Finally, one TV's most beloved sitcoms from the 1960's arrives on DVD July 21, 2009. After releasing Lucille Ball's first series in its entirety, "I Love Lucy", CBS Home Video is bringing out, what I consider, one of the best television shows of all-time.
"The Lucy Show" was Lucille Ball's follow-up to her immensely popular 1950's TV program, and at first she was hesitant to do another weekly series for a variety of reasons: first, she knew the work involved in doing a TV show week after week, and secondly she also didn't know if the audience would accept her playing a widow, as she and Desi Arnaz were so closely identified as America's first TV couple. Since she and Desi were now divorced, having them star in a television show together was virtually impossible. One of the stipulations she had with the new CBS show was that she wanted Desi to be its executive producer, (which he was that first season), as Lucy knew Desi had the mind and ability to produce a top-rated show, and she wanted her best friend, Vivian Vance, to star along with her. Lucy's demands were met.
"The Lucy Show", originally titled "The Lucille Ball Show" in its inception, aired its first episode on October 1, 1962. Lucy played Lucy Carmichael, a widow raising 2 children, a daughter Chris, played by Candy Moore, and a son Jerry, played by Jimmy Garrett. Lucy shared her home with her best friend Vivian, played superbly by Vance, who had a son Sherman, portrayed by Ralph Hart. Although many TV historians state that it was Ann Romano, from "One Day at a Time", who played TV's first divorced woman, that distiction, however, belongs to Vivian Vance, who was the medium's first divorcee in this series. "The Lucy Show" followed the adventures of Lucy and Vivian, as they raised their children alone, and encountered various mishaps while living without men. The series explored what it was like for two women maintaining a household all alone, and the series depicted the problems each had with their personal lives, such as finding Mr. Right.
"The Lucy Show" is one of my favorite shows ever, and I actually love it even more than "I Love Lucy". This long awaited boxset of the series' first season, features 30 episodes, that have been rarely seen over the years. This first season is filmed in glorious black and white, but subsequent seasons were filmed in color as Lucille Ball knew they could be more easily sold in syndication than the black and white ones. The show continued to be broadcast in black and white until the 1965 season, but at the beginning of the 1963 season filming in B&W was discontinued. These 30 shows are some of the best work Lucille Ball ever did in her career, albeit they have hardly been seen by newer audiences. Many of the writers from "I Love Lucy" wrote many of these 30 shows, and their originality and creativity is evident. The best episodes from this season are: "Lucy and Viv Put in a TV Antenna", in which Lucy and Vivian go to extremes to go up on the roof to install a new antenna, as their signal is gone. This episode is hilarious, especially when one watches it during this day in time as many of us have cable and satellite, but the writing is dead on, and the performances, along with Lucy and Viv's physical comedy, are at its zenith. Another great show is "Lucy and Viv Put In A Shower", where the roomates install a new shower, as they realize having one bathroom doesn't cut it for a home housing 5 people. While doing the shower scene Lucille Ball almost drowned, and thanks to Vivian Vance, she was saved. One of my favorite Christmas shows from any series is in this set and is entitled "Together For Christmas", as Lucy and Vivian argue over a tree. Each wants to have a tree decorated to each other's taste, so to make a compromise, they each put up a tree in the living room. They eventually have a fight and destroy the other's tree, with Lucy going so far as sawing Viv's!
"The Lucy Show" is one of those rare network TV shows that never left the top 10 during its six year run on CBS. It actually finished its final season on the network in the early spring of 1968 at at whopping #2 in the Nielsens. The series would return that fall under a new title, "Here's Lucy", with a completey new format. "The Lucy Show" finished its first season at number 5, a solid hit, as the audience welcomed Lucille Ball and her co-horts into their home week after week. Important to note too is that Gale Gordon wouldn't start appearing until the following season. In the first year, a banker named My. Barnsdahl, played by character actor Charles Lane, supervised Lucy's trust fund left to her by her husband.
The series' theme music was created and performed by Wilbur Hatch, who did the music for "I Love Lucy".
Lucille Ball would go on to win two Emmy's for her role in this series in subsequent seasons, and various guest stars would pop up over the years, like Joan Crawford, Milton Berle, Carol Burnett, and Ann Southern.
There have been a handful of "Lucy Show" episodes that have been put out on home video and DVD over the years, but these are the public domain shows that were never cleaned up, and they were the edited and syndicated broadcast shows that were jumpy and scratchy. These 30 shows in this boxset have been beautifully restored from the studio's 35 mm prints and come with renewed sound, and according to studio reps, they look amazing. They are also uncut.
This boxset also comes with a new interview with Lucille Ball's daughter Lucy Arnaz, and for the first time in years Jimmy Garrett is interviewed , discussing the show and his TV mom. There are also rare commercials featuring "The Lucy Show's" network promos.
If having "The Lucy Show" on DVD isn't enough for you, talk is "Here's Lucy", Lucy's 3rd series, is coming to DVD this summer too with the complete first season. "Here's Lucy" had a DVD release in 2004 featuring some of the best episodes during it's run, but like "The Lucy Show", it will be the first time that complete season boxsets will be released. I am in Heaven!
Don't forget too that "I Love Lucy-The Complete Series" , is also available.
UPDATE!!!! LUCY'S THIRD SERIES "HERE'S LUCY" WILL BE AVAILABLE ON DVD WITH THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ON AUGUST 25TH, 2009!!!