Monday October 12, 2015
Real-life 'Scary Lucy' statue haunts western New York mall
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Shoppers beware! Chautauqua Mall in Jamestown, New York is haunted by a ghostly (and ghastly) Lucille Ball. Just above JC Penney, you'll find a corn maze and an actor dressed up as the late l Love Lucy star. It's part of an event called The Haunting of the Mall leading up to Halloween. But this is no ordinary Lucille impersonator. The actress' costume is based on a freakishly distorted statue of the late comedian in nearby Celoron, N.Y. that made headlines earlier this summer.
"Basically, from head to toe, it's bronze Lucy," Scott Mekus tells As It Happens host Carol Off.
Mekus is the director and event planner of Chautauqua Mall. He came up with the idea for the statue-turned-real-life "Scary Lucy" after the story went viral. Mekus asked a friend and former volunteer of The Haunting of the Mall event whether she would take on the role.
"She's on full board, committed to it, and she's been doing a great job with it and she's been having fun with it as Lucy would do with it too."
And he believes "Lucille Ball would have loved this. She's probably giggling where she is now and chuckling away about the whole thing!"
The haunted mall event combines spooky set pieces with live action. Mekus says he tried to put a creative Hollywood spin on the 'Scary Lucy' scene. The spray-painted actor poses like the statue but then comes to life and confronts Hollywood executives who arrive on the scene.
"Lucy actually murders the Hollywood person as part of the scare because the Hollywood person is trying to steal Lucy from the park," Mekus explains.
Mekus wants the attraction to be respectful to the residents of nearby Celoron, New York. He feels that the backlash the statue received there was biased and failed to represent the town. He insists that some of the residents actually like the statue. Mekus says that he "loves it," even though he agrees it may resemble Steve Buscemi more than Ball.
"Well you have to remember it's in the eye of the person seeing it," Mekus argues. "Sometimes artists have creative weeks and sometimes they don't."
Mekus says the park statue will be replaced and eventually loaned to the National Comedy Centre. Before her death, Ball arranged for her personal memorabilia to be left with the National Comedy Center.