NCC To Digitally Preserve Lucille Ball Archives

Actress Lucille Ball in a scene from 'I Love Lucy', Photo Date: 1951. Photo by CBS Broadcasting.

JAMESTOWN – On the 30th anniversary of  Lucille Ball’s death, the National Comedy Center announced Friday they will begin to digitally preserve hundreds of documents, photographs and media from the Ball archives.

Center officials said the archives include behind-the-scenes production papers, rare family and studio photographs, handwritten notes, letters and telegrams from notable figures to Ball and Desi Arnaz, and much more – most of which have never been exhibited previously.

The archived material will be made available within the National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum exhibits within the coming year.

“Lucille Ball was a true pioneer, an innovator, and an immense talent,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson. “It has been our tremendous honor to make her dream a reality, with the opening of the National Comedy Center last August – and to see the incredible response from our visitors.”

Actress Lucille Ball before her final public appearance, with husband Gary Morton at left. Photo taken at the 61st Academy Awards, Photo Date: 3/29/89. Photo by: Alan Light / CC BY 2.0

“Now, on this milestone anniversary, we look forward to digitally preserving our Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz archives in a way that makes their story forever-accessible and engaging for generations to come.”

A selection of rare photos and artifacts from the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum archives are already digitized and are available on the comedy center’s website.

Lucille Ball was nominated for 13 Emmy awards, winning four times for her work in “I Love Lucy” and “The Lucy Show”.

Beyond her legacy as a comedic actress, Ball was the first female head of a major Hollywood production studio, and known to be a savvy business woman in an otherwise male-dominated industry.

National Comedy Center Opening. File image, by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

While she supported Jamestown’s early concepts to build a museum in her honor, she expressed the desire for it to be a much broader celebration and examination of comedy, which led to the development of the National Comedy Center, the first museum devoted to comedy as an art form.

The 28th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival set for this summer will be headlined by Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney.

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