Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This two-hour documentary chronicles the spectacular rise and comparatively quiet fall of one of Hollywood biggest TV production factories. Desilu was formed in 1951 by Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz as the production company for their popular weekly sitcom I Love Lucy. The success of this program, coupled with Arnaz' uncanny business and financial acumen, enabled Desilu to grow and expand, ultimately taking over the studios previously occupied by the couples' former employers, RKO Radio Pictures. Grinding out such successful properties as The Untouchables and The Andy Griffith Show, Desilu remained solvent even after the breakup of the Ball-Arnaz marriage. In 1961 Ball bought out Arnaz and became the first woman ever to run a major Hollywood studio. Displaying a knack for picking winners that almost rivalled her ex-husband's, Ball bankrolled such chancy projects as Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. Her success continued unabatedly until 1969, when, weary of the pressures of being an executive, Ball sold Desilu to the studio's next-door neighbor, Paramount. Ball and Arnaz' daughter, Lucie Arnaz, narrates the documentary, while such latter-day comediennes as Carol Burnett and Roseanne Barr discuss the influence that Lucille Ball has had on their careers.
film-company, movie-star, television, Hollywood, husband-and-wife, retrospective, film-studio, sitcom, success