Yes, that’s the book our own Joe co-authored with Ed Epstein on the woman who became the most beloved TV star. But how much did you know about her movie career?
Let’s check the answers to yesterday’s Monday Quiz and find out. As usual, to review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: True. The young girl from upstate was modeling in New York City when she was tagged to to a screen test. According to famed director Busby Berkeley when he and Sam Goldwyn saw the test Goldwyn nixed Ball, but the director sent for Lucille and another girl, Barbara Pepper, anyway.
2) Answer: RKO. Lucille landed a contract there at $50 a week which enabled her to stay in Hollywood. As her career advanced she sent for her entire family to join her. She stayed at the studio for almost 10 years working her way up the ladder. But since the studio had Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and Ann Sothern under contract Lucille was relegated to B films. One exception was Stage Door in 1937, which starred Hepburn and Rogers in an all star cast.
3) Answer: Buster Keaton. He was under contract at MGM in the 40s when Lucy got there and since the studio couldn’t find enough leading roles for her she had time on her hands. Always the professional Ball used her free time wisely and learned from the masters.
4) Answer: The Big Street which starred Henry Fonda. It is the Damon Runyon tale about a bitchy nightclub singer and the busboy who adores her and sticks by her when she’s crippled. The film’s success and her reviews garnered the attention of MGM who bought her contract from RKO. Lucy thought this would be the start of true movie stardom, but it was not to be.
5) Answer: Dark Corner (20th Cenutry Fox) and Lured (United Artists.) By the late 40s Ball was freelancing. She had gotten out of her MGM contract when they began casting her in second leads. Her career as a freelancer was lucrative and allowed her to stay a top star albeit on less prestigious pictures.
6) Answer: The Long, Long Trailer. Desi Arnaz had never had much of a film career anyway. His success came with his band. And later as a smart businessman in running the Desilu empire.
7) Answer: Facts of Life re-teamed Lucille with her old pal, Bob Hope. They had scored in the late 40s with Sorrowful Jones and Fancy Pants. Then in 1968 Ball re-teamed with Henry Fonda for the hugely successful Yours, Mine and Ours.