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Sunday, 26 July 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #97 – 26 July 1909

Stage and screen actress and singer Vivian Vance was born on 26 July, 1909.

As a kid growing up in Belfast, it was the thrill of thrills when we got our first television set, sometime in 1960/61.  We loved most of the programmes, but especially the American shows.  One amongst many favourites was I Love Lucy which starred Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo, Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz, landlady of a New York city apartment, where much of the show was set. 

I Love Lucy ran from 1951 to 1957, 181 episodes, so we would have seen reruns.  It was energetic comedy, very, very funny, and a huge success.

Vivian Vance was nominated four times for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for I Love Lucy, and she won in 1954.

She worked on several Lucy spin-off shows, as well as guest-starring in different TV episodes and several films, including The Great Race (1965).

Vivian Vance died at 70 on 17 August, 1979.

Fun fact: She was godmother to The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian.

Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance

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