Thanks to Mary and Bill Rapaport of Buffalo, New York donation of $500,000, a new world-class attraction will be coming to Lucille Ball's hometown!
The generous gift from the Rapaports is funding the renovation of a building on the corner of Third and Main Streets in downtown, Jamestown, New York. This new building, soon to be known as the Rapaport Center, will serve as the new home for the "I Love Lucy" 50th Anniversary Traveling Exhibit, which is also being acquired through the Rapaport's donation.
This conceptual drawing does not reflect the final design of the building.
The exhibit, which toured the country in 2001 through 2002, features life-size sets of the Ricardos’ New York City kitchen (where that unending loaf of bread appeared), the most famous living room in TV history (where Lucy schemed to break into show business) and the Hollywood hotel suite (where Lucy set her nose on fire in an attempt to disguise herself from William Holden). Also to be featured at what will be known as the "Desilu Playhouse" will be an area where fans can recite the famous Vitameatavegamin speech, a display of authentic "I Love Lucy" artifacts, and kiosks documenting the lives of the four principal stars of the series.
The second floor of the Rapaport Center 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.
Bill and Mary Rapaport recently purchased Lucille Ball's childhood home in March and is currently renovating the home to its' original condition from the 1920s. This was reported earlier on this Blog.