Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dear Fellow Lucyfans:

See You in Jamestown

Sorry we missed last week's posting... Two reasons: there was not much in the way of "Lucy" news AND I was up to my editing-finger, putting together videos for our "Lucy-Desi Days" festival later this month in Jamestown.

One of the videos is something of a retrospective on my "career" with the fan club. As I sat here, going through old files, scrapbooks and videos, I realized just how lucky we are to have a place like the Lucy-Desi Center where we can all get together and celebrate the lady and TV shows we love!

It was not all that long ago when being a Lucy fan meant meeting with other fans -- if you happened to know any -- and watching broadcast TV shows and looking at each other's scrapbooks. There was no museum, no national effort to collect and preserve our precious artifacts... There was not even much in the way of memorabilia... What few things we were able to find at swapmeets (or grandma's attic) were considered gold.

And when you think about it -- it is STILL that way for most fans and collectors of other stars/shows/movies... There is no museum dedicated to the life and career of such stars as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable... or (on the TV side) Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson... There is no institution dedicated to "All in the Family" or "The Beverly Hillbillies" or even "Friends."

My scrapbooks and files also reminded me of how fleeting life can be, and how fast things change... Many of the celebrities who joined us for our "Loving Lucy" Conventions back in 1996-2001 are no longer with us. And a few of the fans who contributed so much to the club and the conventions are also gone...

So yes, once again I am packing my bags for the journey back to Jamestown... It is always such a treat to get together with other fans who enjoy the same things I do... To trade stories, to see what's new in the gift shop, and just to celebrate the lady that still makes me laugh-out-loud in stories I have seen a thousand times...

I hope many of you will be there, too...


Wilmer Valderrama Headlines Jamestown Festival in May

The Lucy-Desi Center in Jamestown, New York, has unveiled its plans for this year's "Lucy-Desi Days Festival," to be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25. Headlining the weekend is TV star Wilmer Valderrama.

Among the other special guests are Lucy's sister-in-law Zo Ball; actress Melody Thomas Scott; I Love Lucy's Steve Kay and film editor Dann Cahn; Lucy's longtime secretary Wanda Clark; impressionists Diane Vincente and Rhonda Medina; and Desilu attorney Howard Rayfiel. Following is the Center's press release:

TV’s “Fez” Plans Tribute to Desi Arnaz

Jamestown, NY – Wilmer Valderrama, star of That ‘70s Show and Fast Food Nation and creator and host of MTV’s Yo Momma, is heading to Jamestown, New York, on Saturday, May 24, to celebrate Desi Arnaz’s contributions to the world of entertainment.

Wilmer will take the stage to share how Desi personally inspired his career and to salute the man that paved the way for other Hispanic actors in America. With a collection of rarely seen film clips of Desi’s career -- and some added surprises -- this will be a night not to miss! Wilmer fans will also be encouraged to take part in a special question and answer session that will feature highlights of Wilmer’s career to date. A gala reception with limited admission will follow.

With more than 40 events in the line-up for Lucy-Desi Days, Jamestown, New York will be the place to be on Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25, 2008!

On Friday morning, host Linda Pellegrino will kick off the weekend festivities with a broadcast of WKBW’s AM Buffalo from the Desilu Playhouse, Jamestown’s “I Love Lucy” museum. Ms. Pellegrino will interview Lucy-Desi VIPs live on the Ricardos’ New York City living room set. Weekend Guest Passes admit festival goers to the Desilu Playhouse and the Lucy-Desi Museum for this event and throughout the weekend.

Friday afternoon, Zo Ball, Lucille Ball’s sister-in-law, and her children will welcome guests on board the Summer Wind for a cruise on Lake Chautauqua. Passengers will feel like a part of Lucy’s extended family!

Melody Thomas Scott, “Nikki” of The Young & The Restless, will share stories during Sunday brunch in the beautiful recreation of Ricky Ricardo’s Tropicana nightclub. That evening Melody will host the Lucy-Desi Fans Talent Show & Costume Contest, with prizes courtesy of The Franklin Mint. She’ll join other festival VIPs on stage afterward for a Grand Finale Wrap Party, with live music, wine and a wonderful dessert buffet!

Universal Studios’ “Lucy” (Diane Vincent) and her sidekick “Ethel” (Rhonda Medina) will host special “I Love Lucy” reenactment dinners each evening in the Tropicana Room.

Howard Rayfiel, Resident Counsel to Desilu Productions and Vice President of Lucille Ball Productions, will be joined by Wanda Clark, Lucy’s long-time personal secretary, in presenting a special slide show featuring never-before-seen photos of Lucille Ball along with storytelling, video highlights, and a question and answer session.

Tribute will be paid to We Love Lucy Fan Club President Tom Watson at the Fan Reunion and Picnic in Celoron. Steven Kay, the actor who played Little Ricky’s best pal, Stevie Appleby, in the classic episode that featured Superman, will make a special “I Love Lucy” Legend appearance.

Three events will celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the beginning of the television anthology series Desilu Playhouse, sponsored by Westinghouse: “I Love Lucy” film editor Dann Cahn will introduce rarely seen footage of the series plus there will be separate screenings of two episodes, Lucille Ball in “K. O. Kitty” and Desi Arnaz in “So Tender, So Profane.”

Among the free events will be outdoor movies, a Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation-sponsored “Jamestown Loves Lucy” street festival, the Prendergast Library’s exhibit of studio audience Lucille Ball TV show tickets, original “Visions of Lucy” artwork on exhibit at Roberto’s Restaurant, and Lucy’s Mystery Theatre.

Fans will have the opportunity to qualify as finalists in three Lucy street competitions that will determine the festival’s best snail snackers, spaghetti eaters and salad dressing pushers! Komedy Kollege classes will teach ballooning, juggling, and clowning.

Collectors will have great opportunities all weekend long at the Collectors Show and the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction. Film fests, Lucytown Tours, Lucy-Desi photo ops, great Lucy-Desi shopping, merchandise giveaways, and more will round out the festivities!

For complete ticket information, visit the Lucy-Desi Center web site at:

Hope you will be able to join us in Jamestown! Have a great week everybody!

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