Lucy in London
|Lucy In London|
|Directed by||Steve Binder|
|Produced by||Steve Binder, David Winters|
|Written by||Ron Friedman
Dave Clark Five
|Music by||Billy Goldenberg
|Edited by||John M. Foley
Bud S. Smith
|Distributed by||CBS Television|
Lucy in London is a 1966 prime-time TV special produced and directed by Steve Binder, co-produced and choreographed by David Winters and sponsored by Monsanto Company. The program starred Lucille Ball, Anthony Newley and the Dave Clark Five and was filmed entirely on location in London.
Lucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball), an American secretary, arrives in London to claim a free day trip that she won in a dog food jingle contest. She is expecting a luxury limousine tour of the city, but instead is greeted by a tour guide named Tony (Anthony Newley) who escorts her in a motorcycle with an open sidecar. Their initial stop, for punting on the River Thames in an inflatable raft, ends disastrously when they collide with a rowing team and sink beneath the waters. Tony then takes Lucy to the heart of London's shopping district, where she models the latest mod fashions in a musical number based on the Phil Spector tune Lucy in London.
Lucy is then escorted to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, where she is frightened by a curator (Wilfred Hyde-White) whom she mistakes for a haunted wax statue that comes to life. She then visits a British manor, where she plays Kate opposite actor Peter Wyngarde in a scene from the William Shakespeare comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Lucy and Tony return to the Thames, where they sing Pop Goes the Weasel as a duet. The Dave Clark Five turns up to sing London Bridge is Falling Down.
Lucy and Tony then arrive at an empty theater, where Tony dons a tuxedo and sings a medley of songs from the Leslie Bricusse-Anthony Newley show Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. Lucy follows him with a mime act and a song where she shows her appreciation of her London adventures.
Lucy in London came about as part of Lucille Ball's 1966-67 contract renewal with CBS. At the time, she was producing and starring in The Lucy Show for the network. The agreement gave her the option to star in three specials that would be produced independent of her weekly program. Ball originally planned a production where she would co-star with Mitzi Gaynor as two nuns touring Europe, followed by a French-based production called Lucy in Paris and a Middle Eastern comedy called Lucy in Arabia. None of those projects gained footing, and instead Ball, through her company Desilu Productions, opted to shoot Lucy in London.
The concept for Lucy in London was set up in an episode of The Lucy Show called Lucy Flies to London. Much of that episode, which involved Lucy’s unfamiliarity with air travel, was based on an unsold pilot written and shot in 1960.
Ball went through 15 different wigs during the production. Cleo Smith, Ball's cousin and the executive in charge of this production, later recalled that problems arose in photographing the star on the London locations, where the use of heavy stage make-up and filtered lighting that was employed for her studio-based program could not repeated. Ball's biographer Geoffrey Mark Fidelman would later remark that the actress "looked old" throughout the show due to difficulties in establishing flattering lighting for the outdoor sequences.
Lucy in London was broadcast on October 24, 1966. Viewership was high for the special (finishing as the most-watched telecast of the week) but critical responses were very poor, with Variety complaining: "What had promised to be one of the season's major specials turned out to be a major disappointment." Ball opted not to pursue the creation of the remaining two specials in her contract.
- "The Bootleg Files: Lucy in London," Film Threat, September 12, 2008
- Sanders, Coyne Steven, and Gilbert, Tom. “Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz,” 1994. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 0-688-13514-5
- Fidelman, Geoffrey Mark. “The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television,” 1999. Renaissance Books. ISBN 1-58063-051-0
- Lambert, David (2011-09-12). "The Lucy Show - 'The Official 5th Season' Formally Announced; Includes 'Lucy in London'".