Old Hollywood
Cinema
1900-1979

Nostalgia is a seductive liar - George Wildman Ball
Orson Welles performing the “Broomstick Suspension” magic trick with Lucille Ball during the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Meets Orson Welles” (1956) 
"I’ve never had a friend in my life who wanted to see a magic trick, you know. I don’t know anybody who wants to see a magic trick. So I do it professionally; it’s the only way I get to perform.
I went once to a birthday party for [MGM boss] Louis B. Mayer with a rabbit in my pocket which I was going to take out of his hat. On came Judy Garland and Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and everybody you ever heard of and then Al Jolson sang for two hours and my rabbit was peeing all over me, you know. And the dawn was starting to rise over the Hillcrest Country Club as we said goodnight to Louis B. Mayer and nobody’d asked me to do a magic trick. So the rabbit and I went home.”
-Welles, in the 1982 documentary The Orson Welles Story

Orson Welles performing the “Broomstick Suspension” magic trick with Lucille Ball during the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Meets Orson Welles” (1956) 

"I’ve never had a friend in my life who wanted to see a magic trick, you know. I don’t know anybody who wants to see a magic trick. So I do it professionally; it’s the only way I get to perform.

I went once to a birthday party for [MGM boss] Louis B. Mayer with a rabbit in my pocket which I was going to take out of his hat. On came Judy Garland and Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and everybody you ever heard of and then Al Jolson sang for two hours and my rabbit was peeing all over me, you know. And the dawn was starting to rise over the Hillcrest Country Club as we said goodnight to Louis B. Mayer and nobody’d asked me to do a magic trick. So the rabbit and I went home.”

-Welles, in the 1982 documentary The Orson Welles Story

Dean Martin performs at the Copa Room (1957). That’s Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Debbie Reynolds, & Jack Benny at the front table (click to enlarge) (via)
"In 1969, Orson Welles told me that he’d been backstage in his own Dean Martin Show dressing room when, before the taping, Dean knocked, then came in, drink in hand. ‘Hey Orson,’ he said, holding up his glass, ‘you want one of these before we…?’
Orson shook his head. ‘No, no, Dean, I’m fine, thanks.” Martin looked shocked. “You mean you’re gonna go out there alone?!” Welles roared with laughter when he told me the story. ‘Alone!’ he repeated loudly. ‘Isn’t that great!?’ Orson went on, ‘That’s the best definition of addiction I’ve ever heard.’”
-Peter Bogdanovich (via)

Dean Martin performs at the Copa Room (1957). That’s Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Debbie Reynolds, & Jack Benny at the front table (click to enlarge) (via)

"In 1969, Orson Welles told me that he’d been backstage in his own Dean Martin Show dressing room when, before the taping, Dean knocked, then came in, drink in hand. ‘Hey Orson,’ he said, holding up his glass, ‘you want one of these before we…?’

Orson shook his head. ‘No, no, Dean, I’m fine, thanks.” Martin looked shocked. “You mean you’re gonna go out there alone?!” Welles roared with laughter when he told me the story. ‘Alone!’ he repeated loudly. ‘Isn’t that great!?’ Orson went on, ‘That’s the best definition of addiction I’ve ever heard.’”

-Peter Bogdanovich (via)

"I am not funny. My writers were funny. My directors were funny. The situations  were funny…What I am is brave. I have never been scared. Not when  I did movies, certainly not when I was a model, and not when I did I  Love Lucy.”
-Lucille Ball (Rolling Stone, June 23, 1983) (photo by Walt Sanders for LIFE, 1943, click to enlarge)

"I am not funny. My writers were funny. My directors were funny. The situations were funny…What I am is brave. I have never been scared. Not when I did movies, certainly not when I was a model, and not when I did I Love Lucy.”

-Lucille Ball (Rolling Stone, June 23, 1983) (photo by Walt Sanders for LIFE, 1943, click to enlarge)

Lucille Ball, John Wayne, and Vivian Vance behind the scenes of Wayne’s guest-starring turn on I Love Lucy (1955)

Lucille Ball, John Wayne, and Vivian Vance behind the scenes of Wayne’s guest-starring turn on I Love Lucy (1955)

 “How I Love Lucy was born? We decided that instead of divorce  lawyers profiting from our mistakes, we’d profit from them.”
-Lucille Ball, 1952 (here with Desi Arnaz in 1956)

 “How I Love Lucy was born? We decided that instead of divorce lawyers profiting from our mistakes, we’d profit from them.”

-Lucille Ball, 1952 (here with Desi Arnaz in 1956)

Orson Welles performs the “Broomstick Suspension” magic trick with Lucille Ball (1956, photo taken during the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Meets Orson Welles”) (scene online here)
"I’ve never had a friend in my life who wanted to see a magic trick, you know. I don’t know anybody who wants to see a magic trick. So I do it professionally; it’s the only way I get to perform.
I went once to a birthday party for [MGM boss] Louis B. Mayer with a rabbit in my pocket which I was going to take out of his hat. On came Judy Garland and Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and everybody you ever heard of and then Al Jolson sang for two hours and my rabbit was peeing all over me, you know. And the dawn was starting to rise over the Hillcrest Country Club as we said goodnight to Louis B. Mayer and nobody’d asked me to do a magic trick. So the rabbit and I went home.”
-Orson Welles, in 1982 documentary The Orson Welles Story

Orson Welles performs the “Broomstick Suspension” magic trick with Lucille Ball (1956, photo taken during the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Meets Orson Welles”) (scene online here)

"I’ve never had a friend in my life who wanted to see a magic trick, you know. I don’t know anybody who wants to see a magic trick. So I do it professionally; it’s the only way I get to perform.

I went once to a birthday party for [MGM boss] Louis B. Mayer with a rabbit in my pocket which I was going to take out of his hat. On came Judy Garland and Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and everybody you ever heard of and then Al Jolson sang for two hours and my rabbit was peeing all over me, you know. And the dawn was starting to rise over the Hillcrest Country Club as we said goodnight to Louis B. Mayer and nobody’d asked me to do a magic trick. So the rabbit and I went home.”

-Orson Welles, in 1982 documentary The Orson Welles Story

Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx, Lucille Ball, & Jose Iturbi  rehearse the routine they will put on for troops during the WWII USO tour (via)

Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx, Lucille Ball, & Jose Iturbi rehearse the routine they will put on for troops during the WWII USO tour (via)

Lucille Ball, 1979 (via)
"People with happy childhoods never overdo; they don’t strive or exert  themselves. They’re moderate, pleasant, well liked, and good citizens.  Society needs them. But the tremendous drive and dedication necessary to  succeed in any field- not only show business- often seems to be  rooted in a disturbed childhood. I wasn’t an unloved or an unwanted  child, but I was moved around a lot, and then death and cruel  circumstances brought many painful separations.”
-Ball, in her autobiography Love, Lucy (via)

Lucille Ball, 1979 (via)

"People with happy childhoods never overdo; they don’t strive or exert themselves. They’re moderate, pleasant, well liked, and good citizens. Society needs them. But the tremendous drive and dedication necessary to succeed in any field- not only show business- often seems to be rooted in a disturbed childhood. I wasn’t an unloved or an unwanted child, but I was moved around a lot, and then death and cruel circumstances brought many painful separations.”

-Ball, in her autobiography Love, Lucy (via)

On dealing with difficult bosses:
"Lucille [Ball] gave Vivian [Vance] a hard time when they first met. I mean, a really hard time. One day I pulled Viv aside and I said, ‘What are you going to do about her?’ Vivian was very smart. She said, ‘Maury, if by any chance I Love Lucy actually becomes a hit & goes anywhere, I gonna learn to love that bitch.’”
-Maury Thompson (via Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball)

On dealing with difficult bosses:

"Lucille [Ball] gave Vivian [Vance] a hard time when they first met. I mean, a really hard time. One day I pulled Viv aside and I said, ‘What are you going to do about her?’ Vivian was very smart. She said, ‘Maury, if by any chance I Love Lucy actually becomes a hit & goes anywhere, I gonna learn to love that bitch.’”

-Maury Thompson (via Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball)

"I am a real ham. I love an audience. I work better with an audience. I am dead, in fact, without one."
-Lucille Ball (photo by Philippe Halsman, via)

"I am a real ham. I love an audience. I work better with an audience. I am dead, in fact, without one."

-Lucille Ball (photo by Philippe Halsman, via)

Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz (via snap)
“At times we were criticized for doing too much slapstick. I don’t believe in mild comedy, and neither does Lucy.”
-Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz (via snap)

“At times we were criticized for doing too much slapstick. I don’t believe in mild comedy, and neither does Lucy.”

-Desi Arnaz