Tour Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown in southwestern New York, where the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum is located
Friday marks 70 years since “I Love Lucy” first hit TV screens in American homes.
In celebration, Granthshala News has information to bookmark a trip to Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown in southwestern New York, where the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum is located.
The site also houses a replica set of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo’s New York City apartment, “623 E. 68th Street”, as well as their California suite at the fictional Beverly Palms Hotel. Props, scripts and the couple’s wardrobe are all on display, and fans can take the opportunity to pose themselves in their favorite scenes.
Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and National Comedy Center told Granthshala News.
“For most people, stepping into the museum and watching the sets of ‘I Love Lucy’ takes them back to an era that revolved around television gathering with family, laughing together and enjoying with the whole country. Takes time, which is arguably the most successful television show. Time by many measures,” Gunderson said.
“I Love Lucy” premiered on October 15, 1951, becoming the first series to air in 10 million homes. Six months later, it was the number one show in America. It has aired in 77 different countries, been translated into several languages, and has been named one of TV Guide’s best series of all time.
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Real-life husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball played Ricciardos and their landowner friends Fred and Ethel Mertz in the humorous comedy, played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.
The ambitious, animated character of Lucy Ricardo brought smiles with her relentless efforts to join the act of her bandleader husband. Memorable episodes include “Job Switching”, which features the cult classic Chocolate Factory scene, and “Witmetwegemin”.
The episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital”, in which Lucy and Ricky Ricardo welcome Little Ricky, was watched by 44,000,000 Americans.
“It fell the next day during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential election,” Gunderson said. By comparison, 29,000,000 saw Eisenhower’s opening, according to data provided to Granthshala News by Lucille Ball and the Desi Arnaz Museum.
Ball was also the visionary behind the first National Cultural Institute and Museum dedicated to the art form of comedy, which is now the National Comedy Center, located about four minutes from the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown.
The National Comedy Center has interactive experiences, and visitors can “try their hand at being Lucy or Ethel” by acting out the chocolate scene from “job switching” in front of a green screen, Gunderson said,
Ball’s iconic polka dot dress is on display at the National Comedy Center, along with artwork and wardrobe from some of the greatest comedians of all time, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Charlie Chaplin and Carol Burnett.
“We all need laughter now more than ever,” Gunderson said. “What we see every day at both museums are visitors … leaving and saying, ‘I never expected to laugh for four hours straight.’ And, who doesn’t need it?”
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Around Jamestown, Lucy fans can pose with a life-size dedication statue of the actress located at Lucille Ball Memorial Park. Eight minutes away in the village of Celoron is Ball’s restored childhood home.