December 31, 2011

Lucie Arnaz Goes Back to Her Roots

The popular actress discusses performing her Latin Roots show at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in New York City.

Much of America grew up with Lucie Arnaz, having watched her blossom as an actress opposite her mother Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. But Arnaz has since triumphed in a variety of mediums, most notably in the Broadway musical They're Playing Our Song and in the film The Jazz Singer, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.

In recent years, she has become a popular nightclub performer, and on January 5, she brings her new show Latin Roots, based on the CD of the same name, to Feinstein's at Loews Regency in New York City for a four-night run. TheaterMania recently spoke to Arnaz about the show and her career.

THEATERMANIA: Are you looking forward to this gig?
LUCIE ARNAZ: I am very excited, since I haven't played there since 1999, before I left to go to London to do The Witches of Eastwick. Sometimes, I think it's difficult for me to play these ritzier rooms, because the people who come see me look for more affordable spots like Birdland. So I am really happy they agreed to discount the cover charge for this run.

TM: So how did this show -- and your CD -- come about? ?
LUCIE: After my dad [Desi Arnaz] died in 1986, I found this little cassette holder in his sock drawer and in small type on the cover, it said "Desi Arnaz and Orchestra recordings, December 9, 1947 - San Francisco." I thought wow, I had never heard these. So I got in my in car and put it on and just lost myself in this music. Of course, I had heard him sing on I Love Lucy and I had heard a few recordings, but there were no CDs available of this kind of big band stuff. And listening to this cassette sort of changed the direction of where I was going in my career. I knew I wanted to do these songs and these arrangements in front of a band. My father had some really good charts, especially some for girl singers. It just took a lot of time for everything to come together.

TM: I first heard these arrangements when you did the Babalu show at the 92nd Street Y in January 2010, which was an amazing experience. Tell me how that happened?
LUCIE: I happened to be at the Y to do an Ira Gershwin show, and Deborah Grace Winer, who is the artistic director of Lyrics & Lyrcists, told me she loved my father's arrangements and suggested we put together a show about Latin music. And then I realized I had to do everything -- produce, direct, host, and write it. So the first thing I did was call my brother, Desi Arnaz, Jr. He doesn't love to travel, but he loves to play drums and he loves the music, so he jumped at the chance to recreate it.

TM: But the show wasn't just a family affair - you had Raul Esparza singing a lot of your dad's songs, and also the great Valarie Pettiford. Why them?
LUCIE: Raul was at top of my wish list; he's so multi-talented, and like my dad, he's Cuban. But it took me three days to write him an email, since I didn't want to sound too goofy, and then I didn't hear right away, and I figured he wasn't interested. But then he called me and said he would be thrilled to do it. And I thought to have Valarie shake her booty and add her own Afro-Cuban jazz touch was perfect. It was heaven. We did the show again in Miami in July, 2010 -- let's say it was hot on many levels -- and then another concert in October, 2011 in honor of the 100th anniversary of my mother's birth, but that may be it. I would love to see it on Broadway, but we're not going there without Raul; there aren't that many people who can do these songs justice, and Desi won't come to New York for an extended run, so it just wouldn't be the same.

TM: So the Latin Roots show grew out of Babalu?
LUCIE: Yes, I am doing some of Dad's stuff myself. And while we don't have a big band like we did for Babalu, we have my musical director Ron Abel, and we also have some great percussionists so we can do as much of the CD as possible in that room.

TM: Your children are very talented. Did you think of recruiting them for this show?
LUCIE: My son Simon is a drummer and he does play percussion on the road, and Joe is an amazing guitarist with his own CDs, but their music is different from this music. And my daughter Kate is a wonderful singer and she loves this stuff, but she just started working on the production side of Rosie O'Donnell's show and I don't want to distract her.

TM: So, is there any chance we'll get you back on Broadway in something other than Babalu?
LUCIE: I always keep my ears open to what's going on in theater; I am on the board of the American Theater Wing. But doing this is great fun, and I feel like I can choose to have a career and have a life, and be at home at night with my husband [actor Laurence Luckinbill] and not do eight shows a week. But we'll see.

December 22, 2011

The Lucy Show - Fifith Season DVD

While you are waiting for the Fifth Season of Here's Lucy to come out in February - you can still get the Fifth Season of The Lucy Show on DVD, which came out on December 6th.

As Lucille Ball headed into the fifth season of "The Lucy Show" in the fall of 1966, the comic icon must have been feeling some pressure.

Though ratings were still high for her first post-"I Love Lucy" show, there was creative trouble afoot. Scripts for the series' fourth season had been mediocre at best and the show struggled to adapt to changes made after the departure of Ball's co-star, Vivian Vance. During this fourth season upheaval, Ball's Lucy Carmichael character not only left Connecticut for California, but underwent a serious back story overhaul. No longer was she a widow living on trust-fund money. Instead, she was single and working at a bank.

With these changes in place, the show stabilized and Ball's manic comedic genius was back in full bloom, a fact that's evident on CBS DVD's four-disc set "The Lucy Show: The Official Fifth Season."
All 22 fifth-season episodes are included, and they're a riot. Like a bull in a china shop, Lucy Carmichael barrels through life and leaves a trail of havoc in her wake. She disrupts a John Wayne movie, confuses a monkey for Mr. Mooney, joins the "beatnik" generation, gets arrested for shoplifting, baby-sits a family of chimps and gets trapped aboard a Navy ship. It's classic stuff, and Ball walked away with an Emmy for best actress in a comedy series in 1967. It was her first Emmy win in 11 years. Also included are a host of extras, including bloopersand the hourlong "Lucy in London" television special directed by Oxnard's Steve Binder.

December 20, 2011

I Love Lucy: A Celebration of All Things Lucy/Inside the World of Television’s First Great Sitcom


I Love Lucy: A Celebration of All Things Lucy/Inside the World of Television’s First Great Sitcom by Elizabeth Edwards

Upon the 60th anniversary of the premiere show, and what would be Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday year, this ultimate celebration of both the woman and the iconic program is a perfect tribute.

Even though “I Love Lucy” premiered during the autumn of 1951, sixty years later it is still rerun in dozens of countries throughout the world. If you remember the 1950s, “I Love Lucy” was more than likely one of your favorite weekly sitcoms. The broadcast began during the autumn of 1951. On October 29th, those lucky enough to have a television set tuned in to see the 4th episode of the series,“The Diet,” which had a plot that was fairly typical. Lucy wants to get a job in Ricky’s club, he agrees but claims she must lose 12 pounds to fit into the costume, and so begins dieting and sessions in a sweatbox to lose the extra weight. Her hard work pays off but she collapses right after the show.

I Love Lucy” was more than just a hit, it was a cultural phenomenon and Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred became more than just television characters. For many, they became almost like members of the family. Remember when Little Ricky was born? If you do, you recall that it was an international event.

Lucille Ball’s success on television was hardly instant. According to Edwards, Lucy began as a fashion model for Hattie Carnegie, posed for portraits, one of which was used in a Chesterfield cigarette magazine advertisement. When Agent Sylvia Hahlo saw the ad she thought Ball might be perfect as a chorus girl in the Eddie Cantor film, “Roman Scandals.” Ball was hired, left New York, and arrived in Hollywood for what she thought was a six weeks assignment but remained on the West Coast, eventually appeared in more than eighty films and, of course, a fixture on early network television.

This is a fascinating book brimming with illustrations, trivia, and — as promised — facts about all things Lucy.  This book brings to life the world of the show and its impact more fully than ever before. Rare backstage photos and images from the stars’ personal collections illustrate new stories about the making of I Love Lucy. Highlights include Lucille Ball’s personal commentary on her favorite episodes, taken from previously unpublished interviews. Chapters filled with trivia, character bios, fashions, music, recipes featured on the show, and much more make this an informative and fabulously entertaining tribute to the classic show.


December 18, 2011

P.S. I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs

A new Amazon Kindle book has been released. "P.S. I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs", by Eric G. Meeks.

This is a new never before revealed history of Lucille Ball. Dozens of never before seen photographs. Read about her starlet days and the Marx brother who introduced her to the area; about how she and Desi first ran off to the desert as young lovers with nothing but their bed clothes; about how they intended to raise their children in Palm Springs; their business misadventures, Desi's winning of prime real estate in a poker game; his drinking, gambling and skirt chasing; and finally, how Lucy spent her golden years in the city of Palm Springs and the fun, clean, healthy lifestyle she enjoyed away from the prying eyes of Hollywood.

Get your Kindle edition from Amazon for $2.99 and download in less then a minute to start reading today!

December 16, 2011

Dead Celebrity Cookbook: Lucille Ball’s Persimmon Cake

Long before Gwyneth Paltrow wrote a cookbook or Sara Lee had her own show, Lucille Ball was baking persimmon cake and Harriet Nelson was creating her favorite chicken. This, among other reasons, is why this past fall, Frank DeCaro created The Dead Celebrity Cookbook : A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen. The cookbook combines his love of movie and pop culture trivia with authentic recipes from Hollywood celebs who enjoyed cooking well before it was popular.

The idea for a dead celebrity cookbook was first born at a dead celebrity party that DeCaro attended in college, he says. "It was a great concept for a party. I remember going as Euell Gibbons [the spokesperson for Grape Nuts], and thinking that there were no dead celebrity dishes at the party." After sparking the idea, it was DeCaro's love of pop culture that inspired him to start collecting celebrity cookbooks. "It literally got to the point where I was buying anything that had a celeb recipe in it!" Besides his own passion, he also wanted to remind younger audiences of the impact that some great past celebrities have had on present-day culture.
Of the 145-plus dead celebrity recipes featured in DeCaro's cookbook, he does have his favorites. Harriet Nelson's chicken, which "is everything you want on a cold winter's day. It has three cans of cream soup, and probably isn't very healthy, but it's absolutely delicious! Another favorite are Liberace's sticky buns. "They're tastier than crescent rolls have the right to be. I made a batch of 24, and ate nine before they even had time to cool!" Also in the cookbook is one of the most famous celeb-meets-oven recipes, Katharine Hepburn's brownies.
And for your Holiday Baking - here are two of Lucille Ball's recipes:

Lucille Ball's Sunday Night Goulash
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 bunches green onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
½ clove garlic, chopped
2 pounds ground beef
1 large can solid packed tomatoes
½ pound small egg noodles

Saute onions, green pepper, and garlic until tender. Brown meat in butter, then add sautéed ingredients. Add tomatoes with juice and simmer slowly. Add salt and pepper to taste. During last 30 minutes of cooking, add cooked, strained egg noodles.

Lucille Ball's Persimmon Cake
Serves 12

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups chopped walnut meats
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup dates, chopped fine
Rind of one orange, grated
1 cup milk
4 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients and bake in two large buttered load tins for 4 small ones for 1 ½ hours at 300 degrees F.

If you want to explore more recipes, be sure to purchase the book and get cooking today!

December 13, 2011

Here's Lucy Season 5 DVD to be Released

Season 5 of Here's Lucy on DVD will be released on February 28, 2012.

Here's Lucy - Season 5 DVD set is in-the-works from MPI Home Video, as mentioned in an insert found with the CBS DVD release of The Lucy Show - The Official 4th Season. The insert had an early look at the package art and also there is a pre-order link to purchase the title from Amazon and it shows a release date of February 28th, and a cost of $20.99.

This will be a 4-DVD disc set. However, the release date shown may turn out to be correct, but actually isn't finalized just yet. There's a "technical issue" they have to overcome before the formal scheduling can take place, and they hope that this happens soon and the official word could then go out.

MPI only describes the same sort of bonus material that has been including with all of their releases of this program: "exclusive featurettes and videotaped introductions by Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr., guest stars and production personnel; unreleased home movies and behind-the-scenes footage; 'Let's Talk to Lucy': long-lost radio shows where Lucy interviews celebrities; bloopers, promos, commercials and other special footage."

Season's 1 through 5 are now available and can be found through the Everything Lucy store. Be sure to visit and get your DVDs today!

UPDATE:  News that the release date is February 28, 2012 and that he MSRP for the 4 disc DVD set will be $29.98, although Amazon has it listed at pre-order for $21.99.

The legendary queen of television comedy, Lucille Ball, is joined by her real-life daughter, Lucie Arnaz, in her third long-running sitcom success.

Ball plays Lucille Carter and Arnaz plays her daughter Kim. 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 fifth season of Here's Lucy (1971-72, CBS-TV) features all 24 episodes uncut and digitally remastered for superior quality, plus a wealth of new and never-before seen special features.

Guest stars include Don Knotts, Donny Osmond, Eva Gabor, Joe Namath, Petula Clark, Lloyd Bridges, Ruth Buzzi, Robert Cummings, Totie Fields, Ricardo Montalban, Elsa Lanchester, Jim Bailey, John Davidson, Craig Stevens and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

December 12, 2011

Tropicana Nights: A Salute to the Music of I Love Lucy

Sixty years ago, film and radio star Lucille Ball and Cuban-born actor and musician Desi Arnaz first stole our hearts as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in arguably the most successful television show of all time, I Love Lucy. Always a showcase for the brilliant comedic talents of its legendary cast, the series possessed equally sparkling musical moments. From the fiery excitement of “Babalu” and “El Cumbanchero,” to the touching and sentimental “We’re Having a Baby (My Baby and Me)” and Tin Pan Alley–era tunes including “By the Light of the Silvery Moon,” I Love Lucy’s diverse and potent musical blend further helped to cement the series’ enduring appeal and influence.

Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz
The Paley Center presented an evening celebrating the musical legacy of I Love Lucy on December 9th. This special program was joined by Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz. Jr., the only children of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr., and two gifted actors and musicians who proudly carry on their family’s musical tradition, recently celebrated in the acclaimed musical revue Babalu! and in Ms. Arnaz current album release Latin Roots. They were joined by the award-winning composer and arranger Ron Abel and others for an illuminating conversation filled with classic clips and special musical performances.

The event, Tropicana Nights: A Salute to the Music of I Love Lucy, featured a panel discussion focused primarily on the siblings' father, followed by musical performance with Desi, 58, on bongos and Lucie, 60, singing two numbers her father performed on the 1950's sitcom. Prior to the event, they were asked how they both honor and protect their parents' legacy.

Desi, we don't see you at many Lucy-related events. Why was this something you wanted to be part of?Desi: Well, I live in Boulder City, Nevada. But this is a big deal. It's the 60th anniversary of the show and it's Mom's 100 birthday if she were still with us. And the music is really why I'm here. Lucie and I have been working on a show that tributes Dad's music. We did it as a benefit and then performed it as a concert show called Babalu. We're moved very deeply by the music, so we enjoy talking to people about that side of I Love Lucy. Dad's contribution and the music.

What were the origins of the music of I Love Lucy?Desi: I Love Lucy was actually created out of Dad's orchestral show. Mom and Dad wanted to see if people would accept them live, because CBS wasn't too sure it would work or not. In those days they weren't sure a redhead American should even be married to a Cuban. It was very controversial. But the two of them went out together with dad's band and the people loved it.
Lucie: After Dad died I found all these arrangements and tapes. Stuff we had never heard before that inspired me to work more on Latin music.

What's the future of your Babalu show?Lucie: He doesn't want to travel, so there is no future.
Desi: [Laughs] Maybe we'll do a run in Vegas.

Do you have a favorite song from I Love Lucy?Lucie: I do. It's from the Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour when they went to Havana for the flashback showing how Lucy and Ricky met. The song is "That Means I Love You" where he plays the Conga and she plays the table in front of her shaped like a Conga.
Desi: That's a good one. I like the one about me being born. "We're Having a Baby; My Baby and Me."

I imagine a lot of marketing people would like to turn your parents into Mickey and Minnie Mouse — with every conceivable form of merchandising. How do you protect their legacy?Desi: We have a company called Desilu Too where Lucie and I police any merchandise. We've been doing it since they passed away. We work with a company out of Chicago called Unforgettable Inc. We needed to have help to police and license the merchandise. [Desi Sr. passed away in 1986 at age 69 while Lucy died in 1989 at age 77.]
Lucie: Once someone famous dies, someone has to run that estate forever.

Any strange marketing pitches you heard that you rejected?
Desi:
No images of Mom on toilet paper.
Lucie: Nobody would ask for that!
Desi: Somebody actually did, and we had to say "no!"
Lucie: It didn't mean to be our life's work. We've got separate careers and families, but this thing has overtaken us like the giant Godzilla monster. But there are some perks to it to. We decided if we were going to spend X number of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year policing what we weren't allowing, we might as well hire people to do it right and turn it into a real business. Make the real estate value of Lucy and Desi stay as valuable as it was when they left us.
Desi: It's about quality, not quantity. If you sell everything out right away then you don't have anything left over. You don't sell the farm; you rent it out.

Did you both approve the I Love Lucy: Live on Stage show that's been playing to sold out audiences in Los Angeles?Lucie: The I Love Lucy show itself is owned by CBS. Anything that is based on the scripts is controlled by CBS. What they don't totally own is the image of Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo or Desi Aranz as Ricky Ricardo. In certain cases, like in the case of dolls, you have to get permission from CBS and also the estate of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Desi: That's because dad was future thinking and kept their image and likeness rights. He also put up half money for the pilot, so CBS wheeled and dealed with him in the negotiations in terms of who owned what.

What's next for you?Lucie: I put together a hybrid version of the Babalu show with a 12-piece band based on the Latin Roots CD I released. I found a way to do Babalu and as many of Dad's arrangements that a woman can do. It's very fun. And we have a wonderful one-woman show out I directed that we own a piece of called An Evening With Lucille Ball. Suzanne LaRusch is the wonderful impressionist. There is nobody quite like her.
Desi: I built the sets and we launched it at my theater. It's Mom in her late 50's, early 60's talking to a bunch of college kids about her life.

You've no doubt heard that William Frawley and Vivian Vance are being inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame at a March 1 ceremony in Beverly Hills.Desi: I didn't know that!
Lucie: Yes, finally! I recorded a little video for them today where I said, "On behalf of my mother and father and the I Love Lucy show, I want to congratulate Vivian Vance and William Frawley for finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame like everyone else. Friends and neighbors should be together. It's about time."

They never had children of their own?Lucie: No, Vivian and Bill never did.

Anything else you'd like to tell TV Guide Magazine readers?Desi: It's just fun to be here with Lucie in Los Angeles. I'm feeling very nostalgic about our childhood. I went by mom's old house today and pointed out Lucy's room to my daughter.
Lucie: And what's really great is that we're together celebrating this music.

December 09, 2011

PC Projects restores Lucille Ball movie

J Crosby, owner of PC Projects in Jamestown, recently presented a DVD movie to the Lucy/Desi Museum's Theresa Morris containing footage of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz attending the premiere of their feature movie "Forever Darling" at Jamestown's Palace Theater in February 1956.

PC Projects digitizes old home movies, videos, photos, and slides. Crosby recently discovered this rare footage in a collection of home movies belonging to an area client who then gave permission to share it with the Lucy/Desi Museum and community.

While many home movies only document and showcase individual family history, occasionally people, places, and events of public interest or historical significance were captured on home movies. Crosby has digitized films of downtown Frewsburg circa 1941, the New York World's Fair from 1964-65, the building of the Kinzua Dam, and a dried-up Niagara Falls, among others.

Besides preserving old family memories to pass from generation to generation, Crosby encourages everyone with home movies that may be of interest to the general public to share their historical gems with the community. For more information on PC Projects' services visit their website at www.WeDigitizeMemories.com, or call (716) 499-6955.

December 06, 2011

Vivian Vance and William Frawley to be inducted posthumously in TV Academy Hall of Fame

Vivian Vance and William Frawley from "I Love Lucy" fame (Ethel and Fred Mertz), are among the latest inductees into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

The star of the series, the legendary Lucille Ball, was included in the very first Hall of Fame class back in 1984 was very emotional in her acceptance speech and sad that Vance, who died in 1979, could not be there for the momentous occasion. Desi Arnaz was inducted posthumously six years later in 1990 after his death in 1986.

Vance was the first actress to win an Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in 1954 for her portrayal of Ethel Mertz. She was nominated three more times before the show ended its run in 1957. She went on to once again play Ball’s sidekick in the follow-up series The Lucy Show while Frawley joined the cast of the sitcom My Three Sons. Frawley had a 50-year film career before landing his role as Fred Mertz, which earned him five Emmy nominations. After the show ended, he played Bub O'Casey on "My Three Sons" before retiring for health reasons in 1965. He died the following year, in 1966.

The others to be inducted are The Jeffersons and Amen star Sherman Hemsley, Real World creators Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner, Sábado Gigante game-show host Don Francisco, lighting designer Bill Klages, and producer Chuck Lorre. Bunim died in 2004.

"The group of inductees for this year's Hall of Fame has had a remarkable impact in all areas of the television industry, from performers and hosts to producers and executives," said Mark Itkin, a board member at WME Entertainment and chair of the Hall of Fame selection committee. "It is a tremendous privilege to chair this committee and be able to honor this group with the recognition that they so greatly deserve."

December 02, 2011

"I Love Lucy" Live on Stage


Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel are set to return to the Greenway Court Theatre in 2012. I Love Lucy® Live on Stage has extended its run for an additional seven weeks of performances through February 26.

I Love Lucy® Live on Stage has been the “must-see” musical comedy in Los Angeles since it opened on October 1 to rave reviews. Audiences travel back to the 1950s and the Desilu Studios to watch the “filming” of two episodes of the iconic and beloved sitcomcomplete with a television studio host, vintage-style live musical commercials, and The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra playing live from the “Tropicana Nightclub.”

The I Love Lucy® Live on Stage facebook page has nearly 6,000 friends, and fans have traveled to see the show from Florida, Chicago, New York, Colorado, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and even Kuala Lampur, Malasia. No one leaves disappointed. “Most entertaining stage production I've seen in years - including Broadway!” said TV Guide columnist William Keck. “The period sets, dialogue, and costumes contribute to a fun, throwback atmosphere, but this fizzing production almost entirely turns on the cast,” wrote Tanner Stransky in Entertainment Weekly. Flavorpill raves, “make it easy to love Lucy once again,” and the LA Weekly says, “GO! Rick Sparks' terrific cast channels [Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel] with charm, intelligence and energy in this fun-filled musical comedy.” The production, which features a 13-member cast in addition to a 7-piece band, will graduate from Actors’ Equity 99-seat plan to a HAT (Hollywood Area Theater) contract beginning with its 61st performance on December 14.

I Love Lucy® Live on Stage stars Sirena Irwin (Lucy), Bill Mendieta (Ricky), Bill Chott (Fred) and Lisa Joffrey (Ethel). Also featured in the cast, playing multiple roles, are Tom ChristensenSteven Connor, Gregory FranklinKerri-Anne LavinEd MartinDenise MosesCindy SciaccaAmy TolskyGina Torrecilla and Mark Christopher Tracy. Direction and staging are by Rick Sparks. The stage adaption and additional new material are by Kim Flagg and Rick Sparks. Set design is by Aaron Henderson; lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick; sound design is by Cricket S.Myers; costume design is by Shon LeBlanc; and the production stage manager is Justine BaldwinI Love Lucy® Live on Stage is presented by SKahn Presents and Millrock CompanyHyra George and Kim Flagg produce, and executive producers are David George and Stephen Kahn.

Performances of I Love Lucy® Live on Stage take place WednesdayThursdays, and Fridays @ 8 pm, Saturdays@ 3 pm & 8 pm, and Sundays 7 pm through February 26 (dark Dec. 21-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 10). Tickets are $45. The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. To purchase tickets, call800-595-4TIX (800-595-4849) or go to www.ilovelucylive.com. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ILoveLucyLiveOnStage.
WHAT:
I Love Lucy®
 Live on Stage –  Extended through February 26. The world premiere of a musical comedy tribute to the most popular and longest-running television show in history. Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel: America’s favorite foursome... live on stage and in color for the very first time! Travel back to the 1950s and the Desilu Studios to watch the “filming” of two episodes of the iconic and beloved sitcom, I Love Lucy. Enjoy vintage-style live musical commercials and be entertained by the music of the ‘Ricky Ricardo Orchestra’ live.  Ba-ba-luuuuuu!

WHO:
  • Staged and Directed by Rick Sparks
  • Musical Director Wayne Moore
  • Starring Sirena Irwin as Lucy Ricardo; Bill Mendieta as Ricky Ricardo, Bill Chott as Fred Mertz and Lisa Joffreyas Ethel Mertz
  • Also featuring Tom ChristensenSteven Connor, Gregory FranklinKerri-Anne Lavin¸ Ed MartinDenise Moses, Cindy SciaccaAmy TolskyGina TorrecillaMark Christopher Tracy
  • Adapted for the stage and new material by Kim Flagg and Rick Sparks
  • Presented by SKahn Presents and Millrock Company
  • Produced by Hyra George and Kim Flagg
  • Executive Producers David George and Stephen Kahn

WHEN:
Continues through February 26
  • Wednesdays 8 pm: Nov. 23, 30; Dec. 14, 28; Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 8, 15, 22 (Dark: Dec. 7, 21; Jan. 4; Feb 1)
     
  • Thursdays @ 8pm: Dec.1, 8, 15, 29; Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23 (Dark: Nov. 24; Dec. 22; Jan. 5)
     
  • Fridays 8 pm: Nov. 25; Dec. 2, 9, 16, 30; Jan. 13, 20, 27; Feb. 3, 10. 17, 24 (Dark: Dec, 23; Jan. 6)
     
  • Saturdays 3 pm & 8 pm: Nov. 26; Dec. 3, 10, 17; Jan. 14, 21, 28; Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 (Dark: Dec. 24, 31; Jan 7)
     
  • Sundays 7 pm: Nov. 27; Dec. 4, 11, 18; Jan. 15, 22, 29; Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26 (Dark: Dec. 25; Jan 1, 8)

WHERE:Greenway Court Theatre
544 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90036

HOW:
TICKETS: $45

November 30, 2011

Lucy Gets Married Three Times

Did you know that Lucy was actually married three time, but only had two husbands?

Today is the Anniversary of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. They married for the first time on November 30, 1940 at the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. They met in 1940 while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. At first, Arnaz was not fond of Lucy. When they met again later that day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year.  She was a 28-year-old contract player with a string of forgettable films, he, at 23, a dashing, Cuban-horn nightclub bandleader. They married six months later. While she tended a soaring Hollywood career, he toured the country with his rumba band.

They filed for a divorce in 1944 but shortly after Ball obtained an interlocutory decree of divorce, she reconciled with Arnaz.

They were finally divorced on May 4, 1960, just two months after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

Until his death in 1986, however, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other.  It was said that Desi was Lucy's one true love.

After her divorce from Desi, Lucy 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.

Desi later married Edith Mack Hirsh on March 2, 1963, who died in 1985. After struggling with alcohol problems, Desi only returned briefly in 1982 in a starring role in "The Escape Artist". He later wrote an autobiography entitled "A Book." In 1986, Desi was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died on December 2, 1986 in the arms of his daughter, Lucie.

November 19, 2011

Lucille Ball's Wedding Anniversary

Today would have Lucille Ball's Wedding Anniversary to Gary Morton. Although her first marriage to Desi Arnaz is better known, that marriage actually lasted less then Ball's second marriage.

Lucille Ball and producer Gary Morton, were married in 1961 in New York City. In 1960, Morton met Ball in New York City a few months before she opened on Broadway in the musical "Wildcat." They were married at the Marble Collegiate Church. Morton served as executive producer of Ball's third series "Here's Lucy" and was a co-executive producer of her ill-fated 1986 series "Life With Lucy." The couple was married for more than 27 years when Lucille Ball died in 1989.

In 1961, Lucille Ball did a musical on Broadway, Wildcat, co-starring Paula Stewart. That marked the beginning of a thirty-year friendship between Lucy and Paula Stewart, who introduced her to second husband Gary Morton, a Borscht Belt stand-up comic who was thirteen years her junior. Morton claimed he had never seen an episode of I Love Lucy due to his hectic work schedule. Ball immediately installed Morton in her production company, teaching him the television business and eventually promoting him to producer. Morton also played occasional bit parts on Ball's various series.

Lucy is better known for her first marriage to Desi Arnaz. They were divorced on May 4, 1960, just two months after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Until his death in 1986, however, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other. They were first married November 30, 1940 at the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. They met in 1940 while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. At first, Arnaz was not fond of Lucy. When they met again later that day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year. They filed for a divorce in 1944 but shortly after Ball obtained an interlocutory decree of divorce, she reconciled with Arnaz.

November 10, 2011

Large Collection of Lucille Ball Items Up for Auction

“Luuuuuuuucy, I’m home!” These infamous words have been heard around the world for years and signify one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, Lucille Ball. Regarding the phenomenal actress, Old Town Auctions “has got some ‘splaining to do!”

The weekend prior to Thanksgiving, November 18-20, Old Town Auctions will be having an unforgettable sale that includes a vast amount of Lucy items, primarily featured on Sunday, November 20, 2011 beginning at 12 noon with a 2 hour preview prior.

Included in the sale will be a voluminous collection of TV Guides featuring Lucille Ball and/or Desi Arnaz on the cover, including the very scarce first issue with Desi Jr. In addition to the numerous TV Guides, there will be a large compilation of magazines, both domestic and foreign, sheet music, and other paper ephemera featuring the comedic actress that changed the Hollywood scene for years to come.

There will also be numerous posters, one-sheets, lobby cards, and inserts, promoting films featuring Lucille Ball, as well as a few advertisements for various products such as RC Cola and Philip Morris cigarettes. Also included in the sale is a unique and capturing piece of 3D artwork done by the artist Charles Fazzino that features colorful graphics and other eye-catching crafts.

Not only will there be paper collectibles, but also a wide variety of Lucille Ball dolls and other main characters of the “I Love Lucy” TV show. From the Hamilton Collection to Madame Alexander, the Lucy doll assortment is nearly limitless. The auction also incorporates a pair of very interesting and rare vintage composition dolls representing Lucy and Desi that were purportedly made for display at a DesiLu function. Also included are a few Ricky Jr. dolls to spice things up!

Another featured Lucy item in this sale is a DesiLu Studio spotlight, purportedly used in the making of her show “I Love Lucy.” Also included are items from Lucille Ball’s estate such as a tea cup and saucer, prints from Lucie Arnaz’s graduation from grade school, and framed photos of the iconic lady, Lucille Ball.

Lucy can be enjoyed year round with the collection of holiday tree ornaments featuring Lucy, Ricky, and other cast members from “I Love Lucy” to decorate your home during the holidays. But the excitement doesn’t stop there- travel to Old Town Auction’s November sale in Hagerstown, Maryland to enjoy some good ole grape stompin’, chocolate makin’ Lucy fun!

The auction will be held at the Grand Venice Hotel, 431 Dual Highway (Route 40), Hagerstown, MD 21740. For more information, please visit www.oldtownauctions.com or contact Matthew Protos at 301-416-2854.

November 03, 2011

Lucy fan has a perfect dress for the ball

Collector Richard Lucas is donating a dress once worn by Lucille Ball for an auction as part of the Canadian College of Performing Arts' Lucy-themed gala on Friday, November 4th at The Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, Canada. For any Lucille Ball collector, it was an incredible score. Indeed, some devotees would consider the item a sacred relic.

Richard Lucas has proudly owned of one of Lucy's formal gowns for two decades. It is black, with gold sequins and black ostrich-feather trim. It comes with matching jacket - and a certificate of authenticity. Lucas says Lucy once wore it to a Dean Martin roast. Now, the collector is ready to bid his prized item adieu.

The gown will be displayed at The Lucille Ball Gala, a fundraising event for the Canadian College of Performing Arts happening Friday night. Following the gala, it will be auctioned off, with partial proceeds going to the college and Vancouver's Performing Arts Lodge, a seniors lodge for retired performers. Lucas said he has no idea what the dress will fetch.

Lucas runs Vancouver's Lucas Talent Inc., a talent agency. He also teaches courses in career management and working in film at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

A North Saanich native who divides his time between homes on the mainland and in Fairfield, Lucas is an avid collector of Lucille Ball memorabilia. His 130-piece cache includes lunch kits, clocks, a signed script and Lucy comic books from the 1950s.

"They're worth a lot of money, the original I Love Lucy comic books," he said. "I have tons of stuff." Lucas bought the gown from Jane Withers, the former child star who later played Josephine the Plumber on TV commercials for Comet cleanser. Lucy had originally donated it as a sale item for a Hollywood fundraising event.

Learning of the upcoming Canadian sale of her mother's gown, Lucy's daughter Lucie Arnaz sent Lucas a letter of support. "She said, 'I know my mother would be thrilled and proud to know her clothing is going to such good use,' " he said.

Lucas, who grew up in North Saanich, met Lucille Ball several times. It was when she was shooting her final television show, the short-lived 1986 sitcom Life With Lucy. Lucas was invited on set by actor Gale Gordon, who'd played Mr. Mooney on I Love Lucy. Lucas and Gordon had become close friends in the mid-'80s performing together in comedy plays for Edmonton's Stage West theatre.

When Lucas met Lucy, she was 75 years old and past her prime. "[The TV series] was just scary and sad and didn't work," he said. "TV Guide called it one of the worst - or maybe the worst - series of all time.

"There was one episode called Lucy and Curtis Up a Tree. You don't have a script that has a 78year-old up a tree. They literally had to climb a tree."

Lucas's Lucy fascination bloomed young. He used to write and act his own Lucy show scripts while attending North Saanich Junior Secondary School."We would always perform them in the lunchroom at lunch time. I would always play Mr. Mooney."

He says he's donating the gown because he's impressed with the high level of teaching and students at CCPA.

Lucas will attend the gala to display items from his collection. Two dozen CCPA students are expected to dress up as Lucy, and the famous scene in which Lucy tries to eat all the chocolates coming down a conveyer belt will be re-enacted.

And an orchestra will play songs associated with Lucy, such as Mame. "I've been to a lot of boring fundraisers," Lucas said, "but this is going to be fun."

What: The Lucille Ball Gala
Where: Fairmont Empress Hotel, 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC, Canada
When: Friday, November 4th - 7 p.m.
Tickets: $115 (250-595-9970)

Among the highlights of what promises to be an unforgettable evening are performances by the Lovely Lucys and students of the College, some of the country’s top young performing artists. As well, guests will enjoy dancing to the music of Victoria’s own Latin band, Kumbia, performing the music of the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra. Event sponsor Rogers Chocolates will also contribute to the fun atmosphere with a recreation of the classic Lucy chocolate conveyor belt scene.

The Lucille Gala Ball is also a kick-off to the international auction of an authenticated Lucille Ball gown which is being donated to CCPA and The Performing Arts Lodge (PAL).

10 tickets or more enters groups into a draw for a special super prize package which includes an up-close and intimate performance by the rising stars of CCPA and special Lucy memorabilia.

There is also a special Star Package of $150 which includes champagne, special musical theatre performances, gifts of Lucy memorabilia, photo opportunities, and a conversation with renowned Talent Manager Richard Lucas who will recount his favourite Lucy memories from being on her set. The public is asked to call the CCPA box office at 250-595-9970 for tickets.


CCPA is owned and operated by The Canadian Heritage Arts Society (CHAS). a non-profit society and a registered charitable organization. It established the college in its endeavour to promote higher education and to support young people who wish to establish careers and contribute to Canadian society.


Click here for the Ticket Order Form.

October 31, 2011

Lucille Ball 100th Birthday Auction of Personal Memorabilia at Connectibles

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Lucille Ball’s birth and the 60th anniversary of the first ”I LOVE LUCY” television show, Connectibles is excited to announce that they will be offering over 125 pieces of never-before-released Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz memorabilia from the personal collection of their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, to I LOVE LUCY fans worldwide.

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Lucille Ball’s birth and the 60th anniversary of the first ”I LOVE LUCY” television show, Connectibles is excited to announce that they will be offering over 125 pieces of never-before-released Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz memorabilia from the personal collection of their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, to I LOVE LUCY fans worldwide. Beginning October 30th, 2011 an online auction through Ebay will be held by Connectibles at http://www.LucyDesiSale.com.

Handpicked by their daughter Lucie Arnaz , each item will come with a signed letter of authenticity from Ms. Arnaz guaranteeing provenance and signatures. This event is a rare and unique opportunity for Lucy and Desi fans to participate in the online auctions and add to their collections. Auctions will begin October 30th with more items added daily until the entire collection is online for bidding.

According to Arnaz, after her father Desi died in 1986 and Lucille Ball in 1989, the family sorted through all the treasured memorabilia. Some was kept by family and friends, some were donated to the Lucy-Desi museum in Jamestown, others went to Universal Studios Tributes in Hollywood and Florida. Now, more than 20+ years later, she decided the anniversary year of 2011 was the right time to offer fans an opportunity to own a bit of “ I LOVE LUCY” history.

Connectibles will be offering a wide range of memorabilia at all price levels, for the beginning or advanced collector. The rarest item is a one-of-a-kind “lost manuscript” for Lucille Ball’s autobiography LOVE LUCY. Typed with handwritten notes from Ball on every page, manuscript was packed away in the 1960’s and didn’t re-surface until the mid-1990’s after her death.

Other items of interest include Academy Award winner Elois Jenssen original costume sketches, personal signed notes and letters from Lucy and Desi, bracelets and furs, original American Character RICKY, Jr and I LOVE LUCY Baby dolls, signed checks and postcards, and even a set of fingerprints.

Sure to be something for every collector. In the past these one-of-a-kind auctions have attracted fans from all parts of the world; be sure to be registered on Ebay in order to bid early!

You can reach the auction site by going to http://www.connectibles.net.

October 24, 2011

Memories of Lucy and Desi

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s daughter,
Lucie, recently donated hundred of pieces
of her family’s history to the Library of Congress,
and it is on view through January.
From the day "I Love Lucy" debuted in October 1951, families took the show and the characters to their hearts. For the next six years, they gathered around black and white sets, doubled over in laughter, as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and their neighbors clowned and cavorted in zany situations to the Latin beat of Ricky's band.

The winner of four Emmy Awards and multiple nominations for the show and its stars was followed by "The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show" from 1957-1960. Today the most beloved couple in television continue to bring joy to the world in syndication. Best of all, their legacy is preserved by the Library of Congress in an exhibit of their lives and accomplishments.

Last Saturday, the 60th anniversary of "I Love Lucy" and the 100th birthday of Lucille Ball were honored by BABALU!, a celebration of their lives and gifts of music. It was hosted by their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, and set to music by their son, Desi Arnaz, Jr., in an evening of their father's brilliant and lively orchestrations performed by the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

"I had stored 20 some boxes of my father's music, including 300 of his charts, in my garage for years not knowing whether to give them to the family, donate them or trash them," Lucie said. "I wondered if they were valuable and remembered that he always said, if you don't know what to do, don't do anything.

"One day I was chatting with Michael Feinstein and he told me I should have them archived at the Library of Congress. Along with the music, I had 110 scrapbooks of the family from the 1930s to the 1970s. I took Michael's advice and contacted the LC. Roy White came to my house in New York and arranged to have them picked up. The items in the scrapbooks were glued to paper, which isn't good. They even preserved them."

Although Lucie is not a historian, she regards everything she has done for her parents' legacy a necessity. She was so unhappy about the show CBS aired in their memory, calling it a "slothful, tabloid piece," that she set to work to discover why all their success didn't make them happy.

"I began by interviewing people who knew them well like Van Johnson, Ann Miller and their makeup artists," she said. "It was a tempestuous marriage, but I wanted to know why he drank and she played backgammon at the end of their lives. I looked at home movies going back many years and saw amazing footage."

She approached NBC with her findings. The result, a documentary that was as cathartic to her as it was a joy for their fans, won an Emmy Award.

"I was trying to tell the truth and to be as objective and journalistic as I could," she said. "Some of the story was not pretty, but it was balanced with love."

I Love Lucy: An American Legend
Where: Library of Congress, Foyer of Reading Room LM113
When 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through January 2012
Info: Free to the public.

October 14, 2011

Jamestown celebrates anniversary of 'I Love Lucy'

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, presented "I Love Lucy" on CBS for the first time on Oct. 15, 1951.
The Lucy Desi Center will celebrate the 60th anniversary of this TV classic with assorted events on Saturday in Jamestown, N.Y.

Jamestown resident Greg Peterson will unveil a playbill he discovered which the center believes is the earliest one with Lucy as a star performer.  The playbill promotes a show at an auditorium in Jamestown, N.Y., then known as the Scottish Rite Temple.  Today, it's called the Robert H. Jackson Center, which is where Peterson discovered the playbill and will also introduce it.

Following his presentation, the center will screen the pilot episode of "I Love Lucy" and the first episode of season one: "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub."

Saturday's events also include Lucy Town Bus Tours of Lucy's hometown, birthplace, childhood residence and more at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. At a lunch presentation, John "Jack" Keeney, a historian and current mayor of Celoron, N.Y., will talk about Celoron Amusement Park, Lucy's old stomping grounds.

The Lucy-Desi Museum also has some new exhibits and displays. The door from CBS' Studio A, which Lucy and Desi passed through countless times, is part of a permanent exhibit. They walked through it the first time when they appeared on "The Ed Wynn Show" in December 1949, then two years later to produce the "I Love Lucy" pilot. Such stars as Bob Hope, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn walked through that door, as well.

The exhibit also features never-before-displayed photographs of Desi Arnaz during his U.S. Army days in early 1940s. The Santa costume from a 1956 "I Love Lucy" Christmas episode that was not aired for 55 years is also on display.

October 12, 2011

Commemorative Events: I Love Lucy 60th Anniversary

While Lucy's hometown celebration of the year was in August, the Lucy Desi Center will be hosting a day of commemorative events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first airing of the I Love Lucy show, October 15.  The celebratory events were spurred by the recent decision of long time Center-supporter and Jamestown resident Greg Peterson to lend-for-exhibit a playbill - perhaps the earliest with Ball's name - which he discovered in the historic downtown Robert H. Jackson Center.

Peterson will host a brief showcase of the playbill and share how its serendipitous discovery is eerily linked to the anniversary of the iconic show that would forever infuse Ball and Arnaz into the consciousness of American culture, and the hearts and minds of millions.

Peterson's introduction and account will take place in the very auditorium in which the playbill's show, including a young Lucille Ball, was performed.

Visit the Lucy-Desi website for more details on these special events!

Rare Desi Arnaz Photographs
This week the Center calls attention to two rare, never-before-shared photographs of a handsome young Desi Arnaz during his service in the Army in 1940 or 1941.  These photos were recently acquired by private donation, and include a candid, sunny-faced Arnaz leaning out of a World War II plane.

"Studio A" Door
Highlighting a special 60th anniversary year for the most successful sitcom of all time, on August 3rd the Center installed and unveiled a new permanent exhibit in the Desilu Playhouse: the door to Studio A from CBS At Columbia Square in Hollywood, the network's West Coast headquarters from 1938 until it built CBS Television City in 1952.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz passed through the studio door for their very first television appearance together, The Ed Wynn Show, on December 24, 1949.  They would return and pass through the same doorway on March 2, 1951 to produce the I Love Lucy pilot.

Now you, too, can walk through the door to the famous Studio A, and feel the magic of dozens of Hollywood stars to have done so before you, including:  Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Bob Hope, and Helen Hayes.

Prior to its use as a television studio, Studio A was the largest radio studio at Columbia Square. It had 1,050 seats for a studio audience and was home to many popular radio shows, including The Screen Guild Theatre, Silver Theatre, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and Art Linkletter's House Party.

This exhibit is made possible thanks to the generous donation by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator-producer-head writer Jess Oppenheimer, and co-author of his late father's memoir, Laughs, Luck & Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time.

Santa Costume from "Missing" Christmas Episode  
Also new in 2011 is a temporary exhibit on display through December 31: On loan from Peter Mamonis, Jr. is a Santa suit from the famously "missing" I Love Lucy Christmas special. This show, which aired December 24, 1956, was the single episode withheld from the CBS syndication package, which is why it was never seen in reruns for the last 55 years.  In this episode, the "four friends" are all dressed as Santa Claus while they decorate the tree and place gifts for Little Ricky. As they sing and decorate, suddenly, there are five Santas when Fred enters the apartment also dressed as Claus.  As the friends tug each other's beards in bewilderment, one says "ouch!" and then fades away, leaving four stunned Santa-costumed friends having beheld a Christmas miracle.

Paying Tribute: Madelyn Pugh Davis 
On the right as one enters the Playhouse is a tribute to Madelyn Pugh Davis, the I Love Lucy writer who passed away April 22, 2011 and wrote for Lucille Ball for more than four decades.  Even before I Love Lucy, Davis wrote for Lucy when she worked on the radio show, My Favorite Husband.

Davis was only the second woman hired on the writing staff of CBS, and is considered a pioneer, paving the way for other women to become radio and television writers.  Once I Love Lucy started, Davis, Bob Carroll and producer-writer Jess Oppenheimer wrote the first four seasons together.  Writers Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf joined them in 1955 and, after Oppenheimer left the show in 1956, Davis, Carroll, Schiller and Weiskopf wrote the remaining episodes.
After writing I Love Lucy, Davis and Carroll wrote for The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. They also were on board for Ball's short-lived comeback series, Life with Lucy, in 1986, and  they wrote the story for Yours, Mine and Ours, the 1968 family comedy starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.  Davis and Carroll received two Emmy nominations for their work on I Love Lucy and one for Here's Lucy.

A tribute: Queen of the "B" Movie
Did you know that Lucille Ball was in 73 movies?  New this season is a small visual tribute to Ball's movie career, featuring ephemera from many of the films that gave Ball her reputation as "Queen of the B Movie".

Paper dolls, pay stubs and more...
Some more obscure recent exhibit additions that may excite the most seasoned Lucy fans, (or any child who likes paper dolls!) include a very cool collection of Lucy & Ricky Ricardo paper dolls from the collection of Donna Wells.  There has also been an original performance contract and pay stub added to the "Pepito Perez" display.  Pepito Perez was the clown who was featured in the I Love Lucy pilot. These two items have been donated by Peter Mamonis Jr.

October 07, 2011

Loving Lucy: A Gallery of Lucille Ball Covers from TV Guide Magazine, 1953 to 2011

The Paley Center for Media is happy to join with TV Guide Magazine to salute Lucille Ball in her centennial year with an exhibit of blow-up reproductions of the covers she graced from 1953 to 2011. The large-scale format of the art brings to life the work of Richard Amsel, Bob Peak, Ronald Searle, Philippe Halsman, and many other leading illustrators and photographers of the day. They capture the many sides of Lucille Ball: glamorous, silly, daring, trendy.

Accompanying the art are clips from the Paley Center's collection that relate to specific covers, as well as the Zinio electronic edition of the centenary salute, bringing our love for Lucy squarely into the twenty-first century.

On display in New York: September 28 to November 27, 2011.
On display in Los Angeles: October 10 to November 27, 2011.


The Paley Center in New York City is located at 25 West 52 Street (between Fifth & Sixth Avenues), New York, NY 10019. Admission for Members free; $10 for adults; $8 for students and senior citizens; $5 for children under fourteen.

The Paley Center in Los Angeles is located at 465 North Beverly Drive (S. Santa Monica Blvd.), Beverly Hills, CA 90210.  Free admission. Suggested contribution: $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for students and senior citizens; $5.00 for children under fourteen; Members free.

The Paley Center celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of I Love Lucy (October 15, 1951) with two compilation packages of rare and classic moments, including the 1951 pilot, which was lost for nearly forty years.

See Screening Schedule


October 06, 2011

I Love Lucy turns 60!

Earlier this year what would have been Lucille Ball's 100th birthday was celebrated, and this month I Love Lucy will get a 60th year anniversary celebration. On October 15th, 1951 the show premiered and was an instant hit, and now WNET NY Public Media will present "a special encore of Lucille Ball: Finding Lucy. They'll air the American Masters special on October 13th at 8 p.m.; October 15th at 8 p.m.; and October 16th at 8:30 p.m. They tell us the broadcasts will contain 14 minutes of I Love Lucy bonus footage and a surprise Radiohead show.

October 04, 2011

Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection

Long before she was crowned the queen of TV, Lucille Ball reigned as the "queen of the Bs" for RKO pictures, appearing in over 43 films.

This collection brings together three rarely seen treasures from Lucy's RKO days, giving modern audiences a chance to witness a star on the rise. Before she hitched her antics to Vincente Minnelli's The Long, Long Trailer, Lucy joined Joe Penner in 1938's romp Go Chase Yourself. After bank robbers use her husband's camper, Carol Meeley (Ball) sets out to prove her hubby is far too dumb to commit a crime.

Lucy moved up to leading lady in Next Time I Marry. In order to claim her inheritance, heiress Nancy Crocker Fleming (Ball) must marry a "plain American Joe." So she does what any self-respecting debutante would do - she hires a husband.

Rounding out the collection is 1941's Look Who's Laughing, featuring a now glamorous Lucy. James V. Kern, who would later direct I Love Lucy, pens the tale, while screen pioneer Allan Dwan directs this rollicking satire which also stars Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy.

Get this Volume 1 DVD set from the Everything Lucy store today!  Or visit Amazon.com to get your copy.

October 01, 2011

Celebrating 60 Years of I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy premiered 60 years ago this month, and our adoration for Lucille Ball has only grown over time. To honor the comedian and her storied history with TV Guide Magazine (she's been on more covers than any other star), we asked her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, 60, to share some of her favorite memories of that period. Arnaz, an actress and singer, has kept her mother and father Desi Arnaz's legacies alive by donating scrapbooks and arrangements to museums and producing shows that honor the legendary couple. Currently, she is developing a tribute to the Latin music of I Love Lucy.

This is a big year for your mom, Lucille Ball. It's not only I Love Lucy's 60th anniversary, but the 100th anniversary of her birth. What's it been like?
Arnaz: Fabulous! There have been tons of celebrations, including at the Hollywood Museum, the Library of Congress and the Paley Center for Media. Even Google did a salute partnered with the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy that's in her hometown, Jamestown, New York.

Let's start from the beginning. You never appeared on I Love Lucy, did you?
Arnaz: My mother was pregnant with me in the pilot — does that count?

What's your favorite Lucy episode besides the pilot?
Arnaz: "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana" - It's a flashback to when Lucy and Ricky met in Cuba. My mom and dad have a drum duel in a nightclub and it is so sexy. When I [watch it], I see such an amazing amount of love and romance and sexual heat. There's powerful passion in their eyes even though in real life, they were close to divorcing.

Did your mom have a favorite episode?
Arnaz: She said she had two. The sweet one when Lucy has to tell Ricky she's having a baby, "Lucy Is Enceinte". The emotion of the scene got the better of them and they started to tear up. They thought they'd have to redo that shot, but everyone on the set said, "No, no, no!" The wild and crazy [favorite episode] was when Lucy dresses up as the Queen of the Gypsies, "The Operetta". She said, "I loved getting into costumes with my teeth all blacked out. I thought I looked hysterical, and I never had such a good time as with that silly-ass song and trying to hit that note."

Did your mother get a lot of pleasure from doing I Love Lucy?
Arnaz: It was her only pleasure! She and Viv, Dad and Bill had so much fun at work they never wanted to go home. She loved the whole process.

Did she feel that joy with her other TV shows?
Arnaz: My mother absolutely loved going to the studio every day and being that Lucy character. Nothing in her life ever made her happier, and that's why when it ended and she didn't have it anymore, I watched her deteriorate emotionally.

So many stories talked about how Lucy may have been the biggest TV star, but she still was a typical wife and mom?
Arnaz: A lot of that came from public relations people, but before I Love Lucy hit, she considered herself just a married woman with a gorgeous husband. She didn't cook very well but she enjoyed being in the kitchen and getting all homemaker-y. When they moved the radio show to television, she convinced [CBS] to put Desi on as her husband. She thought she was just getting a chance to work with her husband so he wouldn't be on the road all the time. Then the show took off like Seabiscuit and she never looked back.

Was your mom anything like her iconic on-screen character?
Arnaz: She was opinionated and professorial and not the person that you would expect. People thought she was like Lucy Ricardo. And she wasn't at all.

Do you love — and hate — I Love Lucy at the same time?
Arnaz: Yes. Of course I longed for those moments that I never had with my mother, just the ordinary stuff that other kids take for granted. That part was hard. The rest was wonderful.

When you look at the Lucy shows, what makes you most proud of your mother?
Arnaz: Unfathomable talent! She wrung every last bit of humor and fun out of everything they gave her.

You worked with your mom on "Here's Lucy" for six years. What were the most special moments?
Arnaz: When we were doing a dance number or singing. That wasn't her bailiwick, so I would be all excited and she would go, "I can't do this!" We would help each other. When we got it right, we'd be, "Yay! We did a dance together!" It was a wonderful bonding experience.

Why do you think people are still laughing at Lucy 60 years later?
Arnaz: The brilliant writing and execution! None of the actors played it like it was funny. They played it for real and [the audience] bought into it. It's the best medicine ever. My mom made a tonic that never had to be renewed. The date on it never expires. You can always drink it and feel better.

Which female comics today would make your mom laugh?
Arnaz: She would adore Ellen DeGeneres and Debra Messing. When I'm watching Debra, she reminds me a little of my mother. And Tina Fey!

On her centenary, what would you like to say about Lucille Ball, your mom?
Arnaz: I miss her — along with Dad — more than anybody. I just know that she had a great life and she was always grateful to all the people who loved her.

September 29, 2011

I Love Lucy Exhibits Across Country

Lucy lovers can find lots to enjoy this fall as the sitcom celebrates its 60th anniversary, the same year Lucille Ball would have turned 100. Here are the main events:

• “Lucille Ball at 100 & ‘I Love Lucy’ at 60” at The Hollywood Museum, 1660 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles; 323-464-7776; www.thehollywoodmuseum.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays-Sundays through Nov. 30. Admission: $15 adults; $12 seniors and children under 12

• “We Love Lucy” screenings at The Paley Center, 25 W. 52 St. (between Fifth & Sixth Avenues), New York, 212-621-6800; or 465 N. Beverly Dr., Los Angeles; 310-786-1091; www.paleycenter.org/2011-we-love-lucy-screenings-2. Sept. 28 through Oct. 30 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays); $10 adults, $8 students and seniors, $5 under 14.

• “Lucy: A Tribute” at Universal Studios Orlando: An indoor walk-thru attraction located in the Hollywood backlot area; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, park admission starts at $85; www.universalorlando.com.

• Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, 10 W. Third St., Jamestown, N.Y.; 716-484-0800; www.lucy-desi.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $10 adults, $9 age 60 and up, $7 ages 6 to 18.

• The Desilu Playhouse, 2 W. Third St., Jamestown, N.Y., 716-484-0800; www.lucy-desi.com. Admission: $10 adults, $9 age 60 and up, $8 for Lucy-Desi Museum members, $7 ages 8-18; $15 for dual admissions to museum and playhouse

• “I Love Lucy: The Untold Story,” a play by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of “I Love Lucy” creator-producer-writer Jess Oppenheimer, at SPERDVAC Old-Time Radio Luncheon and Program, Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn, 4222 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, Calif. Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5$50, including three-course luncheon and four shows. 877-251-5771, www.sperdvac.org

September 23, 2011

The Lucy Show - 'The Official 5th Season' Includes 'Lucy in London'

The release of the 4-disc set of "The Lucy Show, Season 5" is verified for December 6th.

It's The Lucy Show's fifth hilarious season, as Lucy manages to find trouble everywhere she goes...from Las Vegas to London! New to DVD, this 4-disc set contains all 22 uproarious episodes from the fifth season. And it includes the "Lucy in London" special, a new Documentary, Outtakes and more! All episodes have brilliantly restored color picture and audio. Guest stars include: Carol Burnett, John Wayne, comedic icon George Burns, Paul Winchell, Phil Silvers, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Sheldon Leonard, and Mel Tormé!

Confirming reports, CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment formally announced a December 6th release of The Lucy Show - The Official 5th Season. Running 562 minutes, the 4-DVD set will include all 22 regular episodes. Plus, the "Lucy in London" telefilm special, which aired in the show's timeslot between the 6th episode ("Lucy Goes to London ") and 7th episode ("Lucy Gets a Roommate") of the season, is included on this set!

Be sure to visit the Everything Lucy Store to pre-order your copy today!

September 22, 2011

I Love Lucy Exhibits Tell Story of a TV Classic

From New York to California to Florida, fans can hit the road to celebrate the anniversary of the show that starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

As we approach I Love Lucy’s 60th anniversary in October, with the episode, The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub, loyal Lucy fans have plenty of places to celebrate, from Lucille Ball’s birthplace 100 years ago in Jamestown, N.Y., to Los Angeles, where the famed redhead became TV’s Queen of Comedy.

“She’s more than just an icon,” says Bruce Bronn, president and CEO of Unforgettable Licensing in Chicago, which represents Ball’s estate (Desilu, too), and CBS, which owns I Love Lucy. “She’s a symbol of America.”

Bronn works directly with CBS and Desilu, too as their agent, and must give permission every time you see an image of Ball and her first husband and TV co-star, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz. With CBS and Desilu, too, he signs off on all officially sanctioned public events, and this year there are plenty.

Let’s start our Lucy tour in Jamestown, located about eight hours by car north of New York City.

The official Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center opened here in 1996, seven years after Ball died at age 77. The museum and its nearby Desilu Playhouse are treasure troves of Lucy memorabilia. Visitors can view video clips, walk through replicas of I Love Lucy sets and see original costumes from the classic sitcom, which originally ran from Oct. 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957.

“We have the professor’s … cello costume donated by Pepito, the Cuban clown who appeared in the  I Love Lucy pilot,” said Susan Ewing, a staff writer at the center.

Among her favorite displays: Ball’s gold 1972 Mercedes donated to the museum by Laurence Luckinbill, actor and husband of Lucie Arnaz, Ball’s daughter. “It has her monogram, LBM, on the driver’s side door,” Ewing said. (Ball married comedian Gary Morton in 1961, after she and Arnaz divorced in 1960.)

Fans can reenact classic Lucy bits on the set replicas, Ewing says.

“People can do the ‘Vitameatavegamin’ commercial right there in the playhouse. That’s a pretty popular feature of the playhouse. Everybody wants to be Lucy,” she says. “We’ve done grape stomping. One year we did a competition to see how many snails people could eat at one time.”

Each August during Ball’s birthday week, the museum holds Lucy Fest: The Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy. This year was special, as attendees celebrated the star’s centennial.

“We had a huge celebration,” Ewing said. “We believe we have set a Guinness Book of World Records, having the most people dressed as Lucy Ricardo in one place — 915. Men, women and children. And a dog. There was a dog dressed as Lucy, in blue polka dots.”

Every year, up to 30,000 people trek to the Lucy-Desi Museum, which is open 12 months a year. “We’re just a little south of Buffalo,” said Ewing, a Jamestown native. “We’re in the snow belt. If you’re a Lucy fan and you get here in the winter, we’ll be here for you. Just dress warm.”

A museum memento not seen on television: the desk belonging to I Love Lucy’s creator-producer-writer, Jess Oppenheimer. Atop the desk is Oppenheimer’s original Rolodex, opened to Ball’s phone number.

“I just love that,” Ewing said. “When I see the desk and think what came from that creative talent, that’s amazing, too,.”

Oppenheimer, who owned 10 percent of I Love Lucy, died in 1988. His son Gregg, who donated the desk and Rolodex, has carried the Lucy torch ever since.

“Nobody compares to Lucy,” said Oppenheimer, who finished his father’s autobiography, Laughs, Luck … and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time. “You had this superb cast, you had great writing, timeless stories. There’s not a lot of cultural references that people won’t understand.”

Beginning in the early 2000s, Oppenheimer spent seven years restoring the series for DVD. Now, he directs public re-creations of old-time radio shows at conventions and Lucy festivals. On Nov. 5, he will direct his own play, I Love Lucy: The Untold Story, based on dad’s book. Longtime Lucy actresses Janet Waldo (Peggy, the teenage neighbor who develops a crush on Ricky Ricardo), Shirley Mitchell (Lucy Ricardo’s friend Marion Strong) and Doris Singleton (nearsighted Caroline Appleby) will appear in the play, to be performed at a benefit in North Hollywood, Calif.

The play coincides with a major Lucy exhibit at the nearby Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles: Lucille Ball at 100 & “I Love Lucy” at 60. On display through Nov. 30 are scripts, costumes and memorabilia spanning Ball’s entire film and TV career. Oddities include the autographed plaster cast Ball wore after breaking her leg in a 1972 ski accident.

The Paley Center for Media, located both in Los Angeles and New York City, also is celebrating Ball with “We Love Lucy” public screenings through Oct. 30. Most of the programs are also available year-round for personal viewing at the center’s library.

Even Florida has a tourism stop for Lucy fans: Universal Studios in Orlando with its long-running Lucy: A Tribute exhibit, which screens classic TV clips and displays props from I Love Lucy and costumes worn by Ball.

Oppenheimer on why I Love Lucy is still hugely popular after six decades: “The main thing is it’s funny. There was never anything deep or ironic. The humor was never dry.”

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