Daily Office: Vespers
Idiocracy “In an interview last year for this obituary”
Friday, 22 April 2011

Presumably, the Times writer really did tell Madelyn Pugh Davis, the long-time I Love Lucy writer who died the other day at 90, why they were calling.

In an interview last year for this obituary, Ms. Davis recalled some of the many wacky situations she helped devise for Ms. Ball: standing on stilts, coping with a house overrun by baby chicks, wearing a beard and — a classic — overwhelmed by a warp-speed conveyor belt in a chocolate factory.

“Lucy would do anything we suggested,” Ms. Davis said.


“The only time she ever said she didn’t want to do something was when she saw an elephant on the set and ran up to her office,” Ms. Davis recalled.

The script called for her to retrieve $500 from under the elephant’s foot.

“Then the phone rang and it was Vivian Vance,” Ms. Davis said. “Vivian said, ‘It’s O.K., I told Lucy that if she didn’t want to do that funny thing, I’ll do it.’ And Lucy said, ‘O.K., I’ll do it.’ So she talked into the elephant’s trunk and got it to lift its foot.”

But then, Davis went to high school (and was in the fiction club) with Kurt Vonnegut. There you go.