Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Seeing Stars: Part Two

Yes, we're already back again with another of the All-Star shindigs such as we turned the spotlight on a couple of days ago. This time, the honoree for the night was Miss Lucille Ball. This party was filmed about one year prior to the one I just did on Clint Eastwood. Again, the audience is brimming over with celebrities, each trying to catch a glimpse of what is going on from his or her table in the oversaturated-with-flora ballroom. The star smash-ups aren't quite as insane as in our prior post, but there is still some fun to be had.
The splendiferously tacky set is once again replete with shrubbery, lighted hedges, poinsettias and the like...
The frequent master of ceremonies, Monty Hall. Behind him are Dionne Warwick, George Hamilton and Mike Connors. (Not sure if that's Mrs. Connors at the right?)
Miss Ball enters and warmly greets this guest or that. Sid Caesar is behind her. The honoree never knows precisely who will be in attendance at the affair or what the entertainment is going to be.
Clint Eastwood got no roses, so presumably that's an added treat for the lady recipients.
Ball was thrilled to see various friends in attendance, including Milton Berle, but her greatest moment of excitement came when she spotted Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife Altovise.
Mr. and Mrs. Sammy Davis Jr. Davis gave an extremely loving and heartfelt speech to Ball later in the program.
Our Joan Collins (then at the height of Dynasty's popularity) was on-hand to talk about Ball's years as a starlet and eventual star in Hollywood. Lloyd Bridges, who scarcely uncrossed his arms the entire night from the moment the show started, seemed unimpressed... Collins remarked that Ball had auditioned for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), but that there was no way Clark Gable could have looked into her eyes and said, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
Suave Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island.
A quick scan of the crowd shows Sean Connery and his wife Micheline (in blue), with Hugh O'Brian behind him and, with her back to him, Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The Streets of San Francisco's Karl Malden and his wife Mona.
Handsome Cary Grant.
In the blonde section we find I Dream of Jeannie's Barbara Eden next to Knots Landing's Lisa Hartman.
Stefanie Powers of Hart to Hart, with Vickie Lawrence behind her.
Ball beams as Mr. Frank Sinatra heads over to the bandstand...
...to serenade her with his rendition of "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."
Morgan Brittany of Dallas. Her character Katherine Wentworth killed Bobby Ewing until it was revealed a season later to have all been a (very extensive and detailed!) dream of Pam's.
The shrubbery isn't enough... James Caan also appears to have gotten caught up in a melange of hair, both naturally curly and permed! This was 1984.
When Clint Eastwood was honored, his parents, children and girlfriend were all at the central table with him. In Ball's case, people like James Stewart, Frank Sinatra and, as shown here, Burt Reynolds (at the time in the throes of a relationship with Loni Anderson.)
Here's a better glimpse of Zsa Zsa and Hugh baby.(And in the foreground in profile is Lynn Redgrave and her husband John Clark.)
Creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Carl Reiner.
Sid Caesar joined Reiner in character for a verryyy lengthy comic bit.
At far left is Betty White while on the right are Alex Trebek and a feather-boaed Carol Lawrence.
Even though Keye Luke is looking right at me (with James B. Sikking over his shoulder), I can't help feeling a bit drawn to the young man to the right! No clue who he is...
As I say, Clint's kids were at his table, but Desi Arnaz Jr and Lucie Arnaz were shunted off to the hinterlands amid the foliage. (But, hey, at least with TV mega-producer Steven Bochco and his wife Barbara Bosson nearby it can't be all bad.)
Three's Company's John Ritter, who Lucy was a big fan of, got up to speak. You can almost see Robert Mandan of Soap (and, by then, Ritter's Three's a Crowd) in the corner.
Two stars from The Love Boat, Ted Lange and Bernie Kopell (with unidentified table-mates.)
Highly accomplished (yet widely-reviled) Olympic track & field champion Carl Lewis had a total deer in the headlights moment when introduced, never once varying from this expression...
Friend of the Underworld, lovely Lee Meriwether, a former Miss America and costar of Barnaby Jones.
Some random craziness: game show host Tom Kennedy and character actor Ned Beatty. Trivia about them: Kennedy was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1927. Beatty was born in St. Matthews, KY, a Louisville suburb, ten years later.
Every one of these events has (at least) one cringe-inducing moment and this one's was the introduction of a grocery store clerk named Vicki McClure who'd sung at the L.A. Olympics and was trotted out here for her second (and last) national TV appearance.
She sang "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand" while parading through the crowd doing just that, sometimes forcing people at tables to join hands with one-another! I don't think Frankie reached out to touch her with any industry contacts...!
Cheers' Shelley Long.
Dean Martin sang an amusing ditty with lyrics geared towards Miss Ball and her career. Behind him is Jeopardy's Alex Trebek, obscured June Haver and the downright vampiric-looking Carol Lawrence.
Mariette Hartley (with husband Patrick Boyriven) really liked Dean's number...
She liked it enough to offer him up a wolf whistle (either that or the camera caught her dislodging a bit of chicken a la king from her windpipe directly after his song!)
This must have been James Stewart's favorite spot because he wound up here the following year for Clint Eastwood (but with a cityscape added behind the pillars.)
No soiree is complete without a glimpse of Knots Landing's Joan Van Ark, to the right of Ricardo Montalban. No clue (other than partly obscured Lee Meriwether) who the rest of these ladies are, though I believe the lady on the far left is his longtime wife Georgiana (half-sister of Loretta Young.)
A little bit of schtick from Ball's husband Gary Morton finally put a smile on Lloyd Bridges' face.
Burt Reynolds told of first meeting Lucy after a date with her daughter Lucie.
He then introduced Ball's children Desi Jr. and (a very pregnant) Lucie, who sang a ballad version of the I Love Lucy theme song, with tender lyrics.
It was all she could do to hold it together during this part. Check out Lucie's loony, typically hideous of the time, maternity dress which is a backwards tux shirt complete with gargantuan bow tie!
Mary Cadorette of the short-lived Three's Company redux Three's a Crowd.
McCloud's Dennis Weaver, still sporting the ruffled tux shirt look from about a decade prior!
As Lucy takes the stage during the announcement of her hospital wing (a diabetes care center), we see Milton Berle in the lower-left corner and both Gabor sisters. Zsa Zsa is in hot pink while Eva is in black at a different table (between the heads of Berle and Carol Lawrence.)
Ball paid tribute to the charitable work of producer Mik Frankovich. This was an interesting table for not only is his wife, actress Binnie Barnes, behind him, but also there is Keenan Wynn, Cesar Romero and Cart Grant.
This was clearly an overwhelmingly magical night for Miss Ball (the ribbon around her neck was for a medal her husband presented her with.) She truly ought to have called it a day here and not proceeded with the disastrous Life With Lucy, but it's hard to let go of a stellar career, especially with TV producers waving all sorts of money and perks at you!
The show ended with a round of Happy Anniversary to Lucy and Gary. (Strangely enough, his other two weddings were in December while his nuptials to Ball were in November, but this was likely taped in advance of the Christmastime airing.)
You know I like to try to end with something amusing. This comment and its response gave me my first (badly-needed) real, tear-stained, wheezing, convulsion-inducing belly laugh of 2019! I simply could NOT stop cackling about it!! I just tried reading the second half of the middle comment through to the last one out loud to a friend absolutely collapsed in laughter! I know the www is full of passionate, discourse-driven people (and, in fact, I have to monitor comments here), but the choice of wording just caused me to lose my shit! Such hysterical dedication to a cause.... (and I want to say, "Project much??") I defy you to even try it. It's proof that people can often write was cannot be actually said. Ha ha ha ha!!!!

7 comments:

Rich said...

Thank you for bringing those comments from Mia Davis into my life - I have been howling with laughter at how it escalates.

Dan said...

I believe you mean "oversaturated with flora", not fauna, although there may well be beasties lurking in all that shrubbery. Get me my native bearer.

Is that Jesse White between Ted Lange and Bernie Kopell?

Ms Ball appears to be wearing the same outfit from the Eastwood extravaganza, but in a different color. Maybe she gave it the Rit treatment.

Did you know (of course you did) that Keye Luke did the murals in Grauman's Chinese Theater?

Poseidon3 said...

Thanks, Rich! I am still not over it. I shared it on FB and so many friends have been hooting about it there, too!

D ODay, I, I'll fix that...! What do I know about science. LOL I'm not sure if that's Jesse White or not, but it certainly could be. And I didn't know about Keye Luke! Thanks!!

Al in PDX said...

Agree with D ODay that that is Jesse White, famous Maytag repairman as well as Marvin Wilson in one of my favorite movies, Harvey.

A said...

Came here for the shout-out to Jesse White, too! Thanks Poseidon, these are so much fun!

http://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/ said...

Poseidon, I had forgotten about these all-star "tributes!" Perhaps it's because one of the first ones was for Elizabeth Taylor, at the height of her Republican wife weight, aka Mrs. John Warner. I adore ET, as you know, but our family was appalled as she walked out in her Halston cover up, bubble do, and Cleopatra eye makeup!

As for this Lucy love-in, what a strange collection of celebrities, for the most part...with seemingly no connection to Ball or her life... unless they came over to Lucy's house for backgammon and bitching!

Thanks for bringing back some memories... just don't cover the short lived "Jackson Family Honors!"

Cheers, Rick

Poseidon3 said...

OMG, Rick, that is hilarious about la Liz and her caftan-era daze....! I think one of the connections is that, for whatever reason, they each belonged to the Variety Club. So neat that you'd see these disparate faces all piled in together, peering up from their vegetable patches. LOLOL