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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2004
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2003
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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2000
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 1997
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2002
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have ever read, definitely worth your money. Not only does Oppenheimer talk about working on I Love Lucy, but he talks about his truly interesting life before Lucy. It's an endless line of funny stories while taking the reader through a history of the early radio and television days. I never wanted this book to end!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
I Love Lucy - Behind the Scenes is a fabulous look back at the career and antics of one of t.v. and radios funniest ladies. With all of the demoralizing venues on the "boob-tube" today, it is refreshng to recall a time-gone-by when good clean fun could still be funny. Jess and Gregg Oppenheimer have compiled a wonderful memory book of everyone's favorite comidianne. The reader - Larry Dobkin who as I understand it, was a guest actor on several I Love Lucy episodes, delivers this story with the warmth and humor it so deserves. I give this audiobook 5 stars!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I was initially a little concerned because Jess' book didn't really get to the very personal aspects of the "Desi and Lucy" relationship. But soon I found his writing style to be fresh, engaging, and full of interesting facts and anecdotes about the early days of Hollywood and TV. And it merged nicely with the facts related to the evolution of the Desilu phenomenon. I had already read 3 other books about the Arnazes and so had had my fill of info about their relationship. This book was a surprising and very pleasant departure from those other books. The title of the book and positive look of the picture on the cover of this book is just what you get on the inside!
A very pleasant read. And Jess writes very well!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent informative book about the "I Love Lucy" show and a must have for any Lucy fan! The cd that is included is worth the price of the whole set alone. In the cd it includes hours of hilarious episodes from I Love Lucy and My Favorite Husband starring Lucille Ball, you will also receive lost scenes from the shows on the cd. I am not much of a reader but this book you just can't put down because it is so good and of course I love Lucy! The book doesn't look thick on the picture shown on Amazon but it is a nice thick paperback book and includes lots of wonderful pictures of the cast of I Love Lucy and fun information that you may have not of known about I love Lucy and how it became to be produced.
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