JAMESTOWN Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- Olean) was joined recently by Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C- Chautauqua County) at a formal ceremony to name the Interstate 86 bridge over North Main Street in Ellicott the "Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Memorial Bridge."
At an event at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy, community leaders and local elected officials were present as the new sign was unveiled to the public.
"Today we acknowledge two superstars in the entertainment business one of whom is a local legend," Young said. "Lucy and Desi changed the way many people watched television and helped drive the popularity of the sitcom. They were comedic geniuses whose talents are still revered to this day. I'd like to thank Assemblyman Goodell for being a champion for this bill in the Assembly. Without his hard work, we wouldn't be here today celebrating one of our hometown stars. I'd also like to thank the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy for preserving the memory of Lucy and Desi.
"The driving force behind this effort, besides honoring the legacy of Lucy and Desi, was to let travelers know about the Lucy-Desi attractions here and the history that the Jamestown area has to offer," Young added. "We need to seize every opportunity possible to promote the tourism industry and help grow the economy in this region."
"Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz may be best known for their roles on their revolutionary show I Love Lucy, but their impact on television and film extends far beyond this one show," Goodell said. "Lucy was also a true pioneer - being the first to film live television productions, the first to develop syndication, and the first female to head a major television production company that produced such great shows as Star Trek, the Dick VanDyke Show, Mission Impossible, Andy Griffith and I Spy. Today, we honor her accomplishments and celebrate the importance of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in television history."
Assemblyman Goodell also noted that respect and adoration for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz crosses political and cultural lines.
"Several well-respected Democrat Assembly members, a Cuban-American legislator, and several others joined to cosponsor the legislation in the State Assembly to honor Lucy and Desi," added Assemblyman Goodell.
"It is a short list when it comes to figures in American history who achieved the level of fame and impact on a respective industry that Ball and Arnaz did," said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy. "The renamed bridge gives apt distinction to the city that is at once hometown-to, and perpetuator-of, the Ball and Arnaz legacy. The tireless efforts of Senator Young and Assemblyman Goodell will help call attention to Jamestown's incredible legacy, museum experience and ongoing celebration of the comedic arts."
Lucille Desiree Ball was born in Jamestown on Aug. 6, 1911. She broke into show business in 1933, in various film roles. In 1940, she married Desiderio Alberto (Desi) Arnaz, and, as they say, the rest is history. I Love Lucy was a stable of CBS from 1951-1957. After that, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour debuted in 1957 and ended in 1960. When the couple divorced in 1960, Lucy continued her success with The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life with Lucy. Throughout her career, Lucy earned numerous Motion Picture Daily Awards and Emmy Awards.