The hideous statue of Lucille Ball that stood in the center of Celoron, N.Y. has now been replaced, to the relief of Lucy fans everywhere.
Mark and Jetta Wilson commissioned the original statue, and they later donated it to the town of Celoron, Lucille Ball’s hometown. The town’s residents called the statue “Scary Lucy” for its unattractive appearance. It sat in its place of dubious honor from 2009 until 2015 when it inexplicably became a viral sensation worldwide.
The sculptor of the original statue, Dave Poulin, initially quoted the town anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 to fix it. However, he offered to fix it for free after the viral backlash. Celoron did not take him up on his offer though. Instead, a group of private donors came together to commission a new one. They chose from a group of 67 artists who submitted proposals for the project. Carolyn Palmer, a sculptor from New Jersey, won the commission and created a much more true-to-life Lucy.
The response to the new statue has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Lucy fans are all hugging me and saying, ‘Thank you,’” Ms. Palmer said in an interview with the New York Times. “They’re all very passionate about Lucy. They feel somehow that she was desecrated before. They see her as a Hollywood icon, a god. I was glad they felt she had been honored.”
Residents reacted to the original “Scary Lucy” statue with humor, mild revulsion or even anger. Some compared the statue to the actor Steve Buscemi in drag. And, according to the Buffalo News, others privately hoped it would be struck by lightning.
“Scary Lucy” hasn’t gone too far though. For those who enjoyed the hilariously inaccurate visage of Lucy, she is still in Celoron. “Scary Lucy” has been demoted and moved a few blocks down from her original location. The new statue was installed on Aug. 6. as a fitting tribute on what would have been Lucille Ball’s 105th birthday.