May 29, 2008

New "I Love Lucy" Collector Doll in Development

Mattel will be producing a limited edition "I Love Lucy" Ricky Ricardo doll for release later this year!

This limited edition will feature Ricky dressed as Santa from the memorable "I Love Lucy" Christmas Special which aired on Christmas Eve in 1956. It is expected to be available this Fall, 2008.

This is in addition to another Lucille Ball exclusive due out shortly by Summer.

This will make the 3rd "Santa" doll that featured Lucy, Ethel and now Ricky. All that is left is one for Fred, which now will be expected.

My only thoughts are that there are so many outfits of so many characters from the "I Love Lucy" show for Lucy that I wonder why Mattel is focusing on one episode. As for costs, this is a cheap way of making a profit for Mattel on this series as the outfit is the same for all characters. But I personally would like to see just Lucy in various outfits from other characters she has played during the "I Love Lucy" show.

Let's not get into the discussion of DVDs from her other series - especially when they release "That Girl" series from the 60s on DVD and even today's shows that are still being shown on TV! As soon as a season is done, they produce DVDs from today's shows - Where's "The Lucy Show", "Here's Lucy" and "Life With Lucy" DVD Series?

Oh, well, we Lucy fans will still wait and take what we can get for now, but we should demand for more from the studios and from Mattel.

May 25, 2008

Lucy-Desi Days Begins Celebration

From the Jamestown Post Journal, The "First Lady Of Comedy" may be gone, but her legacy lives forever, especially during Memorial Day Weekend in Jamestown as Lucy-Desi Days 2008 opened downtown Friday.

The Lucy-Desi Days 2008 weekend is full of both free and paid-admission events, complimented by the attendance of several celebrities and vendors in the streets of downtown Jamestown.

Also, Future clowns learn the basics. Visitors to Lucy-Desi Days got a taste of one of the most time-honored comedic styles during ‘‘Clowning 101.’’

The class was part of the event’s Komedy Kollege attraction, which also featured juggling and balloon animal lessons during the weekend.

May 20, 2008

Jamestown Welcomes Lucille Ball Fans

As reported by Sarah Crump from The Plain Dealer, Jamestown, NY welcomes all who love Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Are you an adoring fan of "I Love Lucy" 57 years after the show's premiere? You can't pay better homage to Lucille Ball than to journey to her hometown, Jamestown, N.Y., Friday through Sunday, May 25, for an annual festival in her honor.

More than 40 events, many free, highlight Lucy-Desi Days, a well-done community effort toasting Jamestown's favorite star and her husband, Desi Arnaz. For a complete listing of events, go to www.lucy-desi.com.

There will be competitions determining the best snail snackers, spaghetti eaters and salad dressing pushers, a la "Lucy" episodes, as well as appearances by celebrities. Melody Thomas Scott, "Nikki" of "The Young and the Restless," and Wilmer Valderrama of "That '70s Show" and "Yo Momma" will talk about how Lucy and Desi influenced their careers. A weekend-long collectors show, trivia contests, bus tours of landmarks and a scavenger hunt will be among the fun stuff.

Visitors should stop at the Lucy-Desi Museum, which traces the personal and professional lives of the couple, and the Desilu Playhouse, a museum devoted to "I Love Lucy" that includes the Ricardos' New York apartment set.

Can't make it to Jamestown on Memorial Day weekend? Jamestown will host another Lucy festival Friday, Aug. 1-Sunday, Aug. 3.

Komedy Kollege Workshops To Be Part Of Lucy-Desi Days


The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center will host a Komedy Kollege to teach such clown techniques as juggling, clowning and balloon tying.

Lucille Ball performed with numerous famous clowns, including Red Skelton and Harpo Marx. Teaching the skills supports the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center’s mission to enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter. Hour-long classes will be held each day at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Jamestown.

On Friday, May 23, professional juggler Dave Fultz of Kenmore will teach Juggling 101. All necessary props will be provided, including balls, cigar boxes, flower sticks and spinning plates. A juggler for more than 30 years, he has participated in juggling conventions and workshops including the annual Spring Juggle-In at Rochester Institute of Technology and Buffalo’s International Juggling Convention. His professional appearances include the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Bisons, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo Public Schools.

On Saturday, May 24, multiple award-winning Squeeze the Clown will lead two sessions of Clowning 101. The classes will cover the different types of clowns, their origins, costuming and behaviors as well as discussion of comedy movement and what creates laughter. One of the top 10 clowns in the Clowns of America International competition, Squeeze has won silver and bronze medals at the World Clown Association and placed first for three consecutive years at the Mid Atlantic Clown Association. On Sunday, May 25, Squeeze will teach Ballooning 101.

A limited number of tickets are available for the workshops. For a festival booklet or to order tickets, call 484-0800, ext. 203, or visit the Lucy-Desi Center’s Web site.

Lucie Arnaz brings cabaret act to Peterborough


Peterborough, New Hampshire - Star of stage, screen, radio and television, Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, will perform at the Peterborough Players' Monadnock region theater on Saturday, May 17.

In Peterborough, Arnaz will be joined on stage by Abel, a writer, composer and producer known for his work on Broadway and beyond. In the past year, he has written, produced, arranged, orchestrated and/or conducted for vocalists ranging from pop artist Taylor Dayne to opera vocalist Jessye Norman. He recently produced and arranged new albums for Deborah Gibson (“Colored Lights: The Broadway Album”) and Valarie Pettiford (“Hear My Soul”). He is co-creator and arranger of the Broadway musical “Blame It On The Movies.” He is composing the musical score for a new Broadway musical titled “Bricktop, which features classic songs from “The Great American Songbook,” as well as Abel’s original music with lyrics by his partner, lyricist Chuck Steffan.

“Lucie Arnaz Cabaret” will take place at the Peterborough Players Theatre, where an ongoing 75th anniversary celebration is under way through 2008. The theater’s summer season begins in June with “Harvey,” a comedy by Mary Chase, and will continue through November, with special events planned throughout the season.

Tickets for Lucie Arnaz Cabaret range from $90 to $150 and include a post-concert reception with Arnaz. For more information call the Peterborough Players at 924-9344 or log onto peterboroughplayers.org.

May 19, 2008

Ricky Ricardo: The 'Mr. Babalu' Next Door

Listen to the National Public Radio special tribute to Desi Arnaz.

When I Love Lucy appeared in 1951, mainstream America knew very little about Latino culture.

Ricky Ricardo changed all that: His heavily accented English — and his rapid-fire Spanish — were as new to some parts of the country as TV itself.

And then there was the music. Ricky Ricardo may have been a fictional character, but he played very real music.

I've been playing congas for 35 years, and I can't tell you the number of times people have come up to my drums, unable to resist trying out a drumroll and crooning the opening phrase of Ricky's signature "Babalu."

Of course like everything else about him, Ricky Ricardo's version of "Babalu" was a mix of fact and fiction.


Read more from this special tribute to Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo.

May 12, 2008

Lucie Arnaz Presents at International Humor Conference in June

Lucy-Desi Center members will receive a special discount to attend the 52nd international conference on “The Positive Power of Humor and Creativity” on June 20-22 on majestic Lake George in New York. This learning-filled, laughter-fueled, life-changing conference is sponsored by The HUMOR Project, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Joel Goodman in 1977 as the first organization in the world to focus full-time on the positive power of humor.

A kindred spirit with Lucie Arnaz and the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, The HUMOR Project seeks to enrich the world through the invigorating, healing powers of love, laughter, and the gift of humor. Its funtastic conferences have attracted 21,000+ people from all 50 states and six continents and have featured appearances by Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Victor Borge, Bob Newhart, Carol Channing, Art Buchwald, Jay Leno, Al Roker, the Smothers Brothers, and even Elmo from Sesame Street. The HUMOR Project’s Speakers Bureau and HUMOResources on-line bookstore have reached, touched, and tickled more than three million people around the globe.

This year’s wonderful weekend conference features a special appearance by Lucie Arnaz, who will accept the Laughtime Achievement Award on behalf of her parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. During the weekend, Lucie will moderate the LOL (Legacy of Laughter) panel sponsored by TV Land. She will also present a special session on “Up Close and Personal with Lucie Arnaz” in a picturesque setting where the mountains cascade into “The Queen of American Lakes."

This unique, fun-of-a-kind conference is based on Goodman’s philosophy that “Humor makes a serious difference. In this challenging world, we need humor, hope, healing and creativity more than ever to survive and thrive and to prevent a hardening of the attitudes. This weekend offers dozens of programs designed to look at the positive power of humor and creativity in business, health care, education, government, non-profit organizations, the family, and other settings. In short, it’s a wonderful way to kick off Summer and get more smileage out of your life and work.”

Conference Coordinator Margie Ingram adds, “The HUMOR Project is delighted to celebrate the legacy of the First Couple of Comedy and to host Lucie’s spirit-lifting, thought-provoking panel at our conference. You are in for a triple LOL experience this weekend: Laughing Out Loud while Learning Out Loud about the Legacy Of Laughter. Along the way, you will learn ways to add years to your life… and life to your years.”

So, if you are looking for a HUMORetreat that offers HUMORenewal, HUMOResilience, and HUMORejuvenation, you can get more information on the June 20-22 conference by visiting www.HumorProject.com/conference. You can also request a free copy of the 2008 Humor Sourcebook (see pages 11-23 for a description of the conference). To register at special reduced rates, call 518-587-8770 by June 1 and use the code “I LOVE LUCY.”

May 10, 2008

Desi Arnaz Paid Tribute By "That 70s Show" Star

Wilmer Valderrama, star of That ‘70s Show and Fast Food Nation and creator and host of MTV’s Yo Momma, will be in Jamestown, New York, on Saturday, May 24, to celebrate Desi Arnaz’s contributions to the world of entertainment

“Fez” from That ‘70s Show will take the stage of the Reg Lenna Civic Center at 8 pm for “A Tribute to Desi Arnaz: An Evening With Wilmer Valderrama.” He will share how Desi personally inspired his career and salute the man that paved the way for other Hispanic actors in America. With a collection of rarely seen film clips of Desi’s career, this will be a night not to miss! The audience will also enjoy a question and answer session. The event is being sponsored by Advertising Advantage and Bank of America.

Immediately following the stage event, guests will have the opportunity to meet Wilmer at a limited admission gala reception sponsored by Taco Hut/B&B Catering.

While Wilmer was born in Miami, his family moved to Venezuela, his father’s native country, when he was three years old. When he was 13, they moved to Los Angeles. He learned English with the help of television shows like “I Love Lucy”.

Wilmer began taking drama classes in high school and was soon appearing professionally. From 1998-2006, he played Fez on That ‘70s Show; he was a junior in high school when the pilot episode was filmed. Since 2006, he has produced and hosted the MTV series Yo Momma. He recently launched his own men’s fashion label, Calavena.

Wilmer voiced Rodrigo in Clifford’s Really Big Movie, and voices the main character, Manny, in the Disney Channel’s Handy Manny series for preschoolers. His other film credits include Summer Catch, Party Monster, Beauty Shop, The Darwin Awards, Unaccompanied Minors, El Muerto, The Condor, Save the Date, and ChiPS that will be released in 2009. Other big screen film projects Wilmer is currently starring in include Days of Wrath and Columbus Day, both of which are slated for release later this year.

Wilmer’s appearance in Jamestown headlines more than 40 events during Lucy-Desi Days Memorial Day Weekend Festival, May 23-25.

For a Festival booklet and to order tickets, call (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN) ext. 203 or visit online at www.lucy-desi.com.

May 07, 2008

Lucy-Desi Center Reestablishes Lucille Ball Scholarship

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York, has reestablished a scholarship at Jamestown Community College in the name of Jamestown native Lucille Ball.

The language establishing the new scholarship states:

In commemoration of Lucille Ball’s commitment to Jamestown Community College by initially establishing the Lucille Ball Scholarship in 1956, and

In recognition of the determination and hard work that – despite her being sent home from New York City’s John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton School of Drama with a message to her mother that she had no talent – led to her being accepted internationally as The Queen of Comedy, and

In acknowledgement of her business acumen as the first woman to head a major Hollywood studio, Desilu Productions – the largest production studio at the time – and personally championing the creation of Star Trek and Mission Impossible,

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in her hometown, Jamestown, New York, establishes the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund.


The scholarship is designated “to assist a Jamestown Community College student pursuing an Associates Degree in performing arts (theatre, music) or business with no less than a 2.0 G.P.A. Special consideration will be given to students who show exceptional drive and determination and/or who have overcome unusual challenges. Exceptional talent, alone, is not a determining qualification. Student must demonstrate financial need.”

Ten initial funders from across the country each provided $1,000 to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to launch the new endowment. They are Ford and Jane Blaney (IN), Chris and Tricia Olsen (CA), William Peck (in memory of Barbara “Bonnie” Johnson) (NJ), Melody Thomas Scott (CA), Todd and Alexis Singleton (NY), Ken Souza (CA), Wanda Clark Stamatovich (OK), William and Barbara Stubbs (in memory of Marion Strong Stubbs VanVlack) (VA), Darrell Vail (Washington, D.C.), and Lou Weiss (NY). William Peck made an additional contribution so that the first Lucille Ball scholarship could be awarded this spring.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz originally announced their creation of a scholarship at Jamestown Community College when they visited Jamestown in 1956 for the world premiere of their MGM film, Forever, Darling. Initial funder Chris Olsen’s mother, Janice, was their homecoming queen, and a picture of Desi crowning Janice graced the front page of the local newspapers. The scholarship continued until Lucy and Desi’s Hollywood production studio, Desilu Studios, was sold to Gulf & Western in 1967.

Randy Sweeney, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, stated, “Lucille Ball made a longstanding mark on the business and entertainment world with her many accomplishments. The Community Foundation is excited to be able to administer this scholarship which may provide the necessary assistance to a person pursuing a similar career through Jamestown Community College.”

Additional individuals can be designated “inaugural contributors” by making a donation to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) earmarked for the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund by June 15, 2008. Online gifts to the fund can be made through CRCF’s website at www.crcfonline.org.

Scholarship application forms are available through the Jamestown Community College Financial Aid Office.

Original I Love Lucy Script to be Auctioned

For collectors of Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and “I Love Lucy” memorabilia, Jamestown, New York is the place to be on Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25! With both a Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction and an extensive Collectors’ Show, Lucy-Desi Days 2008 in The Queen of Comedy’s hometown offers rare treasures for seasoned collectors as well as affordable starter items for the beginner.

With a preview for ticket holders at 12:45 pm on Saturday, May 24, the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction will offer more than 100 vintage items grouped by themes: advertisements, retired collectibles, comic books, dolls, postage stamps, and more. Of special interest will be a collection of color candid snapshots from a party held in the backyard of Lucille Ball’s Beverly Hills home in the mid 1970’s. Party guests seen in the photos include Farrah Fawcett, Lee Majors, Mel Brooks, Mary Wickes, Dom DeLuise, Lucie Arnaz, Eva Gabor, Allen Ludden, Dick Van Patten, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gary Morton, Chuck Wollery, and others. A cleverly designed one-of-a-kind “Lucy”-themed storage trunk will also be offered as will an original “I Love Lucy” script from 1953. And there will be an opportunity to bid on three Mattel Ethel Mertz limited edition (only 999 made) Santa dolls.

The auction is sponsored by Ludwig Auction & Realty Co. and will be held at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, 116 E. Third Street in downtown Jamestown.

Another weekend-long opportunity for both collectors and just the curious is the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Collectors’ Show at 217 N. Main Street. The Show’s hours are 10 am-4 pm on Friday and Sunday (May 23 and 25), and 9 am-5 pm on Saturday (May 24). Among the offerings will be Lucy-Desi collector plates, dolls, movie posters, magazines, and more. The show is limited to vintage and out-of-production collectibles. Admission to the Collectors’ Show is free.

Also at the Collectors’ Show site will be a professional photo opportunity on Friday 1-3 pm, Saturday 11 am-3 pm, and Sunday 12-4 pm. Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Lucy”, Diane Vincent, and her sidekick “Ethel,” actress Rhonda Medina, will stop by to pose with visitors from 2-3 pm each day.

Another terrific shopping opportunity will be during the Lucy-Desi Museum Members Only Party from 8-9:30 on Saturday morning, May 26. In addition to a special screening and refreshments provided by The Donut Connection, the Lucy-Desi Museum will feature some amazing sales and a unique opportunity to win an Ethel Mertz limited edition Santa doll. Memberships are available at the door.

For more information 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 am to 5:30 pm Monday-Saturday and 1-5 pm Sundays.

Lucille Ball in the News

Better late then never! Some news features these past few weeks (or maybe month) that featured our beloved redhead.

Lucille Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz performed with Robert Klein at The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on April 19th. As reported by The Buffalo News, Marvin Hamlisch presided over the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pops evening of Broadway hits topped by a semi-dramatized treatment of "They're Playing Our Song." Klein and Arnaz played the lead roles, just as they did 30 years ago.

Theatre At Sea - The Theatre Guild presents it's 36th Cruise with cast that includes Lucie Arnaz, her husband, Laurence Luckinbill among others. Cruse On board the Crystal Serenity, sailing from Venice, around Italy to Monte Carlo, Monaco September 12-24, 2008.

As reported in Playbill, Lucie Arnaz's daugther, Katharine Luckinbill will appear in the cast of Alexandros, Melinda Lopez's comedy about a Latino family celebrating a milestone, will begin its world premiere run May 27 at The Laguna Playhouse in California.

TVSquad features 17 comedic actors who moved into dramatic television roles. Of course, Lucille Ball who appeared in over 80 movies in her lifetime had many dramatic roles, the last of which was 1985's Stone Pillow.

AOL's Top 50 Best Comedies - Ever features I Love Lucy at #9. With number one going to The Simpsons for it's longest running comedy on TV from 1989 and still going!

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