Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

They All Love Lucy at New Museum

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

They All Love Lucy at New Museum

Article excerpt

THE PRINCIPAL players are gone and the last episode was filmed 36 years ago. But, clearly, a lot of people still love Lucy.

Ask the Michigan woman who just blew $100 and change on Lucy souvenirs. A Lucy teapot. A Lucy bank. A Lucy T-shirt. Some Lucy books.

Or the 9-year-old boy who spent two solid days knocking around old Lucy haunts. Or the family that gathered around the rack of Lucy postcards acting out scenes depicted in them. Or the Japanese visitors who put on their best Cuban-American accents to spontaneously warn, "Luuuuucy. You got some 'splainin' to do." They all love Lucille Ball, and to a lesser extent, perhaps, Desi Arnaz (Ricky), William Frawley (Fred) and Vivian Vance (Ethel). So does this southwestern New York city, which pays affectionate homage to its most famous native with a Lucy-Desi Museum that opened in May. Already, attendance has exceeded expectations, topping 8,500. The Arts Council for Chautauqua County first began making Lucy an annual thing in Jamestown in 1990, when it staged a comedy festival in her honor. Ball died in 1989, but her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, gave the museum permanent loan of hundreds and hundreds of Ball's belongings. Lucky for them, the actress never threw anything out, and rooms full of all things Lucy are in storage for placement in rotating exhibits, says museum director Michelle Buhite. Clothing and photographs are displayed in the 2,100-square-foot museum, along with taped reminiscences by girlhood friends, videos and interactive exhibits that trace the history of comedy. The most curious Lucy artifacts: two red wiglets arranged with a collection of hair products - Mexican henna, little bottles of dye, rubber gloves, a dangerous-looking steel-toothed comb (a chunk of its teeth missi ng) and a hairbrush sprouting a tuft of carrot-colored strands. Exhibits follow the evolution of the 1948 radio show "My Favorite Husband," in which Ball played a "silly, scheming middle-class wife," to the 1951 premiere of "I Love Lucy," about a Cuban bandleader's wife whose relentless attempts to break into show business are constantly foiled. The show was an unbeatable Monday night fixture in American homes during its nine-year run. …

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