Pros: More funny moments with old friends
Cons: One or two sub-par episodes
The Bottom Line:
These aren't as well known
But they're still very funny
Lucy fans need them
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours Come to DVD
Even if they don't like it, everyone is familiar with I Love Lucy. The exploits of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), her band leader husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz), and their neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance) have been entertaining audiences for over 50 years. Fewer people are familiar with the hour long episodes. Over the years, they've been called lots of things, from original title The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show to We Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. But no matter what you call it, it's funny.
These shows came about because, after six successful seasons of I Love Lucy, Desi wanted to slow down to run their successful Desilu studio. But, since I Love Lucy was such a huge hit, CBS wanted to keep it going. So they reached a compromise. They would do three or four hour long episodes of the show for the next few years instead of the weekly half hour shows. This kept the rating going from CBS, but gave Desi the time off he needed.
The set up is exactly the same for these shows as the half hour episodes. In fact, it feels like we never left. The Ricardos and the Mertzes are still living on a farm in
But thanks to Ricky's band, they do get to travel the world, too. And they also
meet up with all kinds of famous people. That's right; every one of these
thirteen episodes features a famous guest star or two. And you just know that
when Lucy gets around a celebrity, chaos ensues.
Now I'll admit I don't always know who these guest stars are. Sure, I've heard of Fred MacMurray and Milton Berle. But there are lots of them I don't know like Ida Lupino, Howard Duff, Ernie Kovacs, and Fernando Lamas. I may not get the star appeal, but that doesn't dampen my enjoyment in the slightest.
There are several highlights to the set. "The Celebrity Next Door" is hysterical as Lucy tries to get new neighbor Tallulah Bankhead to help with the PTA benefit at Little Ricky's school. Later on, she tries to get Milton Berle for another PTA benefit by letting him hide out in her house to finish his book. When Paul Douglas starts a new morning show, Lucy lands a job as his "Girl Friday." But does she really want a job? And a USO show in
leads to all kinds of border crossing problems thanks to a little Mexican boy
and Maurice Chevalier that end with Lucy fighting a bull.
About the only show here I don't like is "Lucy Goes to
Alaska." A long
section is made up of a sketch that she does with comic Red Skelton. It was
funny for a while, but goes on too long. And the rest of the plot just isn't
But that's the only low point. The rest of the shows are wonderfully funny. Any Lucy fan will laugh the entire way through them. As I said, it really doesn't feel any different then the half hour shows. They just go on twice as long so we get twice as many laughs from the situations. The acting is top notch, as well. Lucy and Desi's marriage was falling apart by this point, but you'd never know by watching Lucy and Ricky on screen.
And this set is great as well. The thirteen hour long shows are preserved on four discs. And they look and sound great. The occasional scene isn't perfect, but considering the source material's age, it looks pretty good. When "Lucy Takes a Cruise to
originally aired, it ran for 75 minutes. The show was cut for reruns, but all
the original footage has been restored for this set. The special features are
nothing new for the TV show, and that's not a bad thing. We get information on
the guest cast, and since I've never heard of some of these stars, that's
great. Additionally, we get the flubs, deleted scenes, and original opening and
closing that were standard on the other sets. For something different, we get
the 40 minute sponsor presentation that Desilu studio did for new sponsor
Westinghouse and some color home movies of the set from 1951. There was a rumor
that a filmed but never seen I Love Lucy movie would be included with this set,
but that was a rumor only. It is no where to been seen here.
There are some real gems in this set. And I'm thrilled to have it to complete my I Love Lucy collection.
1. Lucy Takes a Cruise to
2. The Celebrity Next Door
3. Lucy Hunts Uranium
4. Lucy Wins a Racehorse
5. Lucy Goes to
6. Lucy Goes to
7. Lucy Makes Room for Danny
8. Lucy Goes to
9. Lucy Wants a Career
10. Lucy's Summer Vacation
11. Milton Berle Hides out at the Ricardos
12. The Ricardos go to
13. Lucy Meets the Moustache