Colorized ‘I Love Lucy’ Theater Tribute Posts Huge Grosses on Lucille Ball’s Birthday – New CD Release

Producers discuss the making of special I LOVE LUCY Colorized Celebration with clips

The special, one-day screenings beat ‘Aladdin’ to come in No. 6.

Moviegoers showed their love for Lucille Ball in a big way on Tuesday.

I Love Lucy: A Colorized Celebration grossed $777,645 from 660 theaters across the country, enough to beat out Aladdin and come in No. 6 at the domestic box office.

The tribute, timed to what would have been Ball’s 108th birthday, is a collection of five classic episodes of the inimitable TV show, along with a new featurette about the colorization process.

The one-day screening was a presentation of Fathom Events and CBS Home Entertainment. The theater special was timed with a NEW CD RELEASE :

I Love Lucy: Colorized Collection

i love lucy colorized cd
New I LOVE LUCY Colorized Collection

“The incredible performance of I Love Lucy: A Colorized Celebration demonstrates the enormous appeal of experiencing classic television on the big screen, and Fathom Events’ commitment to innovation and creativity in both the broadcast and cinema industries,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt, whose company is enjoying a record-breaking year. cont

Famous featured ‘Vegemite’ commercial

Lucille Ball’s Daughter Reflects on ‘I Love Lucy’ Memories, Finding Own Place in Creative Arts

Ahead of the event, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with entertainer Lucie Arnaz — the daughter of Ball and Arnaz, who made her debut on Here’s Lucy in 1968 and subsequently carved out a varied performance career in musical theater and acting — about childhood memories, her experience of I Love Lucy and finding her own place in the creative arts. 

You’ve been a performer in your own right for many years now. How do you feel about connections to your mother and father now versus when you were growing up?

In a weird way, I guess I’ve always expected it, but truthfully, I don’t get a lot of them. I don’t know why that is. The only people who tend to connect me with them in that way are people on Facebook. I’ll say something or I’ll do something, and they’ll say, “Oh, just like your mom on such and such show….” But generally, in my professional career, very few times have I had to go head-to-head, and I think it’s because I went in a different direction. I wasn’t on a television show doing comedy sitcoms for most of my life; I went into theater and music. Maybe that’s why I decided to switch it up a little bit.

Was there an expectation that you would enter the arts field?

When I was very young, like five or six, I was shy and afraid to get up in front of people. I think it was because I saw the power of what the two of them were, and it was intimidating when you don’t know if you have any talent. I don’t want to be that opening act, you know? But when I became about eight or nine years old, I had a little backyard group with my girlfriends and we would put on plays that we either made up or we would lip-sync to Broadway show albums and things. It was something I was passionate about, I would jump up on make-believe stages. Mom was very supportive of any of my brothers’ and my passions; whatever it was, if he wanted to play the drums or piano then she would arrange lessons. She saw that I was having a good time doing that so she built a little stage in the backyard garage, with one light, so that we could do it better, and we would charge tickets to our neighbors.

Then, I picked a high school because it had one of the best drama departments, and I started doing shows and learning craft that way. When [Lucille] got ready to switch her television show up, she just popped the question. She said, “You know, we’ve done our show for six years, and syndication wise we could start another show and syndicate it, and I’m just thinking that perhaps you would like to play the child on the new series.” I thought that was interesting, because she was giving me the opportunity if I wanted it, to continue the education in the direction I was going. At first I didn’t want to do it, but then I thought, as long as I don’t make a fool of myself, it’s probably great education. And it truly, truly was. But I don’t think either my mother or my father assumed I would go into this business at all and they never pushed us in that direction or told us it was a great thing to do. What we saw were two people who worked hard but were hardly ever home. We knew from the inside how hard this business could be. I had no fantasies about what working in show business would be, so it was my choice to go ahead and give it a shot.

How did your experience of your mother differ from how the public consumed her on television?

My mother was a very private person and so was my father, though he was more gregarious with people. He was Latin, everybody was “amigo'”and a best friend. He would sing at the drop of a hat even when he wasn’t being paid for it. My mother, when she was off-camera and home, she was home. She didn’t leap at the chance to get up and perform in front of people, like a lot of comedians and performers do. She liked her at-home time with family, she played games sort of as meditation and relaxation, Backgammon and Scrabble.

You were well into your performance career when Lucille died. Is there a memory you can recall where the two of you connected as peers and shared your experience?

It’s interesting because I started my professional career on the Here’s Lucy show. It was interesting to sort of be peers from the beginning, even though she was the star of the show, we were all actors trying to learn our lines and get the blocking right in four days and to perform in front of an audience. There’s a camaraderie there and we did feel like peers, especially after the first couple of years with Gail [Gordon] and some of the guest stars that would come on. Then, later on, she was very supportive of my work when she would come and see me in a Broadway show or touring around the country. I don’t think I ever got a note from her ever. I always felt like she was another actor friend, but one who really wasn’t a musical performer and she was sort of in awe that I decided to go and do that. She would say, “I don’t know how you do it,” and that was a huge compliment coming from her.

There are many family values in I Love Lucy that have resulted in its timeless appeal. What do you most identify with from the show, that you’ve integrated into your own life?

Since I grew up with it and never knew anything else, I don’t know if I resonate with it the way other people do although I laugh at it for the same reasons: ordinary people getting into ordinary situations and trying to get out of them, while getting into trouble and somehow getting away with it and everybody still loves them in the end. If there’s anything I take away from the show in general, I think it’s the unconditional love. That’s the feeling [you get] when the show is over: Awww. It worked out OK, and that I can get in trouble too and maybe there’s somebody who will put their arms around me at the end of the day and say, “I still love you.” I incorporate that into my life and I hope that’s the way I live my life. Also, to not take things very seriously. When you grow up as the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, you learn to see the humor in things. That’s important today.

What is your take on the newly colorized episodes?

I didn’t get as excited about it as everybody else, and I think there could be something in my brain that remembers what it looked like for real and so black-and-white or color doesn’t affect me really. I still appreciate black-and-white, and I kind of didn’t like the intrusion in the color, it took me out of it, but I’ve changed my mind a little bit because it seems to be attracting so much of the younger crowd who don’t like black-and-white. If that’s true, then that’s great. I do think it’s hilarious that Lucille has become ultra-famous on that show for being a redhead in a black-and-white show. It just proves that you didn’t need it to be color. But hey, it’s like a party — they spent an awful lot of money to do this well, and they did it really well. It’s more the idea, too, that they’re running it on the big screen. The fact that they’re having this event to celebrate mom’s birthday on Aug. 6 and they would put it all around the country — is fantastic.

How has your performance career been influenced by Lucille’s acting style?

I hope what I have taken from watching her for 68 years is the believability. If you don’t believe what you’re doing, nobody will believe it and it won’t be funny. People can write lots of funny stuff for you, but if you play it like you know how funny it is, it’s never funny. She believed what she did and she was the queen of doing that. There isn’t a fake moment in I Love Lucy. Not one. If you look at an example, maybe the Vitameatavegamin routine, there isn’t a false moment — she is in it from the beginning all the way through to the end. And it can be as exaggerated as she wanted it to be because she was totally connected to what she was doing and why. Not trying to get a laugh, trying to be in the situation. It’s a perfect example because she kept taking another tablespoon of the stuff, so it shows how the increments of this could get bigger and bigger and you actually watch it happen. She never got ahead of it — it’s kind of a wonderful metaphor for life: Be living in that first spoonful and then be living in the second spoonful and don’t be ahead of yourself. That’s what you learn from watching her.

No Karaoke Here – OAKLAND’S ALLEY 55 YEARS Strong with Original Piano Player

UPDATE 2-28-17
Seven years since our last update, while most of Oakland’s and Bay Area’s old palaces are gone including the recent razing of the UFO-style Biff’s Coffee Shop (1962), The Alley still stands on Grand Ave, one of the few main streets that maintains a sense of history. And, yes, Rod Dibble’s name still adorns the front of the classic piano bar restaurant as it has for now 55 years but, sadly, Rod has been slowed by a broken hip and his days at the piano may be numbered, according to the bar tender we spoke to 2-28; however the same bar tender was still optimistic that Dibble would be back from time to time to tickle the ivories at the bar he made famous and which has remained virtually unchanged during those same 55 years.
Still remaining are the dingy, yellowed business cards and memorabilia covering the walls. Still remaining are what look to be the original narrow restaurant booths and old wood floors .  The only thing that looks new is a sign in the front window that says ‘PASS’ referring to the recent inspection, which seems like a small miracle in itself; we learned through Wikipedia that the inspectors have allowed what appears a real fire hazard is because the restaurant sprays the walls with fire retardant, which probably adds to the yellowed color.  In the same article we learned that perhaps Dibble had been able to ‘last’ 55 years is that he was walking to and from the job some 10 miles a day (I remember seeing him once en route around Lake Merritt(!). Dibble is said to know over 4,000 songs by memory and , generally, plays only vintage songs written prior to 1963, about the time Dibble first appeared at the Alley.

Last King of the Piano Bars?

Rod Dibble Still Tickling Them 50 Years Later

When one passes by the Alley on Grand Ave in Oakland, CA you hardly notice the place. It’s always looked kind of dingy from the outside. Come to think of of it, it’s pretty dingy-looking on the inside, too,but the good kind of dingy.

As a kid growing up in Oakland , the Alley was all but ignored as a place for older folks, with a bohemian bent- weirdos back then . Over the years the neighbor hood changed -especially the parallel-running Lakeshore Ave, where perhaps only 1 or two original businesses remain out of the 50 or so… Grand isn’t much differrent. But, somehow, The Alley has survived. Lots of down years and population changes as Oakland has gone from all white to a largely minority city. Original owners have passed on and most of the original followers. However, the daughter of the original owners still runs the place, we are told, which probably explains, in part, how the Alley has stood the test of time. Kudos to her.

But through it all , there’s one constant – Rod Dibble at the Piano, now going on 50 years.


Dibble began his stint in 1963 . And, it’s as if time has stood still since then. While the crowd may have changed, the place hasn’t and , of course, Dibble’s still there, and he says he doesn’t play any music after 1963. If that’s not time warp , what is? But, we love it. In today’s fast-paced world of quickening technology , media hype and disfunctional or non-existent families its kind of nice to see a that a place like the Alley – and it’s current family of regulars – can still exist in 2910.

If there’s another place like this in America that hasn’t changed a lick, with a veteran piano player of 50 years, I’d like to see it. And there well may be one or two somewhere .However, piano bars, themselves , are pretty rare these days, having been replaced by automated Kareoke .

We say there’s nothing like the real thing, and , apparently, so do a lot of others, as seen by a resurgence at the Alley in recent years, with the current crowd of mostly 20-somethings. However, this recent night we were there we witnessed a number of spirited seniors , like Frank, as animated in his singing as any of other younger folk , who gather at the 9 or 10 seats around the grand piano and take turns singing into the nicraphones. Frank ended ever classic song with a high-pitched last note; so what if it was off-key. That’s what makes this place so special. It’s all off key by today’s standards. And that’s good.

There’s a book of hundreds of songs, with lyrics to choose from. It was refreshing to hear song after song from the great American song book, when melody and lyrics seemed to have more to do with music. Each song told a story – take Route 66 for example – and the unique singer behind the mike. No generics as you get at a Karaoke bar. Only real personality here. And Dibble, now   in his  late 70s  but still with a youthful spark, is able to tackle most every song but, again, it’s gotta behind pre-1963. He still sings, too, and in a whiskey-inspired voice one might expect for a guy who has spent thousands of nights singing, playing and, yes -drinking the night away at the Alley.


I try to get to the Alley now as often as possible as I’m afraid this fun can’t last forever. Dibble’s doing great but he won’t be there forever. And , one must wonder, how the alley has escaped the fire inspectors , with all the old business cards, flyers and paper lining the walls and ceiling, much of which has probably been there the whole time .

So, if you live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s worth a trip to see this place. Even if you live in another state, its work a trip to spend a weekend with Rod and the gang… Pick a weekend night or two when you’re sure to see Dibble at the ivories — there’s a new young upstart singing weeknights – and a full host of singers at the piano bar; this place makes Cheers pale. I will go in and sit in the back corner and just take in the whole atmosphere. Talk about time standing still. I love this place – and to think we would have nothing to do with the place as kids in the 60s and 70s…

If you know of any special vintage piano bars that might possibly rival the Alley please comment…

VIDEOS : Top Video from 2009 features Dibble going solo, Bottom Video gives a more real ‘vibe’ of the Alley experience…

More Oldies

The Best Fake Book Ever: For Keyboard, Vocal, Guitar, and All “C” Instruments (4th Edition)


Lounge Music: Exotica, Easy listening, Space age pop, Mood music, Beautiful music, Electronica, Chill- out music, Nu jazz, Downtempo, Space Age, Light … Piano bar, Camp (style), Tiki culture


FROM 1999… More Alley, courtesy SF Gate (SF Chronicle) :
By Kimberly Chun / CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER | February 5, 1999
1999-02-05 04:00:00 PST EAST BAY — Most of Oakland has had its first drink there say the regulars at the Alley piano bar and restaurant. And just as many have been thrown out by its longtime owner Jody Kerr. The rest just pass by the pink and green neon-trimmed cottagelike facade on Grand Avenue day after day and never go in. They ought to. They would enter a dim wilderness of sensory overload. Imagine an alley re-created by a drunken Walt Disney lined with dark wood Formica street signage weird paper ephemera and thousands of business cards. click headline for more
piano bars

Piano Bars – Nothing Like the Alley, Oakland, CA

Gary Paxton of Alley Oop and It Was I fame Packed A Lot Into 77 Years

Gary Paxton

Multi-Talented Gary Paxton Also Produced Monster Mash

Despite a largely troubled life, Gary Paxton accomplished much  during his 77 years. Paxton passed July 17 in Branson, Mo where he was still writing and performing , now as a Christian artist known as Grandpa Rock. But it was his unexpected hits of ‘It Was I’ (Skip and Flip) and ‘Alley Oop’ (Hollywood Argyles) that topped the list of of many accomplishments – including surviving to 77 amidst a plethora of medical and other issues. He also was involved in the production of ‘Monster Mash’in 1962, performed by Bobby (Boris) Picket, who also passed not long ago.


The New York Times News Service
Published Thursday, Aug. 04, 2016 6:50PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Aug. 04, 2016 6:50PM EDT

Gary Paxton, who began his career as a teenager in the singing duo Skip & Flip, produced the hit pop singles Alley-Oop and Monster Mash, composed hundreds of songs and ended his career as a Grammy-winning gospel musician who also performed as the masked Grandpa Rock, died July 16 in Branson, Mo. He was 77.

The cause was complications of heart surgery and liver disease, his wife, Vicki Sue Paxton, said.

Mr. Paxton’s professional trajectory as a songwriter, record producer and sometime performer coursed from rock ‘n’ roll to contemporary Christian music. His personal life resembled a gangsta rap video that mixed violent, comic and counter-cultural overtones and ended with an inspirational beat.
“I was molested when I was 7,” he wrote in the testimony section of his ministry’s website. “I started writing songs when I was 10. I had spinal meningitis at 11. We moved to Arizona when I was 12 years of age. I had my own rock ‘n’ roll band by the time I was 14. When I was 16 years old, I wrote my first million-seller, recording it at age 17.”

After surviving adolescence, Mr. Paxton was buffeted between sudden stardom and abject poverty. Twice, he was delivered to mental institutions because of drug and alcohol abuse. He was accused of driving a wedge between television evangelist Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, as scandal broke over reports of extramarital affairs. He was shot three times by hit men said to have been hired by a disgruntled singer. And after his business partner died, he wandered into a church and was baptized, turned to gospel music and went on to win a Grammy Award for best inspirational performance.


RECORD STORE DAY Shows Vinyl’s Resurgence, Why We Love Records


A look at Hollywoods Amoeba Records and why folks are lining around the block on Record Store Day…. Yes, vinyl has made an amazing comeback , with many old and new artists releasing their music on vinyl gain.

Record Store Day Brings Back the Good Times in Vinyl Again

Pretty exciting to have vinyl still with us today with the old and even new artists recording on it again. 

For us, going to the record store for the first time in a long time and seeing little changed….plus all the new artist vinyl PLUS record players! Being able to visit the old LPs and 45s, again – the warm sounds, the art and liner notes- was like visiting an old friend.

VINYL LPs or albums, as they are still known, include wonderful art, large pictures and extensive cover art and liner notes, unlike most CDs (compact discs) that later followed but have come on hard times.

Today, LPs again have their own place on , yes, RECORD STORE and music store shelves and displays, like the Walter Brennan album above.  

VINYL 45 rpm records ushered in the Rock and Roll era in the mid-50s as 78s were phased out. 45s were the listening media of choice and many included jacket art. There were even EPs (extended plays) or mini-albums.

It’s a modern, homeade CD but a tribute to the ERA. Until everyone gets their record players back again, items like this will help made for a transition. THE OLD IS NEW AGAIN!


ecordstoreday_16 com_Stores_state=CA&new_search=lafayette+

More classic LP art. More to follow….

RECORD STORE DAY Shows Vinyl’s Resurgence, Why We Love Records