An excerpt from the upcoming book by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook  — Words of Wisdom from Thirty Years of Literary Excellence 1973 – 2003

The 7th Annual SBWC was also the year John Dodds and his wife Vivian Vance spoke. As an agent and publisher with Simon & Schuster, Mr. Dodds’ afternoon session was a hot ticket for conference attendees, but it was Ms. Vance (Ethel from the “I Love Lucy Show”) with her sharp tongue and razor wit who proved to be a SBWC favorite.

"I got the whole Lucy show through my friend, Mark Daniels, who was going to direct a television show, "I Love Lucy," Viv explained. She also almost didn't get the part because her eyes were too big. "I can't give you the role because my agent told me your eyes are bigger than mine," Lucy told her after auditions. "If you don't want me, that is fine," Viv replied. "But you're firing the wrong person. You should fire your agent. If someone of your caliber has to worry about my eyes being larger…"

Well, who got fired, you might say is history. And where would the history of television comedy be if Viv hadn't gotten the role of Ethel?

Vivian Vance0006