Jamestown was Lucille Ball’s hometown and reminders of her are everywhere. Even the location of the National Comedy Center has a connection. Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center says the National Comedy Center is built within the historic train station of Jamestown that Lucille Ball would pass through on her way to auditions in New York for example. Spotting all the tributes to Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz is a really fun way to explore Jamestown. August 6th is Lucille Ball’s birthday, and this year is a special year because it is the 70th anniversary of the I Love Lucy Show. Journey Gunderson says it wasn’t just a popular sitcom, it broke ground. She says here is a woman portraying a pregnancy on television in 1951 and even her marriage in real life to Desi Arnaz, a Cuban refugee immigrant to America is portrayed in their characters Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. She goes on to say this was a show ahead of its time that somehow manages to stand up when it comes to comedy and watching it in 2021 is as funny as watching it from 1951 – 1957.
When you are in Jamestown the place to visit to really appreciate how much Lucy and Desi contributed to entertainment is the Lucy Desi Museum. Katie Rinko, Retail Co-ordinator Lucy Desi Museum says she tells people the way she personal recommends doing the tours is starting over at the west side that focuses on Lucy and Desi as people and getting a background of how they grew up, where they are from and who they are and then coming to the east side to focus on the I Love Lucy Show and all they did afterwards. She says everyone loves to see the sets and the costumes and see things Lucy wore.
Katie says there is a lot that went into the show that’s really unique and kind of spear-headed the way things were done afterwards as far as the multicamera system and stuff and that’s a fun thing to check out and learn about at the Lucy Desi Museum.
Did you know there is a connection to Star Trek? Katie explains that Star Trek was going to be passed on by the studios and Lucy, who was part of Desilu Studios said no we are going to keep doing this, I know this is going to work.
You can visit the Lucy Desi museum Thursdays - Tuesdays
For more information visit comedycenter.org/summerfun