Horse-Drawn Carriage Is Part Of Cemetery Excursion

The cemetery tour consisted of a horse-drawn carriage ride through Lakeview Cemetery. Actors along the way give stories as to how they're related to Lucille Ball. P-J photo by Carly Gould

Two horse-drawn carriages await for anyone looking to take the Lucille Ball Cemetery Tour on Friday or Saturday.

The guided tour takes visitors through Lakeview Cemetery to learn about the history of Lucy through the people she met. Volunteer actors wait next to graves of the people they’re portraying, walking over to deliver their monologues about the person’s relationship to Lucy.

“Everyone either hated or loved Lucy,” said one of the tour guides. “She couldn’t do anything right, according to the people who disliked her. She broke a lot of rules while she was rising to the top. She helped shape television to what it is today.”

The first stop on the tour was Lucy’s grave, where she and her family are buried. The tour guides talk about the history of Lucy’s family, and it is the one point in the tour where people can get off the carriage, since the grave is not close to the path. According to the tour guides, Lucy’s grave, along with the house that she grew up in, is one of the most visited sights in Jamestown during the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.

“Lucy had a lot of influences in her life,” the tour guide said.

The tour then continues to Francis Erickson, who’s son was accidentally shot by a member of the Hunt family that Lucy belonged to. Apparently, she disciplined her son enough that he would come running whenever she called.

He ran right past Lucy’s brother and grandfather as they were practicing shooting and was paralyzed from the waist down.

“Lucy would take the children out and half the neighborhood kids all around Celeron,” said the actress playing Erickson. “No discipline, I tell you!”

Next is Lucy’s high school best friend, who regales visitors with tales from Lucy’s childhood. Johnny DeVito, Lucy’s high school boyfriend was next, also talking about what Lucy was like as she climbed to the top. Last but not least, was Henry Durrell Ball, the father of Lucille Ball, who talked of the family life, before and after Lucy was born.

Along the way, the guides tell visitors facts about Lucy, like the fact that she was actually a brunette and dyed her hair red so it would show up better on color TV. There were also some myths that got debunked, like the rumor that Lucy actually hated Jamestown.

“Lucy always made a point to mention Jamestown in ‘I love Lucy,'” the guide said. “She donated to little leagues and charities in Jamestown. She loved her hometown.”

The Fenton History Museum partnered with the Comedy Festival to put on this show, combining humor and history to create a different kind of tour.

“I love the energy of the festival,” said Noah Goodling, the director at the museum. “We’ve done the festival for seven years now. The past director lended us the horses for the tour.”

The Fenton Museum does many historical events throughout the year, including a different kind of cemetery night tour in the fall. Goodling also said that they will be doing two events at the museum — one in October that is a tour of Grimm fairytales, and one in December showcasing “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

“The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is an inspiration,” Goodling said. “It’s amazing to see so many people come here.”

To buy tickets to events during the festival, go to the National Comedy Center’s official website, tickets.comedycenter.org. For more information about the Fenton Museum, go to fentonhistorycenter.org.