Two festival favorites will be part of Lucille Ball’s Birthday Celebration, August 3-5 in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball’s hometown.
Fans love to demonstrate their knowledge of the 179 “I Love Lucy” episodes, so no festival would be complete without a Trivia Contest. Host John Schillner says the Saturday morning event will have a new and fun twist. “All the questions will be related to images that will be on the big screen in the Reg Lenna Civic Center,” Schillner revealed. “Since these are ‘behind the scenes’ pictures from the show, it will be a lot of fun!”
Prizes worth more than $500 are provided by Vandor, the giftware company whose “I Love Lucy” products include cookie jars, salt and pepper shakers, kitchenware, stationery products, purses, collectible tins, holiday ornaments, and more.
First-time festival visitors will want to be sure to be on one of the Lucytown Tours that depart from in front of the Lucy-Desi Museum on Pine Street at 10 am, 1 and 4 pm each day. Popular guide Lucy Studd will point out more than two dozen locations in Jamestown and neighboring Celoron that were significant in the early life of The Queen of Comedy. A special video, made possible through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, will give passengers a look back to Lucy’s time. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is providing samples for all, plus a door prize for every tour.
As a different celebrity Mystery Guest will be part of each trip, riders could find themselves traveling with Lucy’s personal secretary or driver, the author of the newest “Lucy” book, an actor from “I Love Lucy”, a famous costume designer, or even Jerry Maren, an original munchkin from The Wizard of Oz! The tours conclude with a stop at Lake View Cemetery, where Lucille Ball is buried with her family.
WIZARD OF OZ GUEST CELEBRITY
Of the more than 30 events planned for Lucy’s Birthday Celebration weekend, the highlight will be Jerry Maren, the munchkin who handed the giant lollipop to Dorothy after her house was whisked away by a tornado and landed somewhere “over the rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz. The 1939 film is number six on the American Film Institute’s list of America’s 100 greatest movies.
The Junior Guilders of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown are preparing a very special opening for “I Remember Lucy: An Evening with Jerry Maren” at 8 pm on Saturday, August 4, in the Reg Lenna Civic Center in Lucille Ball’s hometown.
Directed by Helen Merrill, this troupe of young singers and dancers has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Universal Studios Florida, Disney World, the Mel Tillis Stage in Branson, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, outside London, England, and at the Palace of Versailles near Paris. Mrs. Merrill reported that her more than 30 performers are “extremely excited to be part of Lucy’s Birthday Celebration and to be performing at the Reg!” In addition to selections from The Wizard of Oz, the Guilders will perform “Jamestown, New York”, written by Jamestown’s 10,000 Maniacs. This song, with The Guilders’ own unique “Lucy” words -- “birthplace of the world’s greatest comic star” – is a part of all their performances.
Featured guest Jerry Maren has been in 39 movies and numerous television shows, including the Our Gang series, Battle for the Planet of The Apes, Seinfeld, Bewitched, The Gong Show, and Lucille Ball’s third weekly television series, Here’s Lucy. The diminutive actor also appeared as Buster Brown, Little Oscar (Mayer), Mayor McCheese, and the Hamburglar. The Marx Brothers, Andy Williams and Buddy Ebsen are among the many stars with whom he has worked.
“An Evening with Jerry Maren” will include video clips of some of his appearances, and Maren will share memories of his varied experiences when he’s interviewed by popular Jamestown radio personality Jim Roselle. More than $500 in door prizes will be given away, courtesy of Mattel.
Tickets are still available for the limited admission reception sponsored by Elegant Edibles that will follow the theatre event.
LUCY ARTWORK DISPLAYED IN VISIONS OF LUCY
Lucille Ball’s Birthday Celebration is continuing an exciting tradition in her hometown this year! Original artwork on exhibit through August 1 at Thomas Mason Fine Arts, 318 N. Main Street in downtown Jamestown, New York, will be put up for bid in the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction on Saturday, August 4.
Now in its eighth year, “Visions of Lucy” was the brainstorm of Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center Board President Lucie Arnaz and Executive Director Ric Wyman. This year’s submissions are paintings and sculptures by artists Brigitte Baldwin of Corning, New York; David Ciampichini of Summit, New Jersey; Fred Griese of Buffalo; and Susan Wolfe of Clymer, New York. All can be seen and -- for those who cannot be at the auction -- bid on at www.lucy-desi.com.
In addition to the artwork, the auction will offer over 100 vintage Lucy-Desi memorabilia items, plus special one-of-a-kind collectibles, including Vivian Vance memorabilia. The auction is sponsored and conducted by Ludwig Auction & Realty Co. and will be held at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, 116 E. Third Street in downtown Jamestown. The preview for ticket holders opens at 12:30 pm, with the bidding beginning at 1:37 pm.
Another opportunity for both collectors and just the curious throughout the August 3-5 weekend is the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Collectors’ Show. Hours for the show at 217 N. Main Street are 10 am-4 pm Friday, 9 am-5 pm Saturday, and 10 am-4 pm Sunday. Among the vintage and out-of-production offerings will be movie posters, collector plates, dolls, comic books, magazines, and more. Admission to the Collectors’ Show is free.
The Lucy-Desi Photo Op at the Collectors’ Show will allow visitors to have their photograph taken professionally on Friday, 1-3 pm; Saturday, 11 am-3 pm; and Sunday, noon-4 pm. A different Lucy-Desi backdrop will be featured each day.
SHIRLEY MITCHELL TO HOST BOAT CRUISE
Ms. Mitchell will welcome passengers aboard the beautiful Summer Wind for a cruise on Chautauqua Lake, the same lake Lucy Ricardo talked about on “I Love Lucy”. The actress is coming from California to share personal memories, take questions from passengers, and relate some behind-the-scenes stories about the world’s most popular redhead.
Shirley Mitchell appeared on numerous classic TV series including Dragnet, Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Green Acres, Three’s Company, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and even lent her voice for the Scooby Doo cartoon series. Her film credits include Desk Set, Big Business, and The War of the Roses. But “I Love Lucy” fans know her best as Marion Strong, the cackling friend of Lucy Ricardo. Her character was named for The Queen of Comedy’s real life Jamestown friend, Marion Strong VanVlack.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Shirley Mitchell made four appearances on Lucille Ball’s popular radio program My Favorite Husband before taking on the role of Marion Strong in “I Love Lucy”. She appeared in “Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress” (Episode #69), “Lucy’s Club Dance” (Episode #91), and “Lucy Tells the Truth” (Episode #72), in which her unforgettable laugh prompted Lucy to say, “Stop cackling, Marion, I've been waiting ten years for you to lay that egg!”
Lucy’s Birthday Party Boat Cruise will depart from Lucille Ball Memorial Park in the village of Celoron at 3:30 pm on Sunday afternoon, August 5. Admission is limited for this event, one of more than 30 planned for the weekend.
NEW LUCY BOOK BEING PREVIEWED DURING CELEBRATION
Lucy’s Birthday Celebration in Jamestown, New York, will feature the world debut of the newest book about Lucille Ball.
While Lucy at the Movies’ official publication date isn’t until later this fall, the Lucy-Desi Center has made special arrangements to have copies of it available for visitors to the August 3-5 festival!
Author Cindy De La Hoz will be coming from her home in Philadelphia to Lucy’s hometown to autograph and talk about her first book.
At 8 pm Friday evening, August 3, Ms. De La Hoz will host “Lucy at the Movies: A Tribute to Lucille Ball’s Film Career” at the Reg Lenna Civic Center in downtown Jamestown. Sponsored by Garden of Eden, this event will salute the Queen of Comedy through a collection of film clips that span more than 40 years. A Lucille Ball fan since the age of nine, Ms. De La Hoz will share fun trivia and behind-the-scenes facts between classic film clips of the Queen of Comedy’s big screen work. A book signing will follow the event.
Known primarily for her television work, Lucille Ball was also in 79 movies over the course of her extensive career. Most of these films were known as “B movies” in the 1930s and 1940s. The 368-page hardcover Lucy at the Movies features hundreds of photos of The Queen of the B’s”.
Lucie Arnaz acknowledged Ms. De La Hoz’s accomplishment with the observation, “This was an enormous undertaking. But it’s clear that it was also a labor of love. I know my mother would be very impressed and flattered by your dedication to her film work and chronicling her career in general.”
Cindy De La Hoz will speak with visitors and autograph her book throughout the weekend in the gift shop of the Desilu Playhouse, the museum that celebrates the “I Love Lucy” television show at 2 West Third Street in downtown Jamestown.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
All of the Schedule of Events for this August’s “Lucy’s Birthday Celebration” festival are now online.
For more information or to order tickets for Festival events, call (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) 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. Monday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.