Jamestown, NY – One is the Queen of comedy. The other, the Princess. They appeared in each other’s television series. They were friends for years.
When Carol Burnett awoke on her 56th birthday in 1989, she learned on the morning news that Lucille Ball had died. Later that afternoon, the flowers she received every year arrived at her home with the note “Happy Birthday, Kid. Love, Lucy.”
Recently, Carol Burnett called the executive director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Ball’s hometown to ask, “How can I help?” Executive director Ric Wyman reported, “Naturally, my first response was to invite her to Jamestown, New York. While Ms. Burnett agreed that she hopes to be able to visit here some day, she was more immediately able to provide us with something we’ve wanted for a long time.”
As a result, her hometown museum now holds in its archives a copy of every installment of The Carol Burnett Show in which Lucille Ball appeared.
“Because these episodes of The Carol Burnett Show are not available on home video or in syndication, we believe they’ve not been seen since their original air dates,” Wyman said. Ms. Burnett has generously given the Lucy-Desi Center permission to incorporate this footage into future exhibits at the Lucy-Desi Museum.
“From an archival perspective, these programs have also been invaluable in helping us document the wardrobe that Lucy wore on these shows. Until Ms. Burnett’s offer to help, we had no images of Lucy from these TV appearances—no footage, no photographs,” Wyman said. “We have many costumes and personal attire in our archives for which our collections manager continues to research the provenance. These programs helped document several costumes for us,” Wyman noted.
What inspired Carol Burnett to call? Wyman explained, “Ret Turner, a five-time Emmy award winning costume designer—who designed several gowns for Lucy—is also a close friend of Ms. Burnett’s. Ret has been a staunch supporter of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center for several years and was with us in Jamestown this summer. Earlier this year, Ret shared his experiences of the Lucy-Desi Center with Ms. Burnett. This lead to Ms. Burnett’s call to us,” Wyman said.
With the strong connection between these two iconic comediennes, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center’s collection is greatly enhanced by the addition of these offerings.
For more information about the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, call (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) or visit their website.