Lucille Ball Essays

“The things you see now are horrifying,” she told Reed in another of their interviews, “and you’re supposed to laugh at them …

The venue just broke ground; it will open next year.

The statue will remain in the parkland until the arrival of its replacement, which has been funded by a Massachusettsan car czar who put up twenty thousand dollars for another portrayal.

“When she thinks of something,” Reed wrote, “she jots it down and sticks each message to herself on the steering wheel of her car with Scotch tape.

It’s not unusual to find ten of them taped on at the end of the day.” Ball spun herself into a franchise with three more increasingly unsatisfying television series, all under the mantle of a titular character named “Lucy.” She became a member of television’s ancien régime, damning because she didn’t get it.

In a no-frills park in Celoron, New York, where Lucille Ball grew up, there stands a four-hundred-pound bronze statue with a puss that’s been likened to Darth Vader, the demonic doll Chuckie, and Kim Hunter in her makeup.

Scary Lucy, as the figure has been dubbed, bears no great resemblance to the comedienne who once hooked America with hennaed poodle bangs and balletic slapstick.In early April 2015, some six years after Scary Lucy was installed, the local paper ran a story about the village seeking funds to improve or otherwise replace the statue. The black magic of statuary is in how the fact, myth, and memory associated with its flesh-and-blood celebrity can get canned inside it.(“Drunk, Leering Lucille Ball Statue Menaces Small Village”) to NPR (“In New York, A Sculptor’s Got Some S’plaining To Do”). Spark that with controversy, and presto: Lucille Ball’s Bronze Age. Though Lucy could affect regal composure and wryness of wit, she’s obviously remembered for her physical comedy; the show’s head writer and producer, Jess Oppenheimer, called her “a wonderful combination of beauty and clown …Sam was the work of the sculptor Stuart Williamson, a fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors whom I Face Timed one morning at his home to talk about the fine art of likenesses.Though sculpting and teaching often bring him stateside, Williamson lives on an extinct volcano in Ecuador, just outside the capital between two expansive green valleys. Now in his sixties, Williamson started out some thirty years ago at the wax portrait museum Madame Tussauds, where his first job was Elizabeth I.Once you have your structure and you deal with the forms, there’s the expression.It’s a massive, complex issue with all the musculature going on in the face, especially around the eyes, which creates these bubbly and interesting persons like Elizabeth Montgomery.” Williamson’s voice is leavened with a certain amount of awe.To show those lashes, you can’t just put on a lump of clay and gouge it; you have to them.This is where many portraitists fall down: they tend to be literal.” “If we go back to Salem and the witch, absolutely this same difficulty came up.Her hands, her feet, her knees, every cell would be doing the right thing.” Aljean Harmetz once said, adoringly, that Lucy’s laugh blended “a strangling airdale with a porpoise.” “Every once in a while,” pronounced after watching the first episode, “a new TV show comes along that fulfills, in its own particular niche, every promise of the often harassed new medium.” When Little Ricky was born, in season two, 71 percent of households with TVs tuned in.Even Ball’s FBI file, which dates to her brush with the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1953, “seems to have been assembled by a Lucy worshiper,” a scholar notes.


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