Lucille Ball had a long, storied career on television, film, radio and stage. While she had success in all these fields, it was TV where she was unequivocally queen. In Geoffrey Mark Fidelman’s The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television, fans can read through an exhaustive tome of Ball’s career on television – from its inception, where she made some incongruous appearances, to her classic work on I Love Lucy, to her subsequent shows all the way into the mid 1980s with her ill-fated comeback, Life with Lucy.
It has to be said that Fidelman is a huge fan of Ball’s. He’s done some incredible research, and has been able to collect quotes from costars like Vivian Vance, William Frawley, Desi Arnaz, as well as writers, producers, guest stars, family members and friends and family. He organizes the book according to television season chronicling all of Ball’s appearances, including her guest starring on other shows or her appearances on variety shows. The most interesting aspect of the book is his assessment of Ball’s work on her sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy. While an obvious admirer of the comedienne, he’s suitably critical of her work if it does measure up to her best; he also views some of her later-day work with an unsentimental eye, willing to review the shows critically (though he’s never mean or unkind).
A great way to enjoy this book is to have it handy when watching any of Ball’s television shows. Not only are his reviews well-written, but he also includes interesting trivia about the production of the shows. The book has a stamp of approval from Ball’s children Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. He repays their kindness with effusive praise of their talents (truth be told their work on Here’s Lucy while fun, isn’t nearly as exciting as Fidelman makes it out to be). For fans of Lucille Ball, Fidelman’s book is a goldmine of information, though – and an essential entry in their libraries.
Click here to buy The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television on amazon.com.