May 27, 2005

Don't Miss Lucille Ball's Childhood Home

If your going to the Lucy-Desi days in Jamestown, New York this year, be sure not to miss Lucille Ball's childhood home.

The two-story house at 59 W. Lucy Lane in Celeron, Chautauqua County, New York was Lucille Ball's home from the time she was 8 years old until she was midway through high school, when she left for New York City to attend acting school. The 115 year old house (built around 1890) has aluminum siding, natural original woodwork and an upstairs bathroom that has changed little since the house was built. The kitchen has been updated some. It was orginally the home of Lucy's maternal grandparents, Fred and Florabelle Hunt.

The house belongs to William J. Rapaport and his wife Mary, who are longtime Lucy fans. Rapaport purchased the home in March of 2005. He and his wife are planning to restore the home to the way it was in the 1920s when Lucille Ball lived there with her mother, brother, grandparents, aunt and cousin. When the restoration is complete, he plans to make it available for use by the Lucy-Desi Museum, which is located a short distance away in Jamestown, New York.

Previously, the house was being auctioned for sale on Ebay during March of 2002. The house was listed at $98,500. Even Lucy's daughter, Lucie Arnaz put a bid in on the house during that time.

Lucy's years in the Celoron home were, by most accounts, happy. When she was in high school, she'd bring friends home to entertain them. A rod that held the curtain for Lucy's impromptu performances was still in place on the first floor in 2002. But after Lucy's departure for drama school, the house was lost in a family tragedy. Fred Hunt had bought a rifle and was showing it, in the backyard, to Lucy's little brother Fred and a few of his friends. The gun discharged and the bullet paralyzed a boy who lived next door. The Hunts were forced to sell the house as the result of a subsequent lawsuit. Only one family has lived in the house since then and the last remaining member of that family was in a nursing home prior to her sons listing it originally on Ebay.

Although the house is not currently open for visitors, you can still drive by and take a look at the place where Lucille Ball spent her childhood. The house will probably be available for tours sometime in the future after the Rappaport's restore it to its original grandeur.

May 24, 2005

TV Land and MBC Join to Celebrate Comedy

TV Land will step into the Comedy spotlight at the new $22-million Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC), now being developed in Chicago. The 10-year partnership includes an undisclosed monetary donation as well as a major promotional commitment from the network that underscores TV Land's commitment to the preservation of television and radio comedy.

The donation to the non-profit radio and television museum will support the development of a highly interactive comedy exhibit, detailing the history of comedy on both radio and television. It will include a wide variety of classic and contemporary highlight clips from the genre's most memorable shows. The exhibit will also include original TV Land content that celebrates the pioneers of TV comedy as well as touch-screen kiosks that test a visitor's TV knowledge.

The 70,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in downtown Chicago in July of 2006, will feature nine genre focused exhibits on the evolution of American radio and television. In addition to Comedy, exhibits are being planned about Drama, Music, News, Talk, Sports, Game shows, Children's shows and Commercials. Other exhibits will introduce visitors to the pioneers who created the radio and television industry, the business side and promotional side of broadcasting and an exhibit introducing guests to a wide variety of career opportunities in the industry. A working radio and television studio will offer visitors with a take-away hands-on experience on the air.

TV Land and the MBC will also create a series of public programs featuring comedy pioneers. Comedy artifacts in the exhibit will include original Edgar Bergen puppets Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker, a replica of Fibber McGee's famous closet and scripts from the long running radio classic, an I Dream of Jeannie bottle and the original Ernie Kovacs' Nairobi Trio masks. Cincinnati's Jack Rouse
Associates, one of America's leading museum design firms, is creating the museum experience along with Steve Ryan of ShoConcepts of Hollywood, California.

For more information or to view the sketch of the TV Land Comedy exhibit at the new MBC, please visit www.Museum.TV.

May 18, 2005

Lucille Ball in upcoming WB Video

On August 16, Warner Home Video will debut "The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume One" -- five memorable classics from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose magical chemistry made them Hollywood's greatest dance duo. Featuring five new-to-DVD titles, "The Astaire & Rogers Collection: Volume One" includes the critically acclaimed "Top Hat" and "Swing Time," along with "Follow the Fleet," "Shall We Dance" and "The Barkleys of Broadway," the couple's final film together. All five films have been newly remastered and include extensive bonus features such as documentaries, featurettes and commentary by Fred Astaire's daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie. The Collection will sell for $59.92 SRP. All titles will also be available individually for $19.97 SRP.

"Top Hat" - Directed by Mark Sandrich ("Gay Divorcee," "Shall We Dance"), "Top Hat" was nominated for four Academy Awards(R), including Best Picture. A young Lucille Ball also appears in a small role as a flower clerk.

"Swing Time" - Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers headline this romantic comedy directed by George Stevens. Standouts include the songs "Pick Yourself Up," "Never Gonna Dance," and the Oscar-winning "The Way You Look Tonight."

"Follow The Fleet" - In the fifth Astaire-Rogers pairing, Fred trades his top hat for a sailor's cap, Randolph Scott gets the girl (Harriet Hilliard), Ginger gets a tap solo and viewers get the unending delight of seven sparkling Irving Berlin numbers.

"Shall We Dance" - Astaire and Rogers croon, swoon and sway to a glorious score from George and Ira Gershwin which includes "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," Oscar-nominated "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "They All Laughed" and more.

"The Barkleys of Broadway" - After 10 years apart, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers reteam for their final film, written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and directed by Charles Walters. The routines include Astaire's "Shoes with Wings On" and a reprise from "Shall We Dance," "They Can't Take That Away from Me."

All are Remastered and New to DVD with Extensive Bonus Features Including New Featurettes, Documentaries and Commentary by Fred Astaire's Daughter.

May 14, 2005

New 2006 Lucy Calendar coming!

A new I Love Lucy wall calendar is in the works for 2006 in the shape of a purse! This calendar from Mead is one of several different I Love Lucy calendars and engagement books in development and will be released later this summer. I'll post when it becomes available and where you can purchase your next year's calendar.

May 13, 2005

TVLand showing I Love Lucy

I came home tonight to find Lucy on TVLand! I guess Friday the 13th isn't that unlucky! From 5pm until 8pm, I Love Lucy episodes were played. Episode 103 - Ricky's Movie Offer, 104 - Ricky's Screen Test, 105 - Lucy's Mother-In-Law, 106 - Ethel's Birthday, 107 - Ricky's Contract, and 108 - Getting Ready. These were the episodes prior to their trip to California.

I know they play Lucy during the morning hours, but I'm at work and never get to enjoy them. Although, I do have the I Love Lucy series on DVD through Columbia House. They're up to Season 5 now - only one more season and I have the complete series on DVD. I hope they follow this up with the Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour, which some people view as the "7th season" of I Love Lucy.

Apparently, TVLand's new broadcast schedule started the beginning of the month and last Friday was a "mini" marathon as well. Is this going to be the new Friday evening entertainment?

Hope they also put back Mary Tyler Moore Show!

May 06, 2005

Stone Pillow DVD being released

The much awaited release of the movie Stone Pillow will be coming in July! For those of you who don't know, Stone Pillow is Lucille Ball's final movie before her death in 1989. It was a made-for-tv movie that was televised on CBS in 1985. It was only shown on TV a few times since that time, but has been available underground and in tape-trading communities for some time. It will finally be nice to see a completely clear and retail version copy of the movie. Once I find out exactly where it will be on retail, I will notify everyone!