Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Home from Jamestown

"Lucy's Birthday Celebration" in Jamestown, New York, turned out to be a joyous "Lucy love-in." My thanks to all of the fans who attended -- you certainly made the weekend special for everyone!

Lucy's old pal Carole Cook was the special celebrity guest for the Saturday-night show, and she -- as always -- was in fine fettle, recounting how she first met the famous redhead and became part of Lucy's Desilu Workshop. After the show, at a special reception, Carole and pianist Richard Brock "ad-libbed" show tunes, while Carole posed for pictures and signed autographs.

Earlier in the day, Jimmy ("Jerry Carmichael") Garrett and Keith ("Little Ricky") Thibodeaux were joined in a panel discussion by Richard Lee and Ronald Lee Simmons, the twins who, at age six months, played Little Ricky as a newborn. It was the Simmons Twins' first time at a Lucy gathering -- and they were amazed and gratified that so many fans were interested in something they had done some 50 years ago! Desi Arnaz Jr. joined the panel discussion via long-distance phone line from Oregon, and Jimmy's co-star Candy Moore sent an 8-minute recorded message. Candy called her TV mother "a true genius," then surprised us all with the news that she is about to become a grandmother! She looks forward to the day when she can sit with her new grandchild and introduce him or her to the magic of Lucy's comedy.

For Wanda Clark (Lucy's secretary for over 25 years), Frank Gorey (her assistant and chauffeur for over 30 years), and myself, perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to see a video tape made in 1977 of Lucille Ball giving a lecture to a Hollywood acting class. The tape itself was in black-and-white, and a little out-of-focus projected on a theatre screen, but no one cared -- here was Lucy, the real lady, the Lucy we knew and loved, speaking her mind, giving advice, etc. (I got so into Lucy's presentation that when she asked for more questions, I wanted to raise my hand!) This was a special treat -- and we thank Ric Wyman and all of his staff at the Lucy-Desi Museum for making it happen.


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Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
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