In the late 16th century, legend holds, a rabbi in Prague created a golem out of clay and incantation to protect the city against pogroms. In the early 21st century, a sculptor in Celoron, New York created Lucille Ball out of bronze and nightmares to protect the city from its own selfish desires for stardom. Both men trembled before their creations; their villages were set aflame in a murderous rampage and an angry Facebook campaign, respectively. Gazing upon what he had wrought, the rabbi changed the magic word on the golem’s forehead, deactivating him so he could terrorize no more. And now sculptor Dave Poulin will do the same—cutting down his “Scary Lucy” himself and replacing it with another statue, one that hopefully won’t destroy him.
“[I] have always believed it to be by far most unsettling sculpture,” Poulin writes in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, making it clear that he isn’t boasting. Rather, Poulin says that he’s long shared his own disappointment with the Lucy statue—quietly, out of its earshot—which he believes is “not befitting of Lucy’s beauty or my ability as a sculptor,” or a town that likes to sleep sometimes.
“Yes, in retrospect, it should have never been cast in bronze and made public, and I take complete ownership of that poor decision,” Poulin says, ruing the terrible hubris that has led man time and again to draw closer the darkness.
Now Lucy has become death, the destroyer of worlds, he thought.
As Poulin explains, the statue was first born 10 years ago, at a tumultuous time when “there were many elements of this project that I personally struggled with both internally and externally”—the shaping of the mould, the pouring of the bronze, the petrifying visions behind his fluttering eyelids of Gary Busey’s leering mouth. Still, Poulin says, “I make no excuses,” even as he gently chides the town for taking so long to act when he says he first approached Celoron’s mayor five years ago “expressing my desire and willingness to remove and redo Lucy.” If only that mayor had listened, the statue would already be gone, and without his soul forever trapped inside of it.
Poulin says that he is “heartsick” over the hurt feelings and, presumably, mysteriously mutilated animals that Lucy has caused, and as such he will replace it at his own expense. “I am a down to earth, hard worker from a humble background,” he reminds the townspeople and any statues who might happen to be listening. In its stead, he promises to deliver “a new beautiful and charming Lucy,” one that will surely cause anyone who gazes upon it to declare, “I Love Lucy!” as in the name of the television show.
And then, as the city is torn apart by jealous neighbors killing each other for the statue’s affections, Dave Poulin will at last have his revenge on Celoron.