1974, Daisy’s “The Great Gatsby” role had big-time turnover. Faye Dunaway’s rejection so crushing that her 1995 autobio was called “Looking for Gatsby: My Life.” Mia Farrow got hired.
And how about Mick Jagger, who tried out to play Frank-N-Furter in the Rocky Horror movie. I mean, please. “Charlie’s Angels” after Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson left? Nixed were Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Shari Belafonte.
Then Sandra Bullock had the lead in “Runaway Bride,” but one scene required mounting a runaway horse so she ran away. She was allergic. Susan Sarandon tested for “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Meryl Streep got the Oscar. And leave nobody forget James Brolin took a shot at the James Bond “Octopussy” role. Maybe he now acts it out to B.Streisand.
Clooney tested for “Thelma & Louise.” Brad Pitt got it. Upset, George refused to see the film and told the Scottish Daily Record: “Eventually I watched it on video and forgave Pitt. I realized I’d never have thought of doing things as he did them. He was perfect.”
Kathie Lee Gifford on SiriusXM’s “Personally Speaking” talked of forgiving Howard Stern’s trashing her. “It was a legendary feud. I’d never met the man, never heard him on the radio. Every time he disparaged me for some reason, I got hurt. It made no sense. I didn’t even know him. What did I do to him? So I thought, ‘Every time he says something bad, it’s to know to pray for whoever hurts you. Love your enemies.’ I explain in the book I’d just written that Howard then said, ‘You’re everything I’m not.’”
James Fragale’s new book “Blocked? Get Un-Blocked, Now” is about how to get unstuck during the pandemic. He knows from getting unstuck. In the ’60s, he wrote Billboard’s “Music on Campus” at Joe Allen’s, and 55 years later this book at the same bar. It’s now closed, so you might offer your kitchen for his next shot … Comedian Talia Reese at Carlebach Shul’s comedy night: “I was asked to warm up the crowd at an outdoor gig last week. So I started telling jokes. The organizer pulled me aside and said, “No, I meant can you bring blankets?”
Quiz: Name a bass hole, a gas hole and a US politician.
Answer: A crack in the ice for fishing, an opening in the street for repair work and Nancy Pelousy … Also, cab drivers are now suffering from a new ailment: middle finger frostbite.
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.