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December 5, 2021 12:33 pm

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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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December 5, 2021 12:33 pm

On this week's "CBS Sunday Morning" with host Jane Pauley; At age 22, Sarah Ransome says she became a victim of sexual abuse, and was threatened with violence, by Jeffrey Epstein. In her book, "Silenced No More: Surviving My Journey to Hell and Back," Ransome describes the traumatic childhood experiences that primed her to become a victim of abuse in adulthood by Epstein, facilitated by his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell. Holly Williams reports. Starring as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in "Being the Ricardos, Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem tell Mo Rocca they felt intense pressure playing two of the most famous people in television history. Can you play an existential crisis for laughs? Tracy Smith talks with Academy Award Winner actors Meryl Streep Leonardo DiCaprio, and writer-director Adam McKay about "Don't Look Up," a satire about Earth's impending collision with a comet that offers a comical analogy to climate change -- and mankind's reluctance to deal with it. New York City has inspired Candace Bushnell for decades. Now, the author of "Sex and the City" is appearing Off-Broadway in a one-woman show titled "Is There Still Sex in the City?" It traces her career from newspaper columnist to creator of an international TV hit -- and the upcoming new sequel series, "And Just Like That…," Bushnell talks with Michelle Miller about how Carrie Bradshaw and friends changed her life -- or did they? Finally, Techno Claus, who sounds suspiciously like contributor David Pogue, has made the trip from the North Pole to deliver gift suggestions for those on your holiday list who love gadgets.

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. Lucy. All you need to hear is the name and you know we'll be talking about Lucille Ball. Ball was a gifted comedian and actor and a savvy studio executive who produced some of the biggest hits on television. Of course it was her biggest hit, her own groundbreaking comedy that left us feeling that indeed to this very day we love Lucy. This morning Jim Axelrod looks back on her revolutionary show while Mo Rocca tells us about a new movie based on her life. It's been 70 years since I Love Lucy first lit up tv screens in millions of American homes. Seven decades of laughter still going strong. Not everybody your age knows or loves Lucy. I grew up on Lucille Ball. I care about what's funny. And this week brings a new movie looking at the real lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, a star-studded film worthy of the Ricardos. There's music in his body.

You can tell the way he moves, the way he talks, the way he behaves. There's always music. Lucy will love that I bet, right? I love that. She's so entranced right there.

Yeah. Nicole and Javier as Lucy and Desi this Sunday morning. It's a new comedy about a real life and really scary threat to our planet. This morning two of its stars are in conversation with our Tracey Smith.

There's a comet headed directly towards everyone. Don't Look Up is a serious wake-up call about the climate crisis and it's from director Adam McKay who's made some of the silliest movies ever. You stay classy San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy. He's done award-winning movies like Big Short, Vice, but are you Anchorman fans? Absolutely.

Oh yeah. Ron Burgundy. My second husband. Coming up on Sunday morning, Adam, Meryl, Leo and The End of the World. Holly Williams goes behind the headlines with a Jeffrey Epstein accuser. Michelle Miller kicks back with Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell. Elizabeth Palmer remembers the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker. Plus Steve Hartman, Jim Gaffigan and more on this first Sunday morning of a new month, December 5th, 2021.

We'll be right back. It's a love affair that began on October 15th, 1951 and seven decades later her legend continues to grow. We asked Jim Axelrod to find out why we still love Lucy. On a Hollywood lot where one of America's biggest stars ever first filmed her groundbreaking show, a young artist named Yolanda Glass has been hard at work. One of the workers who came by who worked on a lot, he looked up and he was like Lucy would be proud of this.

I can't describe how encouraging that felt. Yes, count this 30-something among the millions who's 70 years after the premiere of I Love Lucy still love Lucy. Still love Lucille Ball stuffing her mouth to keep pace at Kramer's Candy.

So why don't you join the thousands of happy puppy people and get a great big bottle of Miremida Mijimin. Still love her getting drunk pitching a health tonic that's 23% alcohol. Still love her going mime from mime with Harpo Marx.

Almost. And still find Lucy both relevant and influential. There wouldn't be a myriad of the female and people of color who are comedians out right now without her foundation.

180 episodes over six seasons on CBS followed the madcap adventures of Lucy Ricardo and the trouble she whips up trying to break out of her mid-century middle-class life married the Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo played by her real-life husband Desi Arnaz. Nowhere is the hold the show still has on the public easier to see than in Jamestown, New York where Lucille Ball was born 110 years ago and where two museums celebrate I Love Lucy featuring replicas of the show's iconic sets. All I think about is the amount of extraordinarily well-done physical comedy that took place here.

This is so evocative. Jurnee Gunderson is the executive director of both the Lucy Desi Museum and the National Comedy Center. 70 years later why is Lucille Ball still relevant? I think in some ways Lucille Ball's legacy can be appreciated now through a 2021 lens perhaps better than it ever has been able to be appreciated. Start with I Love Lucy's enormous popularity. Ricky this is it. The episode in which Lucy gave birth on January 19, 1953 reached 44 million viewers.

That I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States. That's 15 million more than the next day when Dwight Eisenhower was sworn in as our 34th president. Lucy and Desi marked new territory for television still evolving as a cultural institution. She was the all-American girl. He was a Cuban-born transplant for its time controversial casting that Lucille Ball insisted on.

Oh Ricky! She risked everything. Remember this was more than a decade before the height of the civil rights movement. I think America raised its eyebrows but then they quickly started laughing. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were TV pioneers in an impressive list of other ways as well. The laughter was so loud when they filmed it was recorded and used for other shows helping to launch canned laughter as a standard production technique. That show where she gave birth capped TV's first ever pregnancy plot line on a big three network sitcom.

It was still taboo for a woman who was pregnant to be out in the open in front of everyone. And when Lucy needed some time off post delivery, Desi offered up a first that changed the Hollywood business model forever. Just repeat some episodes that had already aired. Desi Arnaz father of reruns? Yes and the story goes that CBS executives laughed at him and said who's going to want to watch them after they aired? It turned out everyone would. Which is why 70 years later Lucille and Desi are still cultural icons. I care about what's funny. The subject of that new Aaron Sorkin movie being the Ricardos with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.

No. And a novel The Queen of Tuesday by Darren Strauss. She was famous to a degree that hadn't existed before her really. While intrigued by her immense public appeal.

When they'd cut to commercial the water tables would drop in the big cities because the entire country was going to the bathroom at the same time. Strauss found her private pain most compelling. Look at this face though. Yeah. That's not acting.

Yeah that's great right? She and Desi were perfect together except for the fact that they weren't. She loved him, he loved her and yet they couldn't live together. On camera Desi was an understanding loving husband.

Off camera he was an alcoholic and a womanizer. She knew she couldn't divorce him because that would let the that would let the country down. That's how powerful that bond was for us.

It was like a civic bond. In his novel Strauss gives Lucie love in the form of an affair with his own grandfather. And I wanted to give her a love story of her own. That's why I told the story in this way.

But that's fiction. The fact Lucie and Desi did eventually divorce. Both remarried but most poignantly. If we asked her at the end of her life, who was the love of your life?

Desi Ernest. Absolutely. At the root they were connected by their souls. Kate Luckenbill agrees and she should know. We had a very special bond. She's their granddaughter. Your grandparents did remain in love until the end of their lives?

Uh-huh. Completely. Madly.

Deeply. Now the head of creative direction at Desilu, the studio founded by her grandparents. That's right. Years after I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball greenlit shows like Star Trek, The Untouchables and The Twilight Zone. The keeper of the I Love Lucy flame. There's a healing quality to that show. That's what I feel I'm here to do is to remind people of the elixir that they brought the world. Luckenbill is protective of the memory of her grandfather who died in 1986 at the age of 69 and her grandmother who died three years later from an aortic aneurysm at 77. But she also wants to look at them honestly.

Better we allow the illusion to move aside and let's deal with the reality. Yeah yeah and why it's so important not to let people like that die in their 70s from a heart explosion and alcoholism because neither of them should have been gone. They died of sadness and trauma both of them. No Hollywood ending perhaps but what Lucy and Desi did give the world still has an extraordinary impact 70 years later. That was like the first time I got to see a female being funny and silly and embarrassing and it was cool.

Just ask this young artist. I feel like when I was really little there's this idea that you have to be polite and quiet as a woman and when I watched her show that was the first introduction of you don't have to be quiet. You could be funny. You could be loud and it was okay. And guess what America's gonna love it.

Right and they're gonna love it so much we're gonna be on for decades and people in my generation the next generation and the next generation are gonna know. Gillan Maxwell accused of luring women and young girls into the late Jeffrey Epstein's evil orbit began facing her accusers in a New York courtroom this past week. In London Holly Williams takes us behind the headlines. There's no such thing as a perfect victim. What is a perfect victim? Is a perfect victim a middle-class white girl that goes to a private school that has the perfect family life?

Sarah Ransom says the so-called perfect female victim is pure, innocent and doesn't exist. Those who don't fit the bill including women like herself with a history of drug use and sex work are often blamed for their own abuse. With the victim shamers and the victim blamers they are the reason why I wrote the book. Ransom's new book Silenced No More details her allegations of sexual abuse against Jeffrey Epstein and Gillan Maxwell but it begins with a chaotic childhood in her native South Africa. A mother who Ransom says struggled with addiction and a rape in her childhood by a stranger that disabled her alarm system.

I had no boundaries she writes I had no bells. I grew up with people I grew up with people hurting me, strangers hurting me and so it became it was my fault there's something wrong with me and it's taken me to about 37 years old to finally get an ounce of self-respect and self-worth back that was taken from me. You write about your traumatic experiences in childhood almost priming you to be victimized in your adulthood.

Can you explain how that works? I think being a victim a survivor of sex abuse it it robs you of your self-worth and dignity. Ransom says she met Epstein when she was 22 introduced by a young woman she encountered at a New York nightclub who she later discovered was paid to recruit her. She flew to Epstein's private island Little Saint James thinking she was going on a vacation she writes. Sounded so amazing and then both you on this island and and that's it lock and key there is no escape there's no one to hear your screams and cries.

It was there she says she first met Glenn Maxwell and alleges she was repeatedly raped by Epstein. It was made very clear to me that first trip that if I ever went to the authorities if I told my parents if I told my friends if I ever left Jeffrey said to me I will kill you I will hunt your mother and father down and I will kill them. You were terrified? Yeah of course I was. And you were frozen?

I was frozen I was petrified. Now living in a small village in England Ransom says her book is an attempt to make sense of what kept her in thrall to Epstein and Maxwell for nine months and why she returned to the island on several more occasions. She concludes she was a victim of coercive control an easy target for exploitation using financial despair and fear. It became a relationship of you needed him but he gave you enough where you would always continue to have that need on top of that knowing that you had nowhere else to escape or run otherwise you and your entire family will be murdered. So you're saying it's a situation where you're you're stripped of your ability to act you're stripped of your own agency.

Effectively they take your complete ability to function as a human being. Ransom believes Epstein was a sadist who propped up his inflated ego by dominating the week. What role did Glenn Maxwell play?

She was the organiser she was the engineer she orchestrated everything. Glenn Maxwell had a privileged upbringing in the United Kingdom. The daughter of a wealthy newspaper tycoon she reportedly introduced Epstein to the famous and the powerful but Ransom describes Maxwell as an aristocratic pimp who facilitated Epstein's assaults.

What do you think Glenn Maxwell's motivations were? I think Ghislaine is a very sick woman. Ghislaine enjoyed humiliating us.

You could see the enjoyment in her face. Ghislaine Maxwell has consistently denied all sexual abuse and trafficking allegations against her. Finally in 2007 Ransom says she escaped.

Fearing Epstein would kill her she flew to the UK to join her mother. She sued Epstein and Maxwell in 2017 settling with them the following year for an undisclosed sum. Are you still happy with that decision?

No. You wish you'd had your day in court? Yeah and that's one of my biggest regrets is that I'll never have my day in court and it's a decision I thought was right at the time and I made it to protect my family and I regret it and I'll regret it for the rest of my life but my book is my day in court.

This past week Ransom flew to New York to be present at Glenn Maxwell's trial. I have so much respect for the girls that are testifying. I just want them to know that I'm there for them and I'm reading for them. Ransom writes that she survived hell but told us that she refuses to be defined by it. I don't want people to look at me and remember me for being a survivor of Ghislaine and Jefferies. I'm so much more than that.

Can trauma make you stronger? You either sink or swim and I'm I have no intention of sinking. Steve Hartman this morning is all about taking care of business. Here in Norwich, Vermont for more than a century this general store has been as much a fixture in the community as the church steeple but then that sign went up screaming a desperate need in neon orange.

A warning sign of an end approaching. Dan Frazier is the owner of Dan and Wits. How many openings did you have? All of them.

All of them. It was like we're gonna have to lock the front door because we have zero help. This was your dad's business. This was your grandfather's business. Right. And it was gonna close on your watch.

Yeah which would be tough when you've invested your whole life into it. Customers were equally devastated. Of course that happens whenever a small town loses an iconic business but what sets this place apart is that these customers didn't just give Dan their sympathies. They gave him their applications. I'm so excited to have you here.

Well it's so nice to be here. This retired finance director applied for a job in the deli. There we go. Dr Rick Farrell is working checkout.

I'm just trying to get the cash register to work. People from all over town in all walks of life punched in to help Dan stay open. I'm a therapist. Teacher. Second grade teacher. Professor of psychology. Principal of the middle school.

I'm an RN. So far nearly two dozen customers like Diane Miller have stepped up. Because Dan and Wits is the heartbeat of this community. It's the heart of our town. For some reason the heart of the town.

I really got this sense. It's the heart of this town. That Dan and his store are the heart of the town. And as if stocking shelves and running register weren't enough virtually all of these new hires are donating their hourly wage to some of Dan's favorite charities. Dan says this has all been just the help he needed. Absolutely. The fact that the community stepped up you know I mean sometimes it takes sort of a crisis if you will to appreciate what you have.

And in Norwich they have what every town needs more than anything. Thank you. Each other. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. Just a few days after NASA launched a spacecraft it hopes will push an asteroid traveling toward Earth.

Off course comes a new comedy covering similar ground. Tracy Smith speaks with the director and two of the biggest stars in the universe about Don't Look Up. So how certain is this? There's 100 percent certainty of impact.

Please don't say 100 percent. Can we just call it a potentially significant event? Yes. Just in time for Christmas, the end of the world. There's a comet headed directly towards Earth. In the new movie Don't Look Up out this month in theaters and on Netflix a giant comet is on a collision course with planet Earth. This comet is what we call a planet killer. That is correct. And who better to tell the story of cosmic disaster than some really big stars.

99.78 percent to be exact. There's Leonardo DiCaprio as the scientist trying to warn the world and Meryl Streep as the president who won't take him seriously. And then what happens like a tidal wave? It will be far more catastrophic.

There will there will be mile-high tsunamis fanning out all across the globe. It's quite a vision and the guy behind it all is screenwriter director Adam McKay. By the way that's one of my favorite things that you put in. He let us sit in as he and editor Hank Corwin cut the final version in their L.A. edit room. Did you in casting this just look at the two front rows of the Oscars and say okay yeah these are the people I want in the movie? I mean I guess. So for instance with the president, President Orlean, of course you think Meryl Streep and you just assume she's gonna say no and you'll move on. Was there a moment where you kind of said oh come on this can't be happening you know I want a Leonardo DiCaprio type and you get Leonardo DiCaprio.

He was the moment when he said yes I was like this is crazy. And it gets even crazier. Who needs you to attend an emergency cabinet meeting where you would be fully debriefed? Well what about us? You do not have clearance for this sweetheart. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is a snubbed scientist.

Oscar nominee Jonah Hill is a petty white house official. Your breathing is stressing me out. This will affect the entire planet.

I know but it's like so stressful. It doesn't take long to see that the comet is a metaphor for climate change with the world split between believers and skeptics. And while there's nothing funny about global annihilation the movie is a comedy through and through. What if we have to go to the bathroom?

We'll lay out some newspaper for you grab you a can of Febreze. Did you feel like I have to do a comedy? Yeah because if we're laughing we can deal with stuff.

It's when we get you know overwhelmed with depression or despair that's when things get hard. So as soon as I realized we needed to laugh when it came to dealing with the climate crisis I knew where to go. And at 53 he's learned how to get a laugh or two. Adam McKay dropped out of Temple University to join the Second City Improv Troop and eventually and eventually was hired as a writer at Saturday Night Live where he met his comic soulmate Will Ferrell. The experience of writing with him and then getting the sketch on the air was so fun and pain-free. Neither one of us were overthinking things.

We were just having a good time that was like oh I gotta work with this guy and that was kind of the beginning of it. That's going to do it for all of us here at Channel 4 News. You stay classy San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy? Damn it!

Who typed a question mark on the teleprompter? After SNL, McKay and Ferrell took their brand of funny to the big screen with films like Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights, The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. 116. 116!

I'm going fast again! But even with runaway success at the box office, McKay wanted to stretch his legs beyond pure comedy. He got his chance in 2015 as director of the movie version of Michael Lewis's bestseller about the 07-08 financial crisis, The Big Short. The whole housing market is propped up on these bad loans.

They will fail. I'm not sure that most people who read The Big Short thought oh this would make a really interesting feature film. I couldn't put it down and for some reason when I was done with it all these people have told me since oh I never thought that could be a movie I was like oh this is a movie. It was a movie all right. B's zero, double b's, zero, triple b's, zero. And then that happens.

What is that? That's America's housing market. McKay turned a confusing story into a box office hit and shared an Oscar for screenwriting. For him it was all personal. You know my father lost his house in that collapse. I mean people think oh big shot Hollywood guy but no this collapse affected people that were close to me so it was definitely a project that I felt a real emotional connection to. Do you know how many the world is ending meetings we've had over the last two years?

Drought, famine, all in the ozone. It's so boring. And now Adam McKay has an emotional connection to the climate crisis. It's a passion he shares with some of his best-known cast members. Why did you decide to do this movie?

Because of him, because of Adam. I'm a huge fan. Nobody makes me laugh harder in his movies and nobody makes me think more.

I had been waiting patiently for something like this and and it sort of landed in my lap and then of course got to work with amazing people like this. He's done award-winning movies like Big Short, Vice, but are you Anchorman fans? Absolutely. Oh yeah, Ron Burgundy's.

My second husband. Turns out they all needed a few laughs on set. The movie was filmed at the height of the pandemic, masks and all. But to Leo DiCaprio, that only made the film more meaningful. It was a fascinating thing, you know, this is the 100-year pandemic, but to realize that everyone was going through the same thing simultaneously at the same time. And that's why it connected with this screenplay that was about the climate crisis, that we're all going to feel the ramifications of this. And what we're seeing right now with the wildfires and the massive hurricanes and all these catastrophes, it doesn't get better than this.

Okay, it doesn't get better than this, it slowly becomes worse. It would damage the the entire planet, not just a house, you know. The entire planet, okay, well as it's damaging will it hit this one house in particular that's right on the coast of New Jersey, it's my ex-wife's house, I need it to be here.

Can we make that happen? But bad news, like the climate crisis, is a tough sell and the film skewers news media types, played here by Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett, who insist on smiling through it all. Are we not being clear? We're trying to tell you that the entire planet is about to be destroyed. Okay, well, it's, you know, just something we do around here, you know, we just keep the bad news light. Right, it helps the medicine go down.

From where you sit, is that accurate? Yeah, I asked for it, but here we are, we're, you know, we all get fluffed up and we come on and we're talking about our movie and we're on TV and, you know, he shaved and yes, we try to give the people something, you know, something to lift them and I think it's accurate about everybody's very human desire not to look at the bad thing. I totally agree, I think that, you know, again, talking about climate, I've talked about it a lot and you can kind of see people's eyes glaze over.

Can one movie make a difference? Hopefully, but at this point, I'm Debbie Downer with this issue. So you're asking the wrong guy.

To me, it's about a little less, you know, conversation and a lot more action. At this very moment, I say we sit tight and assess. Sit tight and assess. Sit tight and assess. You want us to sit tight.

And then assess. Adam McKay isn't the first filmmaker to use comedy as a way to get a serious message across. He's just hoping he won't be one of the last.

We could overcome this, but what's scaring me now is it's really getting to be down to the last second. So hopefully this movie is something where we get a lot of laughs, but we also get a kick in the pants. Sex and the City is one of those pop cultural touchstones that resonates to this day. The woman behind it, author Candace Bushnell.

She's talking with our Michelle Miller. So do you still love New York City? I do.

I really do. Interesting things happen every day. New York City has inspired writer Candace Bushnell for decades. Sex and the City, based on her best-selling book. She's the author of Sex and the City. ...catapulted Bushnell onto an international stage. Hold on, I'm coming. Now 25 years later at age 63.

Good news only. She finds herself under the spotlight again, this time in an off-Broadway show. Do I have a shoe obsession like Carrie Bradshaw?

No, Carrie Bradshaw has a shoe obsession because of me. What's the most fun about being up here? Honestly, the most fun is interacting with the audience.

I have women here sometimes who they're like, yes, you go girl, and it's great. Do you want to hear the real story of Mr. Big? I think what I'm doing is, I'm looking back and I'm chasing the steps that it took to get here.

To see, you know, what it adds up to, I guess. It's my book. The show is largely autobiographical, including Bushnell's take on her life in her 60s, and of course, sex. Two types of post-menopausal women, those who go sex crazy, and those who never want to see another penis again in their lives. You know, some people, they get to a certain age and you know what? They're done with sex, and that's fine.

You could take a break, you know, it's okay. That might sound surprising coming from a woman who for decades has written about sex. decades has written about just that. Bushnell's career began when she was 19 and left college for New York City. Sex in the City.

It has one foot in sex and one foot in society. In her 30s, she landed her own column based on her own life. Within five years, that column morphed into the best-selling book and the hit HBO series starring Sarah Jessica Parker is Carrie Bradshaw.

Why are there so many great unmarried women and no great unmarried men? Carrie, of course, was my alter ego. So much of that character comes from my real life.

I've been dating since I was 15. I'm exhausted. Where is he?

Who, the white knight? The series followed Carrie and her friends Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha as they navigated life and love in New York City. Here were women, we were all living unconventional lives, and it was always this idea that, you know, you don't have to feel bad if you haven't followed society's rules about how your life is supposed to be. Does it shock you at all? That it's still so incredibly relevant?

No, because we're analyzing human beings and human behavior and those things are universal, really. Bushnell herself married ballet dancer Charles Asgaard in 2002. They divorced a decade later. You know, times have really changed. You don't have to be partnered or live in a family structure to survive.

At one time, you kind of did. To date, Bushnell has written 10 novels, three that were turned into television shows. I love you. Sex and the City, however, turned into a global sensation, inspiring two films. Ladies, your table is ready.

And a new HBO series premiering this week. What is life after not just success, but huge monumental success? I don't feel like I've had huge monumental success. You don't?

No, I really don't. Because there are just so many other things that I want to do. I still get up every day and work and just keep working. And I have things on the back burners.

Some things work, some things don't work. There's, you know, happiness. There's disappointment that that didn't work out.

But I accept where I am and I'm happy about it. But make no mistake, Candace Bushnell is still looking forward to the next chapter. This show is called Is There Still Sex in the City? Yes.

Why was that a question for you? It's not necessarily about sex. Just sex per se. It's about things that are sexy, you know, ambition. Feeling like, hey, I can still make things happen. Feeling the possibilities. Feeling the possibilities.

That's what I think it really is about. Look, tell me something. Do you play that thing? How's that? I say, do you play that thing? What thing? Never mind making fun of my English.

That's English? First came the sitcom, now the movie. It's called Being the Ricardos. Mo Rocca talks with some familiar performers playing some of the most famous people in television.

Well, maybe I wasn't exactly a star, but would you believe I was a featured player? Lucy and Ricky. Chorus girl? Fred and Ethel.

Ticket taker? Seven decades on, and the world is still on a first name basis with characters made famous by Lucille Ball, her husband Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, and Vivian Vance. Good morning. Which is why expectations are high, as a movie about the real people behind I Love Lucy is about to hit the big screen. Oh, here you are. Thank you. There are many people who feel very strongly about these characters, like their family. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. You don't think about it when you're doing it, right? Can you assure the public that you've done your best to do justice to these characters?

Look at their faces, I guess. I mean, done everything that was in my ability to, yeah. I got it. I got the part. Which part? I got the part.

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem had the awards and box office clout to headline Hollywood's biggest movies, but along with co-stars J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda, who have an Oscar and a Tony between them, they felt intense pressure to get their roles right. I don't know if we did our best, but we were absolutely obsessed with it. We were obsessed, and I know you've used those words. The four of us, in our own ways.

And also, I have to learn how to sing and play the congas. And you were. Yeah. Yeah.

It's like, come on. Thank you. Thank you very much. You got to sing Babalu. Babalu? Yeah, not like this. Don't worry. Don't worry.

He's gonna do it for you now. With the driving cadence of an Aaron Sorkin script, Being the Ricardos races through a frantic week in which Lucille Ball is accused of being a communist. Desi Arnaz is accused of cheating on Lucille. Does Desi love Lucy loosely?

They took time on that. And the couple announces Lucy is pregnant. With a baby. Action. Lucy. All against the high stakes production of an episode of I Love Lucy.

Sorry. I got lost for a second. I'm guessing that there are many things that surprised you. But what are sort of the top things that surprised you, learning about Lucille Ball? I mean all of it. All of it. How they built a production company. The way in which they were such a team.

I didn't know how clever she was, how she'd always say she wasn't funny. So I mean, you name it, I didn't know it. And you should remind props that I need garden shears in the opening scene.

Copy. We have to establish right away that I'm setting a fancy table. You don't have to explain it to him. We'll have flowers in a vase. I'll cut one of the flowers.

He doesn't care. Was she a great actress? She actually was. Yeah.

Yeah. She was a great dancer too. She moved beautifully, which makes sense when she's doing physical comedy. But she was a beautiful dancer. And I always say she has the most beautiful hands.

She used her hands all the time, particularly when she talked. But she was so smart, which I love. And that's really depicted. And she and Desi, it was a love story. I think the deep love they have for each other, it's a love story. The love they have for each other is still alive. Do you think the comedy between the two would have worked if they didn't love each other? I don't think they would have been able to withstand the stress. I mean, it was an enormous amount of stress when you're doing a show.

And also the perfectionism, which Lucille had, which was like, it's got to be great. I did the calculation. In the course of one week, I see you 120th as much as your second trombone player. Well, learn to play the trombone and I'll give you this job.

Well, how hard is the trombone? Married off camera and on, they were one of America's most famous couples. They'd fight. I mean, it's a powerful love story. That's what the movie is about. The colorful love story.

Make a lot of love. Between these two people that create this amazing show and the price you have to pay for that in some ways. They were exposing themselves in a way. They were exposing themselves, right. And speaking of which, that balcony scene. I borrowed part of your tuxedo. I mean, that's the kind of Lucy and Desi you never saw, obviously, in the sitcom. It was the 1950s.

It comes with pants, but I'm wearing them. Not for long, pal. They both have this sensual energy. I mean, you can tell on the show, you're going to tell when they're talking. They have this force, they embody this sexual energy, which doesn't mean that you have to have sex continually. It means that there's a force that's unstoppable, that it's not rational.

It's something that it's more animal. And I think one put the fire into the other. If Lucy and Ricky Ricardo were fire.

What are you doing here? Downstairs neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz were ice. Is that your idea of a cute young chick? For the love of God, old man, this isn't hard. In fact, J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda discovered that the Mertz's onscreen bickering was no stretch at all for actors Bill Frawley and Vivian Vance. Don't tell me comedy. And if Little Rusty is a communist, then I'm going to beat the shit out of a seven-year-old kid.

I have no problem with that. I was really surprised that Bill and Vivian just couldn't stand each other. I thought that was characters. I thought that was the Mertz's. What was the source of that animosity? Rumor has it that before they even set eyes on each other, Bill had overheard Vivian complain that she's going to be paired up with this old man, that you're marrying me to my grandfather.

And that did not go over well with Bill. Because there was a big age difference. Big age difference. And she was 22 years. Not unlike Nina's age difference to me. This is art, very closely imitating life here.

In real life, of course, Lucille and Desi divorced three years after the series ended. Why didn't the marriage work, Javier? Oh my God. I knew that this moment was coming.

Spotlight. Can you explain to me why you couldn't stay home? I don't know.

What do I know? I mean, it worked. I mean, it worked.

It worked. They worked together for a long time. And they loved each other. Exactly. I mean, that's a success in itself. But then something went wrong.

And if you want to know it, you have to go to watch the movie. That's a good sell. One of my favorite things just learning about them as a couple was long after they were not a couple anymore. Every time you would hear them speak about each other, whether in their books, in public appearances, they had such regard and respect and love for each other as artists, as human beings, as parents. Whatever was incompatible about them as a couple, they were both very generous with each other. Were we silly?

Yeah. And it's their unmistakable bond that's forever recorded in black and white. Why did she insist on Desi as her husband in the sitcom? Because they had great chemistry. They were fantastic together.

And he's the perfect person for the job. Okay. And that was, you think that was... Are you asking me?

That was the pitch. Oh, my God. I sound like her.

Lucille, go away. France bestowed a rare honor on an American-born legend this past week. Elizabeth Palmer tells us about the remarkable life of Josephine Baker.

Deep in the French countryside sits a medieval castle, Chateau de Milan, with a most unlikely history. Akio from Japan and his brother Brian from the North African country of Algeria have returned to visit the place they grew up with their siblings, 12 altogether, adopted from around the world. The children were all adopted to come down here and to prove that human beings could live together.

We might have different pigmentations and come from different continents but that has nothing to do with a human being. They were known as the Rainbow Tribe. An experiment in racial equality devised by their legendary mother. One of the first black entertainment megastars, Josephine Baker. A showgirl extraordinaire, she took Paris by storm in the roaring 20s. At the Folies-Bergère, the rage is Josephine Baker, daughter of a St. Louis washerwoman.

Her loose-limbed abandon epitomizes Paris at night. Josephine Baker grew up poor in the slums of St. Louis. As a young dancer, she made it as far as New York and then beyond with an American vaudeville show to Paris in 1927. At the time, segregation and racism limited opportunities for black performers in America.

But in France, there was at least no legal segregation. Baker rocketed to fame across Europe with her exuberant style and a then scandalous dance wearing only a tiny skirt of bananas. On stage, she was playing to a racial trope but in life, she was impossible to stereotype.

Professor and biographer, Bonetta Jules Rosette. In addition to her performing, she is a businesswoman. She has a hair cream called Baker Fix.

Her picture is going on actual bananas because of her banana skirt. So not only then is she a musical star, a movie star, but she is an entrepreneur. And, believe it or not, a spy working with the French against the Nazis in World War II. She could also fly a plane so she was actually an air force pilot. On Wednesday in Paris, Josephine Baker was awarded France's highest honor. The first black woman to be inducted into the Pantheon Mausoleum, more than 45 years after her death.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed her as a war hero, entertainer, civil rights fighter and, of course, a mother. So it was like a fairy tale to live in a castle, or was it? Yes, it was like a holiday. One of her sons, Brian Bouillon Baker, met us at the castle to give us a tour and reminisce.

Then there is Louis the Colombian, Jari from Finland, my brother Kofi from Ivory Coast. The rainbow tribe was more than a family for Baker. It was a living commitment to her ideals. Showing to the world when kids, babies grow up together from all kinds of continents and countries and cultures and religions, they can live together. What would you say your mother's legacy is? Her ideal of universal brotherhood that was very important for her. Baker would eventually return to the U.S. on tour, where she was among the first to insist on integrated audiences.

Many people credit Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack with desegregating Las Vegas, but Josephine was the first performer at the Flamingo Club, requiring the club to be desegregated. Don't you think to help your race that you would do, serve your race far better if you remained in the United States? My race? The Negro race. Aha. Well, you see, I think a little differently.

For me, there is only one race, the human race. How long are you going to stay? You want me to stay, don't you?

I'd like to stay. Oh, thank you. I think you could help the Negro movement.

Oh, don't say that. Why not? Because it's not a Negro movement. It's an American movement. Her role in that movement earned her an invitation to join Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at the historic march on Washington.

You can't go wrong. The world is behind you. Josephine Baker died in Paris of a stroke in 1975. Crowds poured into the streets as she was buried with full military honours, a salute to her life and her legacy. Where did she get that kind of self-possession and recognition of her own power? I think it was innate. An innate poise, an innate self-confidence. Her legacy, I think, is one of courage. Courage in the face of adversity and all of the things that she was able to overcome in her lifetime.

And like all truly great performers, she made it look easy. And there we have it. It's a little weird, it's a whole lot wild, but it's what they loved in La Belle France.

Monsieur et madame, vive la Josephine Baker. It's that time of year and Jim Gaffigan has thoughts. Can you feel it? You can almost smell it in the air, right? I can hear it in the chatter of strangers on the sidewalks of New York City. It's that time of the year.

That's right. It's that season. It's the most COVID time of the year.

Well, supposedly. We should not be freaking out. We should be doing the things that we know work when you're dealing with a pandemic virus. It's not the time to panic. Legend has foretold that COVID will return when it's cold outside. And we're indoors with our loved ones and or relatives. Well, either way, that's now. And guess what? COVID knows when you're sleeping. It knows when you're awake. COVID knows when you've been bad or good.

So we're a mass for goodness sake. We better watch out. Hopefully we won't cry. You better not pout.

And I'll tell you why. Because people will think you're symptomatic and ask you to leave the gathering. Unless you want to leave because family can be a lot at times. Anyway, my point is, it's supposedly the most COVID time of the year. So maybe we shouldn't be mistletoeing and loved ones shouldn't be too near.

Oh, I don't know. Do what you want. Happy holidays, everyone. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. The point isn't the end. The point is winning. There are bad people in the world. The best way to protect the good people is to convict the bad. So here's to us. The Good Fight, the final season. Now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 11:06:19 / 2023-01-29 11:25:35 / 19

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