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Laughs, Luck...and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time (with "I LOVE LUCY's Lost Scenes" Audio CD) Paperback – April, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Laughs indeed as Jess Oppenheimer charts his rise from radio station gofer to inventor of the sitcom, as he winds up writing--then producing--Lucille Ball's show, first on radio, then on television. Luck, too, as the author recounts the good fortune that has him, within minutes of arrival in Hollywood, sitting down at a lunch counter and getting a tip that secures a job within days and a career for life. Ironic, too, that this inveterate TV writer had to be cajoled for years to set down these Hollywood heyday memoirs. He never finished, and it was left to son Gregg to complete the book. All this, plus a reproduced Lucy script, and a CD-ROM filled with famous sketches! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

If you love Lucy, you'll love this book (and CD).
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Product Details

  • Series: Television and Popular Culture
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press; New edition edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815605846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815605843
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'd like to start with a clarification: this book is not a biography of Lucy, it is the creator's (Jess Oppenheimer) memoir. As such, there are many parts of the book that have nothing to do with Lucy, including episodes from Oppenheimer's childhood and young adult life.
However, this is still a GREAT book! It is well-written and full of entertaining annecdotes. "Laughs, Luck, and Lucy" follows Oppenheimer's slow rise to the top in the Hollywood radio industry. He describes Lucille Ball's program, "My Favorite Husband," which became the basis for "I Love Lucy." The book also includes some behind the scenes information about the making of "I Love Lucy."
The included audio cd is fun because it has clips from both "I Love Lucy" and "My Favorite Husband."
If you are only interested in information specifically about Lucille Ball, this might not be the book for you (try her autobiography, "Love, Lucy"). However, if you (like me) are fascinated with everything surrounding "I Love Lucy" and the Hollywood entertainment industry of the 1940s and 1950s, this is a great read!
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Format: Hardcover
The best "Lucy" book yet. Aside from providing amazing insight into the "I Love Lucy" show and behind the scenes, this book also makes the reader feel as if he has been right along side Jess Oppenheimer throughout all of his fascinating experiences in San Francisco and early Hollywood. By the time I finished the book, I felt like I was saying good-bye to an old friend. Laugh out loud funny and impossible to put down, the book is brilliantly written and feels like a hilarious conversation with a genious.
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Format: Paperback
I've read many books about Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy, and other members of the cast. I have to say, they've all bored me except for this one, and I'm a diehard "I Love Lucy" fan. It starts off as an autobiography of Jess Openheimer, but ends up explaining in great detail the wonderful show he produced. You'll learn a lot about Lucille Ball, other cast members, and the making of the series. It's a great book for real I Love Lucy fans.
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Format: Hardcover
"Laughs, Luck...and Lucy" is written by Jess Oppenheimer andhis son, Gregg Oppenheimer. Jess Oppenheimer worked formany of the legends of old time radio, including Fanny Brice, Fred Astaire, and Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy. This book tells of Mr. Oppenheimer's career in writing radio scripts, and specifically deals with his writing for Lucille Ball. He wrote first for her when she performed in "My Favorite Husband," and then he tells about his creation of "I Love Lucy," the television series starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Mr. Oppenheimer not only created the idea for the series, he was also the head writer and producer of the program. Because of his unique inside perspective, Mr. Oppenheimer is able to provide information about Lucy and Desi that no one else could. There are a few things that make this book absolutely unique... Several appendices are included in the book which are very interesting. The first appendix shows an actual script (complete with hand-written changes) that was used during the production of "My Favorite Husband." But, what makes this book fascinating is the fact that a 65-minute audio CD is included, composed of twelve different tracks. The first track is a recording of the presentation of the script for "My Favorite Husband" included in Appendix A of the book. Another real plus for this book is the number of photographs that are included. The photos provide another dimension to this richly-composed book. This book is not only informative, it is very entertaining! Anyone who has ever seen an episode of "I Love Lucy" will want to own this book. It now occupies a prominent place in our family library. "Laughs, Luck...and Lucy" will be read and re-read many times in our home.
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Format: Paperback
Read the reviews written on 1/24/97 and 2/8/00. To that I'd add that the book divides into fourths: (1) The first 1/4 is Mr. Oppenheimer's autobiography (entertainingly written and interspersed with funny anecdotes). (2) The second 1/4 is his career as a comedy writer for radio (also humorous as well as an interesting perspective from an insider). (3) The third 1/4 is what I thought the book would be about from the title and sub-title--the "I Love Lucy" show (combining humor and historical writing style of the first 1/2 of the book). (4) The last 1/4 is the appendix, complete with the CD (each especially memorable for Lucille Ball fans). A purchase well worth the money; an easy, interesting, entertaining, and fun read. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
This book is full of insight on the show I Love Lucy; also on the radio show My Favorite Husband which inspired I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball stared in both shows. The book was written by Jess Oppenheimer and his son Gregg Oppenheimer. Jess Oppenheimer was the creator, writter, and producer of I Love Lucy. Sixteen chapters full of information for any Lucy Lover, would like to read about. The book has exclusive photos of the stars and other people behind the show. Each photo has a description about it. The book also comes with a Lucy's Lost Scenes CD. On the CD there are some episodes of I Love Lucy's lost scenes, also some episodes of other I Love Lucy episodes such as "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" There is also some episodes from My Favorite Husband. The book also has scripts from I Love Lucy and My Favorite Husband inside the book. The scripts are original scripts that as you can see when looking at it had lots of changes to make it better. Inside the book talks about the authors. Full of information that you probably wouldn't be able to get anywhere else. This is probably the best book to read it all from the beginning. How and why did I Love Lucy ever existed. Who better to explain it than the man who created it!!
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