Still in Love with Lucy
by Thomas Watson
Monday, June 2, 2008
Dear Fellow Lucyfans:
Our thanks to Ric Wyman, Pat Brininger, and the entire staff of the Lucy-Desi Center in Jamestown, New York, for another fun-filled Memorial Day weekend festival. Special guests included Wilmer Valderrama, who presented a tribute to Desi Arnaz; Melody Thomas Scott, who hosted a special luncheon and a talent contest; Zo Ball (and family), who reminisced about her late husband, Fred Ball -- and his famous sister! -- and Howard Rayfiel, a Desilu lawyer who spoke about his long association with our favorite redhead.
Howard totally surprised me when he pulled a sheaf of papers from his briefcase -- and began to read a letter I had written to Lucy some 40 years ago!
Dann Cahn was on hand to reminisce about the Desilu Playhouse television series; and actor Steven Kay shared memories of working with Lucy and Desi on the famous "Lucy and Superman" episode of I Love Lucy. Longtime Lucy scribe Madelyn Pugh Davis surprised us all with a "phone in" that climaxed Wilmer Valderrama's salute to Desi Arnaz. Madelyn read a letter she'd written to Desi back in 1986 that praised the Cuban's talents as a producer.
Lucy and Ethel impressionists Diane Vincent and Rhonda Medina presented three dinner shows based, in part, on "Lucy's Schedule," the I Love Lucy episode that found biscuits flying out of the kitchen. (You get the picture...)
All in all, a very nice weekend!
No sooner had Monday morning rolled around than Ric and his staff started to finalize plans for their next festival, scheduled for the weekend of August 1-3. We will have the details for that celebration in a future newsletter...
Sadly, the past couple of weeks have also brought the passings of many former associates of Lucy and Desi, including three from the classic Star Trek series...
Actor-comedian Dick Martin, who co-starred with Lucy on the first season of The Lucy Show -- and went on to headline Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in in the same time slot on a rival network. Dick and Lucy were longtime personal friends and often appeared together on such TV game shows as Password. Martin was a special guest at one of our "Loving Lucy" Conventions a few years ago, where he reminisced with Lucy Show co-stars Candy Moore, Jimmy Garrett, and Ralph Hart.
Composer Earle Hagen, who composed the theme music for such long-running series as The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy, That Girl, and Gomer Pyle, USMC. Hagen also wrote the jazz arrangement of the traditional Irish tune "Londonderry Air," which served as the theme for The Danny Thomas Show, aka Make Room for Daddy. All of these programs were filmed at Desilu.
Director Joseph Pevney III, who directed some of the most popular episodes of Desilu's original Star Trek, that ran on NBC between 1966 and 1969. Pevney directed 14 episodes of the science-fiction series, tying with the late Marc Daniels as the credited director of the most episodes. Included in Pevney's list of episodes are "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Amok Time," "Journey to Babel," and the semi-comedic "The Trouble with Tribbles." Pevney also directed such motion pictures as "3 Ring Circus" (with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis), "Female on the Beach" (with Joan Crawford), and "Twilight of the Gods" (with Rock Hudson).
Composer Alexander Courage, who wrote the soaring theme for Star Trek. He also wrote music heard on Desilu's The Untouchables and on such non-Desilu shows as Laramie, Daniel Boone, Judd for the Defense, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Waltons, Eight is Enough, Falcon Crest, Flamingo Road and many others. A veteran of MGM's post-war musicals department, Courage also worked on such classic films as "Annie Get Your Gun," "Show Boat," "The Band Wagon," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," and "Gigi."
Producer Robert H. Justman, who was one of the creative forces behind Star Trek and its later sibling, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Justman also lent his talents to the pilot of Desilu's long-running Mission: Impossible. Justman's association with Lucy and Desi dated back to the mid-1950s, when the Arnazes moved their Desilu Productions company to Motion Picture Center, a small Hollywood studio owned by Robert's dad, Joseph Justman. (Lucy and Desi later bought the studio outright, and renamed it Desilu Cahuenga.) Robert's other credits include episodes of Adventures of Superman, Northwest Passage, and The Outer Limits.
Actor-comedian Harvey Korman, longtime "second banana" on the Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett series. Korman worked with Lucy when she guest-starred on both programs, and played supporting roles in two mid-1960s episodes of The Lucy Show. In 1971, he was among the performers who flew to New York to participate in the International Radio and Television Society's salute to Lucy, then celebrating her 20th anniversary in television.
Katharine Luckinbill at Laguna Playhouse
Katharine Luckinbill, daughter of Lucie Arnaz and Larry Luckinbill, is currently appearing in the world premiere of a new play, "Alexandros," at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, California. The play, written by Melinda Lopez and directed by David Ellenstein, is described as "a birthday party nobody will forget, a hilarious human comedy with a warm Latin heart." It concerns a Cuban-exile family that gathers in Miami to celebrate the 75th birthday of the family matriarch.
For complete ticket information, visit the Laguna Playhouse web site (www.lagunaplayhouse.com) or call 949-497-2787, extension 1.
FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
Bewitched "Fan Fare" Convention Set for June 25-28 in Los Angeles
This year’s Bewitched Fan Fare will be held at the Victory Theater Center in Burbank, California from June 25 – 28.
"It's the perfect location," said Mark Simpson, Chairman and Founder of Bewitched Fan Fare, "it is a lovely classical theater, loaded with history. We couldn’t have chosen a better venue, especially with all of the special events we will be including as part of Fan Fare this year."
Some of those “special events” include tributes to Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery (who recently was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) and producer William Asher, as well as a history of the Warner Brother’s Ranch (where Bewitched’s exterior scenes were filmed for it’s entire 8-year run), a “Cosmos Cotillion”, presentation of the first annual Bewitched Fan Fare Appreciation Award, and appearances by some very special guests. Said Simpson, "We want to have a great time celebrating Bewitched, as always, but we also want to be able to educate the upcoming generation of fans about the show and its stars."
Seats are limited, and those interested in attending Bewitched Fan Fare 2008 can get more information at www.TheBewitchedCollector.com Registration cost is $65 per person and provides admission to all Fan Fare events, except those which may require an additional outside admission fee. All airfare, lodging, meals, etc. are the sole responsibility of attendee, unless otherwise stated.
Bewitched Fan Fare is a worldwide organization with members from all over the Cosmos, providing an annual convention loaded with fun, games and magic to witches and mortals alike since 2000 (BC). The 2006 Bewitched in Salem (MA) Convention was the biggest yet, attracting worldwide media attention.
LUCIE ARNAZ IS FEATURED PRESENTER AT
INTERNATIONAL HUMOR CONFERENCE ON JUNE 20-22, 2008:
LUCY AND DESI TO BE HONORED WITH THE
LAUGHTIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Saratoga Springs, NY -- We Love Lucy Fan Club members will receive a special discount to attend the 52nd international conference on "The Positive Power of Humor and Creativity" on June 20-22 on majestic Lake George in New York. This learning-filled, laughter-fueled, life-changing conference is sponsored by The HUMOR Project, Inc., which was founded by Dr. Joel Goodman in 1977 as the first organization in the world to focus full-time on the positive power of humor.
A kindred spirit with Lucie Arnaz and the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, The HUMOR Project seeks to enrich the world through the invigorating, healing powers of love, laughter, and the gift of humor. Its funtastic conferences have attracted 21,000+ people from all 50 states and six continents and have featured appearances by Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Victor Borge, Bob Newhart, Carol Channing, Art Buchwald, Jay Leno, Al Roker, the Smothers Brothers, and even Elmo from Sesame Street. The HUMOR Project's Speakers Bureau and HUMOResources on-line bookstore have reached, touched, and tickled more than three million people around the globe.
This year's wonderful weekend conference features a special appearance by Lucie Arnaz, who will accept the Laughtime Achievement Award on behalf of her parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. During the weekend, Lucie will moderate the LOL (Legacy of Laughter) panel sponsored by TV Land. She will also present a special session on "Up Close and Personal with Lucie Arnaz" in a picturesque setting where the mountains cascade into "The Queen of American Lakes."
This unique, fun-of-a-kind conference is based on Goodman's philosophy that "Humor makes a serious difference. In this challenging world, we need humor, hope, healing and creativity more than ever to survive and thrive and to prevent a hardening of the attitudes. This weekend offers dozens of programs designed to look at the positive power of humor and creativity in business, health care, education, government, non-profit organizations, the family, and other settings. In short, it's a wonderful way to kick off Summer and get more smileage out of your life and work."
Conference Coordinator Margie Ingram adds, "The HUMOR Project is delighted to celebrate the legacy of the First Couple of Comedy and to host Lucie's spirit-lifting, thought-provoking panel at our conference. You are in for a triple LOL experience this weekend: Laughing Out Loud while Learning Out Loud about the Legacy Of Laughter. Along the way, you will learn ways to add years to your life... and life to your years.
So, if you are looking for a HUMORetreat that offers... HUMORenewal, HUMOResilience, and HUMORejuvenation, you can get more information on the June 20-22 conference by visiting www.HumorProject.com/conference. You can also request a free copy of the 2008 Humor Sourcebook at www.HumorProject.com (see pages 11-23 for a description of the conference). To register at special reduced rates, call 518-587-8770 by June 1 and use the code "WE LOVE LUCY FAN CLUB."
The admission price for the full weekend-long conference, normally $485, is $395 for club members. If one wants to purchase a "parttime" admission, good for attending three consecutive events, the fee is $315, reduced to $255 for fan club members. If, for example, you only wanted to attend the Lucy/Lucie-related events, purchase a parttime admission and attend the "Legacy of Laughter" seminar on Saturday morning and the "Up Close and Personal with Lucie Arnaz" on Saturday afternoon.
Have a great week everybody!