This statue was meant to remember and honor a celebrity. Do you recognize her? She was an actress in the ’50s and ’60s. Still no? What if I told you she was a comedienne? Red haired. Married to a Cuban bandleader.
So now you know, but it still doesn’t look anything like Lucille Ball, does it? The people in Celeron, NY (pop. 1,112), her hometown, where the statue was erected, don’t think so either. In fact, they call it “frightening” and want it changed or taken down. The mayor has said it would cost $8,000 to $10,000 to have the statue recast and the city refuses to use tax dollars to do so. Mayor Scott Schrecengost says they’d like to work with the original sculptor, Dave Poulin, “and wish he would stand behind his work enough to step up and fix it for free.”
“Fix it”? I don’t see how a mere “recast” is going to fix this mess. A complete redesign is needed, a fresh start, and probably by a different sculptor. If that’s too great an expense, just do the decent thing and remove the statue. Five minutes with a bulldozer can’t be all that expensive.
An anonymous Celeron citizen started a Facebook page entitled “We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue,” to encourage the statue’s replacement or removal. Belatedly. It was erected in 2009.
While photos may not adequately show the statue — which in reality might look better, or even worse — I agree it’s ugly and looks absolutely nothing like Lucille Ball. And shouldn’t that be the minimum requirement for memorial statues or paintings, that they at least be recognizable as the honoree?
People my age remember Ball quite well. We grew up watching “I Love Lucy,” her TV show that began in 1951. But while I appreciate her contributions to the entertainment industry, my enjoyment of her faded after a stunt she pulled in ’58 or ’59 in Oklahoma City. She was to make a live appearance at one of our football games! We were beyond excited. A real celebrity was coming to see us! But then came the announcement at the game … the crowd wasn’t big enough so she wasn’t coming after all. This great celebrity couldn’t be bothered to keep her promise to a stadium full of high schoolers. I never forgave her.