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redsoxkid

LUCY DAY AT THE FAIR

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So next Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of the day I met Lucille Ball at the fair.

At my insistence, my Dad had gotten me (age 12) and my little brother (7) to the New Amsterdam gate, Gate 2, at 8:30 a.m.--in plenty of time for Lucy's announced 9:00 arrival. There weren't very many people there yet, so when the white limo pulled up at 8:45, it wasn't difficult to spot the red hair through the rear side window.

Lucy got out of the car, along with the evil Hedda Hopper, while the driver removed the top. It was still pretty grey out with the possibility of drizzles, so the event planners were a little nervous about moving ahead with the parade--but Lucy told them to go for it. She was wearing a black suit and short white gloves, and by then she'd gotten back into the rear of the car, kneeling on the back seat, as two busloads of marching band organized in front of her. The 30 or so people who were there had crowded around the vehicle, some of them waving programs and playbills from Lucy's 1960 Broadway musical "Wildcat". She apologized for not being able to sign autographs, but said it wouldn't be fair to sign only a few and not all of them, and the parade was due to start any minute. Meanwhile, my brother and I were squeezed against the side of the car closest to her--and I was overwhelmed. This was Lucy Ricardo! Lucy Carmichael! A foot and a half in front of me! Knowing autographs were taboo, I blurted out, "Lucy?" And she turned to me. I asked, "Can I shake your hand?" A brief hesitation and suddenly I was touching the white glove. My brother was quick to move in for a second handshake of his own, and right after that the band kicked in with "Hey, Look Me Over!" (her theme song from "Wildcat"--though I still wonder why they didn't use the "I Love Lucy" theme), and the parade began moving. We followed alongside the car, singing the lyrics to the song, as it made its way to the Hollywood pavilion--where we watched Lucy and the still-horrible Hedda Hopper put their footprints in the makeshift Grauman's Chinese forecourt.

After that, we spent a Lucy-less rest of the day at the fair, but made a stop in the early evening at the Spanish pavilion, where she was scheduled to receive an award. What I recall most vividly is hanging out in the lower concourse and glancing at a few exhibits while we waited, right next to a family from Spain that had made the trip just to visit the fair and who had no idea that there was about to be a celebrity event on the premises. They spoke no English at all, and the matriarch was a large, energetic mother and grandmother who had no trouble controlling a brood of adult children and small grandchildren that must have numbered a dozen. Suddenly there was a commotion from the top of the grand staircase directly in front of us, and all you could see was an ocean of black-and-white tuxedoed papparazzi and fair officials pouring down the stairs--with a flaming orange redhead smack in the middle. Of course, the noise attracted the attention of the family standing next to us, so they turned around to see what the hades was going on. The minute the grandmother saw just who the red hair belonged to, her jaw dropped open--at which point she began waving frantically and calling out "Loooo-seeee!!!! Loooo-seeee!!!" When Ms. Ball waved back, I thought the old lady was going to faint.

I'll never forget that moment as long as I live. We all knew that we loved Lucy--but who figured in 1964 that the rest of the world felt the same way????

(P.S. In the commotion, we lost my little brother--and by the time we got him back at the end of the evening, we were on a first-name basis with most of the Pinkerton force. Until the day my father died, he STILL blamed Lucy.)

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Amen! Thanks!

People forget what a television juggernaut Lucy was, and what a shrewd businessman Desi was. For example, Desilu was able to buy the defunct RKO studios property, next to Paramount. That's astounding!

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->Thank you for sharing that story.

I'm a big Lucy fan (as you can probably tell by my avatar.) and have always been curious about the details of Lucy's day at the fair.

Lucy also had a good business mind. She purchased Desi's part of Desilu and made possible shows like Star Trek. (When others didn't believe in the show.)

Her role as head of Desilu was sometimes uncomfortable for her. She sometimes tried to deemphasize her power, and status. When some one might visit her office; she'd hastily begin cleaning around them. She wanted the visitor to know she was not above doing her own work-all of it. She was down to earth, and didn't like to put on airs.

Lucy was, and still is, loved by all, all over the world. <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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Oh, I remember that day. I remember driving my Glide-A-Ride over the bridge from the Lake Amusement Area, down the decline where I usually went into my sophisticated, "Eek, the brakes don't work!" routine, and Lucy was approaching the other way in a pink or white convertible, I think it was, and I announced it.

LL

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Lucy was approaching the other way in a pink or white convertible, I think it was, and I announced it.

LL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It looks pink to me....

Lucy1.jpg

Lucy2.jpg

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She was wearing a black suit and short white gloves

Well, it looks like a black dress with green jacket, and black gloves....

...but who cares- the red hair is what counts, right!!

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Well, it looks like a black dress with green jacket, and black gloves....

...but who cares- the red hair is what counts, right!!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes indeed, there she is! How did you find that? Was her hair really that red? Somebody sitting next to her with red hair too.

LL

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There is a great episode of "I Love Lucy" where she and Ethel believe they are kidnapped by a middle eastern sheik (Ricky and Fred in disguise). In any event, she says (in desperation), "Don't hurt me. I'm mot a mahrinses. I'm a hennarinses." That is close to the actual line, I believe. She dyed her hair and it became her trademark. As Desi stated when there were rumours about Lucy being a communist during the dark McCarthy years: "My wife is no communist. The only thing red about her is her hair and even that is not real."

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Lucy was approaching the other way in a pink or white convertible, I think it was, and I announced it.

LL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The limo was white. My Mom has the photos somewhere in a scrapbook.

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Somebody sitting next to her with red hair too.

LL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The other redhead is her mother, De-De. She showed up around mid-day--we were waiting in line at the Carousel of Progress when the limo and escort went by with both mother and daughter. (By then it had started raining, but the only concession Lucy made to the weather was the jacket. Trouper that she was, she knew how many people had come out to see her, so there was no umbrella.)

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Yes indeed, there she is!  How did you find that?

I didn't respond right away because I was bidding on these snapshot prints, but I just won the auction lot (woo hoo!!!) so after I receive the prints (sadly the negatives seem to be lost) I'll post better quality scans.

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->Whooo hooo indeed, Randy! A big Yowza coming your way! I look very much forward to seeing those photos! <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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She was doing The Lucy Show still in it's first format where her and Viv are widows raising their kids. The later format had Lucy single working for Mr. Mooney in LA.

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<!--coloro:blue--><span style="color:blue"><!--/coloro-->WOW!

Wonderful photos, Randy! They look just great, and they are a marvelous keep sake of an extraordinary time.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->

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This site has some pics of Lucy Day, look Hedda even got into the cement ceremony

http://www.lucilleball.net/lucyday.html

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Here is an earlier picture of Lucy and Hedda together

<a href="http://www.physics.purdue.edu/~schneppn/hedda.html" target="_blank">http://www.physics.purdue.edu/~schneppn/hedda.html</a>

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Some updates on 'Lucy Day'- how did we know that the two snapshots above were from August 31st? Because, having the original prints I could zoom in and find something that confirmed it.....

1964-08-06a_Lucille_Ball.jpg

1964-08-06a_Lucille_Ball_and_Hedda_Hopper.jpg

Keep this guy's face in mind.

And what are those green arrows pointing at?

Well......they're pointing at the official Lucy Day pinback button which was given to members of the working press- which we know had the date August 31st right on it!

Lucille_Ball_Day_press_button_-_August_31_1964.jpg

Here they are doing the palm print at the Hollywood USA Pavilion- Hedda wearing the crazy hat we see her wearing in the convertible. Lucy has shed her green jacket, and of course her black gloves.

lucyhand.jpg

And now this week we found the Houser-Rabenstine slides (which I took the liberty of color correcting for display here), and there are two more pictures of that day! How do we know it's the same day?- after all Lucy looks like she's wearing different clothes. Once again, the button!

And instead of the green jacket, Lucy has put on a checked jacket over the black dress, and this time she's wearing WHITE gloves!!! She seems to be exiting past the NYS tower in one photo, and then past the Minnesota Pavilion in the second photo (from single photo vantage point as she passes).

So.....Redsoxkid- you started this thread- and your memory is totally exonerated as being perfect- black dress with WHITE gloves AFTER she got back in the car- it's now explained! (although you said after getting back in the car she then headed to the Hollywood Pavilion. Maybe she changed gloves from black to white to black to white every time she got in or out of the car?? Who knows- I guess that's just what was nuts about Lucy!! )

H64-10-01-20_Lucille_Ball.jpg

Lookee there- it's the same guy!!

H64-10-01-20a_Lucille_Ball.jpg

H64-10-01-21_Lucille_Ball.jpg

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Doesn't it look to you guys like she's switched from a white convertible to a red convertible? I guess Lucy just wasn't satisfied with anything! Ha!

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That reminds me. Among the many unintentionally funny captions to these slides that we've commented on previously from the website they come from, notice how for the second Lucy pic he described her as a "pregnant Lucille Ball"?

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Admiral E.C. Renfro, General Manager of the Christian Science Pavilion, was a member of the Association of International Exhibitors at the fair. He presented Lucy with a scroll signed by the staff of every pavilion in the International Area. His own pavilion was the first one on the scroll.

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