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'DESILU: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz' -- Author visits Bemidji on book tour

Bemidjian Cheryl Winnett, author Coyne Steven Sanders and Ruth Turner of Grand Forks discussed Sanders' newest book, "DESILU: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz," during a signing event Friday night at the Fleur de Lis Gallery. Pioneer Photo/Patt Rall

First-person accounts, anecdotes by Lucie Arnaz and months of research tell a different and more personal story of the iconic Desilu Productions.

Coyne Steven Sanders, co-author of "DESILU: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz," talked about his book and signed copies Friday night at an event hosted by the Fleur de Lis Gallery.

Sanders spoke to the crowd about why he felt this story had to be told about the legendary couple, for they were trailblazers in the early days of television. In fact, as of Oct. 15 of this year, "I Love Lucy" has been on television in syndication for 60 years.

Sanders and co-author Tom Gilbert spent months reading articles, press releases and gossip columns to gather material for the book from the Los Angeles Times, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter from 1947 until Lucy's death in 1989. But it was the time Gilbert spent with Lucie, Lucy and Desi's daughter, talking about growing up in that famous family, that led Lucie to say, "This is the only true book written about my parents."

Desi Arnaz was the first person who recognized the value of filming a situation comedy with three 35 mm cameras in front of a live audience. In short, he created the syndication market. The storyline of Lucy's pregnancy caught the attention of the viewing public, because it was the first time a pregnant actress played a pregnant woman on television. The nation was caught up in the process from the beginning, when Ricky Ricardo sang "We're Having a Baby," to the big question of how the actual birth would be portrayed.

Bemidji was just Sanders' first stop on his book tour. From 1-3 p.m. today, he will be at the University of North Dakota Bookstore (next to the Ralph Engelstad Arena) to sign copies of his newest book. Sanders has written six books on famous people like Judy Garland and classic comedies like the "Dick Van Dyke Show."

Copies of "DESILU: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz" will be for sale at the Fleur de Lis Gallery.