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New Lucille Ball Statue Replaces 'Scary Lucy'

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There is now a Lucy statue everyone can love. Lucille Ball was honored by her hometown of Celoron, N.Y., in 2009 with a bronze sculpture that was supposed to look like her.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

But it doesn't, like, at all. In fact, it's terrifying. When it was unveiled, the residents of Celoron were disappointed, even upset. But Mayor Scott Schrecengost says people learned to live with it.

SCOTT SCHRECENGOST: Everybody just kind of walked by it, looked at it, and said, yeah, it's a statue - you know, no big deal. And all of a sudden it went viral, and then it became a real big issue.

SHAPIRO: A photo of the statue went viral last year and quickly got the nickname Scary Lucy. The statue and hometown of a comedy giant became the butt of a million internet jokes.

CORNISH: There was one thing to do - replace Scary Lucy.

SCHRECENGOST: So we had 66 or 67 sculptors and artists send in information that wanted to redo the statue.

CORNISH: Even the sculptor of Scary Lucy made an offer to fix her. That was met with a quick...

SCHRECENGOST: (Laughter) Absolutely not, and I told him so (laughter).

SHAPIRO: The job eventually went to sculptor Carolyn Palmer. And over the weekend, a decidedly less Scary Lucy was unveiled.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Five, four, three, two, one.

(APPLAUSE)

SHAPIRO: Carolyn Palmer is feeling pretty good about her work.

CAROLYN PALMER: There were some descendants of Lucille Ball's family there. And they had tears in their eyes and just hugged me and said, thank you so much. Thank you for this.

SHAPIRO: Maybe because it actually looks like Lucille Ball.

CORNISH: But Scary Lucy isn't going anywhere. She's staying in the park, 75 yards downwind from the new Lucy. Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost says both are good for the village.

SCHRECENGOST: There's been a steady flow of people looking at the new statue, and they still go down and take pictures with Scary Lucy while they're there. It's amazing.

SHAPIRO: And so there's a happy ending, even for Scary Lucy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.