Upon entering Lucy: A Tribute (generally referred to as ”the Lucy Museum”) at Universal Studios Hollywood, you are immediately reminded of Lucille Ball’s broad appeal. Kids who might have first watched I Love Lucy via satellite dish take in exhibits alongside grandparents who experienced the early kinescopes in the 1950s.
The recently opened homage is an unobjective shrine, complete with memorabilia — everything from Lucy’s scrapbooks to some 20 issues of TV Guide on which Lucy’s face graced the cover — and video tributes. One monitor plays a tape of Bob Hope saluting Lucy (shot for the museum), and another carries her greatest bits: Lucy leading baby chicks in a rumba through the kitchen, Lucy trapped in a shower stall, Lucy being sandwiched by an expanding loaf of French bread.
These screen moments provide a foundation for the more intimate displays, including the recreation of the den from Lucy’s actual home in Beverly Hills. Display cases hold lobby cards (from Lucy’s movies, like The Big Street), scripts with Lucy’s scribbled notes, and old magazines.
Ironically, the glitz, nostalgia, and technology are all overshadowed by the single page of paper on which Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer typed the show’s concept in 1951. Its simplicity is startling — he promises a series about an eccentric housewife who wants to join her musician husband in show biz at all costs — and makes Lucille Ball’s comedic genius all the more evident when you consider how far she took this basic setup to create a small-screen legacy.