May 31, 2006

Cast Your Vote for Lucille Ball film on DVD

Warner Bros. has consistently delivered high-quality DVD releases from its vast catalogue and, together with Amazon.com, they’re giving us a stake in their future release slate with “DVD Decision 2006: 30 Movies in 30 Days,” a joint initiative offering movie fans nationwide the opportunity to vote online for the WHV library titles they want to next see released on DVD.

During the month of June, visitors to the Amazon.com web site will be able to vote for their favorite titles from a list of 30 films. At the end of the voting period, the ten movies with the largest number of votes will be selected as the winners. On August 8, the two companies will announce the winning titles and make them available for pre-order; five of the winning titles will make their DVD debut on December 5, 2006, and the remaining five will be released on January 2, 2007. All of the films will be digitally re-mastered and will contain added bonus features where available.

Best Foot Forward starring Lucille BallThroughout June each movie will be spotlighted at Amazon.com, with links to its trailer (as available), synopsis, customer feedback and other information. Consumers can vote immediately or allow for time to review the trailers and film information throughout the entire promotion before voting at the end of the month.

The 30 film candidates will be divided into three categories: action/adventure, comedy/musicals and drama. One of the movies up for DVD Release is "Best Foot Forward" a 1943 film starring Lucille Ball.

Best Foot Forward starring Lucille BallIf you like college musicals, you'll love this fast paced MGM musical, full of great music, lively dancing and just plain fun. The story is simple, a military college cadet wins a date with Hollywood actress Lucille Ball (in one of many performances where she plays herself). This ill conceived publicity stunt designed to re-start her faltering career, turns into a hilarious disaster when the cadet's girlfriend shows-up the night of the big date. You can imagine the fun that ensues with Lucy hiding out in the cadet's dorm room closet which continues to get more crowed by the minute. The musical numbers are all classic, like Harry James' swing version of "Flight of the Bumble Bee," and the rollicking "Barrelhouse, Boogie, and The Blues," beautifully performed by Nancy Walker, June Allison, and Gloria DeHaven. This was their MGM debut film and they all went on to stardom.

Voters can access the DVD Decision 2006 voting page at www.amazon.com/dvddecision2006 or via links at Amazon.com’s homepage and in various locations within their online DVD store.

May 22, 2006

What Are You Doing Memorial Day?

Lucille BallEvery Memorial Day in Jamestown, New York (Lucille Ball's hometown) a celebration of Love and Laughter for Lucille Ball takes over the town. The Lucy-Desi Days for this year runs from May 26th through the 28th. There are more than 30 events planned during this Memorial Day weekend festival.

Diane Vincent, "Lucy" impressionist from Universal Studios: Hollywood, and her "Ethel" sidekick Rhonda Medina, will pop up throughout the weekend. They will host the fourth annual "I Love Lucy" Masquerade Ball Sunday at the Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel Jamestown. Live music by John Cross and the Babalu Band, refreshments by Elegant Edibles Catering and a costume competition will also be featured.

A Weekend Guest Pass will be available for unlimited admissions to the Lucy-Desi Museum and Jamestown’s newest Lucy-Desi attraction, the Desilu Playhouse.

Friday morning, Linda Pellegrino will host AM Buffalo live from the New York City apartment set in the Desilu Playhouse. The Junior Guilders of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown and the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony complete the opening with a Lucy-Desi Musical Revue on City Hall Plaza.

At 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day, Lucytown Tours will take visitors by many places in "Lucy" history. Her long-time secretary, Wanda Clark, will host each tour. Jamestown’s Lucy Studd will be the tour guide, and a video will showcase what Jamestown was like during Lucille Ball’s growing up.

On Friday evening, Los Angeles-based "We Love Lucy" Fan Club president Tom Watson will host a tribute to Jess Oppenheimer, creator of "I Love Lucy." Special guests are Oppenheimer’s son, Gregg, and his wife and daughter, Debbie and Julie; and "I Love Lucy" film editor Dann Cahn.

The Tropicana Room above the Desilu Playhouse reproduces Ricky Ricardo’s famous nightclub from "I Love Lucy." It will be the venue for several weekend events, including a Friday luncheon and late-night performance by Jamestown’s comedy improv troupe, the Unexpected Guests.

"I Remember Lucy: An Evening with Marjorie Lord" is Saturday. The star of "Make Room for Daddy" will appear for an evening of screenings, storytelling and taking audience questions. Opening the evening will be the rarely seen "Lucy Upsets the Williams Household" episode of the Danny Thomas series, filmed at Desilu Studios.

Oppenheimer will do a second installment of seldom-seen footage of the most popular comedy in TV history. At a Sunday luncheon in the Reg Lenna Civic Center, he will share stories of how his father became the creator and head writer of the series and reflect on his memories growing up in the Desilu family.

Two "Life With Lucy" film fests — three episodes each from Lucille Ball's last television series and hosted by Michael Stern, whom Lucy described as her No. 1 fan — will be screened in the Reg Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. "Forever, Darling" will be shown Sunday afternoon. "Lucy Under the Stars" will take place Friday and Saturday.

Sunday morning will present the opportunity to have pictures taken with an "I Love Lucy" legend, actress Shirley Mitchell. She had a recurring role as Lucy Ricardo's friend, Marion Strong, named for Lucille Ball's real-life Jamestown friend, Marion Strong VanVlack. The opportunity on the Ricardos' living room set in the Desilu Playhouse will be followed by a continental breakfast, then a special screening and question and answer session.

Major sponsors are Elegant Edibles Catering, TV Land, Artone Furniture, The Basket Co., Community Bank N.A., Desilu too, El Greco Baby & Kids, Falconer Printing & Design, Forte Restaurant, Garden of Eden, Habiterra, Hitchcock Signs, Jamestown FINDit.com, Jamestown Savings Bank, Jamestown Mattress Co., John S. Trusssalo CPA, Key Bank, Lake County Chrysler Dodge & Kia, Lakeview Computer Consulting, Lloyd and Company, M & T Bank, the Pepsi Bottling Group, Phillips Lytle, Rhoe B. Henderson Insurance, and Welch’s. Event prizes will be provided by Mattel, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, USAopoly and Vandor.

Many festival events are free and several ticketed events have limited admission. For a festival booklet and a complete listing of events, or to order tickets, call 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or visit online at www.lucy-desi.com. The Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine St., Lucy-Desi Gift Shop at 300 N. Main St. and Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. Third St. are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

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!”

May 11, 2006

Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, What's the Word?

So now that the final season of "I Love Lucy" has been released, I have had many people asking when the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour will be coming out on DVD. This follow-up series to "I Love Lucy" is a must for many Lucy fans worldwide.

Well, Tom Watson who runs the LucyFan.com website answered this question in his weekly newsletter:

    Officially, no... CBS/Paramount Home Video is still mulling-over the idea... Unofficially, I am almost certain that the company will issue the Lucy-Desi hour shows in one 13-episode DVD package. When? Again hazarding a guess -- probably in about a year. It normally takes that much time to gather up the elements (including possible "bonus" features), produce the discs and distribute them to the retail outlets. Stay tuned... We will keep you posted when more information becomes available...


Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated with any further developments as soon as they are known.

May 02, 2006

Lucille Ball highlights in new DVD collections

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz kick off these new-to-DVD movies and TV shows, all to be released today, May 2nd!

The Lucy and Desi Collection

"The Lucy and Desi Collection" (Warner, not rated, $29.92, three discs). Before "I Love Lucy," Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met when they worked in the movie "Too Many Girls." They did two more films together while "I Love Lucy" was on the air, and all three are packaged in this three-disc set.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz"Too Many Girls" (1940, b/w, full frame) is a cute, albeit silly, musical. It was a starring vehicle for Ball (whose singing voice is dubbed), and Arnaz is one of a foursome of charming Eastern university football players hired to be her bodyguards. Arnaz doesn't get the girl, but he does have a rousing number for the finale. The first film for Arnaz, Eddie Bracken and chorus boy Van Johnson.

"The Long, Long Trailer" (1954, color, full frame) is by far the best of these, a frequently funny slapstick farce that has Ball and Arnaz as newlyweds who take a traveling honeymoon in the title vehicle, which proves to be more than a little troublesome on the road. Ball is in top comic form, and Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn and Utah's own Moroni Olsen are great fun in support. (Robin Williams' "RV" owes something to this film.)

"Forever, Darling" (1956, color, widescreen) has Ball and Arnaz as a couple whose marriage is getting stale, so Ball's guardian angel (James Mason) appears and encourages her to go with her husband on a rugged two-year research trip for his newly developed insecticide. Occasionally amusing but overly sentimental.

Extras: Full frame/widescreen, vintage short films, vintage cartoons, trailers, language options (English, French on "Trailer" only), subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.

You can purchase each of these movies individually (Too Many Girls [VHS Only], The Long Long Trailor, Forever Darling) or save by buying them all together as a complete set through the Everything Lucy Store in association with Amazon.com.

I Love Lucy: The Complete Sixth Season

"I Love Lucy: The Complete Sixth Season" (CBS/Paramount, 1956-57, not rated, b/w, $54.99, four discs). This is the sixth and final season of this great sitcom, and it's fair to say they went out on top. The entire cast is still in peak form and there are some hilarious episodes here. Guest stars include Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Elsa Lanchester and George Reeves in his Superman persona. (Now let's hope CBS and Paramount get together for the 13-episode "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" that followed "I Love Lucy.")

Extras: Full frame, 27 episodes, audio commentaries, Christmas show, "Bob Hope Show" sketch, original openings/animation, cast commercials, bloopers, lost scenes, restored music, promos, text production notes, song selections, five episodes of "My Favorite Husband" radio show, language and subtitle options (English, Spanish), chapters.

You can purchase this complete set from the Everything Lucy Store through Amazon.com!

If you missed Seasons 1 through 6, you can purchase the complete I Love Lucy collection through the Everything Lucy Store! That's the complete I Love Lucy TV show, all complete episodes for every Season!

For more information on I Love Lucy or Lucille Ball, visit "Everything Lucy"!

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