Early in her career Lucille Ball was one of hundreds of young actresses who auditioned for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in the movie ‘Gone With The Wind’, produced by David O. Selznick.
On her way to the audition she got caught in a downpour and she arrived at Selznick’s office wet and disheveled, Selznick was late for the audition and the actress knelt in front of a blazing fireplace in the office, trying to get dry.
When the producer finally arrived, he had Lucille Ball read a scene and then dismissed her without comment. Only then did Lucy realize that she had done the entire audition on her knees. It was a humiliating experience.
She went on to appear in many other movies, but major stardom on the big screen eluded her. In 1950, when television was coming into its own, Lucy and her husband Desi Arnaz, made a pilot film that they tried to sell to CBS. CBS turned them down. But Lucy was a battler. She and her husband put up $8,000, borrowed another $8,000, founded Desilu Productions, and began to produce the ‘I Love Lucy’ show for television. It was an immediate success and before long became the top-rated comedy show on television.
In less than a decade Desilu Productions owned several film studios and more sound stages than the great Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company. The sweetest stroke of all was the purchase from RKO-Pathe of the old studio where David O. Selznick had made ‘Gone With The Wind.’ As soon as the deal was done, Lucy – whether out of nostalgia or revenge – claimed the former office of David O. Selznick for herself.