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.