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Atlantic Cape Community College, Avon L. Chapman, Director,: “You are an energetic, charismatic speaker who demonstrates a high level of preparedness resourcefulness and mastery of the topic.”

Author-Gender & Humor, Dr. Regina Barreca: "a wonderful combination of somebody who puts women's comedy in context, and is a funny, effervescent performer!"
Books

Entertainment: Loving Lucy with Glen Charlow

Glen and Lucy

Glen and Lucy

 Loving Lucy, a musical tribute show to Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and I Love Lucyby Glen Charlow, performer, collector, and  adoring fan, is a singing valentine composed of songs associated with Ball-Arnaz and artifacts from Glen’s home collection of Lucy memorabilia.

Glen’s show opens with the I Love Lucy theme song – the cheerful sound track of the legendary TV program.  Show tunes include “Cuban Pete” Desi (Cuban Pete) and Lucy (Sally Sweet)’s duet from the vaudeville act the couple took on the road to convince CBS executives to produce the show that became I Love Lucy.

My own book Queens of Comedy, (based on my interviews with legendary comedians like Lucille Ball), quotes a 1950 Variety review: “She pops the eyes out of the first row viewers with her hip-slinging activities to hyped beat of ‘Cuban Pete.’”

The Sally Sweet ensemble, emerald green with a split skirt designed to showcase Lucy’s showgirl legs,  now outfits a vintage doll – part of Glen’s astounding array of memorabilia. I asked him to describe his collection of dolls, plates, figurines photographs, magazine covers, recordings, and designs for costumes and personal ensembles (like the aqua chiffon caftan with feather boa sleeves and matching shoes Ball wore to a Bob Hope Christmas special). Glen beams, “It’s precious.  If I had to describe it in one word, I’d say, ‘huge!’  When I first started, I didn’t consider myself a collector.  I was out shopping one day, and I found a beautiful picture of Lucille Ball. I bought it and put it on my wall. Weeks later I found another picture.  One thing led to another and I ended up with this!”

By now, Glen has invested over $100,000 in his collection – whose worth has at least doubled.  Does Glen own the most extensive Lucy collection?  “There may be a bigger one – like the one belonging to Michael Stern, whom Lucy called her ‘number 1 fan.’  Michael owns the cast from the time she broke her leg when she was starring in the movie version of Mame, but I certainly have the largest collection on the East Coast.”

Glen’s own collection and show include artifacts and songs from Mame, plus Lucy’s Broadway musical Wildcat – including the opening number “Wildcat” which was cut from the show because it was too hard for Ball to sing.  Lucy shows up in her Wildcat role as a poster, figurine – even a Broadway Care Bear.  Glen’s favorite piece is a leather-bound scrap book Lucy Day at World’s Fair 1964, put together by Lucy’s publicist.

Glen’s fascination with all-things-Lucy began when he was eleven.  He first fell in love with The Lucy Show (on the air at the time) then later became acquainted with repeats of the original I Love Lucy.  How far does Lucy permeate Glen’s life?  “My cats are named Lucy and Ricky. When I’m with my friends who love Lucy, I quote from her TV episodes.  “Some of my facial expressions are like Lucy, and I sometimes do things that are very Lucy-like – like tasting salad dressing from the bottle the way she did on TV episode.”    If you want to learn more about Glen’s Lucy-itis, visit his website www.lucilleball.net , or come to his show Loving Lucy (June 9, 1:45-3:30pm  at New York Sheet Music Society, Musicians Hall 322 W. 48th Street NYC)  his musical tribute to the lady who lights up his life!

Lucy-itis must be catching.  The day after our interview, I got an Email from Glen saying: “you left a tissue with your lip print on it…What a very ‘Lucy’-ish thing to do!”   My practical reason for the tissue was an attempt to avoid smearing my Lucy dress with lipstick when I changed for my photo-op.  My Lucy reason would be far more entertaining – planting evidence of a tryst with a strange man –then inviting Ricky over to make him jealous!

The world of I Love Lucy is an innocent, exciting alternative to the boredom and burdens of reality.  This is true for Lucy fans and for the real people behind the Lucy-Ricky makeup at the annual Lucy Fest in Jamestown, NY) “Ball and Arnaz knew what we all know – that relationships are often problematic and painful. I Love Lucy gives us respite from that knowledge.  For twenty-six minutes…we take a family vacation.  We tune out the difficulties and dullness of daily living and tune in a dream of domestic bliss and a deluge of laughter.” (Queens of Comedy)

Happiness/Success Habits

Be Yourself…and Flaunt Your Own Feather Boa!  Composer/Lyricist Jerry Herman, who wrote Mame, also wrote the musical La Cage Aux Folles which spotlights the song “I am What I Am” – often considered the gay anthem.  Whether you’re gay or straight, famous or fan, collector or casual customer, the real road to happiness and success is living your personal passion!

Surround yourself with beauty – whatever that means to you! In my blog about BookExpo America, I reviewed Barbra Streisand’s book My Passion for Design.  Streisand’s taste might be very different from Glen’s – but they’re both true to their own style and what brings them joy.

Sue Mimosa
Blog by Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz,Ph.D.  www.drsue.com

CD “Keys of Love”  www.cdbaby.com/drsue

Book: “Queens of Comedy” (interviews with Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, etc.) http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367