The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is a museum in the center of Jamestown, New York. It is also located in Chautauqua County.
The museum has been dedicated to the lives and careers of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
The I Love Lucy sit-com, which aired in the 1950’s and 60’s, is fondly remembered by many generations and has left a legacy for both Desi and Lucy as excellent comedians. Re-runs of the program are aired daily in the United States and overseas.
This program used a different way of creating scripts and its influence affected the way both sit-coms and movies were made. Today this sit-com is studied in many colleges. I myself studied it in a creative behavior class.
The museum officially opened in 1996. Its purpose was to “to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter”.
The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center consists of the Lucy-Desi Museum, which houses artifacts and memorabilia of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, with a gift shop. The Rapaport Center consists of the Desilu Playhouse museum, the Tropicana Room, a gift shop, and offices, and a stand-alone gift shop.
You feel like you are stepping back in time when you view The Desilu Playhouse museum. It contains the replicas of the original “I Love Lucy” TV sets that were created for the show’s 50th Anniversary tour. There are other artifacts related to the show and its creators and co-stars, many who went on to star in other successful movies and shows.
The Tropicana Room is a recreation of Ricky Ricardo’s nightclub from the show. Ricardo’s style of music was lively and he was a success in his own right. For those who remember the I Love Lucy Show, their son also performed on the program.
In May, the museum celebrates ‘Lucy-Desi Days’. And in August, there is an annual celebration of Lucille Ball’s birthday is held in August.
The streets are shut down in Jamestown and an air of celebration fills the city streets.
The center is a prime tourist destination and Lucy fans from around the world come to celebrate the life and legacy of Lucille Ball and her acting career, which touched many people.
Lucy did not forget her home in western NY. Chautauqua Lake is mentioned in at least one episode of I Love Lucy, in which Lucille Ball, playing the role of Lucy Ricardo.
Lucy finds a stuffed and mounted fish in a trunk in her attic and recalls that she caught it in Chautauqua Lake as a child growing up in Celoron, New York.
Lucy also performed in a play in 1930 on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution. At this time she was relatively unknown but soon went on to make a name for herself in Hollywood.
The write-up of her performance at the Chautauqua Institution will follow in a few days.