Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Podcasts, with a detour to Lucille Ball

I just learned from the post over at Historiann's that today is International Podcast Day, so Happy Podcast Day!

Historiann mentioned Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This, which I binge-listened to over this past month (all except the actual Manson family murder segment).  The old Hollywood ones are especially wonderful, although I'd like to add this to the most recent one on Buster Keaton:

Guess which famous redheaded TV star of the 1950s was tutored and mentored by Keaton and his director, Ed Sedgwick?

Did you say Red Skelton?  You'd be partly right.

The other redhead is Lucille Ball. Ball learned a lot from Keaton and Sedgwick not only when she was at MGM but also later, before I Love Lucy. Sedgwick especially was a father figure to her--she'd lost her own father as a child--but they both taught her a lot about comic timing and how to perform gags to best effect. Keaton was a genius, especially with props and physical comedy.

Before I Love Lucy, Ball and Arnaz had an act in which she interrupted his band by pretending to be a tramp auditioning with a cello.  From the inside of the cello, which she'd open up, she'd bring out a little chair and a lot of other props. This act was taught to her by a European comedian whose name I can't recall, but who taught her how to get the most from those props? Keaton.

Fun fact: when Skelton won an Emmy for his comedy show in 1951, he said, graciously, "You're giving this to the wrong redhead." 

Back to Podcast Day.

Here's a link to You Must Remember This.

Also worth checking out: Futility Closet, which has unusual stories from history.

BBC History Extra:

What are your favorite podcasts?

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