Lucille Ball lookalikes to gather to mark her 100th birthday
By Neale Gulley
BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - "I Love Lucy" star Lucille Ball's New York hometown will be filled with red-lipsticked, redheaded lookalikes on Saturday to try to break a world record in honor of what would have been the actress' 100th birthday.
Scores of people trying to mimic Lucy's distinctive look as TV persona Lucy Ricardo were expected to gather in Jamestown in western New York state to topple the world record for gathering the most Lucy lookalikes.
The event takes place on the fourth day of a five-day comedy festival in her name and was organized by the town's not-for-profit Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz Center.
The day will feature performances by comic Paula Poundstone as well as Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel impersonators, the main characters from the hit sitcom "I Love Lucy," which ran from 1951 to 1957 and has been seen for decades since in reruns.
Festival-goers can watch episodes of the beloved show under the stars, take a cemetery tour of Ball's final resting place, and dine in the "Tropicana Room," a re-creation of her TV husband Ricky Ricardo's famous Manhattan night club. Ricky was played by Ball's husband, Desi Arnaz.
Earlier in the week, the festival included an appearance by comedian Joan Rivers and the unveiling of the studio door for CBS Studio A in Hollywood where Ball and Arnaz made their very first appearance on TV together in 1949 and where they later shot the "I Love Lucy" pilot in 1951.
The non-profit group that organized the festival says on its website, www.lucy-desi.com, that its mission is to preserve the Ball and Arnaz legacy and enrich the world through a commitment to the development of the comedic arts.
The Lucy legacy has had an impact on Jamestown, about 80 miles south of Buffalo, as evidenced by the many city institutions and other venues bearing her name.
Events conclude on Sunday with a picnic at Lucille Ball Memorial Park where graduates of Friday's Comedy College will perform at the Desi Arnaz Memorial Bandshell.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)
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