Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, April 22, 2002

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Just a couple of Lucy notes:

Another Home Shopping Network Hour

Get out your credit cards... Last October's "Lucy Hour" on Home Shopping Network was so successful that the network is planning another for May 13th, 8-9PM Eastern Time. Included in the October show was a special 50th Anniversary Doll that "sold out" within moments after the show started. HSN has ordered more units of that same doll, and will be selling them again this time... Also included in the show will be a few of the Lucy memorabilia items for sale in the general marketplace.

Jamestown Weekend August 2-4

The Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown, NY, has confirmed that this year's "Lucy Birthday Celebration" will be held the weekend of August 2-4. As in the past, a wide variety of special events are being planned. We will keep you posted as specific details become available.

Lucy Tour

Many of you have written, seeking information regarding the 2002 schedule for the "I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Tour." The tour, which played the State Fair Circuit this past summer and fall, is currently on a winter hiatus. A 2002 schedule will be announced soon.

We have heard rumors that the Tour operators have been in discussions with various casinos around the country. There are going to be new Lucy-themed slot machines unveiled this year, and the Tour may visit the various casinos that feature those games. There is also talk that the Tour might make extended visits to either Jamestown and/or the Universal theme parks, all of which already have Lucy-related attractions. We will keep you posted...

Shirley Eder Auction

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that columnist Shirley Eder is planning to auction her huge collection of show business memorabilia on May 15-16. We have been informed that the auction will include one "lot" of Lucy-related items, including two typed letters (signed "Lucy"), 16 unsigned 8x10 photos (some of them vintage), and a 1953 "TV Reporter" magazine with a Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz story. This lot is estimated at $200-400. The opening bid will be $100.

As we mentioned, the auction will be conducted by the Frank H. Boos Gallery in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Preview days are May 10, 13, and 14. The Boos Gallery is located at 420 Enterprise Court, in Bloomfield, MI. Their phone number is (248) 332-1500. For additional information, visit their web site at

Anniversaries Galore...

Just a reminder that this coming Saturday, April 27 (8-10PM, Eastern Time), Carol Burnett will host "CBS: 50 Years from Television City," a two-hour retrospective of the programs produced at CBS' Hollywood TV studios over the years. None of Lucy's own programs were filmed there, but Lucy did appear in many of the great variety shows that originated at TV City -- including Carol's own weekly show.

NBC Television celebrates its 75th Anniversary on Sunday, May 5, 8-11PM.

And on Monday, May 13, 10-11PM, CBS will present a Mary Tyler Moore Show Reunion Special... Mary will serve as host, and will reminisce one-on-one with such co-stars as Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel. The show is being produced by Gary Smith, who co-produced the "I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special" this past fall.

And Then There's Star Trek

When does a non-event become an event? Apparently when a major magazine like TV Guide declares it one... I am referring, of course, to the fact that TV Guide is currently celebrating the "35th Anniversay of Star Trek" by issuing its magazine for the week of April 20-26 with 35 different Star Trek-themed covers... They seem to be nonplussed by the fact that there is no offical Star Trek Anniversary Show being planned... or by the fact that 35 years ago the original Star Trek had already been on the air for most of a season! So why all the fuss? Apparently the vision of a zillion Trekkies running out to buy all 35 covers (at $1.99 a pop!) was too good to pass up!

Not that we are against a legitimate Star Trek Anniversary... The show was the first successful project to be developed by Desilu Studios after Lucille Ball took over as President. A pilot film was shot in the fall of 1964 starring Jeffrey Hunter and Leonard Nimoy, but failed to sell -- so a second pilot was done in the summer of 1965 with William Shatner taking over the lead. NBC bought the show, and it premiered on September 8, 1966.

Lucy herself had very little to do with the show... Unlike Desi, who liked to concern himself with all aspects of studio operations, Lucy did not lay awake nights worrying whether the Starship Enterprise should be painted steel blue or battleship gray -- she left those things to the producers and her production executives like Oscar Katz and Herb Solow.

In fact, until she actually saw some footage from the show, she often confused it in her mind with a project Jess Oppenheimer was working on for the studio the same year -- a comedy called Papa G.I. with Dan Dailey... That show concerned a group of USO stars that toured the south seas during World War II entertaining the troups. Hence, she always thought of it when she heard the name "Star Trek."

Papa G.I. did not sell, but Star Trek, of course, did -- and stayed on the air three seasons, inspired 9 motion pictures (a 10th is on the way!) and 4 sequel TV series... Not bad for a science-fiction hour that very few people outside of Desilu thought would work...

Have a great week!


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