CELORON, NY — Some fans of Lucille Ball want her statue removed from a park in her hometown, saying the “ugly” likeness does not do justice to the “I Love Lucy” star.
The life-size bronze statue in Celoron, New York, has been likened to Conway Twitty, the snake from “Beetlejuice” and actor Steve Buscemi, among other unflattering comparisons. Even Mayor Scott Schrecengost has gone on record saying he does not care for the statue, which shows the comic star holding a bottle of fictional nutrition elixir Vitameatavegamin.
And yet, it has been a tourist draw since 2009 for Celoron, the comedian’s birthplace, attracting visitors who pose with the statue for pictures.
A resident of Jamestown, where Ball grew up, started the Facebook page in 2012 “We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue,” seeking to get rid of the “ugly” statue. A story about the group on Yahoo! News this week spread through the internet, reviving debate over what to do with the statue.
The founder of the Facebook group would like to see the statue replaced with a new one outside a planned Comedy Hall of Fame in Jamestown, home to the Lucy-Desi Museum & Center for Comedy and the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. The founder requested anonymity, saying the issue is “not about me; it’s about the statue.”
“Lucille Ball was one of the most talented, beautiful, funny women who ever appeared on television; a pioneer, a giant of television. My only goal is to have a sculpture of her in Jamestown which does her justice,” the group’s founder told CNN.
“This statue in Celoron is not fixable. I love my hometown and I Love Lucy. Let’s get a new statue that is a real tribute to her memory as the Comedy Queen of Television.”
A Buffalo News columnist vouched for the sentiment, saying “its deranged grimace and jagged teeth inspire more dread than reverence.”
“No one here much likes the statue, and one look tells you why. It looks more like an extra from ‘The Walking Dead’ than arguably the most famous comic actress of all time,” Colin Dabkowski wrote Saturday.
Still, residents take pride in their claim to fame, “even if some of them privately wish that the statue commemorating her would be struck by lightning.”
The artist who created the statue did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. In a post this week, the Facebook group founder said the point was not to “disparage” the artist or his work. But, in this case, “this Lucy statue is just not up to his usual work.”
Schrecengost told the local Post-Journal that he reached out to the artist over the years about redoing statue.
“He finally came back and said he wanted $8,000 to $10,000 to do it. I’ve also reached out to several other sculptors in the region, and some said they would do it, but we’re still looking at about $5,000,” he told the newspaper.
“We’d like to work with the original sculptor and wish he would stand behind his work enough to step up and fix it for free.”