Lets Talk to Lucy Sirius XM Holdings Inc.

I’ve raved about this before, but if you’re not listening to Lucille Ball’s “podcasts” recorded back in the mid-’60s, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

The recordings are basically a re-edit of radio show conversations Ball had back in 1964-65. These ten-minute radio show episodes have been kept is a vault for years and number in the hundreds. Stitched together by Sirius XM into 20 minute segments, they make for a fascinating peek into mid-20th century mores as seen through a celebrity lens.

They come at a tumultuous time in Ball’s life and career. Split from her husband of 20 years, Desi Arnaz, Ball at 53 is now married to a nightclub comedian, Gary Morton. He’s also occasionally heard on, and back in its radio roots, a producer of, this series. She’s fresh off a much-publicized Broadway debut that sold a lot of tickets but that she just simply wasn’t up to, vocally or physically, in “Wildcats.”

Ball still owns Desilu Studios, but after buying out Arnaz she is left learning to be the boss of a studio as well as its main asset. Her early ’60s series, The Lucy Show, is a hit but creatively it was never I Love Lucy.

Listening to the podcast, Ball is leaving the boardroom and the soundstage to run around the lot to interview various celebrities for this radio show. Gene Kelly is directing a movie she will appear in. Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, in separate interviews, are shooting episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show right on her lot (once the home of RKO, where Ball started out in movies as a showgirl). Robert Stack also talks to the boss; his hit series The Untouchables is a Desilu production.

While all this is going on, Ball is struggling to be a mother to two young teens, Lucie and Desi Jr., who are rapidly growing up. Listen as she compares notes on parenting with Dinah Shore, Carol Channing and Sheila MacRae.


Perhaps the most intimate conversation is with actress and playwright June Havoc, the somewhat estranged (at the time) sister of Gypsy Rose Lee. Ball pulls no punches as an interviewer, going places where few journalists of the day would dare tread. Havoc is equally candid and honest about her own very independent lifestyle. You absolutely feel as though you are listening in on a private conversation.

Celebrity interview styles have become silly and limited in the Entertainment Tonight era, reduced to “Who are you wearing?” red carpet jibber-jabber. Ball, who left home in upstate New York and headed for the Big Apple at 15, honestly wants to know how her peers are holding a family together, as well as themselves.

Ball also has a bit of an agenda. That brush with the House Un-American Affairs Committee in the mid-’50s, the one that nearly derailed her career (as depicted in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos”), has her waving the red, white and blue flag at every opportunity. Ball interviews thee head Voice of America on one episode and is aggressively pro-America throughout the series.

The nostalgia factor is also a bit of a wow. You don’t get to listen to up close and personal chats with the likes of Dean Martin, Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and a very young Barbara Streisand every day.

Ball sounds animated and quite jazzed about testing herself on these radio broadcasts. As she tells listeners, she has spent years playing a character, “and now I just want to be me, Lucille Ball.” It is hard to imagine a star of her stature finding time for a similar venture in 2022. Ball, who died in 1989 at 77, would probably be bidding on Twitter today between posting on Tik Tok. Check her out on Let’s Talk to Lucy, wherever podcasts are heard.

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