A TOWN OF TWO LUCYS

In the village of Celoron, part of the town of Ellicott, on the western boundary of the city of Jamestown, in Chautauqua County, in the state of New York, United States, a statue was erected in honor of Lucille Ball, legendary comedienne and the main claim to fame for Celoron, population 1112 (according to the 2010 census).

The statue was commissioned by Mark and Jetta Wilson, who donated it to Lucille Ball’s birthplace in 2009.

For six years the statue stood quietly in the little park, without controversy.

But then in 2015, it became an internet meme, as “Scary Lucy”, attracting worldwide derision and condemnation.

Even its original sculptor, Dave Poulin, admitted it was “by far my most unsettling sculpture” and that he had wanted to redo it for several years before the controversy erupted.

Perhaps trying to capture Lucy’s Vitameatavegamin grimace sculpturally was a doomed proposition from the get go, no matter the skill of the artist.

“Scary Lucy” became such a bronze of contention that a commission was formed to replace it. Carolyn Palmer was chosen from 67 applicants to make “New Lucy”.

And if you turn your head westwards from Scary Lucy, there, not far off, stands New Lucy…

They didn’t remove the unloved statue. She still shares the park with her corrective.

After all, the controversy around the statues is perhaps more of a draw than anything else.

New Lucy is undoubtedly a much better likeness.

But would she get half as much attention if not for the infamy of her forerunner?

By the way, the little Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron also features a lighthouse at the banks of Chautauqua Lake. I’d never before seen a lighthouse that wasn’t at an ocean’s coast. Perhaps that is a bit of a tourist attraction?

I don’t think it’s the lighthouse that brings shutterbugs to Celoron, NY…

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 30 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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