Tag Archives: the writers

Bob Carroll Jr.- Man, I Love This Guy’s Look

10 Aug

He was born Robert Gordon Carroll on August 12, 1918 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. During his childhood, his family moved to Florida, California and then back to Florida, where Carroll went to Petersburg Junior College. 1940, while recovering from a hip injury, Carroll heard about a radio sponsored script writing contest, and with nothing else to go, he gave it a shot and won!

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He moved to California and his brother-in-law helped him get a job at the front desk of CBS Radio where he worked his way up the ladder to the publicity department, and from there to writer. There he met and partnered with Madelyn Pugh. The team was writing on the Steve Allen radio show when they set their sights on the opportunity to write for the new Lucille Ball program. They paid Allen to write his own show that week and submitted a script for My Favorite Husband. They got hired on under Jess Oppenheimer and wrote there for 2 ½ years. When Ball took her show on the road to convince CBS to hire Desi, Carroll and Pugh helped develop that vaudeville act, and the duo would stay on with them when it came time to produce ILL.

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Carroll, along with his partner, wrote for many other Ball shows as well as other series such as The Paul Lynde Show, Alice and The Mothers-in-Law. Not much is documented about his private life. He was married and divorced twice and had 1 daughter, Christina.

Carroll died on January 27, 2007.

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Miss Madelyn Pugh

8 Jun

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Madelyn Pugh was born on March 15, 1921 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She started writing for her high school’s newspaper with classmate Kurt Vonnegut. She later graduated from Indiana University with a major in journalism.

She moved to California and started writing for NBC and then CBS where she met Bob Carroll Jr. where they began the start of their 50-year partnership. Pugh was often the only female writer on staff and credited the war effort for a lot of her opportunities as there were less male writers available. Pugh and Carroll submitted a spec script for My Favorite Husband and soon started writing it under Jess Oppenheimer. When MFH turned into I Love Lucy, Ball and Oppenheimer brought Pugh and Carroll on staff. The team continued their loyal friendship with Ball, going on to write The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.

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Pugh married Quinn Martin on December 24, 1955 and had 1 son, Michael. Martin and Pugh divorced on November 21, 1960. She later met Dr. Richard Davis and married on May 30th, 1964 until his death. Pugh would then be credited as Madelyn Davis.

Pugh died at the age of 90, on April 20, 2011.

 

Head Writer: Jess Oppenheimer

4 May

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He was born Jessurun James Oppenheimer on November 11, 1913. He attended Stanford University and during his junior year visited the radio station KFRC in San Francisco and would spend as much time there as he could. He would later perform on the air; his first broadcast on the program Blue Monday Jamboree in a comedy sketch he’s written himself. Oppenheimer moved to Hollywood in 1936 and got hired as a writer on Fred Astaire’s radio show and later Jack Benny’s.

In 1942, Oppenheimer met Estelle Weiss and the two married on August 5th, 1947. Together they had a daughter, Joanne and son Greg.

When WWII broke out, Oppenheimer joined the US Coast Guard and was part of the Public Relations Dept. His desk neighbor was Ray Stark, the son-in-law of Fanny Brice who hired Oppenheimer to write for The Baby Snooks Show starring Brice.

Soon after Snooks was cancelled, Oppenhemier was asked by CBS Radio to write for a new show called My Favorite Husband. It was Oppenheimer that decided to change the direction of the show and the wife to be less of a sophisticated socialite and more of a scheming middle class housewife. The show became a huge hit!

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When Ball was approached by CBS to convert MFH to a TV show, Ball insisted the writers come with her. He stayed on as producer and head writer for 5 of the 6 seasons of ILL, leaving in 1956 to take an exec position at NBC. Aside from his television expertise, he was an avid inventor including the in-the-lens teleprompter.

Oppenheimer died on December 27, 1988 from heart failure following complications from intestinal surgery. His memoir Laughs, Luck… and Lucy: How I came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time was completed posthumously by his son, Greg.