Stone Pillow was a 1985 television movie, directed by George Schaefer, in which Lucille Ball, in an attempt to make a dramatic "breakout" from her years in comedy, portrayed an older homeless woman with few resources and even fewer options. The picture received rather mixed reviews, but ranked as one of the top 10 highest rated telecasts that week, and it led Ball to make one last attempt to return to her comedy roots with Life with Lucy the next year.
Carrie Lange (Daphne Zuniga) has just begun her career in social work. She wants to make a difference but must first learn what life is really like for New York City's homeless. She meets an elderly woman named Florabelle (Ball), who makes it known she does not want company or help. Equipped with the precious cart that contains all of her belongings, Flora takes care of herself on the streets of Manhattan. Carrie wins Flora's trust after saving her cart. Flora takes her for a runaway, and Carrie plays along as Flora finds her the best food and warmest places the street have to offer. Flora even divulges painful memories about her past life. They go to Grand Central Station for the night, but are separated after the police throw everyone out. Flora looks for Carrie at a shelter and is stunned to find her working there. She feels she has been betrayed. Against her will, Flora is shuttled off to a woman's shelter in Brooklyn, where she is treated poorly, and then must find her way back to Manhattan. Finding compassion difficult to come by even in those within her profession, Carrie decides she can make a difference one person at a time. Finally realizing she cannot go on living the way she does, Flora accepts Carrie's helping hand. Through Carrie's intervention, for the first time in years, Flora has a place to call home. Film writer: Rose Leiman Goldemberg