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!