Still in Love with Lucy
by Thomas Watson
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,
Left to right: Adrian Israel and Diane Vincent (as Ricky and Lucy),
local TV hostess Linda Pellegrino, Marilyn Borden, Wanda Clark,
Betsy Palmer, and yours truly, Tom Watson.
Many thanks to Ric Wyman, Pat Brininger, and all of the other wonderful people at the Lucy-Desi Center for making this past weekend's "Lucy-Desi Days" festival so enjoyable...
The three-day celebration, held annually in Lucy's hometown of Jamestown, New York, was filled with Lucy-themed events: screenings, a panel discussion, bus tours, an auction, an evening with actress Betsy Palmer, and -- perhaps best of all -- an I Love Lucy-themed Masquerade Ball. What a treat to see 300 people dressed as their favorite Lucy character! Oh, sure, there were a few Lucy/Carmen Mirandas, a couple of Lucys in Paris gowns, and a couple of Little Rickys (complete with portable conga drums) -- but there was also a Percy Livermore, a Lucy-and-Ethel dressed as the reporter and photographer (from "Ricky Has Labor Pains"), a Harpo and Lucy/Harpo team, and a husband and wife dressed as Lucy and Ethel geisha girls (from "The Ricardos Go to Japan"). Everyone deserved a huge applause for creativity!
One of my favorite events was a special screening of "Lucy Phones the President," which I had not seen in over 20 years. This was a 1977 television special that reunited Lucy with such longtime helpmates as Gale Gordon, Mary Jane Croft, Mary Wickes -- and Vivian Vance!
More Jamestown Lucy in August!
If you were not able to attend "Lucy-Desi Days," fret not... another Jamestown festival -- the annual "Lucille Ball Birthday Celebration" is coming up August 8-10. Carole Cook, Lucy's protege (and fine actress in her own right), will be the weekend's special guest.
Also being presented together for the first time will be four gentlemen who played Lucy's sons in her various television series. Keith Thibodeaux, whom everyone recognizes as the "grown up" Little Ricky in the later episodes of I Love Lucy, will be joined by Richard and Ronald Lee Simmons -- who, as newborns, played the Ricardo child when he was first brought home from the hospital. Completing the panel will be Jimmy Garrett, who co-starred for three seasons as Jerry Carmichael in The Lucy Show.
Lucy's trusted assistant Frank Gorey and her personal secretary Wanda Clark will join in the fun, hosting a "Show & Tell" boat cruise on Jamestown's beautiful Lake Chautauqua. They will be showing some special items from the Museum archives and telling stories of their relationships with everyone's favorite redhead. Don't miss this one!
For complete information about Lucy's Birthday weekend, visit the Lucy-Desi web site at:
"Desilu" Documentary Coming in August
"Desilu," a special documentary offering a unique in-depth look at the business relationship and personal lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, will premiere on Bravo cable network Saturday, August 24, at 9PM (Eastern and Pacific zones).
Nearly five years in the making, "Desilu" offers a who's-who of celebrity testimonials and a treasure trove of classic clips, revealing Lucy and Desi like never before. The documentary focuses on the behind-the-scenes history of Desilu studios -- the company that started by producing a single series -- I Love Lucy -- but wound up one of the most successful studios of all time.
"Desilu" was produced by We Love Lucy's Kurt Fethke, and was endorsed by Lucie Arnaz as the perfect companion piece to the two television specials she produced about her parents. "Our 'Home Movies' documentary focused on their home life,' Lucie said, "and the '50th Anniversary Show' celebrated I Love Lucy. This one examines mom and dad's company, how it grew, and how it gave us such classics as The Untouchables, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Mannix."
And More Lucy Books on the Way...
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bookstores, here comes two new Lucy books! Set for publication in August is "Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life & Comic Art of Lucille Ball," a biography by Stefan Kanfer. The book will sell for $26.95 in hardcover.
October will see the release of "Lucy & Desi: A Real-Life Scrapbook of America's Favorite Couple," by Lucie Arnaz's personal secretary, Elisabeth Edwards. It, too, will be released in hardcover, at $40.
Both books deserve immediate recognition as having two of the longest titles on record! We will keep you updated as more information about them becomes available.
Have a great week!
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Original materials © 2003 Lucyfan Enterprises. All rights reserved.
"I Love Lucy" is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.