Lucille Ball's Hometown Gets A New Comedy Museum

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Lucille Ball’s vision for a national comedy hub is finally becoming a reality. America’s first comedy museum, dubbed the National Comedy Center, is set to open this summer in Jamestown, New York, where the late I Love Lucy actress grew up, Variety reports.

The opening of the center will coincide with the 27th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which will be held from August 1 to August 5. The idea for this center, which is set up as a non-profit cultural institution, has been swirling around for decades. Before Ball’s death in 1989, she reportedly envisioned “a destination for the celebration of comedy,” according to the center.

The comedy center
National Comedy Center

Organizers and supporters are quick to point out that this won’t be a hall of fame. “It’s an experience versus a hall of dead guys, and that’s what we need,” comedian Lisa Lampanelli says in a promotional video. Housed in a former railroad station and trolley garage, the center will tell the history of comedy through 50 interactive exhibits.

Visitors will be given a sense-of-humor profile test when they first arrive, and the results will be imprinted onto radio-frequency ID wristbands in an effort to create a more personalized (and hopefully, funnier) museum experience. Comedic milestones will be featured on a large touchscreen, and personal archives from some of the world’s foremost comedians—like the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, Jerry Lewis, and George Carlin—will also be on view.

The center will explore more complex themes as well, such as the relationship between humor and healing and comedy’s role in politics. Big names like Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin, Fran Drescher, and former Saturday Night Live members Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, and Garrett Morris will all be performing at the center’s grand opening. Lewis Black will also lead a discussion on comedy and censorship.

Jamestown is home to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, so visitors to the National Comedy Center can make a trip out of it. To purchase tickets, visit the National Comedy Center’s website here.

[h/t Variety]

World’s Largest Ouija Board Unveiled in Salem, Massachusetts

homeworks255/iStock via Getty Images
homeworks255/iStock via Getty Images

If a young Rick “Ormortis” Schreck ever asked a Ouija board if he’d end up making the world’s largest Ouija board, the answer should’ve been yes.

“OuijaZilla,” as it’s affectionately called, weighs 9000 pounds and covers 3168 square feet—as big a footprint as five 18-wheelers. According to Popular Mechanics, the board took 99 pieces of plywood, 20 quarts of black paint, several gallons of deck stain, and one whole year to complete.

It contains all the classic elements of a traditional Ouija board, including the full alphabet, numbers zero through nine, and the words yes, no, and goodbye. Instead of using their fingers to move the planchette across the board, a few people stand inside the 400-pound planchette’s circular cutout and shuffle their way into a seance.

Schreck, a tattoo artist and vice president of the Talking Board Historical Society (TBHS), originally built the giant Ouija board in New Jersey and then transported it to Salem, Massachusetts, where it was reassembled and unveiled to the public on October 12.

The town, notorious for its witch hunts in the late 17th century, seems an especially eerie resting place for yet another spooky piece of America’s history. But it’s actually where Ouija boards were manufactured for years, after Salem-based toy company Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game in 1966. It’s also the town that inspired Schreck’s initial interest in Ouija boards in 1992.

According to the TBHS website, the Brobdingnagian board is nearly 2.5 times larger than the current Guinness World Record holder, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! has bestowed the title of "world's largest Ouija board" on Schreck's creation. It’s also “fully operational,” which hopefully means that you can use it to commune with extra-large dead people.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

Wizarding World Gold, a Magical New Harry Potter Subscription Service, Has Arrived

The Potter Collector, YouTube
The Potter Collector, YouTube

For Potterheads, Christmas just came early. There’s a new Harry Potter subscription service on the market, and it’ll make you feel like you plunged face-first into one of the magical books—not unlike Harry’s frequent forays into the Pensieve.

Engadget reports that Wizarding World Gold is a 12-month commitment, and includes access to all seven Harry Potter ebooks through the Wizarding World app, collectible pin badges, merchandise discounts, and more.

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg-sized rock cake. After signing up, you’ll receive a pin, a print of J.K. Rowling’s sketch of Hogwarts, and a personalized journal called Keys and Curios, designed by the graphic design team behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises. It features your name, Hogwarts house, and “enchanted keys” that “unlock hidden secrets” when scanned with the Wizarding World app.

You can also watch Wizarding World Originals, an exclusive video series that delves into the mysteries of the world of Harry Potter; gain early access to collectible merchandise and priority bookings for events like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and enjoy magical quizzes and puzzles. You’ll also make the guest list for festivities like the Wizarding World Gold Christmas Party in the Great Hall at Warner Bros.’s Studio Tour London.

If you register now, your welcome gift with the pin, print, and journal will arrive in about two weeks, and your first official subscription box will follow later this autumn. It’s $75 for the entire year, which is quite a bit cheaper than flying off to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you have any funds left in your Gringotts vault, you can supplement your fantasy-filled subscription with a Harry Potter pop-up book, sock Advent calendar, bathrobe, or even Pandora jewelry.

[h/t Engadget]