July 31, 2012

Rare Lucille Ball doll tops $10,000 at Amesbury MA Auction

A rare 1955 Madame Alexander Lucille Ball bride doll sold for more than $10,000 at a recent John McInnis Auction in Amesbury, Massachuesettes.

"It was a quite a successful sale," said Dan Meader, an appraiser for John McInnis Auctioneers, of the 700-plus doll collection of Kathy Hipp of Amesbury, who began amassing her collection in the 1950s.

The collection was sold at auction on July 14 at the McInnis Auction Gallery. It took in $300,000.

"We had 300 bidders registered online and another 140 to 150 people that came to the auction. We had buyers from other countries, including Japan and Australia and a strong concentration in this country," McInnis said.

"The mid-century (1950s) dolls did so well," McInnis said. The top lot was a very rare 1955 Madame Alexander Lucille Ball as a bride that sold for $10,062.50. An 18-inch Kathe Kruse swivel-head doll estimated at $500 to $750 sold for $2,950 and a Jumeau doll sold for $6,037."

Hipp started with a passion for Madame Alexander dolls and then branched out to fine French and German bisque dolls. Included in her collection was her vast array of 1930s to 1960s era dolls including Nancy Ann Storybook, Vogue, and Terry Lee. Her entire Madame Alexander Collection, including many rare examples, was sold. The collection included dolls from the 1860s to the 1980s, from rare French and German bisque dolls to Barbie, Kewpie, and GI Joe dolls.

"Some rare individual dolls sold in the thousands of dollars," Meader said, "some hundreds. Many of the Madame Alexander dolls are in mint condition and most are in their original boxes."

Other important examples of dolls in the collection included Jumeau, Steiner, Bru, K*R, Heubach, Simon & Halbig, Armand Marseille, SFBJ, F.Gaultier, J.D. Kestner, Schoenhut, Franz Schmidt, Effanbee, Gibson, Jerri, Pauline, Heidi Ott, Sasha, Nisbit, Lenci, Kathe Kruse, Corelle, and Grace Putnam.

The collection also included boxes and boxes and boxes of doll shoes, clothing, wigs, furniture, tea sets, and miniatures.

"It was a big undertaking," McInnis said, "a lot of work went into it, but it was a total success."

July 25, 2012

"The Lucy Show, The Official 6th And Final Season" DVD Coming in October

CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment have now announced that The Lucy Show - The Official 6th And Final Season will be on DVD and in stores this coming October 9th. The 24-episode, 4 disc collection also has bonus material.

It's The Lucy Show's sixth and final hilarious season, as Lucy continues to go on wacky misadventures with her reluctant best friend and her cantankerous boss. Own the FINAL SEASON of The Lucy Show on DVD for the first time! The 4-disc set contains all 24 uproarious episodes from the sixth and final season. Guest stars include: Milton Berle, Ruth Berle, Jacques Bergerac, Frankie Avalon, Jack Benny, Robert Goulet and Buddy Hackett! All episodes have brilliantly restored color picture and audio. Also features Cast Biographies, Production Notes, Photo Galleries, and much more!

Award winning final season: Emmy Winner: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (Lucille Ball). Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding performance by an actor in a supporting role in a Comedy (Gale Gordon), Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy. Golden Globe Nomination: Best Actress in a Television Series - Female (Lucille Ball).

Stay tuned on how to order this Final Season of The Lucy Show!

July 21, 2012

Julia Louis-Dreyfus ties Lucille Ball in Emmy Awards nominations

Julia Louis-Dreyfus made Emmy history on July 19th, with her nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for "Veep."
The actress has now tied Lucille Ball's record of 13 nominations, the most earned by a comedic actress in Emmy history, the Hollywood Reporter notes.
Louis-Dreyfus told TVLine.com she was "stunned" to learn of her new connection to the "I Love Lucy" star.
I just learned that this morning; I had no idea beforehand and I'm stunned by it," she said. "I'm really actually made speechless by it and don't even know what to say."
Louis-Dreyfus' 12 other Emmy nods came from her tenures on "Seinfeld" (seven nominations from 1992-1998, she won in 1995) and  "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (five consecutive nominations from 2006, which she won, through 2010).
"Veep" finished its first season last month. In April, HBO announced it was renewing the half-hour comedy for a second season.

July 19, 2012

William Asher, Director of Classic TV Comedies, Dies at 90

Reported from The NY Times by Denise Grady:
William Asher and Elizabeth Montgomery
on the set of "Bewitched,"a television
favorite that ran from 1964 to 1972.

William Asher, a producer, director and screenwriter in the early days of television who directed some two dozen shows — most notably “Bewitched,” which starred his wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, and more than 100 episodes of “I Love Lucy” — died on Monday, July 16th in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 90 and lived in Indian Wells, Calif.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his wife, Meredith Asher, said.
Mr. Asher won an Emmy for “Bewitched” in 1966. He also directed episodes of “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “The Thin Man,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Gidget” and “The Patty Duke Show.”

In the 1960s he wrote and directed a string of girls-in-bikinis movies with Frankie Avalon and the former “Mickey Mouse Club” star Annette Funicello — “Beach Party,” “Muscle Beach Party,” “Bikini Beach,” “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” — all of which were hits with teenagers despite being scorned by reviewers. Each was shot in about 15 days. Along with the nubile young bodies, Mr. Asher tossed in oddball cameos with his old-time actor friends, including Buster Keaton, Boris Karloff and Mickey Rooney. “Muscle Beach Party” was the screen debut of a singer then known as Little Stevie Wonder.

Mr. Asher loved making those movies, he told interviewers. Silly as they were, they were happy fantasies, what he wished his own youth had been like, instead of what it was: a grim existence with an alcoholic and abusive mother after his parents’ divorce.
William Milton Asher was born in Manhattan on Aug. 8, 1921. His mother, Lillian Bonner, was an actress, and his father, Ephraim M. Asher, was a movie producer. His sister, Betty, became a publicist for Judy Garland.

The family moved to Los Angeles when he was about 10 so that his father could work in the studios, and as a boy he became fascinated with the movie business. But his parents soon divorced, and he moved back to New York with his mother. Miserable at home, he lost interest in school and dropped out; he never finished high school or attended college. He joined the Army in 1941 and served in the Signal Corps for four years, stationed in Astoria, Queens, as a unit photographer.

He loved literature and had always wanted to be a writer, and began writing short stories while he was in the Army, his son Bill said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. After being discharged he went to California and landed work, at first in the mailroom at Universal Studios. But he was soon adapting his own short stories for a television series, “Invitation Playhouse,” and directing them. In 1952, he was directing “Our Miss Brooks.” Desi Arnaz knew of his work and asked him to try directing “I Love Lucy,” which became one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. The show was shot before a live audience and was the first to be filmed using three cameras.

Mr. Asher met Elizabeth Mongomery in the late 1950s, and they married in 1963. His first marriage had ended in divorce. He and Ms. Montgomery had three children, and she wanted to stop working to take care of them, but Mr. Asher persuaded her to keep acting by creating a project they could work on together: “Bewitched,” a sitcom about a suburban housewife who is actually a witch (cheerful and mischievous, not wicked).

The show made its debut in 1964 and lasted for eight years. The nose twitch — one of the show’s hallmarks — that signaled Ms. Montgomery’s character, Samantha, was about to perform a feat of witchcraft was something Ms. Montgomery did naturally, without being fully aware of it. Mr. Asher, charmed by it, pointed it out to her and urged her to put it to good use.

When “Bewitched” ended, in 1972, Ms. Montgomery again wanted to stop working to spend time with her children, and she wanted Mr. Asher to take some time off, too. His ambition would not allow it, his son said, and their differences led to divorce. Ms. Montgomery died of cancer in 1995, at 57.

Mr. Asher’s third marriage, to the actress Joyce Bulifant, also ended in divorce. He married Meredith Coffin McMachen in 1996.

In addition to his wife and his son Bill, he is survived by two daughters, Liane Sears and Rebecca Asher; three other sons, Brian, John and Robert; two stepsons, Charles MacArthur and David Jarmon; two stepdaughters, Mary McClure and Merritt Cook; 10 grandchildren; and 7 step-grandchildren.

Mr. Asher counted Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. among his friends, his son Bill said, and on occasion would fly with them from Hollywood to Las Vegas on Sinatra’s plane for a night on the town and be flown back in time to arrive on the set by 5 the next morning.

It was “such a rich artistic and flamboyant time,” Bill Asher said. “Those guys were living life big.”

July 18, 2012

The First Ever Lucy World Games, Jamestown NY, 2012

The first ever LUCY WORLD GAMES will be taking place in JAMESTOWN, NY on August 3rd-4th, 2012

The Lucy World Games is a series of fun events in which LUCY FANS from across the world can compete against each other to truly see who is the best! LUCY WORLD GAMES  promotes the legacy of love, laughter, and camaraderie among all fans through several events meant to show your love for LUCILLE BALL!

Some competitions at the World Games include GRAPE STOMPING, CHOCOLATE WRAPPING, and a LUCY COSTUME CONTEST. All participants will receive aFREE PARTICIPANT SHIRT and the chance to win LUCY MEMORABILIA or other prizes.

All of this will take place during our PARTY ON THE PLAZA at City Hall, which includes food, drinks, and FREE live bands.

Registration to participate in all Lucy World Games events is $20.


 Lucy World Games: Chocolate Wrapping 

Think you can wrap chocolates better than Lucy or Ethel?

Each participant will have 1 minute and 30 seconds to see how many chocolates they can wrap. The participants who wrap the most chocolates will be declared the winner.

Lucy World Games: Lucy Trivia 

In this event, individuals answer Lucy-related trivia questions. The Trivia game is scored by rounds with successful individuals advancing. The individual with the most correct answers at the end of the game will be named the gold medalist in trivia of the Lucy World Games.

Lucy World Games: Lucy Loop 

Participate in the 1.5K Run/Walk in the City of Jamestown. Fastest times for the 1.5K Run/Walk wins. Individuals are given additional points if they participate in in Lucy-related costumes.

Lucy World Games: Costume Contest 

Individuals may dress as one of the following categories of characters from "I Love Lucy": Lucy or Ricky, Fred or Ethel, or any other show character. A panel of judges chooses the top three costumes.

Lucy World Games: Cornhole Tournament 

This individual event will be run with each participant throwing a series of bean bags. The highest aggregate totals will named the bronze, silver, and gold medalists.

Lucy World Games: Grape Stomping

Each participant will have 2 minutes to stomp as much juice as possible. The individual that produces the highest volume of juice wins.



July 16, 2012

Lucy-Desi Center director Gunderson makes case for comedy at Chautauqua Speaks

When Chautauqua County native Journey Gunderson began her tenure as director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy in Jamestown, N.Y., in 2011, Jamestown Post-Journal reporter Stacy Stauffer described her as “a fresh breeze.”
Considering the success of the 2011 celebration of Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday and the plans for the August 2012 Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, Gunderson is an imaginative and efficient breeze — perhaps a strong wind — blowing away cobwebs and generating new energy for the Center’s future.
On Thursday at the 9:15 a.m. Chautauqua Speaks program at the Chautauqua Women’s Club, Gunderson will be “Making A Case For Comedy.” She will not discuss the art of comedy, though that is the art the Center cultivates and preserves. Rather, she will describe the vision for the Center as it strives to become an incubator for comics, an entertainment venue and eventually the National Comedy Museum and Hall of Fame.
“We want to be the Cooperstown of Comedy,” she said referring to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Gunderson described Ball as a shrewd businesswoman. She said the Center’s goals are a translation of Ball’s perception that the Center would have to be more than a museum attraction.
Born and raised in Chautauqua County, Gunderson grew up in Bemus Point where she lives now with her husband, Jason Toczydlowski, director of marketing and guest services at the Athenaeum Hotel. She enjoys a long connection with Chautauqua Institution. Her grandmother Winnie Lewellen was for many years Wensley House housemother.
A graduate of Ithaca College, Gunderson majored in sports information and communications. She was editorial director and web producer for the Women’s Sports Foundation in New York.
In 2010, Gunderson received the Alumni Leadership & Service Award from the Ithaca College Department of Sport Management and Media. She is a two-time National Health Foundation Information Awards Gold Award-winner.
So often young women and men leave their smaller hometowns and bring their talent and potential to bigger cities. There is something reassuring about Gunderson’s return to the Jamestown area. Perhaps she is part of an avant-garde of young men and women who will bring their substantial ability home.

July 14, 2012

Lucy Desi Center To Unveil New Audio Tour

As printed from The Jamestown Post-Journal by Dusten Rader:
A new museum experience will be narrated by Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy has added an audio guide tour to the existing attractions at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. The project will launch during Lucy Fest, Aug. 1-5.
Spearheading the project is Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy. Gunderson felt that the tour needed an update that would compliment the existing experience at the museum.
"I noticed that when I brought my friends, family or colleagues here that I ended up narrating the tour for them to make sure they got the highlights of the legacy," said Gunderson. "So, I figured that (an audio tour) would be a good way to invest in the attraction, and take it up a notch."
The project was made possible through a grant written by Gunderson to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. The CRCF matched the $10,000 that the Lucy Desi Center put forward for a total of $20,000. Gunderson then commissioned renowned exhibit designer David Weiss to oversee the production and installation of the new audio tour. The project was a collaborative effort between the production efforts of Desilu, Too and Weiss.
Weiss' resume includes the world-touring "Harry Potter" and "Chronicles of Narnia" exhibitions, "Jurassic Park: Singapore," and NASA's "Space: A Journey to Our Future" among other educational, immersive and entertaining experiences in museums, theme parks and destinations worldwide. Weiss frequently works with Jack Rouse Associates, one of the most well-known exhibit design studios in the world.
"He came and toured the museum, took video of everything and layed out the plan for the guide," said Gunderson. "Then he said, 'It would be very cool if we could get Lucie Arnaz' (to narrate)."
Gunderson contacted Arnaz to ask if she'd be on board, and she quickly agreed to take part. Author Elisabeth Edwards also got involved, and according to Gunderson, she brought the story together in a way that made it exponentially more special and insightful.
"It ended up that she put it in her own words, which made it so much more valuable," said Gunderson. "She was telling us things in the script that we wouldn't have known otherwise. So, to have the ability to walk through the attraction narrated by the daughter of two of the most famous people ever to have lived is pretty cool."
According to Gunderson, the experience hasn't changed in a dramatic way, but is more of an addition to something that was already a gem of an attraction.
"It brings it to life," said Gunderson. "We get people in all the time who say they didn't even know they (Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) were married in real life. Or, that Desilu Studios produced "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible," and "The Andy Griffith Show." Those are things we don't want people to miss, and now we can tell them in the story."
The audio tour also allows guests to engage at the level they want to based on how much time they have. Guests will be given a handheld device that holds a series of audio cues which flow through the whole attraction. Or, they can opt not to use it at all. But, for those who do, a total of 26 audio queues are available with a wealth of information to discover.
"When you're ready you can listen to the chunk of the recording that has information which otherwise is not here, or is five paragraphs deep on a panel that people don't read," said Gunderson. "I think it will connect the dots for people that are not already super aware of the legacy, and I'm excited about it."
In addition to narrating the audio tour guides, Arnaz will be the musical host at the comedy showcase which includes Tammy Pescatelli, on Friday, Aug. 3. Tickets are on sale at LucyComedyFest.com.
For a tax-deductible donation of $100, fans and supporters can enjoy the unique opportunity to attend a reception with Arnaz held in the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum immediately following the Friday show. The reception will begin at 10:30 p.m. at 10 W. Third St., and tickets are available at 484-0800 or LucyComedyFest.com.
The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and Desilu Studios are open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

July 13, 2012

Lucy Desi Center to Unveil New Audio Guide Tour Narrated by Lucie Arnaz

The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy is excited to announce that it will debut a significant enhancement to its dual museum attraction at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival this August 1-5.

Thanks to a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, matching funds from the Lucy Desi Center, and the generous collaborative production efforts of Desilu, Too and exhibit designer David Weiss, the Lucy Desi Museum and Desilu Studios attractions will soon offer a narrated tour experience option in addition to the regular admission.

Now, visitors may opt to be guided through the exhibitry and incredible story of the Lucy and Desi legacy by the voice of none other than Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

"This gem of an attraction and the fans who visit it from all over the world were deserving of an update to the experience.  I wrote a grant to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, matched it with an investment of our own, commissioned renowned exhibit producer David Weiss, and he visited and said, 'It's got to be Lucie.'  She [Arnaz] and author Elisabeth Edwards got involved and brought the story together in a way that made it exponentially more special and insightful.  It's exciting," said Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

Lucie Arnaz will be in Jamestown for the debut, as she is the host and musical guest of the Friday night showcase of rapidly-rising comedians including Tammy Pescatelli, 8:30 pm August 3 during this year's Lucy Fest. Tickets are now on sale at www.LucyComedyFest.com.  Coincidentally, Arnaz's father, Desi Arnaz, was the first-ever to be both host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live in 1976.

Production and installation of the new audio tour has been overseen by David Weiss, whose credits include the world-touring "Harry Potter" and "Chronicles of Narnia" exhibitions, "Jurassic Park: Singapore," and NASA's "Space: A Journey to Our Future" among other educational, immersive and entertaining experiences in museums, theme parks and destinations world-wide.

July 09, 2012

Tammy Pescatelli Joins Lucy Comedy Fest Line-Up

The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy is proud to announce that Tammy Pescatelli will be joining an already star-studded lineup that includes Billy Gardell and Paula Poundstone for its annual Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, August 1st-5th. Pescatelli, winner of Comedy Central's 2010 Stand-Up Showdown, will be performing at the Stand-Up Showcase on August 3rd. Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, will be the host and musical guest of the showcase Friday. Tickets are on sale at LucyComedyFest.com.

Being one of the Final Five on NBC'sLast Comic Standing 2 catapulted Pescatelli's career. She has appeared twice as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and has also appeared on National Lampoons Funny Money, NBC's Last Comic Standing: The Best of the Best, and Comedy Central's The World Stands Up!

Pescatelli also recently appeared in her own half-hour special for Comedy Central, Comedy Central Presents: Tammy Pescatelli. More recently, she has performed on TBS's Evening at the Laugh Factory, Last Call with Carson Daly, and has been a guest a number of times on the syndicated show Comics Unleashed, and was chosen for their Best of the Best worldwide top selling DVD.

The Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy takes place August 1-5 and features Billy Gardell, star of the CBS hit Mike & Molly and his own 2011 Comedy Central Special: Halftime, Paula Poundstone, named one of the Top 100 Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central, The Story Pirates, a critically-acclaimed kids comedy show that recently performed live with Conan O'Brien, and much more in addition to Pescatelli and Arnaz.

Tickets for Live Lucy Radio Plays, Dinner Theater with The Ricardos & Mertzes, the first ever Lucy Olympics, a "Party on the Plaza" which features live music & spirits, museum & town tours, Late Night Comedy shows in the Tropicana Room, and more are available at LucyComedyFest.com or by phone at (716)484-0800.

July 02, 2012

Bridge in Lucy's hometown renamed in Lucy and Desi's honor

"I am extremely pleased that the State Assembly joined the Senate last week to approve legislation to name the I-86 bridge over North Main Street in honor of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  The bridge sign on the expressway will serve as a constant reminder of the great contributions from America's favorite comedians, and will help promote the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown," said Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

Senator Kathy Young successfully obtained Senate approval for this legislation both last year and this year.  It was extremely difficult, however, to get this type of legislation through the Assembly.

Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. had the following reaction on behalf of the family: "That is such thrilling news!!!! Believe it or not, that will be the first place, anywhere, to ever be named in their honor. No place they have ever lived or worked has done that for them. Not Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Palm Springs, Del Mar, nowhere. On their behalf, we thank you, Jamestown!"  - Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

"In addition to obtaining the support of the ranking member of the Transportation Committee, I personally lobbied for this legislation with the Democrat Chairman of the committee.   I also recruited some well-respected Democrat legislators, a Cuba-American legislator, and others as cosponsors," noted Assemblyman Goodell.
In speaking on behalf of the bill on the floor of the Assembly, Assemblyman Goodell noted "Lucille Ball was more than a great comedienne.  This great New Yorker was also a true pioneer."  He went on to cite the couple's impact on the production side of television history with the company they built together, Desilu Productions.  He noted their innovations in the use of a three-camera angle technique, their development of the concept of syndication, and the successful products of that studio including Star Trek and Mission Impossible.   "Lucille Ball went on to become the first female head of a major television production company, having already broken several cultural barriers with her marriage to a Cuban immigrant and by openly showing her pregnancy on their television show.  She was a tremendous performer, businesswoman, and individual."

"Lucille Ball always remembered her hometown, as evidenced by the couple choosing to host the world premiere of their first movie together right here in Jamestown at the peak of their fame.  The naming of this bridge is a well-deserved and fitting tribute to these great individuals," said Assemblyman Goodell.