August 06, 2012

WCA Donates Original Lucy Costume To Comedy Center

Throughout Lucille Ball's career, she donated a number of costumes to WCA Hospital as keepsakes, and during a special dinner presentation on Thursday at the Tropicana Room, one of those costumes was presented to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy.
The dedication ceremony for Lucille Ball's ringmaster costume included a formal presentation by Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital president and CEO, an acceptance speech by Journey Gunderson, executive director at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center and a catered dinner for fans of Lucy to enjoy while the original 1977 television episode of "Circus of the Stars" that Ball wore the costume in was shown.
"The Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy brings many people to the Jamestown area," said Wright. "So, we at WCA are so pleased to be able to contribute to this event.
"We are pleased that Lucille Ball, during her lifetime, was very generous to the community and to WCA Hospital," she continued. "She donated many of her costumes to WCA for our fundraising at Country Capers. This one (the ringmaster costume) we've had at the hospital and we think this (the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy) is the appropriate home for this 'Circus of the Stars' costume."
According to Gunderson, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is an attraction that brings in more than 20,000 visitors a year from all over the world.
"We are committed to giving you all a reason to keep coming back," said Gunderson. "The people that make things like that possible now include WCA hospital. So, we are extremely appreciative of WCA Hospital for this donation.
"It is my understanding that WCA Hospital held an annual fundraiser and that Lucille Ball never forgot about her hometown, even though she didn't live in Jamestown at the time, so she would donate an outfit almost every year to the fundraiser," she continued. "This particular outfit was really fitting because it's a ringmaster outfit that she wore when she was the master of ceremonies for the television special 'Circus of the Stars.'"
The dedication ceremony at the Tropicana Room sold to capacity with a total of 90 seats being filled. According to Gunderson, that speaks volumes to the importance of a donation of this kind.
"We have costumes in our collection, but few that are as spectacular as this one," said Gunderson. "So, when I got the call from WCA Hospital in early 2012 I was curious as to what this costume was, and together we researched it to pinpoint exactly what it was. Then when I saw it I just hit the roof. It's so beautiful, unique and literally dazzling."
The costume will likely be displayed on the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum side of the attraction among the other outfits that have been donated, according to Gunderson.
According to a WCA Hospital press release, "Circus of the Stars" was an annual television special, broadcast by the CBS network in the U.S., in which celebrities performed circus-type acts. There were 19 shows in total, the first being broadcast in 1977 and the last in 1994.
The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy is located at 2 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information call 484-0800 or visit To find out more about Lucy Fest visit

August 01, 2012

Lucy Fest to be featured on ABC News 20/20

ABC News 20/20 will be sending producers to cover the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy on Aug. 3-4 as part of a Barbara Walters two-hour special, "The Best in TV - The Greatest Shows of Our Time."

"To have ABC News and People Magazine come to town really proves how global the audience and brand is," said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy.

ABC News 20/20 and People Magazine are currently running a poll on, where "I Love Lucy" is a strong contender to win two awards, Best Television Comedy of All Time and Best Television Show of All Time. Nearly a million people have voted already, and the online poll will take place until the end of the month.

The two-hour Barbara Walters special, which will run later in the summer, will feature Jamestown's annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the Lucy World Games on Tracy Plaza, and footage from both museum attractions.

The first chance to be a part of ABC's coverage will be at the World Games opening ceremony at Tracy Plaza on Friday, Aug. 3 at 5:30 p.m. In addition to the World Games events, the Party on the Plaza will return to Jamestown. Food, drinks, free live music, and fun for all will all be available on both days. Two of the "I Love Lucy"-inspired events at the Party on the Plaza during the Lucy World Games which anyone can participate in, grape stomping and conveyor belt candy wrapping, are featured in ABC's online poll as some of the greatest moments in television history. Other events that fans can compete in include a 1.5K walk/run, Lucy trivia, a costume contest, and an Amazing Race-Lucy Style.

After the World Games, the festivities will move towards the Reg Lenna Civic Center, where ABC will be covering the Stand-Up Showcase, featuring some of the hottest rising talent like Tammy Pescatelli, Tony Deyo and more. Lucie Arnaz, daughter or Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, will be the musical guest and host. Lucy Fest has featured performances by then-rising stars Ray Romano, Lewis Black and Ellen DeGeneres, and aims to catch comics on a similar rise to the top with the 2012 showcase. Tickets are now available at

The Lucy World Games

Grape stomping and candy wrapping are two of the Lucy moments from the ABC News online poll that are featured during the Lucy World Games. Businesses, sports teams, local celebrities, and Lucy fans alike will all have the opportunity to be a part of these moments, and more, when people from across the area and around the United States gather at Tracy Plaza Jamestown on Aug. 3-4.

Businesses that register for the games will receive personalized participant T-shirts, six tickets to the Stand-Up Showcase on Friday, Aug. 3, and the chance to be named a Lucy World Games champion! Team registration for businesses costs $300 for up to 20 participants. Teammates may participate in multiple events and all events are not mandatory. Additionally, registration for local sports teams is $10 per person. Participant T-shirts and entry into all World Games events is included in the registration cost.

For more information or to register your team, contact Edward Sundquist at 664-7429 or visit This event is hosted by the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy located in Jamestown and sponsored by Allied Alarm Services.