TITLE: HERE'S LUCY - SEASON TWO
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009 (MPI Home Video)
Color / 1969-1970
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 720 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: approx. 130 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English Subtitles
Special Features: Video Introductions (all episodes); Here's Lucy: ON Location; Let's Talk to Lucy Interview with Carol Burnett; Lucy Sings; Lucie and Wayne Newton; Treasures From Lucy's Vault; CBS and Syndication Promos; Production Files; Slide Show
Lucy Carter, her brother-in law Harry, and two teenage kids, Kim and Chris, are back! Season Two of Here's Lucy brings 24 more episodes of Lucille Ball's final CBS sitcom to DVD on a four-disc set that is loaded with special features.
Here's Lucy was the series that replaced, well, another Lucy series, namely The Lucy Show. Even though The Lucy Show was doing well-enough ratings-wise, Lucille Ball had just sold Desilu (the producer of the series) and wanted to create her own series under her new production company, Lucille Ball Productions. The end result was a series that was a lot like The Lucy Show, but changed the workplace from a bank to an employment agency (with Gale Gordon still playing her boss, although now he was her brother-in-law, Harrison Carter) and adding two teenage children played by Lucille Ball's own children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. The series was focused purely upon the comedic genius of what Lucy was all about, even if she was much older than she was when she began her first series.
By the second season, the series had not really changed much, but it was already beginning to become more celebrity based, with guest stars such as Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Wally Cox, Milton Berle, and more. Still, we have many episodes in this set that are focused on the Carter household and the employment agency. With no further adieu, here's Lucy!
The season kicks off with a series of four episodes focusing on the Carters taking a little vacation in an RV, beginning with the two-part episode "Lucy and the Air Force Academy," where Lucy and the family visits the Air Force Academy and tries to get Craig into the Academy. But her efforts may just be a little over-the-top when she mistakes the superintendent of the academy for a janitor! Lucy gets married and gets a wedding present of the state of Utah in "Lucy and the Indian Chief," but can the marriage last more than 25 minutes? Lucy rides a mattress in the rapids in "Lucy Runs the Rapids." Lucy has to play nurse to a sick uncle Harry in "Lucy and Harry's Tonsils," but will this nurse make Uncle Harry even sicker? Lucy and Kim perform with the Andrews sisters in "Lucy and the Andrews Sisters." The Carters are robbed in "Lucy's Burglar Alarm," but Craig sets up the perfect burglar alarm system that turns the entire house into a place where no burglar can escape!
In "Lucy and the Drive-In," Kim has an older date, and naturally, Lucy has to spy on them. So how will she do it? Milton Berle plays a sleazy used car salesman in "Lucy and the Used Car Salesman," and it is going to take a good scheme to get even with him when he rips off Kim and Craig. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon guest star in "Lucy and Johnny Carson," where Lucy just so happens to become a guest on his show. Jack LaLanne guest stars in "Lucy and the Bogie Affair," where Kim and Craig bring home a dog that has puppies that they just can't get rid of. Harry is being awfully nice to Lucy in "Lucy Protects Her Job," and she has to do her best to find a bad secretary when she thinks he is trying to hire a replacement for her.
In "Lucy the Laundress," Lucy wrecks a man's car and does his laundry for him, but as it turns out, she wrecks the clothing of his customers even more! Lucy promises Viv (guest star Vivian Vance, of course) a date with Lawrence Welk in "Lucy and Lawrence Welk," but how easy will that be considering that Lucy doesn't even know him? Lucy and Viv visit Tijuana in "Lucy and Viv Visit Tijuana," but somehow, Harry is the one that ends up being detained by customs for smuggling contraband! Lucy is determined to help Harry's friend's son (played by Wally Cox) become a man in "Lucy and Wally Cox." Wayne Newton returns for another appearance in "Lucy and Wayne Newton." In "Lucy Takes Over," Lucy finds out that Harry's side of the family owes her $10 from over a century ago--plus interest--which turns out to be so much money that Harry ends up having to give Lucy his business! Will Harry survive with the redhead as his new boss? Lucy competes against a friend (played by Carol Burnett) for the "Miss Secretary Beautiful" title in "Lucy and Carol Burnett," (side note for those keeping track, yes, there was an episode in the first season with the exact same title) but how will the "friendly" competition end?
As is common for MPI releases, the packaging for this set is very much consistent with Season One--simple and to the point. The cover art has a publicity photo of Lucy and the kids (but again, no Gale Gordon!), while the back has all of the basic set information. Inside the snapcase, we find the four discs and a listing of all of the episodes (printed on the inside of the case). There are no episode descriptions, but original airdates and information about the people that introduce each episode on the DVD set can be found. The disc artwork has a red and pink color scheme, with the series logo and a picture of the Lucy puppet as seen in the opening credits. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-14, Disc 3 contains episodes 15-21, and Disc 4 contains episodes 22-24, as well as the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
As the packaging is the same as it was for Season One, the menus are also the same. That isn't exactly the greatest news in the world, although the menus aren't terrible. Actually, they have some pretty nice effects and look professional, but I dislike the main menu giving options of "Play With Introductions" and "Play Without Introductions." It is somewhat of an awkward place to put these options. There is also an option to turn on English subtitles on the main menu. Once you have selected one of these, you go to a menu that lists all of the episodes, as well as a Special Features option on Disc 4. Once you select an episode, it plays without any additional menus. If you chose to play the episode with the introduction from the main menu, you get a brief (about a minute or so) video introduction to the episode. Otherwise the episode plays right away. Honestly, it would make much more sense to list all of the episodes on the main menu and have an option next to each episode to play it with or without the introduction. Chapters are placed in all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
There really aren't any issues that I noticed with the video and audio quality, although it isn't necessarily perfect. The picture quality is a little dull and there is some grain and debris, but nothing out of the ordinary for a series this age. In fact, the quality does seem better than what is normally seen on syndicated prints of the series. There are some audio level fluctuations, but I did not notice any problems with the audio as I noticed on the Season One set, although it is possible that there may be some. The issue with the Season One episodes was isolated to some very specific parts of certain episodes, and did not jump out right away. The episodes are presented in mono (what else?) and English subtitles are available for every episode.
The episodes are all unedited (I can say that with great confidence), with each running around 25:30 or so. Exact runtimes are as follows:
Lucy and the Air Force Academy, Part 1 (25:28)
Lucy and the Air Force Academy, Part 2 (25:28)
Lucy and the Indian Chief (25:27)
Lucy Runs the Rapids (25:28)
Lucy and Harry's Tonsils (25:27)
Lucy and the Andrews Sisters (25:26)
Lucy's Burglar Alarm (25:27)
Lucy and the Drive-In Movie (25:26)
Lucy and the Used Car Dealer (25:27)
Lucy and the Cement Worker (25:27)
Lucy and Johnny Carson (25:26)
Lucy and the Generation Gap (25:27)
Lucy and the Bogie Affair (25:27)
Lucy Protects Her Job (25:27)
Lucy the Helpful Mother (25:26)
Lucy and Liberace (25:27)
Lucy the Laundress (25:27)
Lucy and Lawrence Welk (25:27)
Lucy and Viv Visit Tijuana (25:27)
Lucy and Ann-Margret (25:27)
Lucy and Wally Cox (25:27)
Lucy and Wayne Newton (25:27)
Lucy Takes Over (25:27)
Lucy and Carol Burnett (25:26)
As was the case with Season One, we have an introduction for each and every episode, called "Introducing Lucy." These are short video introductions from various people involved with the series, usually Lucie Arnaz or Desi Arnaz, Jr., but at times includes others such as Elliot Reid, Marl Young, Wanda Clark (Lucy's secretary), Anita Mann, James Hong, Norma Zimmer, Don Diamond, and Wayne Newton. These are very interesting and give great insight into the episodes! It is just too bad they couldn't do commentaries in the episodes to go along with these. The person introducing each episode is as follows:
Lucy and the Air Force Academy, Part 1 (Lucie Arnaz, 1:51)
Lucy and the Air Force Academy, Part 2 (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:27)
Lucy and the Indian Chief (Lucie Arnaz, 1:36)
Lucy Runs the Rapids (Lucie Arnaz, 1:31)
Lucy and Harry's Tonsils (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:10)
Lucy and the Andrews Sisters (Lucie Arnaz, 1:33)
Lucy's Burglar Alarm (Elliot Reid, 1:16)
Lucy and the Drive-In Movie (Jackie Joseph, 1:50)
Lucy and the Used Car Dealer (Lucie Arnaz, 1:04)
Lucy and the Cement Worker (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:08)
Lucy and Johnny Carson (Lucie Arnaz, 1:07)
Lucy and the Generation Gap (Lucie Arnaz and Marl Young, 2:01)
Lucy and the Bogie Affair (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:21)
Lucy Protects Her Job (Wanda Clark, 1:34)
Lucy the Helpful Mother (Anita Mann, 1:19)
Lucy and Liberace (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:06)
Lucy the Laundress (James Hong, 1:54)
Lucy and Lawrence Welk (Norma Zimmer, 1:32)
Lucy and Viv Visit Tijuana (Don Diamond, 1:51)
Lucy and Ann-Margret (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:17)
Lucy and Wally Cox (Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1:14)
Lucy and Wayne Newton (Wayne Newton and Marl Young, 1:52)
Lucy Takes Over (Anita Mann, 1:08)
Lucy and Carol Burnett (Anita Mann, 1:48)
There are many more special features that can be found on Disc 4, beginning with the featurette "Here's Lucy: On Location" (15:03), where Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Wayne Newton are joined by producers Cleo Smith and Howard Rayfiel (why didn't they participate in the introductions???) to talk about producing episodes outside of the studio. It is a very nice feature to watch and goes into a lot of details! We even see a lot of behind-the-scenes home movie footage of the episodes, which gives a new perspective on these episodes. This is particularly relevant with this season, as the first four episodes of the season were "on the road" shows. "Let's Talk to Lucy: Carol Burnett" (10:51) is a radio interview with Carol Burnett from 1964. This was obviously before she became known for her long-running variety show, and talks a lot about her theater performances. "Lucy Sings" (1:17) is a nice, short featurette with Lucy performing on stage, though I am honestly not sure what this is from. "Lucie and Wayne Newton" (4:01) is a nice little piece of vintage footage with Lucie Arnaz talking to Wayne Newton in front of an audience, as well as performing with him.
We have a nice set of "Treasures From Lucy's Vault," which is basically just home videos from the family vault, beginning with "Air Force Academy Adventures" (3:46), which is additional footage from the first episode on this set. We get to see some of the pre-production of the episode as well, and we see how some of the stunts on the episode were performed. "Roll 'Em On the River" (2:37) is additional behind-the-scenes footage from the episode "Lucy Runs the Rapids," and we again see exactly how the stunts were performed on this episode. We get to see more of Lucy in the river on "Lucy Scouts the Rapids" (3:34). "At Home With Desi, Jr." (4:27) has Desi Arnaz, Jr. being interviewed by June Havoc in the mid-1960s, and he looks much younger than Craig does on the TV series. We do get to see him perform on this featurette. "USC Honors Lucy" (14:25) is footage from 1966 where USC's film school, well, honors Lucy. We get to see her and her co-stars talk about her success in this featurette.
Next, we have Syndication Promos (14:47), which give us short syndicated promos for every single episode on the set. I love seeing these! It would be even nicer if they were on the same disc as the episode, but it is no big deal. There is one original CBS promo (1:00), which is very general and doesn't focus on any one episode in particular.
We have plenty of "Production Files," where we get to see many production notes for the episodes on screen as text, but we also have them read by a secretary--Wanda Clark, in fact, who was Lucy's personal secretary in her later years of life. She reads these for "Lucy and the Indian Chief" (1:58), "Lucy and Johnny Carson" (2:02), "Lucy and the Generation Gap" (2:27), "Lucy and the Bogie Affair" (3:01), "Lucy Protects Her Job" (1:40), "Lucy the Helpful Mother" (1:58), and "Lucy and Wally Cox" (2:05).
Finally, we have a Slide Show (3:49), which gives us many very nice, high-resolution photos from the series. We get to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes images here, especially from the first four episodes of the season.
There is nothing really bad about this set at all, it really is a good DVD set and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these episodes. It is definitely not the Lucy that we all remember from I Love Lucy, but it is very likely that if she had not had that successful series, this series would be in the spotlight much more today than it actually is. It is a shame that the only way we can watch this series is to own it on DVD. But at least the DVD set that we have is a very good set, with reasonably good quality and some very nice special features. It is also nice to see Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. take such an active role in this DVD set. It is too bad Lucille Ball and Gale Gordon are no longer around to participate in this DVD set. Any Lucille Ball fan will definitely want to own this set, and fans of classic sitcoms in general would probably find themselves enjoying this set as well. The second season still has some great and fresh ideas that fans are sure to enjoy, and I know already that I can not wait to see the next season, which I am sure is already in the works!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/03/09
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