Vivian Vance, the wonderful woman best known as Lucille Ball’s sidekick “Ethel Mertz” in "I Love Lucy", will be celebrated at three events during Lucy-Desi Days 2007 Memorial Day Weekend Festival in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, New York.
An actress and singer, Vance had a varied stage career before she defined the role of “second banana” on television. She was nominated for four Emmy Awards and was the first person to win as Best Supporting Actress. Following “I Love Lucy”, Vance was part of the cast in The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and The Lucy Show. She later made appearances in a number of television programs, as well as playing Maxine, who dispensed Maxwell House coffee in a series of television commercials.
The audience at the Friday, May 25, matinee of the CBS Television special Lucy Calls the President will enjoy Vivian Vance’s final television performance. First airing 30 years ago, the story has Lucy “Whittaker” trying to call President Jimmy Carter to complain about a federal housing project that would destroy a children’s camp. The special features many of the cast members from The Lucy Show.
This Lucille Ball Special is available from "Everything Lucy" as a Members-Only DVD. Register as a member for more information.
Immediately following is Friday afternoon’s Treasure Chest Boat Cruise, departing from Lucille Ball Memorial Park in the neighboring village of Celoron. Vivian Vance’s sister, Lou Ann Graham, will welcome visitors aboard the Summer Wind for a cruise on the same Lake Chautauqua Lucy Ricardo told Ethel Mertz about in “I Love Lucy”. Graham will share rare family artifacts, take questions from the audience, and offer little known background about her famous sister.
Saturday morning, May 26, We Love Lucy Fan Club President Tom Watson will host “A Tribute to Vivian Vance”. The event, sponsored by Jamestown Mattress Company, will feature a special video of Vance’s career highlights, live performance, and some surprises. Lou Ann Graham will share personal memories of her sister and family photos. Over $500 in door prizes are being provided by Aliz International.
Headlining Lucy-Desi Days 2007 will be Lucie Arnaz. Saturday evening, May 26, she will moderate the Legacy of Laughter (LOL) panel, and the next evening the talented singer and dancer will perform a concert in tribute to her father, Desi Arnaz.
Many Festival events are free and some ticketed events have limited admission. For a Festival booklet or to order tickets, call (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) ext. 203 or visit online at www.lucy-desi.com. The Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine Street, Lucy-Desi Gift Shop at 300 N. Main, and Desilu Playhouse at 2 W. 3rd - all in downtown Jamestown - are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.