Lucille Ball praised Carol Burnett's first performance in a 1984 interview

"I think she's one of the greatest gals I've ever met."

Being a newcomer in an industry filled with legends can be challenging to make your mark. Luckily for Carol Burnett, her talent always shined bright through her performances. It's something Lucille Ball knew from the moment she first met her.

Ball was 22 years older than Burnett, but that didn't stop the two from becoming great friends. Their friendship was so pure that Ball always sent her flowers on her birthday. During a 1984 interview, Ball spoke about the day she first met the then-rising superstar. The interview was for a profile on Burnett that a morning news show conducted.

"I'd be very happy to talk about Carol Burnett. I think she's one of the greatest gals I've ever met," she said. The two met backstage at a show called Once Upon A Mattress, and Ball was eager to see the newcomer she had heard about. "We were always interested in finding newcomers, of course. And I got there a little late. Not to catch the show, but the newcomer. Somebody had already found her."

According to the interview, Ball and her company initially wanted to sign Burnett, but someone already beat her to the punch. "I spent quite a bit of a while backstage, and I was trying to get her in there and get her signed up but somebody beat me to it. So we didn't get to use her very much, but, um, we became friends," the icon said. "She just had something [that you] couldn't escape. You just knew that this girl had it."

She revealed that Burnett remembered more of how their first encounter went, but those were the basics from what Ball could remember.

Ball wanted to make a pilot with the Carol Burnett Show star, but due to her being signed to someone else, it didn't happen. After gathering this information, the interviewer wanted to know why Ball was intrigued with Burnett.

"I had seen her performance. And I believed it. I saw a true comedian at work, and for a first performance, which I knew it was, I knew that it was unusual," she revealed. "She had it. And the audience loved her. She had honesty, believability, vulnerability."

She also said that Burnett's delivery during her performance was amazing. "She had a lot of energy during that show. And her timing was impeccable, and for someone that you never heard of before, a beginner, that's invaluable. You grab at that."

Although Ball's company missed out on the opportunity, the friendship between the two legends inspired many.

 
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7 Comments

Pacificsun 3 months ago
Fantastic story! As fans we are always pleased when the MeTV Staff writes about a favorite classic TV Star! Sometimes we can never get enough! And also because newer viewers are still discovering these shows! And they might not know about the backstories!

Hint: When a quote makes a point there’s no need to repeat it verbatim in the article. Example:

𝘼𝙘𝙘𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬, 𝘽𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙩𝙩, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙝. "𝙄 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙖 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝙗𝙖𝙘𝙠𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙜𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙧𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙪𝙥 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙞𝙩. 𝙎𝙤 𝙬𝙚 𝙙𝙞𝙙𝙣'𝙩 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝, 𝙗𝙪𝙩, 𝙪𝙢, 𝙬𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙨," 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙘𝙤𝙣 𝙨𝙖𝙞𝙙. "𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 [𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪] 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙𝙣'𝙩 𝙚𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙥𝙚. 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙠𝙣𝙚𝙬 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙜𝙞𝙧𝙡 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙞𝙩."

The trick is looking at how many times the same word (in the same context) is used. And to see if another word can be used instead, which can break the monotony. And makes the text more fun and lively!

Regarding the flowers. While the Stars probably exchanged bouquets on the occasion of a birthday. The story goes that CB sent flowers to LB, but sadly, they arrived only a day after she passed away from undergoing emergency surgery. And, as CB shared in the interview, she was devastated by her unexpected death.

For a time the Stars rehearsed on nearby stages, and it was said that LB “sneaked” in (unobserved, and sometimes watching from the scaffolding) to watch CB rehearse. Which was another way LB gained more appreciation for her talent.

CB was in awe of LB and treasured her guest appearances. Throughout her career CB received tips regarding her comedic talent and there was no one more able and willing to help CB fine-tune her style. It's interesting to watch the CB show to pick-up those similar traits. Much of it comes from how CB uses her very expressive eyes, and probably more so than her physicality.

Regarding “signing” CB (via another MeTV story) CB signed a long term contract with CBS, and the “perk” within that deal, was that CB had five years to execute a clause (which her astute manager negotiated) which said that CBS had to give her a show (of any kind) for CB to produce. Of course she always wanted to do variety/comedy. And “stuck to her guns” about insisting on it. Even though the network didn’t believe that a women should host variety.

The point being: that when a MeTV Story cross-references with another one, it’s nice to include the hyperlink. Readers LOVE hyperlinks because sometime they miss a related story. And, of course, sometimes those stories are in the "tiles" above the newest story, I get it. Also, hyperlinking the interviews from which the quotes are used, is enjoyable.

👻 Thank you for all the work it takes to create a good story, it's appreciated!!!
Runeshaper 3 months ago
It's AWESOME that they became and stayed friends! (-:
LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Great story MeTV. That is different that you used a full episode from your " VIDEOS " section of the website as the accompanying video for this story ( although there is a lag where commercials probably were).
It would be a nice added touch if you could do the same in future stories with a full episode clip of something related to the story, and not seen on the MeTV program schedule. Perhaps from one of the other Weigel Broadcasting Networks ( Decades, H&I, MeTV+ Plus or startTV). Ex: A full episode clip from
" I Love Lucy" would have worked for this story. Just a thought, but it was a nice change for this story
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Ahhh, especially so, for all those Series which long time viewers have been missing!

Those shows are in the MeTV Library and shouldn't just be gathering dust!

👻 Spooky fun is awaiting most everyone, stay tuned!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 3 months ago
I thought so when I read the story. They have 40 full episode clips in the ' VIDEOS " Section. The link tucked between Quizzes and Music at the top of the page. The Rifleman, The Donna Reed Show, The Lucy Show, The Abbott and Costello Show, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky
and The Invisible Man. A few of those shows are on the Broadcast Schedule, and there the same videos that have been there for quite some time. They could use that section differently and maybe change some of the full episode clips from other shows they have in their library(ies) MeTV, Decades, MeTV + Plus, H&I, of course however that may open a Pandora's Box- viewers saying if you can show them in that area , why not add them to the schedule. At least maybe remove the few shows in that section that are on the schedule and replace with something different, and change the clips up now and then. Just some thoughts with a little overthink included. LOL
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 3 months ago
Ohhh, I like "over-thinking" and am the Queen of it, as I've been accused. So now I embrace the title.

Given the past schedules you've provided, IMO, MeTV isn't going to fix what's
not broken. Gone are the days when we hoped for true schedule changes.

But I'll send in a comment to encourage some novelty at least.

While we're chatting, can you bus on over to the parking lot. You know the address! 👻
BenSobeleone 3 months ago
Martin Short said while on a plane trip, Lucy said he was kicking the back of her chair.
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