Here’s to Stella- and Lucy!!!

Posted on August 6, 2012

Today marks a change in the landscape of Chicago newspapers- Stella Foster, who assisted the great Irv Kupcinet with his “Kup’s Column” and then picked up the torch with her own column, has decided to retire- and is doing so today- on her birthday! I can recall the first time I saw my name in print in Kup’s column- and I know I still have that clipping somewhere at home. He was always very kind to me- I recall , after one public appearance I made for, I believe, the TV academy, he wrote that I was “ready for the big time”. High praise indeed from a man who rubbed elbows and had the confidence of some of the biggest stars in show business! I would always felt very flattered when he included my birthday in his list of “notables” celebrating on March 12th. Ms. Stella has continued that kindness with mentions and good wishes during her run- and I have still felt very flattered and grateful. She has brought us show business scoops, as well as inside political news, and has added her personal opinions about various matters, confirming them to those who might be surprised by them with her customary retort of “yeah, I said it!” Indeed she has- and today drops the curtain on her column. We wish her a very happy birthday, and the best of luck and much happiness as she proceeds down new highways of her life!( Yeah- I said it!) I was also reminded that, a year ago, I was letting you viewers know that I would not be on your televisions that night on Me-TV- because we would be celebrating someone else’s birthday that occurred on this date. It was what would have been the 100th birthday of the beloved Lucille Ball! We ran plenty of “I Love Lucy” episodes , and then, as now, it reminded me of how there were so many personalities who had really lengthy careers and still command such love and respect from audiences- many of whom were not even alive when their shows originally ran! I find myself wondering how many of the “stars” who are on TV today will have that kind of legendary status. I think very few will- what do you think? There’s something about those old school entertainers that made the so much bigger than life. Today, the only thing bigger about some of these stars are their paychecks- and their mouths… Granted, her last TV show, “Life with Lucy” was hard for us to watch- one of my friends labeled it “Life-Support Lucy”- but , like so many of those big stars, I think she felt she HAD to keep going. Rarely did that first tier of TV royalty step down- look at George Burns, Jack Benny, Bob Hope etc. Nobody did a Johnny Carson and opted to retire- and then stay out of the limelight. That’s why, with some of these stars, we found ourselves wishing that our final memories of them were their performances during their peak years. Yes, we still loved them, but- would you rather see Bob Hope from one of his “Road” movies with Bing Crosby- or from one of his last NBC specials? Regardless- yes, we still love Lucy. Not only that- it’s fun to see kids watch her for the first time- there’s an immediate kinship they feel with her, and I get the feeling they’ll still be laughing at her antics- just as we all are- in their adult years. Happy birthday, Lucy- you really have no ‘splainin’ to do as to why we still love you today.

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