Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,


"We Love Lucy" Meets in Jamestown

There's good news and there's bad news... The bad news is there will not be a Lucy Convention this summer in Burbank. There were just too many manpower issues that could not be worked out, and rather than present a down-sized version of our Loving Lucy weekends, we have decided to wait at least another year.

The good news is that We Love Lucy will host an event at one or both of this year's Lucy festivals held in Jamestown, New York, under the auspices of the Lucy-Desi Museum. We are confirmed for the May 23-25 Memorial Day event, and pencilled in for the August 8-10 "Lucy's Birthday" event.

It is a little too early to give more precise details about our fan club function(s). I am not being coy -- we simply do not have the format finalized as yet. A lot depends on how the rest of the weekend shapes up. More details should be available within a week or so, and I will keep you posted.

I hope as many Lucyfans as possible will be able to join us this year. For information about the two Jamestown weekends, visit the Lucy-Desi Museum web site at

Ashton Drake Brings Back "Little Ricky"

This month is the official 50th Anniversary of TV's first big phenomenon -- the birth of Little Ricky, and Ashton Drake is celebrating the event by issuing a replica of the "Little Ricky" vinyl doll sold in toy stores throughout the 1950s.

This cutey (see photo, left), like the original, is dressed in a beanie cap that matches his pale yellow enscribed overalls. It's a limited edition, which means it will not be around for long. The Ashton Drake "Little Ricky" is priced by most dealers at $69.95.

Mattel's Lucy Doll a Red-Hot Item

Even though Mattel's latest Lucy doll -- Lucy in her Paris Gown -- arrived in the stores a few weeks late (thanks to the west-coast dockworkers' strike in October), she is selling like hot cakes -- or should we say crepes suzettes!

Many dealers sold out almost immediately, and the Christmas rush wiped out what few that were left. But fear not, more are on the way. (Our friends at already have some new ones in stock!) The doll promises to be one of Mattel's best-selling items!

The company, as a matter of fact, is so pleased with the success of this doll that they are already previewing their next Lucy creation -- Lucy in what many believe to be the quintessential "Lucy dress," the black lace housecoat created by Elois Jenssen. Making the doll even more fun is the fact that Mattel is basing it on Lucy's famous "putty nose" scene with William Holden. Called "L.A. at Last," the doll (see photo, right) will be released in mid-to-late summer, 2003.

Both Mattel Lucy dolls are priced by most dealers at $39.95


Continuing the tradition established a couple of weeks ago, we would like to close by answering a question about Lucy herself:

We Love Lucy Member Mark Easley recently asked:

"Did Lucy ever get to go shopping at a mall or grocery store? Did she always have to let people go for her?"

Believe it or not, Beverly Hills, even in the 1980s when I worked with Lucy, still had many establishments that would "pick up and deliver." One could pick up the phone, order a list of groceries, and have them delivered to your door. The local cleaners stopped by and picked up this week's laundry, and left off the items from last week. A local green grocer stopped in front of the house and one could buy fresh vegetables right off the truck. It sounds like middle-America of the 1930s, but, trust me, one paid 1980s Beverly Hills prices for these services!

More to your point, Lucy enjoyed shopping and, on occasion, did venture out to a local department store, usually in the company of a good friend like Mary Wickes or husband Gary. She loved to go out at Christmas time, see the windows, and buy gifts for the family.

Our friend Michael Stern tells a story about Lucy and Mary coming to a store where he was working -- she knew he'd be there! -- and the two of them piled his counter high with sheets, pillow cases, and other linen. He was thrilled -- until he realized she had no idea that she needed cash or a credit card... Back in the 1940s and early 50s, when she did a lot of her own shopping, all one had to do -- especially if you were LUCILLE BALL -- was sign for it! Poor Michael spent a very frantic few minutes on the phone with his supervisor, but, sure enough, a short while later a happy Lucy toddled out of the store with her linens!

Gary always said it was easier for Lucy to shop in New York, where for whatever reason, people normally gave celebrities "space." One time, however, the two of them went to the very upscale Bergdorf Goodman department store. Lucy went to look at shoes, and Gary walked over to an alcove with men's sweaters... Not two minutes later he heard some woman shriek, "It's LUCY!!!" and he knew he had to go rescue his wife.

Of course, there was one time when Gary needed to help Lucy get into a store... It was in 1985, and she was filming the made-for-tv movie, "Stone Pillow," in which she played a bag-lady. Most of the scenes were shot on the streets of Manhattan, and during production breaks, Lucy liked to wander over and peek into the nearby windows. One time, she tried to go into one of the boutiques -- and the manager threw her out. He thought she was a real bag lady! From then on, she had Gary go with her whenever she wandered away from the set!

And that's what I remember about Lucy going shopping...


Have a great week everybody!


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