I (Will Always) Love Lucy
Just short of 2 hours south of Lockport is the small town of Jamestown, NY. This happens to be the town that Lucille Ball was born and raised in and they have a wonderful museum and playhouse dedicated to (in my opinion) the Queen of Comedy. A friend of mine and I made the drive down to Jamestown to visit the museum yesterday. This trip would mark my 3rd trip and no matter how many times I go, it never gets boring. (just so you know, this post is going to be very photo heavy)
Now when I say I Love Lucy, I don’t just say that in the same sense that most people say “I Love Lucy”. I really should be saying, I love, idolize and obsess over Lucy! She was an amazing person with so much talent, determination and dedication to whatever she set her mind out to do. I have read her autobiography, watch many of her movies (I have a goal to watch every movie she’s ever starred in – this is not going very well. Some are super hard to find!), and I have done a lot of research on her life. I have to laugh because there are many times where Michael has said, “I have my very own Lucy” because I tend to come up with these ideas or I act like her a lot of the time. I think maybe she’s starting to rub off on me. lol
The museum has these wonderfully large photos of Lucy & Desi in the front of the building. On this last trip to the museum, I decided that I was going to sneak some photos of the inside, even though it is strictly forbidden. (I like to walk on the wild side – this is not my 1st time sneaking around to get photos – remember, I too get some crazy ideas like Lucy did. lol) I sent Michael a text making sure he had my bail money ready right before we went in. 😉 Since I had to be quick and inconspicuous, I needed to use my iPhone camera and be super quick about it. It doesn’t take that great of photos but it’s better than nothing, right?
They have a lot of the clothing and accessories that Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy, her movies and other television shows. They also have tons of old family photos, letters and lots of memorabilia from Hollywood, her home, childhood, etc. The museum also focuses on Desi Arnaz and has stuff from his childhood and life in Hollywood too.
One of the neatest things that they have is Lucy’s very own car and there were videos playing all over the place. You can sit down and watch old childhood friends talk about her growing up, episodes of the I Love Lucy show and even commercials that she starred in for different product endorsements. (Did you know, there were many Milton-Bradley games that had Lucy on the box? Pretty neat!)
As I mentioned above, there are 2 different museums. The main Lucy & Desi Museum and then the Desilu Playhouse.
The Desilu Playhouse is really neat because you can see replicas of the actual sets for I Love Lucy. When you watch the show (at least for me anyway), it’s hard to imagine that they were really in color, so when you first look at the sets you’re really taken back because it’s like “Wow! I didn’t think they had a yellow kitchen!”
I grew up watching I Love Lucy on TV and many years ago Michael got me the boxed set of I Love Lucy (which also included the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour too). I have gone through the boxed set I can’t tell you how many times. I didn’t have Shawn when he bought it for my birthday, so I would watch hours and hours of it. I haven’t watched any of them lately, so most likely this trip will start me all over again. 🙂
This is the set of their kitchen. I could just picture Lucy & Ricky sitting at the table having breakfast or Lucy & Ethel cooking up their next scheme to fool the boys.
These two photos are of their New York City apartment that they move into after the birth of Little Ricky. According to the Lucy-Desi Museum website, they researched and took great care from find (or make!) everything that was on this set. There is even some originals mixed in there as well.
This is the Beverly Palms Hollywood Hotel where the Ricardos lived when Ricky was cast to be in the movie Don Juan. It really does look as though you are standing on the set and are waiting for Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel to come walking through the door. Speaking of which….
Last September a friend and I went to go see I Love Lucy – Live on Stage! You are seeing an actual filming of the I Love Lucy show and are an audience member. It’s an amazing show and it really feels as though you are watching them film an episode. They have an announcer that comes out between scenes and talks about the process, what’s going on, etc. They have sponsors and get the audience involved and there are actors sitting with everyone and they all act like this is a real live filming. There is the APPLAUSE light that comes on, the actors “forget” their lines, they show how they filmed the close ups and lots of stuff you don’t see in the finished product.
I have been to many different live performances but I must say that this has got to be one the best and most unique shows I have ever been to. If you ever hear of it coming near your area, I would highly recommend going!
These are just some publicity shots taken of the show but it’s exactly what it looked like when my friend & I went last year. The actors and actresses did a great job and it felt as though you were really watching Desi & Lucy. Sadly, it isn’t coming back to the Buffalo area this year but if it ever comes again, I will be going that’s for sure!
Back to Jamestown, NY… This is the very house that Lucy grew up in and lived in before she ventured out to NYC in hopes of making it big some day. It’s a normal, everyday house and I can’t begin to imagine how the family that lives there deals with people constantly stopping by to take photos of it. But I guess when you know you live in a super famous person’s house, you pretty much know what you’re getting yourself in to, right?
Lucille Ball is also buried right there in Jamestown, so you can visit the cemetery and obviously people leave little gifts and other memorials for her. She passed away in 1989 and while I don’t really remember when she died (I was only 9 years old at the time), I will always remember her legacy.
I will never tire of watching her TV shows, her movies or seeing her smiling face. I am pleased that I live so close to her hometown and I can get my “Lucy-fix” (almost) whenever i want. I know that I will be back to visit again because they are always adding and changing stuff and I can’t wait to see what they have next.
Also, around the entire town of Jamestown, there are huge murals painted on the buildings that portray various scenes of I Love Lucy. It’s great that the town adores her as much as the rest of the world. My friend & I were suppose to be going a few weeks ago to the Lucy Comedy Fest that’s in Jamestown but our schedules didn’t work out. They hold it every year and we’re planning on doing dinner theater and some other neat things as well. I would have really loved to go this year but when you only have one “Lucy friend” and your husband said he wasn’t going with you, you’re pretty much stuck.
Oh and in case anyone is wondering, my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episode is the one where they are traveling across the country (in their car) to Hollywood. I think of this episode every single time that we head out on a road trip. 🙂