Given that April hasn't even ended yet, we've been talking a lot about August lately. The other day, we reported (with pleasure) that American TV audiences will see Carole Lombard on Aug. 28 as part of Turner Classic Movies' 2011 "Summer Under The Stars." Twenty-two days earlier, Lucille Ball will receive similar honors...on the 100th anniversary of her birth, no less. (Three Augusts ago, TCM did likewise for Fred MacMurray's centenary.)
Ball is understandably revered as a television icon, arguably that medium's equivalent of Charlie Chaplin. (Would that make Milton Berle, whose TV fame came a few years before Lucy's, the Max Linder of television?) But just as Chaplin initially gained renown in the English music hall and on the stage, Ball honed her skills in film -- some comedies, some musicals, even a few film noirs such as "The Dark Corner."
Lucy will not only be honored by TCM on her centenary, but by the blogosphere as well. The site "True Classics: The ABCs of Modern Film" (http://trueclassics.wordpress.com/) has announced a blogathon for that day, called the "Loving Lucy Blogathon," and I'm delighted to say I've volunteered my services:
Ball is a worthy subject for a Lombard-related blog. Lucy got to know Carole in the mid-1930s, and they became good friends, especially after Lombard signed with RKO (the studio Ball and husband Desi Arnaz would eventually acquire for their Desilu production company) in 1939. (Ironically, as is the case with Jean Harlow, I have never come across a photo of Lucy and Carole together.) We'll discuss the ties between Lombard and Lucy in our entry that day, but you'll have to wait until Aug. 6 to find out our angle.
For now, a few more photos of the pre-TV Lucille Ball (who, believe it or not, was a few months past her 40th birthday when "I Love Lucy" premiered):