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Old 01-20-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
MichaelKeith
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Default Lucy & Desi lost Christmas special from 1959

Has anyone ever seen this extremely rare show? I wish we could get Shout! Factory to release it to DVD!!!

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From our tireless film archivists comes this incredible find - one of the last shows Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz did together, a Christmas special that has never been re-broadcast. That's a real shame, it was a star-studded spectacular that any Lucy fan would find appealing.

On Christmas Day, 1959, The Desilu Playhouse (1958-1960) presented a special Christmas broadcast starring the whole I Love Lucy gang, in addition to the Desilu Players and numerous stars of other popular Desilu productions like George Murphy, Spring Byington, Lassie, Danny Thomas, Hugh O'Brien and Ann Sothern. Even Hollywood hag Hedda Hopper made an appearance!



The wrap-around plot had Hollywood gossip queen Hedda Hopper interviewing Lucy and Desi about the Desilu Players and the show they recently staged. This led to flashbacks of Lucy (who was directing the stage show) creating chaos backstage between the musical numbers.

This Desilu Christmas special was produced and (essentially) directed by Lucille Ball herself. This is the only Desilu production I can think of that features the I Love Lucy cast members playing "themselves."

The juxtaposition of the 'real' Lucy with the Lucy character is slightly confusing and, though Vivian Vance is referred to as "Vivian" here, her personality is basically Ethel's with more attitude.

If you ever get the opportunity to watch this hour-long special, look for the scene where William Frawley (as himself?) tries to pick up one of the young girls in the show. How's this for a come-on: "Miss Lovell, do you feel about older men the way I feel about younger women?"

This program is significant because it's one of the last appearances of the four I Love Lucy cast members together, Lucy and Desi filed for divorce just a few months after this special was filmed. They only appeared together in one more Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Show; they never again acted together on any another TV show.

The Desilu Players was a pet project of Lucille Ball's, who hand-picked each of the versatile performers as her protégés (they actually were appearing in a stage revue that she produced in LA around the time of this broadcast). The musical and comedy numbers from the live show were filmed almost exactly as originally staged, but only the musical numbers ended up in the Christmas special's final edit.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
Jude The Obscure
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I've often wondered why any of the Desilu Playhouse (besides the Comedy Hours) haven't been released on DVD?
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:52 AM   #3
Leslie Eckhardt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jude The Obscure
I've often wondered why any of the Desilu Playhouse (besides the Comedy Hours) haven't been released on DVD?
One of the extras in the second season Lucy Show DVD set is a marvelous interview with Carole Cook, one of Lucy's "workshop" members and occasional player on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. She appeared in The Desilu Revue and a couple of snippetts from the show are shown. Perhaps this could be released as an extra on the last season Lucy Show DVD or maybe a DVD of Desilu Playhouse.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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Yes, I saw the special about 15 years ago. I don't remember Desi or William Frawley being in it, though. If they were, they were just cameos. It was really Lucy's show to showcase her Desilu Workshop students, which included Carole Cook. I only watched this special once because it was pretty boring. I don't even know what I did with it.
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