Set For Life
If you’re looking to continue the Christmas season a little bit longer, then the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy is the place to go beginning Monday.
The museum will have on display a scene from the “I Love Lucy” Christmas episode. The colorized version of the show just aired twice on CBS as a Christmas special. It was shown first on Dec. 20 on CBS with 8.7 million people tuning in to watch the special. The episode was so popular that CBS then re-aired it on Christmas Day.
“It beat out all the other shows on TV that night, including ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,'” said Journey Gunderson, Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy executive director, about the Dec. 20 airing of the Christmas special.
Gunderson said the Christmas special is considered one of the “lost episodes” of “I Love Lucy” that does not usually get played with the syndicated episodes. Also, following both airings of the Christmas special, Lucy’s Italian movie episode was shown, which has the famous scene of Ball stomping grapes.
In honor of the “I Love Lucy” Christmas episode being shown, the museum has done something special for the first time. The staff replicated the Christmas episode by including a Christmas tree on the set in the museum. During the Christmas episode, Lucy gets into her normal hijinks by insisting the Christmas tree branches are uneven and asking next-door neighbor Fred Mertz, played by actor William Frowley, for help in trimming the tree. By the time Lucy and Fred are done with the tree, it has lost a few of its branches to say the least, which the museum staff recreated on the set. Also, people can see the episode while it plays on a television near the set in the museum.
“The fun part was the staff brought in a Christmas tree, watched the episode and tried to do it just like Fred,” Gunderson said. “The only place you can see it is here in Jamestown.”
Gunderson said the museum acquired the living room set in 2006 after a national tour. She said this is the first time museum officials have recreated an episode using the set. She said perhaps in the future more Lucy episodes will be recreated.
“We are always tying to offer anything that is new or different,” she said.
On Monday, the exhibit will be reopened to the public after a floor replacement in the museum is concluded. Gunderson said the display will run through Sunday, Jan. 19. The Christmas episode has also been very popular with museum guests. Gunderson said copies of the episode sold at the museum have sold out twice. She said it is in stock again for future visitors.
“It is exciting to see. A lot of people are interested in the episode,” she said.
Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown honors the legacy of “The First Couple of Comedy” with the Lucy Desi Museum & Center for Comedy. The museum attraction is open seven days a week, and features replica sets, Lucille Ball’s Emmy awards, costumes, rare memorabilia, and more.