Author Christopher Olsen is a Jamestown native whose mother was part of the welcoming committee supporting Lucille Ball's visit to her hometown for the first time after becoming an international superstar. His insider's account—in words and pictures—documents a visit in February 1956, that was monumental in the lives of Lucy, Desi, and the residents of the small Upstate New York town of Jamestown. Organized around the premiere of their MGM movie, Forever, Darling, Lucy and Desi attended a host of media events in this whirlwind homecoming tour, and OIsen has carefully collected and curated the photographs and narrative surrounding the momentous occasion.
This sensational visit of the hometown girl offers a previously unpublished view of an intimate yet very public episode of Lucy's life. Featuring more than one hundred archival photographs, including Lucy greeting hordes of fans in the old football field behind Jamestown High School; waving to a crowd of onlookers during the "Welcome Home" kickoff that brought out the entire population; a visit to Lucy's former home in Celoron; appearances at the Crystal Ballroom in the Hotel Jamestown; and the warm and enthusiastic reception the stars received from the small town that Lucy once called home.
Olsen's connection to all things Lucy has its origins with his mother, the former Janice Swanson, who unbeknownst to him until he discovered a photograph, was Lucy's Homecoming Queen during the visit. The author calls the book a love letter to both his mom and to Lucy. During his research, Olsen also discovered that Lucy considered her return to Jamestown "one of the best days of her life."
About the Authors:
Christopher T. Olsen is an author, attorney, and producer, who was raised in Jamestown, New York. When he saw a photograph of his mother as Homecoming Queen for the Lucy and Desi extravaganza, Olsen decided to research further. Finding a wonderful cache of never-before-seen photographs, he proceeded to create this memoir for Jamestownians and all lovers of Lucy and Desi alike. He is by profession an attorney, with a BA from Elon University and his juris doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law and participates widely in the entertainment industry where he has developed feature films and produced several live events. Olsen lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and their four children, and visits Jamestown every summer with his family, continuing to maintain the lifelong friendships he built there.
Sam Teresi is a Jamestown, New York, native and a graduate of Jamestown High School, Jamestown Community College, the University at Buffalo, and the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. He has spent more than thirty-five years in the community planning and economic development fields and has served as the mayor of Jamestown since 2000.