This episode features the great Lucille Ball and includes some stories about her and Desi Arnaz, a full episode of an old time radio show in which she starred, as well as a couple of funny poker-related excerpts from I Love Lucy. There’s also a pretty humorous (and catchy) song from the Andrews Sisters in there, too, called “Strip Polka.”
I started the podcast with great enthusiasm long ago, pumping out episodes every two weeks or so there at the beginning, then slowing down the pace but still getting all of the way to Episode 20 fairly quickly. Then a few months passed, I claimed the show was on “hiatus,” and before long it became clear I was drawing thin to ever revive the sucker.
Not really sure what exactly inspired me finally to pull together a new episode this week, other than having a little bit of free time in between tourney trips and other obligations.
I actually had ideas for new episodes on multiple occasions over that long period of procrastination, even recording segments and pursuing themes on a couple of occasions. Once my buddy the Poker Grump and I even recorded a conversation about A Streetcar Named Desire that I’d intended to use in an episode, but I never got around to bringing that idea to fruition.
We’d both written posts about the movie, which in fact incorporates poker in fairly significant ways. Incidentally, here’s his post about the film, titled “Poker, ‘this party of apes,’” and here’s mine, “Men, Women, and Poker in A Streetcar Named Desire.” We both discuss how the film uses poker as a context for exploring the movie’s broader themes regarding men and women and cultural expectations or “gender roles” for each.
That same topic actually comes up in the old time radio show I highlight in Episode 21, an episode of My Favorite Husband. As I explain on the podcast, the radio show which ran from 1948 to 1951 featured the same sort of situation that would later get picked up and used for the I Love Lucy show that premiered in 1951 -- that is, a domestic setting with Ball starring as a housewife and getting into funny situations with her working husband. In fact, the TV show even borrowed some of the plots from the radio show, including the one I play on the podcast.
As you might have guessed, the episode finds Lucy -- on the radio show playing a character named Liz Cooper -- jumping into her husband’s poker game, a men-only sphere in which her presence creates some conflict. However, unlike in A Streetcar Named Desire, the result of the conflict are lots of laughs and no tense-filled drama.
If you do happen to listen, I’d love feedback either here on this post, over on the post on the HBPRS blog, or via reviews in iTunes. Would also like suggestions, too, for future shows, if anyone’s got ’em.