December 15, 2005

Legacy of Laughter in Hollywood Success

Saturday evening, December 10th, marked the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center's second ever "LOL", Legacy of Laughter - an interactive celebration and exploration of the healing power of humor. Following October’s enthusiastically received inaugural event in Jamestown, this new endeavor went on the road to Hollywood, California, again moderated by Center President Lucie Arnaz.

As Lucie noted in creating the LOL, she and her brother, Desi Arnaz, Jr., the Center’s vice-president, searched for some time for a way to explore, extend and celebrate the global impact that their parents created through their television show, "I Love Lucy".

Professionals who write, produce, research and use comedy made up the distinguished group of panelists.

Attorney Peter Baghdassarian is the Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Film Roman, the animation production studio of many well-known shows including The Simpsons and King of The Hill.

Marc Cherry is the creator and executive producer of ABC’s award-winning hit series Desperate Housewives.

Sam Denoff started as a writer for The Steve Allen Show and The Andy Williams Show, wrote for and created The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, and Life With Bonnie, and has written and produced specials for Goldie Hawn, Julie Andrews, and Bill Cosby.

A veteran primetime network executive for both ABC and CBS Entertainment, Sherry Dunay Hilber is the founder and president of Rx Laughter, an innovative nonprofit project that is researching the link between comedy and health, with a focus on helping children and adolescents with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Robert Schimmel is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer who used humor to survive non-Hodgkins lymphoma and the death of his 11-year-old son from brain cancer.

Audience participation added to this lively, informative, inspiring - and often hilarious! -- event at the Howard Fine Acting Studio in Hollywood. Tom Gilbert, co-author of Desilu, was the producer for the evening.

Plans are for the next LOL to be held in New York City, continuing to fulfill the Center’s mission to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter.

December 06, 2005

Interior Designer, Eric Cohler loves Lucy, and her furnishings, too!

When he was a child in the late 1960s, Eric Cohler loved Lucy. After school, he'd come home to his family's Manhattan apartment and watch "I Love Lucy" reruns. Then he'd rearrange the furniture.

"When my parents came home they stumbled over the sofa because it was somewhere else," he recalled.

Many years later, as an adult, - and an interior designer of great repute - Cohler found himself watching late-night reruns of the 1950s sitcom. And he had an epiphany.

"I suddenly realized that Lucy was constantly moving and rearranging furniture and the sets were always changing," he said. "In design ... it's all about detail. So I had this whole crosscurrent going back and forth with Lucy."

Cohler's background is rooted in classicism - he has a historic-preservation degree from Columbia University's architecture school and a design certificate from Harvard's Graduate School of Design - but his love of Lucy has created a soft spot for decorating with a 1950s bent. The combination of those influences has become his signature. Magazine editors have dubbed Cohler "the mixmaster" for his ability to meld the classic and revivalist styles popular in the '50s with mid-century modernism.

Cohler even took his thing for Lucy on the road a while back with a talk and PowerPoint presentation he called "Learning from Lucy: Lessons in Interior Design." Using "I Love Lucy" stills and images of Lucille Ball's Los Angeles and New York homes as well as his own portfolio, the avowed fan of TV's long-running show illustrated how the program brought timeless design ideas to a mass audience and influenced his own work. "Learning from Lucy" is also the title of Cohler's book-in-progress.

His admiration for Lucy also led to a job co-designing a new, expanded Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown, N.Y., hometown of the actress and the fictional character she played, Lucy Ricardo. The 35,000-square-foot building - almost 10 times the size of the current museum - is slated to open next year.

It matters to Cohler that Lucy Ricardo - like Lucille Ball - left Jamestown for Manhattan "to be somebody." She came to the "city of ambition, of romance," Cohler said, "where everything was possible."

It was post-war America, the birth of suburbia and the glorification of domestic life and conspicuous consumption. The quest for the modern was under way, and the apartment where Lucy and her Cuban-born bandleader husband, Ricky Ricardo, lived reflected the times with streamlined furnishings and state-of-the-art appliances designed to make housekeeping a snap. Of course, the fictional location of that apartment - 623 E. 68th St. - would have put the couple right in the East River.

The decor of the Ricardos' apartment reflected the era's interest in both modern and European-inspired traditionalism. The living room featured modern furniture by Jamestown Royal Furniture, located in the actress's hometown. In fact, Ball liked to promote hometown companies in her program, and at that time, Jamestown was "the High Point of the North," Cohler explained, referring to the North Carolina city that today is the hub of the furniture industry.

Because the show was so popular - and a popularizer of design ideas - Lucy and Desi became a powerful endorsement for manufacturers.

"It was possible in the mid-1950s to furnish a house and dress a whole family with items carrying the 'I Love Lucy Label,'" Cohler explained. The couple's faces appeared on ads for dozens of products in the mid- to late '50s - from flooring and furniture to pajamas. Cohler says the couple received royalties of 5 percent on the furniture.

According to the designer - who has his own licensing agreements with Stark Carpet and Visual Comfort lighting - in just two days in January 1953, $500,000 worth of "I Love Lucy" bedroom sets were sold. "I don't think people today recognize the marketing genius of Lucy and Desi."

All these years later, Cohler continues to be inspired by and pay homage to his all-time favorite show - which has aired continuously since its 1951 debut - and the redheaded comedienne who filled his childhood with laughter.

He does it when he formalizes a room with plaster moldings, the kind of architectural detail typical of the Ricardos' walk-up. Or when he uses beadboard and doors with no panels and Venetian blinds - all direct design links to the show - and slipper chairs, which Ball favored in her California home. Or when he positions pictures in the traditional arrangements he prefers and that hark back to the apartment where a zany housewife concocted hilarious schemes - in other words, in small groupings over a fireplace and on the sides of a fireplace.

Cohler also credits the show with his penchant for formal draperies, especially in bedrooms, fashioned from luxurious fabrics for what he calls "a kind of glamorous, kind of 1940s, 1950s-looking Paris chic." When it comes to bedrooms, Cohler leaves the twin beds to 1950s TV-land, but he embraces the built-in shelving and cabinets that the show used for storage and display over those beds - and perhaps as a visual way to convey the connection between the occupants.

Interestingly, Cohler met Ball a couple of times when he was 8 years old. His grandfather played golf with Ball's second husband, Gary Morton, in Palm Springs.

"She once said, 'Hello, little boy,' to me," he recalled. "She was a nice lady, but was much more serious in real life than she was on television."

-story written by Joanne Furio, freelance write

December 02, 2005

Museum of Television & Radio lauds women

What do Katie Couric, Lucille Ball and Julia Child have in common?

The work of each of these women is being honored by the The Paley Center for Media, formerly The Museum of Television and Radio as part of a display about the most influential women creators in television and radio. A reception in their honor was to be held Thursday at the museum's New York chapter.

Lucille Ball is part of the Museum of Television & Radio's display as one of the most influential women.

Writers, directors, producers, journalists, sportscasters and executives were among the honorees. Visitors to the museums in New York and Los Angeles will be able to see examples of their work in "She Made It: Women Creating Television and Radio."

Among the others whose work is being spotlighted are journalists Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, talk-show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, pioneering executives Geraldine Laybourne (Oxygen) and Judy McGrath (MTV), and producers Marcy Carsey and Diane English.

THE MUSEUM OF TELEVISION & RADIO. 25 W. 52nd St., New York. Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, till 8 p.m. Thursdays. Info on daily activities: 212-621-6800.

November 30, 2005

'She Made It': Initiative honors women of radio, TV

She Made It: Women Creating Television and Radio, an ambitious three-year initiative of the Museum of Television @ Radio, officially launches Thursday, December 1st with the announcement of the 2005 honorees — 50 women who were pioneers in broadcasting fields. Among them are Marlo Thomas (who is also co-chairwoman of the initiative), Barbara Walters, Gertrude Berg, Ida Lupino, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lucille Ball, Agnes Nixon, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Oprah Winfrey.

"It is a way to look at the history of radio and television, but in a different way," says museum curator Ron Simon. "When we researched the lives of these women, it is amazing what impact they had on various genres of radio and television and how much of it isn't recorded in the official textbook. We are trying to show the whole breadth and the different genres of these women both as creators and executives."

Over the next year the museum will offer screenings of work in which the honorees were involved. There also will be clips from museum seminars that the women have participated in, and the museum's radio listening room will spotlight their work. Over the course of the initiative, approximately 150 women will be honored.

"We are looking at Lucille Ball as the first woman president of a television company (Desilu), and what did that mean," says Simon. "We are trying to gather as much information as we can on what her struggles were like when she took it over. It will give people a different perspective."

Ball, adds Simon, also directed episodes — usually uncredited — of her series Here's Lucy, as well as several pilots. "That calls for more research in finding out the type of shows she chose and the episodes she directed. We want to work with her estate and maybe find some of these pilots in our collection."

The museum will hold seminar series on both coasts in support of She Made It.

November 19, 2005

Lucy-Desi Center Hosts Legacy of Laughter Seminar

Following the inspiring inaugural event in the hometown of The Queen of Comedy, The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is coming to Hollywood with its second "LOL", an interactive celebration and exploration of The Legacy of Laughter.

On Saturday, December 10, actress, singer, dancer, business executive, director, Broadway star, and Emmy Award-winning producer Lucie Arnaz will moderate a panel of noted individuals who use humor in their personal and professional lives. Panelists for the seminar include:

Marc Cherry: writer-creator of Desperate Housewives
Sam Denoff: writer-producer for The Dick Van Dyke Show and That Girl
Sherry Dunay Hilber: founder of Rx Laughter, a research and healthcare initiative utilizing the healing power of humor to help the seriously ill


In announcing the event, Ms. Arnaz noted, "As the children of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and as president and vice president of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in our mother's hometown of Jamestown, New York, my brother Desi and I searched for some time for a way to explore, extend and celebrate the global impact that our parents created through their television show, I Love Lucy. Last month’s initial ‘Legacy of Laughter’ in Jamestown was so well received that we are eager to share our experience with a new audience."

After the resounding success of the October 15 LOL in western New York, on the 54th anniversary of the first airing of I Love Lucy, plans were begun immediately for a similar event on the west coast. The second LOL will be held in the theatre at the Howard Fine Acting Studio, 1445 North Las Palmas (just south of Sunset) in Hollywood, California. A reception will follow the 8 p.m. event. As audience participation is important, there is limited seating for this event.

For tickets and more information, contact the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York: (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN), ext. 203; or online at www.lucy-desi.com.

November 18, 2005

Season 6 of I Love Lucy - Where is It?

I have just run across some news that may interest all you Lucy Fans! I've been asked numerous times when the final season of I Love Lucy will be coming out. Well, it is rumored that Greg Oppenheimer should be finished with I Love Lucy's season six DVDs by late December. It's unofficial, yet it is expected the set's release date will be May 3, 2006.

This would be the final "I Love Lucy" season. The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which was previously out on VHS has not been slated for DVD as of yet. But I am sure it will be on the plate as there were only 13 episodes, 14 if you count the Christmas Special that was done. These can still be found on Amazon.com in VHS format.

November 15, 2005

Lucy-Desi Center Acquires Famous Cello

The possibility of acquiring a significant artifact in the history of the creation of “I Love Lucy” inspired supporters of The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center to step forward as founding members of the Center’s Acquisition Society.

The cello credited with helping to found the most popular show ever on television was offered this summer as part of a Hollywood memorabilia auction in Beverly Hills. In response to the cello’s availability, friends of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center joined forces to launch an Acquisitions Society so that key artifacts could be secured for the Center.

Jamestown area residents who are founding members of the Acquisitions Society are the Bud and Deanna Black Family, Chuck and Pat Brininger, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Mary Hunt, Mike Latone, Lucy-Desi Center board treasurer John Lloyd, and Ric Wyman. Other founding members include Joel Ashley, Bill Rapaport, and board members Desi Arnaz, Jr., Lucie Arnaz, Wanda Clark, Eric Cohler, Mary Rapaport, and Melody Thomas Scott.

In 1950, when Lucille Ball was asked to move her successful radio series to television, she agreed on one condition: her husband, Desi Arnaz, would be cast in the role of her TV husband. CBS executives balked, believing the American public wouldn’t accept an all-American redhead being married to a Latin bandleader. To prove the network wrong, Lucy and Desi launched a successful vaudeville tour. Their friend Jose Perez, known on the vaudeville circuit as Pepito, The Spanish Clown, developed several skits for the couple to take on the road. The most famous of these cast Lucy as “The Professor” who breaks into Desi’s performance and insists on auditioning for the band. The skit was so successful, Lucy and Desi worked it into the pilot episode of “I Love Lucy” and again in episode 6 of the show’s first season.

After the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Perez, their estate was left to Biola University in California. When University staff familiarized themselves with the contents of the Perez home, they made an amazing discovery: Pepito’s cello-complete with the plunger. Inside the cello Pepito had safely stored a 1950 Western Union telegram from Lucy and Desi, thanking him for his help. Providing ultimate authenticity, the telegram reads“…Prop cello the hit of my offering. We love you very much and appreciate you even more. Lucy & Desi.” Lucy-Desi Center staff are making plans to unveil the cello early next year at the Center’s new Desilu Playhouse.

November 11, 2005

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November 07, 2005

Red Not Orginally So Beloved!

A new PBS documentary, Pioneers of Primetime, airing on PBS Wednesday, November 9th (check your local listings) will feature interviews with the living legends of yesterday's best loved television shows.

It’s worth remembering that not all beloved primetime pioneers were originally so beloved. “The critics didn’t like our show at first,” I Love Lucy writer Bob Carroll once remarked at a TV Land press conference, surveying a room full of television critics. “Nothing personal.”

Carroll’s old writing partner, Madeleine Pugh-Davis, recalled that she was at first heartened to read a Time review that described the show as “a triumph of bounce over bubbling material.”

“I thought, that’s not so bad,” Pugh-Davis said. “And I read it again and it said, ‘A triumph of bounce over bungling material.’ They didn’t like the writing. But I think the show got better.”

Lucille Ball was such a brilliant physical comedienne that Lucy fans always ask how much of the show was written and how much was improvised. The answer is that almost all of it was written. I remember Lucille Ball herself telling an audience that, a few years before she died.

“We wrote everything out, all the moves,” said Pugh-Davis. Ball always called this “the black stuff” because in the scripts, her physical antics were described in big black capital letters. “But she added so much on the set,” Pugh-Davis noted. One example: In the famous pizza-making episode, the script has Lucy letting the pizza dough fall on her head so she could hide when Ricky happens by.

“And then the thing she added,” recalled Pugh-Davis, “was she made two little holes for the eyes.”

Did Lucy ever balk at any of the physical indignities the writers imagined for her?

“Well, she’d say, ‘Is it funny?’” said Pugh-Davis. “And we said, yeah, it’s going to be real funny. So she’d say O.K. She never minded looking awful, blacking out her teeth, getting hit with mud. And that gave us a wonderful license. We could just think of anything because she would do it. She was fearless.”

I Love Lucy director William Asher added that once Lucille Ball turned to him and said, “Bill, would you ask your wife to do this?”

“I was married to an actress,” Asher noted. “And I said, ‘I’m not married to Lucille Ball.’ And she said, ‘Oh,’ and went on and did it–did it very well.”

It’s worth noting that I Love Lucy got all its laughs with just three writers (Carroll and Pugh-Davis also worked with Jess Oppenheimer) and a couple of sets. Contrast that, Carroll pointed out, with today’s rooms full of sitcom writers, not to mention reality shows.

“Sixteen contestants, 100 crew, tons of equipment, go to Borneo,” he said. “And all we had to do was say, ‘Ethel, if Ricky finds out I bought this hat, he’ll kill me.’ It was that simple.”

November 04, 2005

Lucy featured in new Sitcom Book published in October.

"The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed," published in October, is one of the first books to take a serious look at the situation comedy or sitcom, one of the oldest, most popular forms of television programming.

Edited by professors from Wake Forest University and Marist College, the book is a collection of critical essays examining the ways sitcoms depict and influence American culture. The editors are Mary Dalton, Wake Forest University associate professor of communication, and Laura Linder, Marist College associate professor of media arts.

Because the sitcom has enjoyed such popularity and longevity since it debuted on radio in the 1920s, the genre has become a barometer of American culture and warrants academic study, Dalton said.

The book's 21 chapters, all new material from different contributors including a chapter each by Dalton and Linder, cover topics including conventions of the sitcom genre, family dynamics and representations of gender, race, sexual orientation and work and social class. Chapter authors focus on shows from the earlier years of the sitcom such as "I Love Lucy," "Our Miss Brooks" and "The Andy Griffith Show," as well as contemporary programs including "Sex and the City," "South Park" and "Will and Grace."

"One chapter in the book brings up the dichotomy between Lucy Ricardo and Lucille Ball," Dalton said. "Lucy Ricardo was a woman who wanted to work outside the home, but was confined to her role as a stay-at-home wife and mother. Lucille Ball, also a wife and mother, was a business-savvy woman working outside the home. The reason Lucy Ricardo could not be more like Lucille Ball was that when 'I Love Lucy' was in production, American culture was not ready to accept a woman like Lucille Ball. She was not the norm."

"The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed" is published by State University of New York Press and is available on the Web at http://www.sunypress.edu.

November 01, 2005

Still Popular in the Afterlife

Dead celebrities are in enough demand that a market research firm has begun rating their popularity with consumers. Marketing Evaluations Inc. of New York compiles the "Dead Q" list, which can help advertisers find reposing talent to pitch a certain product.

The most popular dead celebrity of all time, according to the latest list, is Lucille Ball. The comedian, who as the character Lucy Ricardo on the "I Love Lucy" show once did a TV commercial for a concoction called Vita-meata-vega-min, found work after death doing commercials for the California Lottery.

This year's "Dead Q" list ranks these top 10 dead celebrities as the most popular among 169 choices, based on opinion polling conducted in May.

1. Lucille Ball
2. Bob Hope
3. John Wayne
4. Jimmy Stewart
5. Charles Schulz
6. Red Skelton
7. Johnny Carson
8. John Ritter
9. Jackie Gleason
10. Michael Landon

October 27, 2005

IU journalism grad became 'I Love Lucy' writer

A funny thing happened to Madelyn Pugh Davis on her way to a career in newspaper journalism.

She became a comedy writer instead.

One of the first women to write comedy for television, in fact. One of the three principal writers for "I Love Lucy," among other accomplishments. And a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement in Television Writing award from the UCLA Film School.

Not bad for a self-described "Indianapolis girl" who arrived on the Indiana University campus at age 17, "as green as green can be."

Davis recounts her experiences in the recently published book, "Laughing with Lucy: My Life With America's Leading Lady of Comedy." It's an entertaining and informative book whether you loved Lucy, loathed Lucy or simply enjoy a well-written memoir focused largely on one of the most popular television comedies of all-time.

Now retired, the 1942 IU journalism graduate's wit and humor elevates "Laughing With Lucy" well above the standard remembrance fare, which raises the question, why did you wait so long to do it?

"I never thought about such a thing," she said from her Los Angeles-area home last week. "I went to a luncheon for women writers one day and they all made such a fuss over me ... they were all so impressed that I was one of the first women comedy writers in television and everyone kept saying I ought to write a book.

"I thought, 'There have been so many books written about Lucy. Who needs another one?'," Davis said. "But they did convince me to sit down and get started and once I did, I realized that so many people have written about Lucille Ball that didn't work for her that I thought maybe I did have something to offer."

Getting started

Davis tried, unsuccessfully, to get a job with the Indianapolis Star, News and Times before landing a job at the AM radio station, WIRE. After a brief stint there, she moved to Los Angeles, where she continued to write for radio and had the good fortune of working with Bob Carroll Jr., who became her lifelong writing partner and contributor to "Laughing With Lucy."

Eventually the two writers would be hired to work on the radio program, "My Favorite Husband," which featured Lucille Ball. Once they became familiar with Ball's talents and working style, they became the natural candidates to be the writers, with producer Jess Oppenheimer, for the proposed "I Love Lucy" television program.

"She was remarkable. We were very lucky. She loved doing comedy and anything we wrote, she'd do," Davis said. "We'd say, 'Would you mind working with a horse or an elephant?' or 'Would you mind blacking out your teeth?' and she'd say, 'Is it funny?' and that's about all she wanted to know."

Working it

The writers didn't just rely on intuition or confidence. They'd act out what they'd written and often improve scripts in the process. "One time we wrote a scene that involved handcuffs and Bob and I handcuffed ourselves together and we realized how you can't do much of anything with handcuffs on. We tried to take our jackets off and saw what a circus that was and we came up with some of the stage directions just from experiencing that," Davis recalled.

Lucy rarely questioned her writers' work and when she did, her husband and co-star, Desi Arnaz, usually stepped in to alleviate her apprehensions. "Desi was a very charming man and he was great at protecting the writers," Davis said. Once when an advertising agency (agencies had a lot of say about content in those days) called and didn't like our script, Desi called them back and said, 'Don't you ever do that again. You talk to me. You don't talk to my writers.'

"So we were in the enviable position of having a star who'd do anything we wrote and a co-star who would protect us so we could do our jobs," Davis said. "Lucy was wonderful about giving us credit, too. When people would ask her on talk shows, 'Why are you so successful,' she'd say, 'My writers.' A lot of stars would never do that."

The legacy

Davis said she continues to be amazed at how popular - how remembered - "I Love Lucy" is. "I think part of it is because we picked story lines and ideas that could happen to anybody. We didn't do topical jokes because we didn't particularly care for them and now that seems very wise," she said.

"For example, in one episode, the Mertzes bought the Ricardos' old washing machine and it broke, so everyone knows what that's like. Who hasn't sold a car to a brother-in-law and then found out the engine dropped out? Things like that," Davis said.

Davis and Carroll worked with Lucy for 20 years, including the shows that followed "I Love Lucy." They went on to write for other shows and produce the hit sit-com, "Alice," for eight years.

And despite spending most of her life in Southern California, Davis said on behalf of herself and her Marion-born husband, Dr. Richard Davis (who she dated at IU), "We're still Hoosiers at heart. I mean, I've never thought of myself as anything but a Hoosier living in California."

October 24, 2005

Everything Lucy Now Has Membership Page!

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October 20, 2005

Lucy Comes in Third in Top 100 Entertainment Icons for the Century

Variety, the world’s premier source of entertainment news, celebrated its 100th anniversary with the publication on Tuesday of a centennial edition. The centerpiece of this special issue is Variety’s list of the Top 100 Entertainment Icons of the Century – the men and women who have had the greatest impact on the world of entertainment in the past 100 years.

The choices were made by Variety’s editors, critics and reporters, with input from notables in the global entertainment community.

As mentioned earlier in the Everything Lucy Blog, The Beatles came in on the top spot at #1 followed by Louie Armstrong and then Lucille Ball in the third spot. In fourth place was another favorite of mine, Marlyn Monroe!

The Beatles
Although they were topping the charts in 1963, the Beatles were still considered provincial, faddish and well below the radar of unforgivingly hip London.

But at a show in Bedford, Andrew Loog Oldham, in his ’60s memoir “Stoned,” remembers the pandemonium: “Onstage, you could not hear the Beatles for the roar of the crowd and the roar I heard was the roar of the whole world. The audience that evening expressed something beyond repressed adolescent sexuality. The noise they made was the sound of the future. I didn’t see it – I heard and felt it.”

On April 14, 1964, Billboard Magazine reported the Beatles at Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 31, 41, 46, 58, 65, 68 and 79.

The music spoke directly to young people’s own sense of alienation and disenfranchisement. Most important, it was a joyful noise, a celebration over adversity. It provided a jolt that jump-started a thousand bands.

The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison – were less concerned about shedding their influences than in finding their own sound.


Louie Armstrong

His smile alone would captivate millions around the world, but it was Armstrong’s distinctive trumpet playing and singing style that set him apart from virtually every American musician who came before or since.

The songs Armstrong made between 1925 and ’29 include some of the most important recordings in the history of jazz, which was then breaking out as America’s most popular music and would become its greatest export to the world. His solos were the models for millions of musicians’ solos that followed over the next eight decades.

Armstrong’s first recordings as a leader – with his Hot Five – were made in late 1925: “Gut Bucket Blues,” “My Heart” and “Yes! I’m in the Barrel.” Those discs, along with his sides made with the Hot Seven, have made it through the 78, vinyl album and CD eras. In a world in which each generation discards the pop music of its predecessor, that’s a unique achievement.

The Grammy Hall of Fame has inducted eight of his recordings.

Lucille Ball
The red hair, the giant eyes, the rubber face: Those were the physical tools that Lucille Ball used to ply her comic craft so expertly. In the process of trying to make viewers laugh, she also stole their hearts.

When she died in 1989 at 78, the White House issued a statement noting that “no television program in history was better-named than ‘I Love Lucy.’ ... She was Lucy, and she was loved.”

The depth of feeling for Ball spoke to the power of the medium she helped popularize. Thanks to television, viewers around the world would form an intimate bond with the comedienne, thinking of her not as a star like Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall but as a part of their extended family who dropped by on Monday nights. It’s no surprise that the episode including the birth of her small-screen son was seen by more Americans than Eisenhower’s inauguration.

But at first she had to fight CBS, who didn’t want anything to do with Desi Arnaz, who became one of the top straight men ever to roll his eyes on television. To prove that the audience would accept them as a couple, the pair created a vaudeville act and toured. It got rave reviews – “a socko new act,” Variety said – and CBS gave in.

Marlyn Monroe
She first came to notice in a couple of 1950 movies, “Asphalt Jungle” and “All About Eve.” The ripe blonde who was supposed to be both ornamental and negligible – a Hollywood cliche. But the moviegoer’s eye kept drifting her way. There was something about the lushness of her lips, the glow of her skin and hair, and the delicious, post-coital languor of her eyes, that altogether exuded luminous sensuality. It seemed like her voluptuous image...

Variety’s Top 100 Icons of the Century!
These are the top entertainers of the century:

1. The Beatles
2. Louie Armstrong
3. Lucille Ball
4. Humphrey Bogart
5. Marlon Brando
6. Charlie Chaplin
7. James Dean
8. Marilyn Monroe
9. Mickey Mouse
10. Elvis Presley

The remaining entertainers are in alphabetical, not numerical, order:

Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Josephine Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Jack Benny, Irving Berlin, Chuck Berry, Lenny Bruce, James Cagney, Maria Callas, Johnny Carson, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain, Gary Cooper, Bill Cosby, Walter Cronkite, Bette Davis, Miles Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Kirk Douglas, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Duke Ellington, Federico Fellini, Aretha Franklin, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, D.W. Griffith, Woody Guthrie, Vaclav Havel, Edith Head, Jimi Hendrix, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Billie Holliday, Harry Houdini, Hope and Crosby, Michael Jackson, Robert Johnson, Al Jolson, Janis Joplin, Gene Kelly, Grace Kelly, Laurel and Hardy, Lassie, Bruce Lee, Jerry Lewis, Little Richard, Sophia Loren, Madonna, Bob Marley, The Marx Brothers, Marcello Mastroianni, Edward R. Murrow, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Laurence Olivier, Pac Man, Edith Piaf, Mary Pickford, Sidney Poitier, Robert Redford, Will Rogers, Rogers and Hammerstein, The Rolling Stones, Mickey Rooney, The Sex Pistols, Tupac Shakur, Frank Sinatra, Steven Spielberg, Jimmy Stewart, Igor Stravinsky, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Quentin Tarantino, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Rudolph Valentino, John Wayne, Orson Welles, Mae West, Hank Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder

I have one complaint - where's Carol Burnett?

October 18, 2005

TV Guide Era Ends with Lucy Appearing the Most on its' Cover

Small by magazine standards, the digest-size TV Guide nevertheless made an impact on pop culture worthy of a 50-inch, flat-screen plasma TV.


Since its April 3, 1953, beginnings, it did more than provide program listings; TV Guide helped us monitor evolving broadcasting trends and viewing habits, not to mention our collective obsession with all things celebrity.

Now, as it morphs into a full-size magazine, it's time for a station break to observe the passing of an icon. After all, we loved our old TV Guide. (Although we've probably not seen the last of it; the digest remains one of those publications that collectors like to hoard. A recent eBay auction netted $86 for a 1953 issue featuring "Superman" George Reeves on its cover.)

Here are some TV Guide tidbits to remember:

First cover: Lucille Ball and her newborn son, Desi Arnaz Jr.

Cost of the first issue: 15 cents

Going collector's rate for the first issue: $2,000

Most valuable cover: A Jan. 23, 1953, New York regional edition featuring Marilyn Monroe, which is now worth $3,000.

Cost of last digest-size issue: $2.49

Viewers' choices, then: The first TV Guide covered three networks: ABC, NBC and CBS.

Viewers' choices, now: The final digest version, which included various regional and cable editions, covered nearly 400 channels.

TV nation, then: There were television sets in 20.4 million U.S. households during the 1952-53 television season, representing 44.2 percent of American homes.

TV nation, now: During the 2004-05 TV season, there were sets in 109.6 million U.S. households, representing 98.2 percent of American homes.

Repeat performances: Lucille Ball appeared on the cover of TV Guide 34 times.

Repeat performances, Part II: Johnny Carson closely follows Ball's record; the late-night talk-show host appeared on the magazine's cover 28 times. Michael Landon and Mary Tyler Moore come in third place, tied at 27 covers apiece.

Three is the magic number: Landon is the only person to have appeared on three consecutive covers of the magazine.

Stage run: With the final, Oct. 9 issue, there have been a total of 2,741 digest covers.

October 17, 2005

Beatles Beat Out Lucy!

The Beatles were singled out on Friday as the most influential entertainers of the past 100 years, beating out the likes of Elvis Presley, Charlie Chaplin, and Mickey Mouse, according to a survey conducted by show business newspaper Variety.

Behind the Fab Four's first-place finish, were in alphabetical order: jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong, television comedienne Lucille Ball, movie legends Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplin, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, cartoon hero Mickey Mouse and singers Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

Variety said the Beatles were named "Icons of the Century" because they were the entertainment personalities who made the biggest impact on the industry and the world in the past 100 years.

The newspaper published a list of 100 entertainers from all branches of show business, including actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians, television presenters, animals, comedians and cartoon characters. Among other names on the list were Johnny Carson, Johnny Cash and Lassie.

The winners were chosen by Variety editors based on polling of entertainment industry professionals and Variety staff and by online voting by the public on variety.com.

Among the criteria for selection were a performer's commercial, creative, political and social impact and even whether their image was presented -- like James Dean's -- on a t-shirt.

The list was to be published in Variety's Sunday issue to celebrate the paper's 100th anniversary. "It seemed only natural to celebrate 100 of the people who gave us something to talk about," said Steven Gaydos, the paper's executive editor.

October 14, 2005

Lucie Arnaz To Host Rapaport Center Ribbon Cutting

Lucie Arnaz will be in her mother’s hometown this week to host the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Rapaport Center, home of the Desilu Playhouse -- Jamestown’s newest Lucy-Desi attraction -- on Friday morning (October 14) at 10 a.m.

The renovation of the former Rite Aid Pharmacy at the intersection of Third and Main Streets in downtown Jamestown was made possible by a generous donation from William and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York. Named for the studio where “I Love Lucy” was filmed, the Desilu Playhouse features exact replicas of the Ricardos’ New York City apartment and the Hollywood hotel suite where Lucy set her nose on fire with William Holden, as well as a life-sized wall mural of the original studio audience, a “Vitameatavegamin” opportunity, memorabilia from the 1950s including an “I Love Lucy” bedroom set, and more. The second floor of the Rapaport Center houses the Tropicana Room Conference Center.

As part of Friday’s celebration, the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Norman Lydell, will perform the “I Love Lucy” theme song, and some “surprise” entertainment can be expected. The event is open to the public, and admission to the Desilu Playhouse will be free all day (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.).

October 15, 2005, is the 54th anniversary of the first broadcast of “I Love Lucy”, the most popular sitcom ever on television. According to TV Guide, “Lucy” is on television 24 hours a day, seven days a week, somewhere in the world; it has been broadcast in 77 countries, in 22 languages. TV Guide also recognized Lucille Ball as having the face that has been seen more often by more people than the face of anyone else who ever lived.

For more information about the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, call or visit the Lucy-Desi Gift Shop, 300 N. Main Street, Jamestown, NY 14701, (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or online at www.lucy-desi.com. Hours for the Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine, the Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. 3rd Street, and the Lucy-Desi Center Gift Shop are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Historical Calendar features Lucille Ball

Whether it's a photo of the Rat Pack in the early 1960s on stage at the Sands in Las Vegas or a 1910 shot of the Reno Evening Gazette, the 2006 Nevada Historical Calendar holds many surprises.


The 2006 Nevada Historical Calendar features 13 historical photos. The cover features a fourth anniversary celebration in 1956 of the Sands in Las Vegas. They include (from left) Lucille Ball, Loretta Young, Danny Thomas, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Entratter, Mitzi Gaynor and Esther Williams.

The calendar, published annually for almost 30 years by Nevada Magazine, features 13 historical photos in an oversized 101/2- by 14-inch format, to give people plenty of room to write appointments and notes, said magazine publisher Richard Moreno.

The calendar also includes a photo of snowy streets in 19th-century Virginia City, the Joseph Platt Store in Carson City and the Minden School, circa 1914.

The calendars, which regularly sell for $10.50 each, will be priced at $6 each or two for $10 from Oct. 24 through Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Paul Laxalt Building, 401 N. Carson St.

October 12, 2005

Teen Star of Movie Remake - Yours, Mine and Ours

To most teenagers, Drake Bell lives the perfect life. He stars on his own TV show, Drake & Josh on Nickelodeon. He just finished his latest movie and a new album.

In November, Bell, 19, will appear in the movie Yours, Mine and Ours, a remake of the 1960s film starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. The movie depicts the life of a family of 18 kids, created after handbag designer Helen North (Rene Russo) marries Coast Guard Adm. Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid). In the movie, Bell plays second-oldest kid Dylan, a graffiti artist who plays guitar.

Growing up in Orange County, Calif., Bell started with roles in Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise, and High Fidelity and The Jack Bull, both starring John Cusack.

In January 2004, Nickelodeon turned his The Amanda Show segment into Drake & Josh. When it premiered, the show gave Nickelodeon its highest-rated live-action launch in 10 years.

Now, after scoring a Kids Choice Award nomination, the show only trails Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 as cable's highest-rated show for teens.

In addition to acting, Bell also has a recording career. His new album, Telegraph, released last month under his own label, contains 12 songs written and produced by Bell. The album also includes I Found a Way, the Drake & Josh theme song. Though the album is classified pop-rock, Bell says his main influence comes from the Beach Boys and the Beatles.

Bell wants to continue his acting career on TV and in the movies. He wants to model his career after Leonardo DiCaprio but said that continuing with his music is the most important thing.

To promote the album, Bell begins a three-state tour on Friday in West Palm Beach and then the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Saturday. The concert is at 7pm Saturday in Feguson Hall. Tickets are $26. Call 813-299-7827 for more information.

Saturday Marks a Big Anniversary

This Saturday, October 15th marks the big anniversary of the hit "I Love Lucy" TV show, which premiered on CBS on October 15th, 1951 starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz! Visit "Everything Lucy" for a complete history and career of the most famous redhead ever, Lucille Ball.

October 11, 2005

Mame, Now Opening in June '06

The creative team has been assembled for the upcoming Kennedy Center production of Mame. In addition, the Jerry Herman musical has also pushed back its opening date. It will now open at the Eisenhower Theatre on June 1st after beginning previews on May 27th; it will run though July 2nd. The show was originally to have played its limited engagement from February 18th through March 26th.

Starring Christine Baranski (Rumors, Sweeney Todd at the Kennedy Center, "Cybill") in the title role of the exuberant Mame Dennis Burnside, Max Von Essen (Dance of the Vampires, Les Miserables) as the older Patrick and Emily Skinner (The Full Monty, Side Show) as Agnes Gooch (with more casting underway), the show will be helmed by Eric Schaeffer. Joining him in bringing the show to life will be choreographer Warren Carlyle (associate choreographer of the Oklahoma! revival and The Producers), set designer Walt Spangler (Hollywood Arms), costume designer Gregg Barnes (Side Show, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Tony Award-nominee for the Flower Drum Song revival) and lighting designer Dan Wagner (eight-time Helen Hayes Award winner for Washington D.C.-area shows).

The story of a boy's loving but complex relationship with his unconventional aunt, Mame was first adapted by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee from Patrick Dennis' 1955 fictionalized memoir into a hit play starring Rosalind Russell (who also starred in the film version). Lawrence and Lee, with Herman, refashioned the piece into a musical in 1966, and it starred Angela Lansbury. She, Beatrice Arthur and Frankie Michaels all won Tonys, and the show was nominated for five others, including Best Musical. The musical was then turned into another film starring Lucille Ball, and an ill-fated 1983 Broadway revival that also starred Lansbury folded in a little after a month.

Mame tickets will go onsale to the general public on November 7th. Visit The Kennedy Center for more information.

October 07, 2005

Pregnancy Considered Top Secret

Early in 1951, when the great funny lady Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz made the pilot episode that sold CBS on 'I Love Lucy,' Lucy was very pregnant with daughter Lucie Arnaz. I Love Lucy was almost cancelled before it even got started! The network couldn't show her pregnant! That just wasn't done! Instead of canceling her show, the network decided that Lucy's stomach would be hidden behind furniture at all times. For the cameras, they hid the pregnancy as much as they could.

A couple of years later, when Lucy was pregnant with son Desi Jr., they realized that they couldn't hide the pregnancy so they took a chance and went a different route. Lucy's pregnancy was mirrored by her TV character's pregnancy. Instead of conforming to society's standards, they revolutionized the entire television industry. TV history was made on Jan. 19, 1953, when the episode that gave birth to 'little Ricky' was watched by 44 million viewers -- or 72 percent of U.S. homes with TV.

My how times have changed!

October 06, 2005

DVD Release Revisits Golden Age of Comedy

Time-Life transports you back to the golden age of television with the release of a stunning gift-set comprising a 5 Volume DVD collection of classic TV comedy sketches, a 15 track CD album of hit songs of the era and a 16-page colour reference guide to the shows and the stars, available to buy from 17th October 2005!

The Golden Age of Comedy collection chronicles the formative years of live television, a time when a host of comedic talents transferred their craft from the vaudeville stage to become television’s first stars. From the wealth of variety shows that dominated the US TV schedules in the ‘50s sprung an entire generation of comedians who hosted and guest-starred in them.

Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Martin & Lewis, Abbott & Costello, Milton Berle, Sid Caeser, Red Skelton, The Three Stooges, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Phil Silvers and many others conquered the new medium and became television royalty.

Many of the top programmes were broadcast on UK TV and became as popular in Britain as they were at home. Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, Abbot & Costello, Red Skelton and Phil Silvers found fame on both sides of the pond, with Bob Hope and Sid Caesar even recording shows for the UK’s own ITV and BBC networks.

The legacy of these performers and the recordings that survive them continue to inspire comedians and delight audiences of today, the world over. For many they remain the greatest comedy heroes of all time. Now, Time-Life has scoured the US television archives to track down these classic recordings and restore them for the new ‘DVD generation’. With over 8 hours of highlights from thirteen different shows, the Golden Age of Comedy forms one of the most unique and comprehensive compilations of television’s earliest and best comic moments.

The bonus audio CD included with the DVD collection is from Time Life’s hugely popular Fabulous Fifties series and features 15 hits by top artists from the year 1954. It includes original recordings from Perry Como (Papa Loves Mambo), Alma Cogan (Bell Bottom Blues), Doris Day (If I Give My Heart To You), Billy Eckstine (No-one But You) and Nat King Cole with the evergreen classic Smile; a fitting soundtrack to the DVD series.

Lucy and Desi are featured on Volume 2, "Bob Loves Lucy" on the show The Bob Hope Chevy Show from 21st October 1956!

September 28, 2005

Lucie Arnaz in Jamestown for Legacy of Laughter Seminar October 15th

An actress, singer, dancer, director, business executive, Broadway star, and Emmy Award-winning producer, Lucie Arnaz will be in Jamestown next month to moderate a seminar on the healing powers of humor.

In announcing the event, Ms. Arnaz noted, “As the children of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and as president and vice president of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in our mother's hometown of Jamestown, New York, my brother Desi and I have been searching for some time for a way to explore, extend and celebrate the global impact that our parents created through their television show, ‘I Love Lucy’. In our search, we have established several different ventures to teach and try to understand humor and the power it has always held to heal the human spirit.”

On October 15, the 54th anniversary of the first “I Love Lucy” broadcast, the Center will sponsor the first related event: “LOL” -- an evening of exploration and celebration of “The Legacy of Laughter.” Panelists for the seminar are:

Len Barry: The co-founder of Jamestown’s own improv comedy troupe, The Unexpected Guests, teaches comedy at a private high school in Erie, PA.

Brenda English: The mother of Sarah Spirlock, who lost her battle with juvenile diabetes last spring. Sarah and Brenda’s participation in Lucy-Desi Days in 2001 was made possible through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Stan Lundine: Jamestown’s former mayor, Congressman, and New York State lieutenant governor is the executive director of the Chautauqua County Health Network.

David Mitchell: Now retired on disability, this former Jamestown police officer was critically wounded during a prearranged meeting with a drug informant.

Mary Rapaport: Breast cancer survivor who turned to "I Love Lucy" during her recovery process.

Future “LOL” seminars will be held in Jamestown, Los Angeles, and New York City. The inaugural event will be at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 in the Tropicana Room of the Rapaport Center, 2 W. 3rd Street, Jamestown and will include a brief performance by The Unexpected Guests. A reception will follow. Tickets are $20 and go on sale today, Wednesday, September 28. There is very limited seating for this event. Order tickets online at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center.

For more information, call or visit the Lucy-Desi Gift Shop, 300 N. Main Street, Jamestown, NY 14701; (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN), ext. 203; or online at www.lucy-desi.com. Hours for the Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine, the Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. 3rd Street, and the Lucy-Desi Center Gift Shop are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

September 23, 2005

Passionate Collector – International Movie Posters

Kyle Hall collects "The Long, Long Trailer" movie posters from all over the world.



When Kyle Hall was 10 years old, he saw the MGM movie, The Long, Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Now, 31 years later, Hall collects The Long, Long Trailer movie posters from around the world. "The posters are big, colorful and cheerful, and they're a major part of my décor," says Hall. "People flip when they see them, and they're fascinated by how the foreign posters are different from the American originals."

Hall began collecting movie posters in 1999, when he was living in New York. He had a new apartment with empty walls, so he visited a shop that sold original posters for films, foreign travel, and advertising. The store displayed its inventory in notebooks that held snapshots of all the posters by category, and one of those notebooks contained a large 47" x 63" French poster for The Long, Long Trailer. Hall thought it was colorful and beautiful, but he just admired the snapshot for a minute and kept looking; he had something different in mind for his apartment. After returning home empty-handed, Hall couldn't stop thinking about the poster for the next week-and-a-half. Finally, he asked the shop to hold it for him until he could return and view it. Once he saw the actual poster, Hall knew he had to have it. The salesmen in the poster shop, who apparently had business acumen, said, "Fan of that movie, huh? Why aren't you interested in the Italian poster, too?" And that's how it all began.

Hall's collection now includes the U.S. poster for The Long, Long Trailer in three different sizes, as well as posters for the movie from England, France, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Argentina. "Because Lucy was popular worldwide, the movie was also a hit in all the foreign markets, and most of those created their own poster designs," says Hall. "People flip when they see the posters, and they're fascinated by how the foreign posters differ from the American originals."

Souvenir programs, still photos, on-set candids, magazine articles, advertising, and a script from The Long, Long Trailer are other highlights of Hall's collection. He estimates that 95 percent of his collection has been purchased through eBay. "I discovered eBay in 1998, and I have been on the site almost every day since," says Hall. "A collection like mine would have been almost impossible to build without eBay, because most of my foreign posters have come from foreign sellers. It's hard to imagine how I could ever have contacted these people otherwise."

One of Hall's most prized collectible is a set design sketch for The Long, Long Trailer from the MGM art department. In the summer of 1953, an army unit took a tour of the MGM soundstage where the film was being shot. The sketch had been discarded, and a soldier picked it up as a souvenir. He kept it for 51 years, then his wife listed it on eBay, and Hall won the auction. He wrote the seller to see if she had any similar sketches, or anything else related to the movie, and she replied by telling Hall how, while they were stationed in California all those years ago, her husband brought home the sketch as a souvenir of his tour of MGM. "Not many papers like that were saved by the studios," says Hall. "This one probably only survived because the soldier picked it up off the floor. It's a great story, and a great item."

Of the posters, Hall's favorite is the Italian The Long, Long Trailer poster. "It's got a fantastic design that features a cityscape with skyscrapers, a scene that was inspired by a sequence in the movie, but it is much more elaborate on the poster," says Hall. "It feels special because it was the second poster I purchased -- which means it really set off my collection -- and also because it is one of my only posters purchased in a gallery that I haven't seen on eBay, ever, so that makes it a real rarity. The Belgian poster is another favorite. I haven't seen it on eBay again since I won it four years ago."

The most expensive item in Hall's collection is the French poster, the one he purchased in the Chelsea shop that started it all. "The identical poster has turned up three times on eBay in the past six years. The winning bids seem like a bargain compared to what I paid! But if I hadn't made that original purchase, I wouldn't be collecting these foreign posters at all, so I try not to think about the money. You can find a great breadth of items on eBay that are obtainable at a bargain price, even if they are rare or obscure."

For interviews, high resolution images, or more information, please contact Professional Marketing at (616) 949-9104 or info@prcollect.com.

September 22, 2005

Another reairing of PBS Masters, Finding Lucy, this Sunday!

For those poor souls who just found out about the airing of the PBS Documentary on Lucille Ball last night at 9pm - you are in luck! It seems that they will also be reairing the documentary this coming Sunday at 12:30pm EST. So if you missed it last night, be sure to catch it this Sunday!

This documentary originally aired in 2000 and is a great portrait of her career with lots of clips and interviews. Some really great candid shots of Lucy are shown and shows us in retrospect that she had always been perfect for situation comedy.

The interviews featured Carol Burnett, Fran Drescher, Dick Martin, Van Johnson, among many others. It also showcases the most extensive set of film and television clips from her career in movies and radio through television.

Check your local PBS Station for airing times. Be sure not to miss this one!

September 21, 2005

PBS airs its American Masters biography on Lucy tonight!

PBS repeats its American Masters biography of Lucille Ball, Finding Lucy (9 p.m. ET/PT, times may vary). Now if only TV could find the next I Love Lucy, though that may be too much to ask.

You can find your local PBS station broadcast of "Finding Lucy" on their web site.

I'll be taping it!

September 20, 2005

New Hosting Provider for Everything Lucy!

The "Everything Lucy" web site, which is part of youns.com has been moved to a new hosting provider this past Friday evening.

We took this step to move the web site from operating out of my house to a true host for a number of reasons. One of course would be the realiablity of the web site, not to mention proper backups. Secondly, you should notice a performance increase in the speed since it is now not going out over my home's DSL connection. Thirdly, the cost savings of not having to run a server and the technical knowledge, which I lack, is a great stress relief!

You may notice some broken links and some things don't seem to work just right. I noticed that some of the Video Clips, when linked to other clips in a SMIL file, do not work. I also was notified that some of the MP3s of the My Favorite Husband radio show do not work. I will get to these as soon as I can in order to resolve these issues. If there is anything that you find that you believe is incorrect or needs fixed, please bring it to my attention!

I've made some minor changes to the structure of the site, but it's probably not something anyone would notice. More updates will be applied as soon as all the issues have been worked out from this move.

Future enhancements include turning all the video clips into Flash Video, which is supported by 98% of the browsers. I'll be removing all the Realvideo clips eventually as they are replaced with their Flash counterparts. I will also be adding a true eCommerce Shopping Cart to the Members Only section of the web site. And talking about the Members Only section, I will be adding the login to this section shortly so you can begin to take advantage of being a member of "Everything Lucy".

Thanks for your continued patronage and again, please let me know if anything seems amiss with this new web site move!

September 14, 2005

DVD Documentary Shows Stars of 50s-60s TV Commercials

The DVD documentary "Madison Avenue Fever" (60 minutes) is an entertaining and informative look at the birth and development of television commercials in the 50's and 60's, the period known as the "golden age of television."

This documentary by R.J. Thomas features clips of some of the funniest, corniest, entertaining, and memorable commercials ever made. Television commercials from the 50's and 60's bring back wonderful memories for baby boomers.

Stars like Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Dick Van Dyke, and sports heroes like the Red Sox legend Ted Williams are all seen promoting their favorite brands in "Madison Avenue Fever."

Television was regarded as a new-found wonder box that consumers were buying by the millions, and advertisers were anxious to capture their share of the growing audience. Television advertising had a major influence on the baby boomer generation, and had a powerful influence on the nation.

"Madison Avenue Fever" is more than just entertainment through fond memories, Thomas explains the historic aspects of the new media outlet that caused panic in the radio industry as advertisers turned to television.

Remember the Ajax knight on horseback, the happy kid who learns he has no cavities after brushing with Crest, and so many other commercials that have become a part of American heritage and imbedded in the memories of baby boomers?

The clips feature many stars of the time, including Howdy Doody, Phil Silvers, Ozzie Nelson, Don Knotts as Barney Fife, Groucho Marx and his brothers Chico and Harpo, the Monkees, Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger, and even Bugs Bunny and the Flintstones.

Those were the days when tobacco companies were some of the most prominent advertisers on television, and all the top stars and sports celebrities of the time were seen promoting their favorite brands.

“‘The Flintstones’ began as an adult show on prime time television. Of course the Flintstones eventually switched to vitamins, but in 1962 Fred and Barney were shown puffing on Winstons,” explained Thomas.

Thomas takes viewers on an entertaining, educational, and historic journey through the land of television advertising of yesteryear. He shows how advertisers tempted viewers with everything from cigarettes, sporty cars for men, miracle appliances for women, and all the latest toys for the kids.

The DVD is available at www.BooksAndSuchMart.com.

September 06, 2005

Lucille Ball - Desi Arnaz FBI Files

As noted in an earlier post, the Lucille Ball- Desi Arnaz FBI Files are also available on CD-Rom from the Paperless Archives.

142 pages of files copied from FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and archived on CD-ROM covering Lucille Ball. Files contain approximately 50 narrative pages. Compilation of the information in this file began after a 1953 House Committee on Un-American Activities hearing revealed that Miss Ball had registered to vote as a communist in 1936 at the insistence of her grandfather. Files chiefly cover the bureau seeking the level of involvement of Ball in Communist activity.

Also on the CD are 206 pages covering Desi Arnaz. Files contains approximately 115 narrative pages. Files are chiefly concerned with Desilu Productions' programing portraying the FBI, especially the TV show "The Untouchables." Files document the FBI being perturbed with Arnaz and his production company concerning the the TV show "The Untouchable." J. Edgar Hoover was able to get Arnaz to agree to not "invade FBI cases" again, such as the 25 year old "Ma" Barker case. Files show FBI concerns that the show would detract from the Warner Brothers motion picture, "The FBI Story," whose production had the cooperation of the bureau. Files show Hoover ordered the FBI's Crime Research Section to monitor every episode of "The Untouchables."

Order your CD-Rom from the Paperless Archives. 25% off all orders of $100 or more ends today, September 6, 2005!

August 30, 2005

Lucille Ball and the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Have We Learned Our Lesson Yet?

An interesting read is the from the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Freedom of Information Privacy Act concerning Lucille Ball's testimony at the 1953 House Select Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings which reflected her registration to vote as a communist in 1936 due to the insistence of her grandfather.

There are three parts to this testimony which are presented in PDF format on the FBI web site. Alot of the information is blacked out, but still with a little bit of history, we can fill in those blacked out marks.

Those behind this McCarthyism in the days of the Hollywood Witch Hunts and red scare from the post World War 2 era, promoted by the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republican Senator) is much like today's Karl Rove and the Republican GOP Smear Campaign against anything that opposes the Republican Agenda and their March to War. Anyone against them must be eliminated by further lies and propoganda.

The HUAC came into being because they wanted to prove that a lot of actors and writers were communists. They thought that movies were brainwashing Americans and putting communist propaganda into their heads. The Committee probed Hollywood, but they never confirmed any of the charges. They even questioned 10-year-old Shirley Temple. Movie studios became very careful about their products and their actors, because they did not want to be accused. Just to be associated with someone who was suspected of communism was enough to ruin a career.

There were those who decided to reap political gain from the fears of the American public. Two future presidents were present at the hearings. Richard Nixon was a member of the HUAC, and Ronald Reagan appeared as a friendly witness. McCarthy was often in the news, telling the American people that they were being overrun with communists, and that they must rid themselves of all the communists before America could be great again.

The HUAC blacklisted many people. Blacklisting means putting people on a list of suspected communists. It meant that their professional reputation was destroyed, and that no one would hire them for fear of being thought a communist. Many actors couldn’t star in movies anymore because they were blacklisted. Some authors for the big screen continued to write movies using fake names, but most never worked again. Some were forced to leave the country.

A cartoonist lampooned McCarthy and made up the term McCarthyism, which to him meant fanaticism. He didn’t like the way that McCarthy was hurting people. Then supporters of McCarthy took up the term, only they turned the term around, and said that it meant patriotism.

In the election after the hearings, the Republicans won most seats in the Congress and the Senate, and this happened largely because of McCarthy and the Senate hearings. The people also elected a Republican president. But McCarthy’s power went to his head, and he went too far. He accused officials in the government of communism. He accused officials of the Army of communism. McCarthy never proved any of these charges, and his ideas were discredited.

Even while the HUAC hearings were going on, in the height of the "red scare", many people knew that the hearings were unfair, and they knew that the blacklists were wrong. Could a government that would allow unfair practices be fair in other ways?

Reform groups and those who happened to stand up against McCarthy suffered, too, during the McCarthy era. They were often accused of having communist or socialist leanings, and support for reform wavered. Fewer social reforms were passed. People didn’t want to be called a communist, and America’s poor suffered for it.

The national anthem calls this the land of the free. People here are allowed to hold any belief that they want. Joe McCarthy forgot that. All of America forgot that during the Senate hearings, and we are still paying for it today.

Turn this to the acts of today and we still see very haunting simularities. Karl Rove trying to discredit anyone opposed to the President or the War or Republicans in general. The smear and lie campaigns that he continues to be behind and the Republicans that stand behind and protect him from his treasoness acts of outing a CIA Agent in order to discredit her husband. The proof that this War in Iraq, which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 or with terrorism, was preordained by Bush and his cabinet way before 9/11.

Hopefully people have begun to wake up to these lies and fanatism, which like the McCarthy era, destroyed many lives! Thank God, Lucy was able to rebound and continue her momentous career! She stands on the side that will be vindicated, once again!

August 25, 2005

Everything Lucy | Youns.com

If you're a frequent visitor, or an occassional onlooker, you'll notice some changes that are being applied to the "Everything Lucy" web site! I've set up the site for more easier updates using CSS as well as an interesting satin background with the main pages centered. This was the easiest update without doing a complete overhaul.

Eventually, I'll add new Flash headers to each of the sections and slowly migrate to a new content format. But it will still be the basic look that you're familiar with, only enhanced.

Also, I'm getting closer to adding the Member Login and Registration Update!! For those who have registered for preferred access, once you login, you will be presented with a new page that is customized for the content based on your personal registration information. This page may contain special DVD offers that are only available to certain individuals or it may be other links and information or video clips.

For those who aren't familiar with what an "underground" DVD is - it is a DVD that is produced from a video tape of a particular movie or TV Show. These are not retail quality DVDs, nor are they available in the retail market. This is why they are referred to as "underground" since they are not available anywhere else and represents shows that have never been released to the market.

These updates are slow to come only because I can only work on the site after my regular job. So, when everyone else's day ends after their 8 hour work, mine is continuing! I also put in some weekends getting updates or looking for items. This past year I had to get my portfolio site completed and that took alot of my time! Plus, since all work and no play make Jack a dull boy - I've tried to not work on the weekends and spent more time away or traveling. So with limited amount of time and no pay, I've tried to get everything updated in a timely fashion.

If there are any programmers out there in Internet World that knows ASP or ASP.Net and is familiar with Amazon Web Services, please contact me and I will give your prominent credit in the Lucy Store section! I really could use some help with all this!

I'll keep everyone posted here on everything that is up and coming! Stay Tuned!

August 11, 2005

Lucille Ball Tops List of Deceased Celebrities

Lucille Ball is America's most beloved dead star. The company that developed the "Q score" that broadcasters and advertisers quietly consult to measure a personality's popularity has done a survey that tests the reputation of performers who have gone on to that big soundstage in the sky.

The redheaded sitcom star of the 1950s and '60s, who died in 1989, has topped past "Dead Q" lists as her comedies seemingly live forever on television, said Steve Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, Inc., which conducts the tests.

"What is there not to like about Lucy?" he said.

Bob Hope, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Red Skelton follow her on the popularity list.

For 41 years, Levitt's company has given consumers a list of names and asked if they know the people and to rate how much they like them. From their responses they calculate the Q score, a measure of both familiarity and likability.

Advertising executives use the information to make sponsorship decisions, while broadcasters check Q scores to see how well their news and entertainment stars are connecting.

Tom Hanks has been the most popular live star in the last few surveys.

Dead stars still do business, though. Coors used film clips of Wayne in a popular commercial, while Fred Astaire has danced to hawk a vacuum cleaner.

"Some of these deceased personalities have Q scores equal to or greater than some of the live personalities we measure," Levitt said.

Two performers are relatively new to the list: Johnny Carson and John Ritter were both ranked among the 10 most popular dead stars.

Others offer a reminder of television's power to keep people figuratively alive; "The Honeymooners" star Jackie Gleason, who died in 1987, is still remembered and beloved.

"Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz and Michael Landon fill out the top 10.

Out of 169 personalities tested, diet doctor Robert Atkins had the lowest score. Tupac Shakur and Johnnie Cochran also have high negative ratings, Levitt said.

The national survey was conducted by mail questionnaire.

This story was written by David Bauder and received from New York(AP) Newswire.

August 03, 2005

A nostalgic look at Lucy versus Lucille

Baby boomers are turning television shows from the 1950s and '60s into gigantic DVD profits. Just take a glance at the best selling DVDs of old television shows from January through June of this year. The top shows were "Hogan's Heroes," "Brady Bunch," "I Love Lucy," "Gilligan's Island," "Andy Griffith," "Green Acres," "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek."

A diligent search of programming on any given day will usually produce an episode from almost all of the top shows. They may have stopped writing new episodes, but there isn't a moratorium on the rerunning of old ones. Roaming around in the wee hours of the morning, you can catch up on your favorite episodes of "I Love Lucy."

Not even the most rabble rousing feminist could take offense at the show for it was always presented as pure farce at its best but you can make a case for viewing it in the context of women's studies. No matter what the plot twist from episode to episode, the main theme never varied.

Ricky Ricardo earned the money. Lucy Ricardo spent the money. Ricky was a star. Lucy was a housewife. When they played turnabout, Ricky would prove that men who earned the bacon never had to learn how to cook it. Lucy would come to understand that the only role she was born to play was that of wife, mother and goof up.

The weekly dénouement was close to a faithful portrait of the proper role of husband and wife in the thinking of the time. After some hilarious caper Lucy would learn that it was a jungle out there and that Ricky was the lion and she but a pussycat.

Lucy would promise to be a good little submissive housewife; he would promise to remain her big strong protector. Everyone lived happily-ever-after or at least until the next episode when Ricky would have to teach her the same lesson all over again.

What makes looking back on "I Love Lucy" days so fascinating is what we now know to be the contrast between their reel roles and the roles they played in real life. On screen Desi Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo as competent, strong and dependable - someone the little lady could always count on. He was the undisputed authority figure in their castle.

Lucille Ball played Lucy Ricardo as a bubblehead. So lacking in business acumen was our Lucy, her inability to balance a checkbook was good for at least one laugh on every show. Lucy, who yearned for stardom, only got to perform on the wicked stage courtesy of husband Ricky, the real talent of the family.

But what was life like back at the ranch where Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball really lived? Those up on Hollywood lore know it was Jane not Tarzan who ran that operation.

Desi had talent and production savvy but he also had a chemical dependency. It was Lucille's boundless energy, creative spark and extraordinary talent that made the show click week after week. A brilliant businesswoman, Lucille not only managed to amass a fortune, she was one of those rare celebrities wise enough to keep it.

Lucy and Ricky are a fun couple to drop in on when ever we are lonely for the '50s. For nostalgia's sake, we will always love Lucy as the queen of the clowns. But as a role model, we should be much more attuned to the aspirations of Lucille - wife, mother, comedienne and business moguless-with-the-mostess - on the ball.

August 01, 2005

Elmira artist re-creates Lucille Ball covers

Brigitte Baldwin was invited to Jamestown during the Lucy-Days celebration this past weekend to paint Lucille Ball during her birthday celebration.

Lucy, who was from Celeron, NY, a small town near Jamestown is only a few hours away from the artists home of Elmira. Brigitte has been involved with the Lucy-Desi museum as a mixed media artists about five years ago. She has been painting the old TV Guide covers that Lucy was on, adding gemstones, glitter, costume jewelry, flattened exhaust pipes and whatever else seems fitting.

Lucille Ball's prop cello sold in auction

The prop cello used by Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy went under the hammer for $35,400 in an auction this past Friday, July 29th at "Profiles in History" auction. This auction included some of Hollywood's most prized artifacts from film and television. The estimated value of the cello was between $10,000 and $12,000. The collectors either bid in person or they had access to the auction on the internet at ebayliveauctions.com.

"Everything Lucy" Blog first reported this Lucy memento up for auction last month. I hope all you Lucy bidders found this information worthwhile and were able to at least put your initial bid in!

Keep an eye here on the "Everything Lucy" Blog! Your first source of up-to-date information on Lucille Ball!

July 25, 2005

Profiles in History auction features Pepito the Spanish Clown memoriablia

A collection, owned by Biola University, is the remnant of the estate of Jose "Pepito, the Spanish Clown' Perez and his wife, Joanne, who helped write the pilot episode of "I Love Lucy' and were some of the closest confidants of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Tucked in a tiny back room in the basement of the Biola University library are two bicycles a tiny one and a huge one. Sitting on a metal cabinet is a clown puppet so dusty that it turns a person's hands black just to touch it. Filed in a cardboard box are records from a Catholic private school in Spain. Piled on shelves are yellowing newspaper clippings announcing children's theater productions.

Biola Univserty officials hope they can also profit from the upcoming auction of Perez's items associated with Lucy and Desi,including letters and photographs addressed to the couple and the trick cello Lucy used in the show's pilot episode.

The items are scheduled to be sold at an auction called "Profiles in History' on Sept. 29 in Beverly Hills.

For more information on this auction or Pepito's collection at Biola University, click here.

Lucy on the Loose?

Can the spirit-searchers of "Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters" (Tuesday at 9 p.m., Biography) locate Lucille Ball?

Gail Porter and Chris Fleming investigate the rich and 'dead' famous on Living TV. They try by heading to her old studios and other Ball haunts.

ISO program takes musical trip down memory lane

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performed a melody of theme songs from the 1950s including a homage to Lucille Ball this past Saturday at the Conner Prarie Amphiteater in Indianapolis.

"The 1950s: the Golden Age of Black & White" is the latest in a series of pops concerts tuning in to the sounds of various decades of the 20th century. Jack Everly, the Indianapolis Symphony's principal pops conductor, came up with the idea for the show.

Besides the homage to Lucy, a girl singer medley paid tribute to female solo acts of the '50s, including Patti Page, Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney. Vocal soloists included Karen Murphy, who has toured with "Les Miserables," and Farrah Alvin, who has been in "Nine." The production also featured the vocal sextet Chapter 6.

For more information on the ISO, visit their web site at http://www.indianapolissymphony.org.

July 21, 2005

Lucille Ball Music Tribute

The Harbor City Music Company will perform an a cappella tribute to Lucille Ball at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park, Maryland.

Enjoy the smooth sound of this women's a cappella group performing modern arrangements done in the barbershop style, including a tribute to the famous redhead.

The show will include performance by barbershop quartet Riptide and Capri Sweet Adelines. For tickets or more information, call 800-856-9868 or visit the Harbor City Music Company's web site.

July 19, 2005

Favorite 'Lucy' memories requested

The Star-Gazette, Twin Tiers Life from New York State is requesting that if you love Lucy, drop them a line and tell them which episode of the "I Love Lucy" show really made you howl. Was it the famous "Vitameatavegamin" show or the episode where Lucy told Ricky she was pregnant? Share your memories of how one of the greatest comediennes that ever lived affected your life.

Send your recollections and thoughts to cwhite@stargazette.com or call 607/271-8303. Be sure to include a phone number where you can be reached 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

On July 29th Lucy's Cello from I Love Lucy is up for Auction!

On July 29, 2005, Profiles in History's Live Auction Includes Hollywood Memorabilia Worth Two Million Dollars! Profiles in History's LIVE auction will include some of Hollywood's most prized artifacts. Collectors from around the world will bid on vintage and contemporary Hollywood artifacts from film and television including props, costumes, costume designs, production art, photographs and more.

One of the highlights of the auction will be a Prop cello used by Lucille Ball in the pilot episode of I Love Lucy. The estimated value is $10,000-12,000.

Collectors may bid in person, live on the Internet at www.ebayliveauctions.com, by phone or fax. Visit Profiles in History on the web at www.profilesinhistory.com. Profiles in History is located at 110 N. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Joseph Maddalena, President of Profiles in History, is available for interviews and auction items are available for filming. For more information, please contact Lorna Hart at lorna@profilesinhistory.com or at (310) 859-7701.

July 17, 2005

Lucy’s Chauffeur to Give Tours of Jamestown

This year's seventh annual Lucille Ball's Birthday Celebration will bring a new twist to the ever-popular Lucytown Tours. The celebration held every year on Lucille Ball's birthday in Jamestown, NY will be held August 5th to the 7th.

Frank Gorey, who was Lucille Ball's chauffeur for 30 years, is coming from Beverly Hills to host each of the nine guided tours of Lucy’s hometown. Tour participants will hear stories of his personal experiences with the Queen of Comedy. Local residents can expect to find this opportunity as enlightening as out-of-town visitors!

Gorey started working for Lucille Ball in October of 1959 and was with her for the rest of her life. Among his responsibilities were taking her children to school and taking her mother shopping. Interestingly, he was on the set for the filming of "Lucy Meets the Mustache," the last Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode which guest starred Edie Adams, who will also be part of Lucy’s Birthday Celebration.

Festival goers who get one of the limited number of seats on these two-hour air-conditioned motor coach trips will get a unique perspective on the woman whom TV Guide describes as having the face that's been seen more often by more people than the face of anyone else who ever lived. Thanks to a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the tours include a video component, giving riders a glance back to Lucy's time.

Tour guide Lucy Studd, a Jamestown native and "Lucy" fan herself, will point out more than 24 locations in Jamestown and the neighboring village of Celoron that were significant in Lucille Ball’s life. The tour concludes with a visit to Lake View Cemetery, where she is buried with her parents, grandparents, and other family members.

Lucytown Tours depart from the Lucy-Desi Museum at 10 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival weekend, August 5-7. For more information and tickets to Lucy's Birthday Celebration events, call or visit the Lucy-Desi Museum Gift Shop, 300 North Main Street, Jamestown, NY 14701, (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or order online at http://www.lucy-desi.com/festivals.html.

July 14, 2005

Stone Pillow DVD in Retail Stores Now!

Lucille Ball's final movie, Stone Pillow, has been released to the retail market and is available at most DVD Stores as well as online. This 1985 made-for-tv movie features Lucy as a down and out bag lady named Florabelle, living on the streets of New York City. This CBS Drama first aired on November 5, 1985 and has been shown several times on Cable since that time.

Lucy suffered severe dehydration as a result of the intense New York heat and the heavy clothing she had to wear. Lucy never fully recovered from the dehydration, and suffered a couple mild strokes. Lucy's character "Florabelle" was named in honor of her grandmother, which was her name as well.

This movie had made it's circuit in the "underground" and was available through these channels which were either VHS or DVD copies taped from the movie when it aired on television. But due to the many requests for the movie, the movie has been released on DVD!

Make sure you don't miss this TV legend in her final movie performance. The list price for the DVD is $9.95 and is available in retail as well as Amazon.com.

July 11, 2005

New Lucille Ball Biography

Rated as one of the top Hollywood biographies of the past year, "BALL OF FIRE: The Tumultous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball", is a great read. Written by Stefan Kanfer and published by Faber and Faber from the UK.

To I Love Lucy viewers all over the world, Lucille Ball remains the ultimate screwball housewife. But Kanfer's biography looks behind the image, tracing her comedic genius to its beginnings in a lonely childhood in upstate New York.

She desperately wanted to make people laugh, and to find stardom and love. But then a Cuban bandleader called Desi came into life to make her famous and wealthy - and almost destroyed her along the way.

You can find this biography on both the US and UK Amazon.com web sites.

July 06, 2005

Laughing With Lucy

Madelyn Davis, one of just five people responsible for writing the "I Love Lucy" scripts, tells her story in a new book, "Laughing with Lucy: My Life with America's Leading Lady of Comedy."

The 224 page book, to be published by Emmis Books later this Fall, will sell for $19.95 and will be available through the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center and at the Center’s web site.

You can also find the book available from Amazon.com!

The Desilu Playhouse!

At the recent Lucy-Desi Days Memorial Day Weekend Festival, Lucie Arnaz and Ric Wyman, Executive Director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center shared some exciting news.

They showed big screen images of authentic reproductions of "I Love Lucy" television sets that were part of the "I Love Lucy" 50th Anniversary Tour that traveled the country in 2001 and 2002. They then announced that, thanks to the generosity of a Buffalo couple, this historic exhibit has found a permanent home in Lucille Ball’s hometown.

William and Mary Rapaport’s gift of $500,000 is funding the renovation of the former Rite Aid building on the corner of Third and Main Streets in downtown Jamestown. The Rapaports joined Ms. Arnaz and Wyman on stage to accept the appreciation for their generous gift and see an artist’s rendering of the new Rapaport Center. This new center was reported here on "Everything Lucy" blog.

The first floor of the Rapaport Center will house the Desilu Playhouse, the permanent home of the “I Love Lucy” 50th Anniversary Tour’s New York City living room and kitchen set and the Hollywood hotel set, as well as a “Vitameatavegamin” interactive display and exhibits about the background of each of the four main actors, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The second floor will be used for seminars and conferences, furthering the Lucy-Desi Center’s mission to enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter. The Tropicana night club set, as seen on “I Love Lucy”, will be featured in this space.

The Desilu Playhouse will be open in time for Lucy’s Birthday Celebration, August 5-7, 2005. The first official event there will be “At Home with Little Ricky,” on Saturday morning, August 6 (Lucy’s actual birthday). This will be an opportunity for a limited number of guests to step into the Ricardos’ living room and meet the actor who played Lucy and Desi’s TV son, Keith Thibodeaux. Following a professional photo session on the set with “Little Ricky,” guests will see rare footage and take part in a question and answer session with Keith and Ric Wyman, Executive Director of the Lucy-Desi Center.

For more information about Lucy’s Birthday Celebration and “At Home with Little Ricky,” view the Complete Schedule of Events!

Back in the USA!

Well I made it back from my European adventure! I have went through some of my email and have some new postings to be made. Once I get caught up to the Time Zone and not so exhausted come evening, I'll update you on the latest Lucy News!

June 17, 2005

Off on my own European Vacation

Following in the footsteps of Lucy - I'm off to Europe for two weeks! Although, I'm not actually visting all the same places Lucy did in her I Love Lucy series when she went off to Europe. I am going on a Cruise (hopefully I won't miss the ship and have to take a helicopter lift to it). I'll be in the Mediterranean with stops in Venice, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Santorini, Greece; Naples, Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Ital;, Florence, Italy; Villefranche (Nice) France; and finally Barcelona, Spain.

Alot of tours are scheduled on the stops, but I'll always be on the lookout for any Lucy items of interest and will post back again after July 5th! Until then, have a great holiday everyone!

June 13, 2005

Yours, Mine, and Ours remake

A re-make of the Lucille Ball classic movie, "Yours, Mine, and Ours" from 1968 starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda is in production. The new version will star Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid as Helen North Beardsley and Frank Beardsley respectfully. It is slated for a November release date.

In the movie, romance blooms between two single parents (Quaid and Russo), each of them responsible for a considerable brood. As the adults plan to elope, their kids attempt to foil their plan.

Sean Faris is set to play Dennis Quaid's son in MGM's remake, and is directed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo). In the film about the marriage that merges two large families, Faris stars as William, the eldest sibling, who would likely be voted class president if not constantly uprooted because of his father's Army career. Faris starred in ABC's "life as we know it." He just wrapped Fox's drama pilot "Reunion" and appeared in MGM's "Sleepover."

Jerry O'Connell has also been cast opposite Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo in this MGM and Paramount Pictures co-production.

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