Lucille Ball - January 23, 2014

Welcome back to the American Treasure Tour blog's "Faces of the Tour" series.  Our hope is that, the next time you climb on our tram and ride through the Toy Box, you will think to look for the plaques hanging along your route that honor actors, athletes and musicians who have, in one way or another, touched our hearts.  We will stick with actors today, and discuss an all-time favorite:  Lucille Ball.

Ball was born in upstate New York in 1911.  A natural redhead with a love of the limelight, she had a short-lived modelling career during her teens before she relocated to Los Angeles with the hope to become a film star.  Headlining roles did not come her way immediately, and for years she played supporting characters or dancers in b-movies.  It took the popularization of television for her get a jump start on her career, and she became a power player almost immediately.  With husband Dezi Arnaz, she created a tv empire with their Desilu Studios.  They duo created and starred in I Love Lucy, as well as numerous other programs during the first decades of the new medium's popularity.  Lucy not only became a household name, but she garnered great respect as a businesswoman and innovator during a career that, all tolled, spanned over seventy years.


Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had two children during their marriage:  Lucie Desiree Arnaz and Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV.  Their son was in a teenybopper band during the 1960s.  What was their name?

a)  Dino, Desi & Billy

b)  The Mosquitos

c)  The Kingston Trio

d)  The Royal Guardsmen

e)  The Beatles

Answer Below


Elizabeth Blackwell was eleven years old when her family moved from her home in England to New York City.  There, her father spent time with abolitionists Theodore Weld and William Lloyd Garrison and developed progressive notions on how to better society.  This exposure certainly helped steer his young daughter with thoughts of reform and personal growth.  When she was old enough, she took on teaching jobs so that she could save money for a college education - and managed to get herself accepted at the Geneva Medical College in upstate New York, an all-male school that had never admitted female students before and, initially, thought her request was a joke.  They allowed her to enter almost as a a practical joke, little realizing the improvements her presence would inspire in curriculum and the behavior of her fellow students.  She became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, paving the way for equality between the sexes.  It was on this day in 1849 that she received her diploma.

Bandleader Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington made his debut at Carnegie Hall on this day in 1943, debuting Black, Brown and Beige, a jazz composition telling the story of African-American slavery and religion as part of the history of the United States.  Ellington's effort to improve awareness of the plight of African Americans was poorly received upon its release, in the time before the modern Civil Rights movement; however, its long-term impact  and importance deserves recognition.


During a career in Hollywood that spanned five decades, Randolph Scott starred in movies of many different genres - from war films to comedies, dramas to musicals (although he managed to avoid dancing and singing himself, likely to the benefit of all).  Still, he is regarded as one of the iconic western stars from an age when the western film presented American durability and strength.  Scott was born on this day in 1898 and made a name for himself as both an actor and a highly-accomplished investor until he retired in his 64th year.  He became a very wealthy man, with a library of films to his credit and a nice nest egg to help him enjoy the last quarter century of his life.


One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.  - Lucille Ball

Answer:  a)  Dino, Desi & Billy - Dino was Dean Martin's son, while Billy was their mutual friend Billy Hinsche.