Still in Love with Lucy
by Thomas Watson
Wednesday, June 2, 2004
Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,
"Lucy-Desi Days" Sets New Highs
Just returned from all-too-fast (but wonderfully entertaining) weekend in Lucy's hometown of Jamestown, New York. This year's "Lucy-Desi Days" celebration is one that will be remembered for years to come!
Among the highlights was Saturday night's "An Evening with Jim Bailey," featuring knock-out performances by both Bailey and his special guest Lucie Arnaz. The multi-media show included a showing of the 1972 episode of Here's Lucy, in which impressionist Bailey "substituted" for an ailing Phyllis Diller. Afterward, as a surprise for all of us, Miss Diller phoned the theatre and spoke to us "live." Bailey entertained in his own voice, and did "duets" with himself -- using film clips of his performances on various television programs as Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, and Judy Garland.
Bailey and Arnaz then sang "Friendship," answered questions from fans, and closed with a recreation of the number "Fever," which they'd done more than 30 years ago in the aforementioned Here's Lucy. A great show all around!
Earlier in the day, Dann Cahn was the special guest at a seminar in which he reminisced about his long career in Hollywood -- with an emphasis on the 9 years he spent at Desilu (1951-1960). Dann, of course, was the first film editor on I Love Lucy, and went on to establish the entire Desilu post-production department. Dann recalled his long friendship with Lucy and Desi -- and showed us the last known "Desilu" crew jacket that he has donated to the Lucy-Desi Museum.
On Sunday, actress Doris Singleton (I Love Lucy's Carolyn Appleby) took the stage, and was reunited with Steve Kay (photo, right), the actor who, as a youngster, played little her son Stevie in Lucy's famous "Superman" episode. (This weekend was the two actors' first "reunion" in 48 years!) Included in the seminar were film clips from not only the "Superman" episode, but from nearly all of Miss Singleton's appearances with Lucy over the years -- and a few of her appearances on other shows. "What an astounding body of work!" exclaimed Steve at the end of the clips.
Singleton reminisced about her long association with Lucy (which started on radio's My Favorite Husband and continued through 30 years of television). She confessed that even now she is stopped by viewers who recognize her as Carolyn -- not only in this country but all over the world. "It's very gratifying," she said. Kay told stories about receiving a Superman suit from actor George Reeves (who played the superhero) -- and laughingly recalled that, as a 5 year old, he was a little afraid of William Frawley!
Going, Going, Gone...
Saturday afternoon's Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction was very successful. Among the high winning bids was $3100, paid for a scarce Danbury Mint test market plate (photo, right). In 2003, Danbury Mint ran a test market promotion for a new Lucy-themed plate. Due to the modest response, the company decided not to move forward with the project. Instead they produced just enough to fill their test-market orders... and now those few plates are real collectors' items!
Also bringing big bucks was an original autographed I Love Lucy shooting script ("Lucy and Bob Hope"), signed by -- among others -- Bob Hope, Keith Thibodeaux, and writers Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Davis, Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf. It sold for $2100. (Proceeds from this item will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Lucy-Desi Museum).
We will have information about other auction items in a future newsletter.
Closing out the festive weekend was the second annual "I Love Lucy Masquerade Ball," to which attendees were invited to dress as their favorite Lucy character... Ricky/Desi impressionist Adrian Israel served as host and recreated a few of Ricky's most famous musical numbers.
Fans came dressed as everything from Lucy in her Vitameatavegamin dress to Ricky in his Voodoo outfit! One enterprising young lady even came "dressed" in Lucy's steam cabinet (from "The Diet" episode). Here are just a few of the attendees:
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Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
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