August 28, 2009

Is This the END of I Love Lucy on TV?

I Love Lucy which had been airing on The Hallmark Channel since it was purchased from TV Land has been turned off. Hallmark picked up I Love Lucy when the show's contract with TV Land expired at the end of 2008. It began airing the show in January 2009 but only 8 months later after moving the show around to various timeslots throughout the day and night has decided to call it quits. So this means I Love Lucy is totally off the schedule now and for the first time in 58 years is not shown anywhere nationally on TV sets across America.

Will it return sometime on Hallmark or will they sell it off to another network, only time will tell. This classic and timeless treasure has been hushed and this is a sad day for us Lucy fans.

You can contact the Hallmark Channel and politely suggest they return I Love Lucy to the daytime schedule or sale the contract to another network that will continue to air this all-time American classic.

August 18, 2009

Here's Lucy Season 2 DVD Coming in November

Even before the release of Lucille Ball's third show on DVD, "Here's Lucy" Season 1 DVD is arriving in retail in just one week on August 25th, MPI Home Video just announced the release of Season 2!

Fans that attended the celebration of Lucille Ball's birthday earlier this month in Jamestown by the Lucy-Desi Museum were treated to a sneak peak preview of the DVD.

The legendary queen of television comedy, Lucille Ball, is joined by her real-life children in her third long-running sitcom success. Ball plays Lucille Carter, widowed mother of teenagers Kim and Craig, portrayed by Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. Lucy works for her brother-in-law, played by Gale Gordon, who owns Carter's Unique Employment Agency, leading Lucy into endless predicaments and hilarious hijinks.

The complete second season of HERE'S LUCY (1968-74, CBS-TV) features all 24 color episodes uncut and digitally remastered for superior quality, plus a wealth of new and never-before-seen special features. Guest stars include Vivian Vance, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Milton Berle, Ann-Margret, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Lawrence Welk, Wally Cox and Patty Andrews of The Andrews Sisters.

You can expect HERE'S LUCY Season 2 to hit the stores on November 3rd. The 24 episodes will run 610 minutes, and are presented in remastered full-screen video, and English audio.

August 10, 2009

Ethel to get own postage stamp

The Kansas girl born Vivian Roberta Jones now has a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of her birth.

The world knows her as Vivian Vance, and she became one of America's "best friends" in the 1950s when she played Ethel Mertz on the "I Love Lucy" TV series.

Vance was born July 26, 1909, in Cherryvale. She died in 1979.

On August 11th, her surviving relatives will celebrate the release of the stamps in her hometown post office, along with postal authorities. Vance's stamp is one of 20 the U.S. Postal Service is introducing nationally.

The series of stamps called Early TV Memories, highlights some of America's favorite television shows, including "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Honeymooners" and "You Bet Your Life."

"The stamps are calling cards for America's rich cultural history," said Richard Watkins, postal service spokesman in Kansas City. "We are excited Vivian Vance's hometown is recognizing her contributions to groundbreaking television."

Vance's relatives, including her second cousins, Imogene Ragan Littell, Jack Ragan and Carolyn Clark, will make a presentation along with Postmaster Daniel Wishall at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 309 W. Sixth St. in Cherryvale.

Although Vance was born in Cherryvale, when she was six, her family moved to Independence. After graduating from the Independence High School, Vivian changed her last name to Vance and moved to Tulsa to find work as an actress.

She soon developed a successful Broadway career and, in 1951, was tapped by Desi Arnaz as "Ethel" for the "I Love Lucy" show.

Playing second fiddle to Lucille Ball in the series, Vance was Ethel Mertz — a frumpy housewife and landlord to Ball's zany Lucy.

Together they would create some of television's most memorable comic moments.

Take, for example, the time Ethel and Lucy decide to work on an assembly line at Kramer's Kandy Kitchen: The chocolates keep coming and coming, and both of them end up stuffing chocolates in their hats, blouses and mouths.

Vance was so good as Ethel that in 1954 she was awarded an Emmy for best supporting actress. She was nominated in 1955, 1957 and 1958 in the same category.

In 1991, "I Love Lucy" was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

The show debuted Oct. 15, 1951. The series continued until May 6, 1957.

By then, "I Love Lucy" had become an American icon. Today, the show is still seen in reruns around the world.

August 08, 2009

Lucille Ball Statue Unveiled in Lucille Ball Memorial Park

The Post Journal, Jamestown, NY: CELORON - It was with wild applause and cheering that Lucille Ball's birthday celebration kicked off Friday morning with the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of the First Lady of Comedy.

The opening ceremonies were, for the first time ever, held at Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, where Lucille Ball spent her childhood.

The statue is close to a paved walking path and faces the parking lot.

Donated by Celoron residents Mark and Jetta Wilson, the statue was crafted by artist Dave Poulin, who has created more than 100 life-sized bronze figures throughout Jamestown, the United States and the world.

''About 10 years ago, I had a building for sale in downtown Jamestown,'' Wilson said. ''Dave purchased the building and we did some creative financing. He made a statue of Lucille Ball for us as part of his payment and we gratefully accepted. We decided to donate it to the village of Celoron. This has honestly been an ongoing project for years, and we're extremely happy with the end result.''

Mrs. Wilson said she was ''extremely pleased'' with the statue.

''It's just perfect to have a statue of Lucy here in her hometown,'' Mrs. Wilson said. ''We wanted her in the pose from Vitametavegamin - everyone has a picture of that in their minds - and it's just perfect.''

The Wilsons said they were both intrigued and impressed by Poulin.

''Right from the beginning, we were intrigued by his vision, his creativity, his talent and his work ethic,'' Mrs. Wilson said of him. ''He is passionate, strives for excellence and has excellent attention to detail. Those qualities in Dave remind us of Lucy and we hope this statue reminds the world of her and makes this a better place for laughter and love.''

Poulin said he was ''thrilled and humbled'' to be part of bringing Lucille Ball back to her hometown.

''There's always a special feeling I have when, as an artist, I get a chance to make art that connects and resonates with people,'' he said. ''Some projects are just meant to be. I feel blessed to be part of this. To see this come to fruition and actually have a bronze of Lucy in the area is just a thrill.''

The statue was brought to the park on Thursday and installed. A life-sized bronze statue, it weighs 400 pounds and was created in Poulin's studio on East 1st Street.

Poulin said the process begins with a clay model that is turned to bronze through a process called the lost wax process. Through the process, the clay model is dismantled and divided into small sections which are painted with silicone rubber and filled with molten wax. Each wax section is coated with several layers of ceramic and placed in an oven that is pre-heated to 1,800 degrees. That eliminates the wax and leaves the ceramic shell, which is then filled with molten bronze that is as hot as 2,100 degrees.

''Everything for the statue was done locally and she's here in a local park,'' Poulin said. ''To me, that's especially fitting.''

The birthday celebration will be ongoing this weekend with a number of events including a Karaoke Costume Cabaret on Saturday night and special events with Lucy and Ricky Ricardo impersonators. For a full schedule of events, visit www.lucydesi.com.

August 06, 2009

Lucy-Desi Center Names New Director

As reported by The Post-Journal, Jamestown, NY: After months of uncertainty, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is ready to move toward a future that, by all accounts, looks bright.

The center's future began Monday, when Falconer native Corie Curtis took the helm at the center as its new executive director. Ms. Curtis, who has more than a decade's worth of experience in marketing, strategic planning, event execution, brand identity management and budget development, said the ''timing was absolutely perfect.''

''It's a little ironic,'' she said. ''I was living in Rhode Island in 2002, when an opportunity first became available here at the center. My mother insisted it was the perfect opportunity for me and said she wished I'd move home. But at the time, I liked what I was doing and really didn't want to go anywhere. But this time around, it seemed like everything just lined up and fell into place. I feel much more poised, personally and professionally, to take on this role now as opposed to where I was six years ago.''

Mike LaTone, president of the center's board of directors and its former acting executive director, said he was ''very pleased'' that Ms. Curtis had joined the center. LaTone said hundreds of people from across the country had applied for the position, but said Ms. Curtis was ''the definite standout.''

''There's so much excitement right now from the board and from the employees,'' he said. ''We've got someone in Ms. Curtis who has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. There's so many different directions she'll be going in that it's really hard to characterize it.''

That might be putting it mildly. Less than 48 hours on the job, Ms. Curtis had already put together a lengthy to-do list that included some ''operational fine-tuning,'' an examination of the center's volunteer policy, some ''not-so-glamorous housekeeping things'' to make the center more efficient and cost-effective and time spent more specifically defining the center's overall mission.

''I'm very fortunate to come into something like this,'' she said. ''The house is definitely in order and it's clear to me that this place has been loved for a long time. I think we've got a good, solid team here, a first-class facility and, obviously, an enviable mission. I can't wait to get started.''

Ms. Curtis has spent more than a decade in the hospitality industry and said she wants to bring that focus to the relationships the center has with the community and other organizations it will collaborate with.

''One thing I have learned is that you can't operate in a bubble or be a stand-alone organization,'' she said. ''That's never going to work. Right from the get-go, I am focusing on ways we can leverage our relationships. There is a big focus on tourism in this community and I think it's important for all of the organizations to help one another. It's a win-win for the organizations, for us, and for the community. It's just good business.''

Ms. Curtis holds a degree in advertising and communications from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. In June 1996, she began work as the university's institutional relations coordinator before becoming its director of special events in November 1996. She spent nearly three years as the university's director of advancement relations before moving to Hospitality Wares Inc. in 2005 as its executive director of operations. In 2007, she became the general manager at Invision Products.

For three years until 2008, she served as the volunteer executive director of the Feed Their Dreams Children's Foundations. She has also worked as a member of the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education and, in 2004, served as the fundraising consultant for the Rhode Island Hospitality & Tourism Association's capital campaign.

''We chose Corie because she is a big part of what's going to put us at the level we want to be at,'' LaTone said. ''There are new things we need to do. In the long future, I see her traveling the country to tell people about this center and not only bring them here but bring our mission - the healing powers of love and laughter - to the world. Everything is in place and we're ready to move forward. She has all our support and I hope the community will embrace her, work with her, get behind her and help us make this thing bigger than it ever has been. The future starts now.''

Happy Birthday Lucy

Today is Lucille Ball's birthday, she would have been 98 years old today. Born August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York.

Remembered as a dizzy sitcom redhead with show business aspirations, Lucille Ball was, in fact, a show business powerhouse and television pioneer. Throughout her teen years, Lucy tried unsuccessfully to launch her show business career, finally landing a spot as a Ziegfeld Girl. She launched her Hollywood career as one of the Goldwyn Girls, but she moved out from the crowd of starlets to starring roles. With "I Love Lucy", she and husband Desi Arnaz pioneered the 3-camera technique now the standard in filming TV sitcoms, and the concept of syndicating TV programs. She was also the first woman to own her own film studio as the head of Desilu.

She will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents. Always willing to take responsibility for her brother and young cousins, she was a restless teenager who yearned to "make some noise". She entered a dramatic school in New York, but while her classmate Bette Davis received all the raves, she was sent home; "too shy." She found some work modeling for Hattie Carnegie's, and in 1933 was chosen to be a Goldwyn Girl and appear in the film Roman Scandals (1933).

She was put under contract to RKO and several small roles, including one in Top Hat (1935), followed. Eventually, she received starring roles in B-pictures, and occasionally a good role in an A-picture, like in Stage Door (1937). While filming Too Many Girls (1940), she met and fell madly in love with a young Cuban actor-musician named 'Desi Arnaz'. Despite different personalities, lifestyles, religions, and ages (He was six years younger), he fell hard, too, and after a passionate romance, they eloped and were married in November 30, 1940. Lucy soon switched to MGM, where she got better roles in films such as Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), Best Foot Forward (1943), the Hepburn-Tracy vehicle Without Love (1945).

In 1948, she took a starring role in the radio comedy My Favorite Husband, in which she played the scatterbrained wife of a Midwestern banker. In 1950, CBS came knocking with the offer of turning it into a TV series. After convincing the network brass to let Desi play her husband and to sign over the rights to and creative control over the series to them, work began on the most popular and universally beloved sitcom of all time.

After her divorce from Desi on May 4, 1960, she married Gary Morton on November 19, 1961 and was with him until her death. On April 26, 1989, after recovering from surgery to correct cardiopulmonary problems, Lucy died unexpectedly at Cedars-Sinai Hospital of a ruptured aorta.

August 03, 2009

The Cuban and the Redhead,
New Musical About Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

The Cuban and the Redhead, a new musical about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, will be presented on Friday, August 14 as part of the Festival of New Musicals, "Village Originals," at Village Theatre where Next to Normal was developed.

The musical about the lives of the late Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz will feature Brandon O'Neill and Nicole Beerman, both regulars at 5th Avenue Theatre, as as the Cuban bandleader and the famous redhead, along with Rebecca Spencer (Phantom of the Opera, Jeckyll & Hyde), Eileen Galindo (House of Bernarda Alba starring Chita Rivera/Mark Taper Forum) and a cast of a dozen other actors under the direction of Kathryn Van meter and musical direction of Jim Fischer. The Cuban and the Redhead features a book and score by Robert Bartley and Danny Whitman and was recently featured in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) festival in the fall of 2008, the Festival of New American Musicals in Los Angeles in July of 2008, and in staged readings in the York Theatre Company.

The plot: Escaping the bloodshed of his native Island, a young Cuban boy sets sail on a turbulent journey that leads him all the way to Hollywood and into the arms of a fiery, redheaded movie star named Lucille Ball. At the climax of The Cuban and the Redhead, Desi and Lucy put their money, their trust and their dreams on the line in a gamble t o save one thing - their marriage. They risk it all on an untested medium called television. Can these two star crossed lovers blaze a path that defies Hollywood and history to be together?

Village Theatre is dedicated to the preservation and artistic development of musical theatre, one of our country's most enduring art forms. Village Originals is a nationally recognized program and represents one of the strongest commitments to new musicals anywhere. Over the years, Village Originals and Village Theatre have nurtured the development of over 75 new musicals - some of which have received subsequent productions in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Taiwan.

For more information, visit www.bartleywhitman.com or www.villagetheatre.org.

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