Friday, December 21, 2007

I Love Lucy-7th/8th/9th Season

I Love Lucy-7th/8th/9th Season
From Lucy-tormented Hollywood A-listers and bongo-propelled production numbers to archival goodies such as long-lost footage, there is much to love in this collection of all 13 episodes from The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (also known as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour). Following I Love Lucy's sixth and final season, these monthly (give or take) specials reunited America with Ricky and Lucy (and Keith Thibodeaux's adorable Little Ricky, still living the country life in Connecticut. The expanded, hour-long format allowed for celebrity guest stars and excursions to far-flung locales, such as Japan and Mexico. Not matter where they go, Lucy can always be counted on to act, in Desi's words, "a little crazy in the head," which is how she winds up masquerading as Ernie Kovacs' chauffeur in "Lucy Meets the Moustache" (an episode making its home-video debut), dangling Milton Berle from a construction crane in "Milton Berle Hides Out at the Ricardos," or sparking a uranium uproar in Las Vegas in "Lucy Hunts Uranium." A highlight of this set is the first-ever home video release of the uncut version of "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana," a flashback episode in which Lucy meets Ricky on a "maiden voyage" to Cuba. She also meets future best friend Ethel (Vivian Vance) and her new husband Fred (a toupeed William Frawley), and goes overboard for her first celebrity sighting, Rudy Vallee. Because these episodes do not play as often in syndication, they seem fresher than their endlessly re-run counterparts. They are full of delights for movie, TV, and Lucy buffs, among them, Fred MacMurray getting "Uranium" fever, Maurice Chevalier singing "Yankee Doodle Boy" in the "Mexico" episode, prolific character actor Sid Melton as a bellboy in the "Alaska" episode, and a va-voom Vance decked out as maid and a dance hall girl, respectively, in the "The Celebrity Next Door" and "Milton Berle" episodes. Among this set's prodigious bonus features include 1951 color footage that an audience member surreptitiously filmed, rediscovered scenes that were cut from the original broadcasts, and a filmed presentation to Westinghouse, which sponsored the series. If you don't add this to your library, you have some 'splainin' to do. --Donald Liebenson

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