A chair that once sat in Desi Arnaz's office at Desilu Cahuenga Studios has found its way to the Lucy-Desi Museum in Lucille Ball's hometown, Jamestown, New York.
Donated by the family of Jess Oppenheimer, the show’s creator, this green Barcalounger was one of a pair that decorated the Desilu Productions’ president’s office in the early 1950s. Vintage photographs of Desi’s office in Hollywood have been found that picture the chair with the writers of “I Love Lucy”.
Ric Wyman, executive director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, oversaw the pick up and crating of the chair during a recent trip to Los Angeles. He met with Mrs. Estelle Oppenheimer and her son, Gregg Oppenheimer, at the Oppenheimer home in Brentwood where the recliner had been since Desi gave it to Jess in 1956.
Of his family’s gift to the Lucy-Desi Center, Gregg Oppenheimer noted, “I’m pleased that Desi’s chair will finally end up where it belongs, at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center.”
Ship Smart, Inc., a highly respected small move company based in Aptos, California, was selected for the job of transporting Desi’s chair from Los Angeles to Jamestown, New York. “We’re honored to have been the firm chosen by the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center to transfer Desi’s chair from Los Angeles to the Lucy-Desi Museum in her hometown,” said Tim Kessler, Vice President of Ship Smart. “Lucy and Desi have left an amazing legacy and I’m personally happy to know that Ship Smart has played a role in delivering a significant artifact to their museum for their thousands of fans to enjoy.”
The chair is being incorporated into the Lucy-Desi Museum’s new exhibit titled “From The Collection Of...” which highlights unique Lucy-Desi items from other people’s collections. In addition to the chair (from the collection of the Jess Oppenheimer Family), currently on display are a dress Lucille Ball wore in the 1963 film Critic’s Choice (from the collection of Jane Withers), a cowgirl costume Lucy wore on The Donny & Marie Show in 1978 (from the collection of the costume’s designer, Ret Turner), and a ceramic dessert and coffee set Lucy owned (from the collection of Amy and Desi Arnaz, Jr.).
These treasures can be seen in the Lucy-Desi Museum at 212 Pine Street in Jamestown, New York. The Museum’s hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday and 1-5 pm on Sundays.