Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center says I Love Lucy is arguably one of the most successful sitcoms of all time by several measures. It was also ground-breaking in the entertainment industry. She says here you have Lucille Ball, a woman, and her husband Desi Arnaz, a Cuban man in 1949 taking on the executives of CBS and Lucille Ball saying I want Desi to play my husband on the show. Journey says executives at the time at CBS said, I don’t know if American audiences are going to embrace you as a couple or believe that you are married. They took the show on the road, Vaudeville style to sort of prove that American audiences would embrace them, and rest is history. They went on to create not only just one of the most successful shows of time but one of the most powerful and successful entertainment studios of its era with Desilu.
Journey says in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of I Love Lucy, we are now allowing museum attendees and visitors to access a photo op on the set. For many people it is the first time they are seeing the set in color.
I Love Lucy aired in 77 different countries and it was translated into 22 different languages. Journey says the 1952-53 season of I Love Lucy still holds the record for highest average rating for a season, likely a record that will never be broken and that peaked with the January 19th 1953 airing of the episode where Lucy gives birth to little Ricky. She says 72% of homes with televisions tuned in and 92% of televisions on at that moment were watching that episode and what is funny is, that it dwarfed in the ratings the very next day’s very first televised presidential inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower by about 15 million viewers.
Journey says they are treating the entire year as a celebration of the 70th anniversary of I Love Lucy, so in many ways this is sort of the kick-off. She says there has never been a better time to come to Jamestown, New York and relish in either the I Love Lucy nostalgia and then of course you can enjoy laughing all day, or more than a few days if you want to consume it all at the National Comedy Center, which again, was her vision. This the year to come and spend some time here in Jamestown and enjoy the legacy that Lucille Ball left.
The National Comedy Center is going to have a mosaic mural of Lucy and Desi and you can be a part of it. The mosaic mural is going to be made up of many little photos and they are asking people to send in their pictures to be a part of the big mural. You can go to lucymosaic.com to get your photo in the picture..
For more information visit comedycenter.org