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Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Paperback – August 2, 2011


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Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz + Love, Lucy (Berkley Boulevard Celebrity Autobiography) + Meet the Mertzes: The Life Stories of I Love Lucy's Other Couple
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; New Exp edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062020013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062020017
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Forty-two years after I Love Lucy premiered on TV, this first dual biography of Lucille Ball (1911-1989) and Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) painstakingly details their business and personal dealings. The famed redhead and her Cuban husband, who met as young Hollywood contract players, pioneered TV situation comedy by starring in their own series and founding Desilu Productions, which was responsible for such other hit shows as Star Trek and Mission Impossible . Colleagues, friends and relatives--particularly daughter Lucie Arnaz--contribute to this telling of the team's successes and failures. Lucille's obsessive involvements with her co-stars and children and Desi's alcoholism and womanizing come to stand out in sharp contrast to the zany TV antics of Lucy and Desi, who remain beloved by the viewing public worldwide. The book will disappoint fans, however, due to excessive attention paid to the finances of Desilu Productions. Sanders is the author of Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show ; Gilbert is an editor for Daily Variety. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Claiming to be the first dual biography "supported by family members and close friends," Desilu is actually something more. Here are the familiar stories of the stormy Ball-Arnaz marriage, their phenomenal success with I Love Lucy , and their inevitable parting. The real value of this book lies in its detailed charting of the fortunes of the couple's TV studio, which launched The Untouchables , Mission Impossible , and Star Trek , as well as a host of forgettable programs. The authors' something-for-everyone approach--interweaving dishy tales of Lucy's insecurity-fed tantrums and Desi's drinking with yearly accounting of the studio's profits--doesn't always work, but this is still a valuable book about the inner workings of television. Recommended for most public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/92.
- Thomas Wiener, formerly with "American Film"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

At the end of this book, I cried for hours.
Lucy's #1 fan!
If you wanted to know what these icons were really like, this is the book for you.
Donna
What an informative, fun filled book to read.
Moonbeem Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
All I have to say is: Run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy it! Personally, I bought it as a "vacation book" - you know what I mean-- one of those books you take on a trip with you for those times when there's nothing to do. Well, I could not put it down! It was insightful, hilarious, and unexpectedly touching and sensitive, even as it dealt with serious issues,such as Desi's well known womanizing and alcoholism, the marital disputes and subsequent divorce. Lucy turns out to be nothing like "Lucy", and it debunks the common perception that Desi was a no-talent riding to fame on his wife's coattails. Mr. Arnaz was never given the recognition he so richly deserved for revolutionizing television in its infancy to television as we know it today. For fans of the show- yes, it chronicles the most famous sitcom in history with utmost precision, but the show becomes almost secondary when one realizes what these wonderful people gave up in order to GIVE us this show. Lucy and Desi started this whole thing because they wanted to be together, and it's ironic that the same show threw them together so much that faults and misdeeds were magnified to the point that it tore them apart. This is the best book about this phenomenon I have ever read, and I have read them ALL- no kidding. It even gives follows Desi and Lucy after the divorce, and through their second marraiges to other people. Did you know that Desi and Lucy continued to speak by telephone every single night until his death? That Desi married another redhead who looked just like Lucy? That, even after the divorce, for the rest of his life, Desi still sent Lucy flowers on November 19, their wedding anniversary?Read more ›
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Lucy's #1 fan! on March 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This ine of the best Lucy-Desi books ever written. The only book I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed this one was Lucy's own autobiography, although I have to admit this gives a lot more detail. This one of the few books written about the team that is actually accurate and correct. The only people who know what happened better are Lucy and Desi themselves. At the end of this book, I cried for hours. I cried my eyes out. It's so obvious that Lucy and Desi loved eachother to their dying days. This book will make you laugh and cry. Words cannot describe how wonderful this book is. It is so incredibly moving. It's a facinating book. I never wanted it to end. I just couldn't put it down. If you love Lucy and Desi, this is THE book to read. Desilu lets you take a peek into the minds of TV's favorite couple, the making of the world's most loved and successful TV show, and Lucy and Desi's life before and after the show and eachother. You may think you know Lucy and Desi, but you don't really know them until you read this book. Only Lucy herself gave a more accurate account of what happened, but this book gives more detail. All in all, this book is GREAT. You have to read it if you are a true Lucy and/or Desi fan.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Candid account of televisions best known duo during TV's begining. A must read for any Lucy and Desi fan. Television's most beloved red head and the love her and Desi had for each other to the very end. A lot of input from those that knew them best and how Lucy a dedicated perfectionist in whatever she did to her ski accident in which she never fully recoverd to Desi's bout with alchole & cancer that would claim his life. Her marriage to producer Gary Morton and Desi Jr's bout with drugs. This book is by far the best that's been written on this great team from accounts of Studio people at Desilu Productions to people that were closet to them. Loaded with never before seen photo's including tremendous input from daughter Lucie Arnaz. Thanks for memories, Lucy and Desi! Larry Dodson
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lena on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just bought this book yesterday and couldn't put it down. It was so interesting. You will be very happy you read this book. The photos were good, they weren't the same pictures we have seen in the past. almost like they came out of Lucie Arnaz's family album. I was crying when I read how a devoted daughter Lucie was to her dying father. I can relate. I too am a devoted daughter to my parents. how sad, to read that Lucy was never really a happy person. Could have fooled us on TV...Well, I guess that's why they are called actors.. please read if you love Lucy and Desi...you will learn alot. thanks Lena
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Keith Coppage on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the ultimate book for those who love not only Lucy but the fabled studio that did so much interesting TV. It's all here--I Love Lucy, the Specials, the Lucy Show, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Mannix... full and never dull rundowns on the lives of Lucy and Desi and how their lives impacted television and the hundreds that worked for them. Not a love letter to either of them but not a Desilu Dearest either. This is the one you must have--this and "The Lucy Book" are essential.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gregory L. Dolce on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book more as a fan of 50's tv and the historic aspects than as a big Lucy fan. To be honest, I like the old Lucy show, especially the one-hour concept at the end, but have never been a super big Lucy fan.

From that POV I did enjoy the book. The author gave us considerable insight into the relationship between Desi and Lucy over the years and how that effected their public and private lives. Since Desi ran the business operations knowing a bit about the personal life helped figure out some of the various moves he made over the years. I'm not an expert on Lucy lore, but I would imagine the author covered her life in great detail here, and Desi as well.

What I enjoyed most about the book was how the author filled in the background on various decisions Desi made while running Desilu. Since what he did had a great deal to do with our early TV history it's a kin to being there at the begining. Much of what we now know as network TV has its roots in Desi Arnaz running Desilu.

Desilu started life as a production company formed in 1950 and rocketed Ball and Arnaz to great success in the business to being sold and merged into Paramont in 1967 and eventually ending up as Desilu Too LLC, which exists to capture proceeds from I Love Lucy residuals, products and projects today. For example, the Lucy Museum in Jamestown, NY is a joint venture between Desilu Too LLC thru Lucie and Desi IV and local businessmen. The Center hasn't been doing well as of late and was rumored to be losing money. Some key managers were fired or replaced and a Gift Shop closed. Some locals are concerned the operation may be closing down soon.
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