May 19, 2006

Desilu Playhouse Expands Exhibit

Visitors to the Desilu Playhouse, a museum devoted to the “I Love Lucy” series in Lucille Ball’s hometown, have a chance to view and listen to a piece of legendary comedic history. The Desilu Playhouse tells the story of “I Love Lucy”, the most recognized sitcom even on television, through recreated studio sets and authentic memorabilia from the 1950s. The visitor experience is enhanced with monitors showing clips from the shows that were filmed on these sets.

Mark Farmer, Director of Project Management for the Shoemaker Motion Picture Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, made a special trip to Jamestown, New York, to install a new sound system in the My Favorite Husband radio exhibit of Jamestown’s newest Lucy-Desi attraction. My Favorite Husband was Lucille Ball’s very popular late-1940s radio program. CBS asked her to bring the show to television, eventually becoming the most widely recognized sitcom ever on television. Audio clips from My Favorite Husband are part of the exhibit.

With the My Favorite Husband display right around the corner from Lucy’s New York City apartment set, there was a lot of audio going on - sometimes distracting from the visitor’s experience. Farmer installed telephone-like headsets, so each person can pick up a receiver and listen to radio program clips without the sound distracting other visitors.

Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center Executive Director Ric Wyman noted, “Mark is a tremendous contributor to our work in downtown Jamestown. He was responsible for the installation of all the sound and video equipment in the Tropicana Room of the Rapaport Center last summer and now has returned for this tremendous enhancement of the Desilu Playhouse. We are very grateful for all his efforts!”

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center opened the Desilu Playhouse, a showplace devoted to the “I Love Lucy” television series, last August. The Playhouse occupies the ground floor of the Rapaport Center, named after Bill and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York, whose generous donation made possible the transformation of the abandoned building in the heart of the city’s downtown. The Tropicana Room on the second floor re-creates Ricky Ricardo’s nightclub and can be seen by group visitors, ticket holders to several Lucy-Desi festival events, and visitors to monthly shows by The Unexpected Guests, Jamestown’s own improv troupe.

Farmer and his wife, Lisa Shoemaker, have been members of the Lucy-Desi Museum since 2001. Of his work on behalf of the Lucy-Desi Center, Farmer said, “We started coming to Jamestown because we loved Lucy. We keep returning to see all the wonderful people we’ve met. I’m thrilled to be able to add to the terrific experience other visitors will have!”

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