July 27, 2011

Special Exhibits - “Lucille Ball at 100, 'I Love Lucy' at 60”

A new exhibition at the Hollywood Museum celebrates two milestones in the life of America’s Queen of Comedy: Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday on Aug. 6 and the 60th anniversary of “I Love Lucy,” her classic TV collaboration with husband Desi Arnaz, which CBS first aired on Oct. 15, 1951.

Lucille Ball at 100 & ‘I Love Lucy’ at 60,” presented in partnership with CBS, will be on display from Aug. 3 to Nov. 30, showcasing memorabilia saluting the careers and romance of Hollywood’s most famous lovebirds.

“The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building is the perfect venue for this exhibit because it's where Lucille Ball went for makeup and hair treatments from Mr. Factor,” says Museum President Donelle Dadigan. “It's where Lucy first became a redhead. She had the longest-running contract of all of Mr. Factor's celebrity clients and he frequently used her image in his PR and ad promotions. The Redheads Only Room has been carefully preserved in her memory today. The museum’s historic connection to Lucy is the reason the U.S. Postal Service chose to unveil its official Lucille Ball commemorative stamp here in 2001.”

The exhibit is presented in partnership with CBS DVD and Paramount Home Video, which just released a new DVD set “The Best of ‘I Love Lucy’” featuring 14 classic episodes that have been digitally restored. CBS describes the set, “Television's all-time queen of comedy is at her candy-wrapping, grape-stomping, Vitameatavegamin-pushing best in this timeless collection of I Love Lucy episodes. From Hollywood to Europe, from ballet to burlesque to the birth of Little Ricky... it’s all here in this hilarious 2-disc set.” The 14 episodes: “The Ballet,” “The Freezer,” “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” (Vitameatavegamin), “Job Switching” (The Chocolate Factory), “Lucy Is Enceinte” (Lucy reveals pregnancy), “Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” “L.A. at Last,” “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” “Harpo Marx,” “The Great Train Robbery,” “Bon Voyage,” “Paris at Last,” “Lucy Gets a Paris Gown,” “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (Grape Stomping).

The opening of the exhibition will be celebrated at a private party to be held on Aug. 4 with Lucie Arnaz in attendance. On Lucille Ball's 100th birthday, Aug. 6,, the museum will stage a Lucy look-alike contest plus a contest to declare the best birthday cake.

Lucille Ball at 100 & ‘I Love Lucy’ at 60” Exhibit includes:

  • “Redheads Only Room" where Max Factor worked on Lucy’s famous look, featuring their original signed contract.
  • Awards, Certificates, Statuettes/Trophies, Plaques - including the special tribute to Lucy at the 33rd Annual Emmys (1981) and a congratulatory letter from President Ronald Reagan
  • The famous first national TV Guide (April 3, 1953) featuring Desi, Jr. on the cover as the $50 million baby
  • Items showcasing the genius of Desi – including original editing equipment which allowed for the technical advancement of TV production (3 cameras, live audience, on film)
  • A huge photography collection spanning Lucy’s life including her childhood, modelling career, films, radio and TV with some never-before-seen candid personal shots
  • Lucy's autographed leg cast from her 1972 ski accident at Snowmass, CO
  • Personal annotated copies of Lucy’s scripts from TV shows and films
  • Desi's original recordings + sheet music
  • Montage of original photos from Lucy and Desi’s homes and apartments including Palm Springs, NYC and Beverly Hills

Costumes Include:

  • Elizabethan gown worn by Lucy opposite guest Tallulah Bankhead (“The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” 1957).
  • Artist smock worn by Lucy opposite guest Danny Thomas ("Here's Lucy," 1973).
  • Flapper dance costume worn by Lucie Arnaz in a specialty flapper dance number ("Here's Lucy," 1972).
  • Bold hound’s-tooth wool pant suit worn by Lucy during the filming of her last film “Mame” (1974). Unfortunately neither the costume nor the scene made it to the final cut of the film.
  • Ivory and lavender beaded gown worn by Lucy in her first MGM film "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1943) opposite co-stars Red Skelton and Gene Kelly.
  • Iconic trench coat worn by Lucy and featured in ads for the classic film noir “Lured” (1947).

Lucy's Scripts Include:

  • “I Love Lucy” – Season 6, Episode 6: “Off to Florida” (Nov. 12, 1956)
  • “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” – Episode 2: “The Celebrity Next Door” (Dec. 3, 1957)
  • “The Lucy Show” – Season 1, Episode 1: “Lucy Waits Up for Chris” (Oct. 1, 1962); Season 1, Episode 5: “Lucy Buys a Sheep” (Oct. 29, 1962)
  • “Here's Lucy” – Season 2, Episode 10: “Lucy the Cement Worker” (Nov. 24, 1969); Season 3, Episode 1: “Lucy Meets the Burtons” (Sept. 14,1970); Season 5, Episode 16: “Lucy Goes on Her Last Blind Date” (Jan. 8, 1973)
  • “Life with Lucy” – Season 1, Episode 1: “One Good Grandparent Deserves Another” (Sept. 20, 1986)

For more details, please go to http://www.thehollywoodmuseum.com

WHERE: The Hollywood Museum, 1660 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday
EXHIBIT INFO: Aug. 4, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011
PRICE: $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and children under 12.
INFO: (323) 464-7776 www.thehollywoodmuseum.com

Lee Tannen's I Loved Lucy Will Get One-Night-Only NYC Presentation in August

The Transport Group will present a one-night-only performance of the Laguna Playhouse production of I Loved Lucy, Lee Tannen's valentine to late comedian Lucille Ball, Aug. 8 at the Duke on 42nd Street.
Diane Findlay and Jeffry Denman
Tannen authored the play, based on his memoir, which reveals his decade-long friendship with Ball in her later years. The two-actor play will reunite Diane J. Findlay as Lucille Ball and Jeffry Denman as Lee, who appeared in the Laguna run last fall.

Todd Weeks will again direct. I Loved Lucy will be presented at 8 PM. A Q&A session with Tannen and the cast will follow.

According to the Transport Group, "Comedienne Lucille Ball left an indelible imprint on fans throughout the world, but most saw only the public persona. Now, go behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the personal side of Lucy. Few people knew America’s comic sweetheart the way Lee Tannen did. Though distantly related by marriage and forty years apart in age, Lucy and Lee became the nearest and dearest of friends during the last decade of Lucy’s life. It was a time Lucy spent out of the spotlight and around a backgammon table, and Lee was lucky enough to be sitting across from her for much of that time."

Denman appeared in Off-Broadway's Yank! (for which he was a 2010 Drama Desk nominee) and Broadway's White Christmas, The Producers, Cats, Dream and 1995's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Findlay appeared in Off-Broadway's Flamingo Court, Paper Mill Playhouse's Funny Girl and Goodspeed Musicals' Dear World and They All Laughed.

Tickets are available at www.Dukeon42.org or by phoning The Duke on 42nd Street box office at (646) 223-3010.

For more information visit www.transportgroup.org.

July 15, 2011

And You Thought You Knew Everything About Lucy?

A new book has been published by James Sheridan and Barry Monush, "Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead".

I Love Lucy revolutionized the way television shows were made. It became the first show to be watched by 10 million people, then 40 million people a year later. But James Sheridan and Barry Monush take readers beyond the "Lucy" character and into information that may not be common knowledge. Although known for her comic genius, Lucille Ball also was adept at drama, was the first woman to head a major production company on her own, and green-lighted some of the most popular and profitable television series of all time, including Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.

Lucille Ball FAQ paints a full portrait of America's favorite redhead from her life growing up, love interests, friends and co-stars, inspirations, TV shows and films, and family.

Lucille Ball FAQ includes:
  • A complete Lucy timeline
  • Great black and white photos
  • Complete lists of her awards and recorded songs
  • Episode lists and synopses for each television series
  • Places she lived and shot on location
  • Inside jokes
  • Pop culture references on her shows
  • Her favorite guest stars
  • Performances she nearly did, but didn't or couldn't
Although countless books and articles have been written about Lucille Ball, most people know only the surface details of her personal life and some basic facts about her popular television series. Lucille Ball FAQ takes us beyond the "Lucy" character to give readers information that might not be common knowledge about one of the world's most beloved entertainers. It can be read straight through, but the FAQ format also invites readers to pick it up and dig in at any point. Background information and anecdotes are provided in such categories as * People found Lucille funny * Lucy at home: her various residences throughout the years * Movie/television/radio/theater projects that never materialized * Lucy's off-camera romantic attachments.

James Sheridan and Barry Monush go beyond the well known facts, making his an indispensable book for all Lucille Ball fans!

Reviews on the book from fans rate this book a 5 out of 5! One TV Fan says, "Fantastic read! I prided myself on knowing everything about Lucy... until I read this book. Essential for anyone who is a fan of hers or anyone just looking for a good read. This extraordinary book makes it clear to see why Lucy will always be America's favorite redhead." Another comments, "Unbelievably thorough and thoroughly engaging portrait of one of the most beloved icons in television history. You really get a sense of the impact and the scope of Lucy's work in this book, from her early career in New York, to her television success, and even her film career. The depth of the authors' knowledge of Lucille Ball's life and career is astounding. When they say "Everything Left to Know about America's Favorite Redhead," they really mean *everything*. You'll find out things about Lucy in this book that her kids probably don't even know. A truly extraordinary book about a truly extraordinary woman. Looking forward to reading several more books from these authors in the future. Just a fascinating read. Highly recommended."

I'm getting my copy - are you? Get your copy from the link provided above, or visit the "Everything Lucy Store" to get your copy!

July 08, 2011

Lucille Ball museum: Where you can love Lucy all over again

By Jay Jones Special to the Los Angeles Times - Reporting from Jamestown, N.Y. - The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, N.Y., draws fans of all ages. They also stop at the house where she grew up and at her gravesite.

Even though she was born 100 years ago next month and her mega-hit TV show premiered 60 years ago this October, there remains a single truth about Lucille Ball: We still love Lucy.

"I Love Lucy" is in black and white, and the fashions are outdated, but the show continues to air in 80 countries and has been dubbed in 21 languages. Her fans are multigenerational.

My daughter is 15 and she just loves it," said Ginger Atkins, whose husband, Scott, treated her to a trip to Jamestown — Ball's hometown — for their 23rd anniversary.

"I've just been a Lucy fan all my life," Atkins of Fort Wayne, Ind., said as the couple recalled their favorite episodes while touring the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in downtown Jamestown, a community of 30,000 about 90 minutes south of Buffalo.

Lucy fans make the trip year-round to western New York state to pay homage to the woman Atkins called "the queen of comedy."

Besides reminiscing about Ball's showbiz career, the faithful also visit the house where she grew up and the Ball family gravesite.

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center operates two side-by-side museums, one devoted to "I Love Lucy" and the other to the rest of her entertainment career. Of course, the sitcom side, known as the Desilu Playhouse, draws the most attention — and chuckles.

"The center's mission is to promote the healing power of love and laughter," head tour guide Susan Ewing said as she stood in front of a display of 20 "TV Guide" covers, all featuring the remarkable redhead.

Ewing loves to tell guests about Jamestown's biggest star, the girl who dropped out of high school to pursue an acting career.

"She was just thrilled by show business. She was captivated by vaudeville," Ewing said, adding that Lucy's mom, Desiree "DeDe" Ball, paid for her to move to New York City to attend acting school.

"[The teachers] said she had no talent," Ewing said. "[They even asked,] 'Why would you waste your money on this kid?'"

The TV monitors scattered throughout the Desilu Playhouse prove otherwise as they show clips from one of the most successful TV shows of all time.

"I thought that 'I Love Lucy' was a pleasant little situation comedy that might even survive its first season," Ball wrote in her memoir, "Love, Lucy." That, of course, was the ultimate understatement.

On Jan. 20, 1953, 29 million Americans tuned in to watch the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower. That number paled in comparison with the viewing figure the previous evening for "I Love Lucy," when 40 million Americans were glued to their sets for the episode in which Lucy — who was, in real life, pregnant with Desi Jr. — gave birth to the fictional Little Ricky.

The Manhattan apartment in which the Ricky and Lucy Ricardo characters lived after the birth of their television son is intricately re-created inside the Desilu Playhouse. Hollywood prop houses were scoured to find replicas of the furniture and even the kitchen appliances. When none could be found, the museum — which opened in 1996 — had replicas made.

Visitors can test their own comedic skills in an interactive exhibit featuring the famous episode in which Lucy gets a job filming a commercial for an alcohol-laced tonic called Vitameatavegamin. With the script and a real TV camera in front of them, guests can test-run the tongue twister that left Lucy fans in fits.

"Do you poop out at parties? Are you un-poopular?" amateurs ask, re-creating the line recited by the apparently drunk Lucy.

The modest two-story house where Ball grew up isn't open to the public, but visitors frequently pose for pictures in front of it. It's at what is now 59 Lucy Lane in neighboring Celoron, a short walk from the park where the teenage Lucy sold hamburgers and hot dogs.

Ball, who died in 1989, was originally interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, but her remains are now buried with those of her mother and other family members in Jamestown's Lake View Cemetery.

Employees at the gatehouse regularly direct people to the family plot. It's marked by a large granite headstone on which, in the style of the famous TV show's opening credits, the name "Ball" is scripted inside a large heart.

July 01, 2011

Jamestown, NY Honors the Legacy of Laughter and Lucille Ball with a Hometown Birthday Party and Festival of Comedy

The world will celebrate the centennial birthday of its most beloved comedienne, Lucille Ball, once in this lifetime. This summer, her hometown of Jamestown, New York and the Lucille Ball – Desi Arnaz Center will throw a five-day, city-wide birthday party in honor of Lucy's 100th Birthday with a Festival of Comedy featuring Paula Poundstone, Joan Rivers, and a Rooftop Comedy Showcase, August 3-7, 2011.

Announcing Lucy Celebration

Lucille Ball's hometown of Jamestown, New York is preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration this summer, the 100th anniversary of Lucy's birth on August 6, 1911. A century ago, the baby girl who would grow up to become the world's most beloved comedienne, was born in a little house on an unassuming street in this small industrial city in Chautauqua County and southwestern New York. For months, street signs and banners throughout downtown have been announcing the coming party, Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday Celebration and Festival of Comedy, or simply Lucy Fest.

Preliminary festivities begin July 30th when, in collaboration with the Lucille Ball – Desi Arnaz Center, the local radio station, Media One Radio Group, will throw a Hometown Wedding. Fifty invited guests will attend the wedding and reception in the Desilu Playhouse and Lucy-Desi Museum, surrounded by the lifetime works and memorabilia of the first couple of comedy. Out of hundreds of entries, the winning couple, Tricia Dren and Troy Litwiler from Poland, Ohio were selected on February 14, 2011 by listeners and fans who have since voted on every detail of the wedding from the bride's dress and veil to flowers and rings.

On Thursday, August 4th, Joan Rivers takes the stage at the Reg Lenna Civic Center, the beautifully restored vaudeville Palace Theater where young Lucy first performed. Rivers co-starred with Lucille Ball in an episode of Here's Lucy in which the two comedic actresses' characters had jury duty together. The two reportedly had great respect and affinity for one another, and Rivers did the last talk show interview ever done with Ball.

Performing on Lucille Ball's 100th birthday, August 6, 2011, will be well-known comedienne and 1995 Lucy Fest headliner Paula Poundstone. Joining Poundstone and Rivers is a line-up that includes the critically-acclaimed kids' comedy show Story Pirates on Saturday morning, and Rooftop Comedy's showcase of rising comics Nate Bargatze, Christina Paszitsky and Costaki Economopoulos on Friday evening. Bargatze is the winner of the New York Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival in 2010, and Pazsitzky is a regular guest and writer of E!'s "Chelsea Lately", as well as a finalist on NBC's Last Comic Standing. Economopoulos is well known for his segment on the syndicated Bob & Tom Radio Show, “The Economonologue”. Kids' comedy troop Story Pirates have been mentioned on CNN's "Larry King" for their unique shows based on stories written by children.

Visitors will also see a film tribute to past festivals at the Robert H. Jackson Center, and a parade and historical re-enactment of Lucy and Desi's visit to Jamestown for the World Premiere of "Forever, Darling". Late night comedy choices include Jamestown's own improvisational comedy troupe, the Unexpected Guests, and up-and-coming stand-up Rooftop comedians.

Festival participants will have the opportunity to be part of the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as Lucy, as well as attend the Live Radio Show performance: "My Favorite Husband, and I Love Lucy: The Untold Story", written and directed by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer.

For vaudeville hopefuls, the chance to recreate and perform scenes from classic “I Love Lucy” episodes begins with Comedy College. A laugh-out-loud learning part of Lucy festivals for several years, Comedy College will soon be expanded as part of the nurturing comedic arts mission and outreach of the Lucy-Desi Center and in conjunction with Jamestown Community College, Jamestown's Infinity Performing and Visual Arts, and Bob Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University and professor at the Newhouse School of Communications. Details and a schedule of future classes for youth and adults will be announced during the festival.

Lucy Town Bus Tours and a silent auction of the Ball-Arnaz family memorabilia will run Wednesday through Saturday. A picnic in the Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, a small village on Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, closes the five-day event on Sunday. Celoron Mayor John Keeney will present "A Remembrance of Celoron Amusement Park through Lucille Ball's Eyes, from 1911-1933". Celoron was once noted for the huge park with giant toboggan slides, skating rink and large auditorium which attracted top musical and vaudeville performers from across the country.

The Fenton History Center presents "Lucille Ball: Not the Girl Next Door", a permanent exhibit focusing on Lucy's early years in Jamestown and Celoron and her return trips to the area throughout her career. Included are restricted photographs taken by her friend Marion Strong VanVlack, showing a touching, and human aspect of this internationally loved comedienne. In cooperation with the Lucy-Desi Center and historic Lakeview Cemetery, the Fenton History Center will also present cemetery tours by carriage during Lucy Fest, with stories from costumed actors about people in Lucy's life and a visit to the Ball family plot where she is buried.

The mission of the Lucille Ball – Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy, a 501c3 non-profit, is to preserve the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter through its commitment to the development of the comedic arts. Lucy Fest, August 3-7, 2011 in Jamestown, New York is presented by the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy and is co-produced by Rooftop Comedy and Rooftop Media, the leading and world's largest producer of interactive comedy programming.

For festival tickets and details on more than 30 events and activities, visit LucyComedyFest.com. For information on planning a trip to Jamestown and Chautauqua County in southwestern New York, visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau website or call 1-866-908-4569.