Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love Lucy....At Your Own Risk.

From the book,  "How I Escaped From Gilligan's Island"    by William Froug:

"In 1949 I was hired by Lloyd Brownfield, head of CBS Press Information, Hollywood, as a senior publicist for $83.50 a week.  That was a living wage at the time.  My assignment was to write for the daily mailer, which was sent out to all the CBS Radio affiliates.  The mailer was intended to pique their interest in the network's programs and especially their stars.

One of CBS's newest stars was a tall, pretty, young, red-headed woman named Lucille Ball.  She had appeared in a number of B pictures and , according to the powers that be in New York, had a gift for comedy.  Now she was being given her own radio sitcom, My Favorite Husband.

Brownfield gave me my first assignment:  interview Ball and do a feature story on her for the mailer.  I walked across CBS's Columbia Square courtyard and entered our big audience Studio A.  The large auditorium was dark except for the lit stage where the cast was seated on folding chairs, studying scripts.  They were on a rehearsal break.  My good fortune, I thought, as I walked toward the stage where Ball was seated.

As I approached she glanced toward me, curiously.  "Miss Ball,"  I said, "I'm Bill Froug with CBS Publicity, and I'd appreciate it if I could have a couple of minutes of your time to do an interview."

She turned in her chair so she was facing me head on.  She fixed me with cold eyes and a knotted frown.  "Kid,"  she said, "go shit in your hat."

When I reported the incident to my boss, he broke out into loud guffaws of laughter.  "That's Lucy, all right,"  Brownie said.  "Dig up a studio bio of her, rewrite it, and send it out.  And, by the way,"  he added, "welcome to the real Hollywood."

Richard Denning with Ball