TITLE: HERE'S LUCY - SEASON FOUR
DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011 (MPI Home Video)
Color / 1971-1972
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 720 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 100 min
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Episode Introductions; "Here's Harry" Featurette; "Let's Talk to Lucy - Dinah Shore" Featurette; Lucy on The Pearl Bailey Show; Lucy Australian Promo; Here's Lucy Slide Show; Production Files; Syndication Promos; Sponsor Billboards; Home Video Footage; Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Original Commercials
Lucy Carter, her daughter Kim, and her brother-in-law Harry are back again in the fourth season of Here's Lucy! The third major television series starring Lucille Ball (or fourth if you count The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour as a separate series) is essentially a reworking of the later seasons of The Lucy Show, but with a different workplace (an employment agency) and Lucy having teenage kids at home. This season is the first season of the series without Desi Arnaz, Jr. in the role of Craig, however. Kim is still at home, but is about to go off to college and will be leaving the series at the end of the season... but not permanently.
The fourth season of the series gets a bit more back into the domestic side of Lucy, as opposed to the previous season, which seemed to focused on getting big guest stars (who can forget the Elizabeth Taylor appearance from the third season?). However, there are still plenty of celebrities (and often times, celebrities playing non-celebrity characters in this season) popping up at the employment agency, bringing twenty four more fun-filled episodes to the fourth season of Here's Lucy.
Lucy will do anything to get Flip Wilson to appear in a local production in "Lucy and Flip Go Legit." Harry has a new partner (played by Tony Randall) who is determined to make the office more efficient in "Lucy and the Mountain Climber," and guess who he thinks needs to be fired for more efficiency? Kaye Ballard plays one of Harry's ex-loves in "Lucy and the Italian Bombshell." Lucy is in trouble so who does Harry call for help? Why, none-other than Joe Mannix (Mike Connors), in the crossover episode "Lucy and Mannix Are Held Hostage" Lucy causes an crisis of galactic nature when she has to go through a decontamination with astronauts in "Lucy and the Astronauts." Dinah Shore makes an appearance in "Someone's on the Ski Lift with Dinah."
Lucy goes all out to put together an all-nun band in "Lucy and Her All-Nun Band." Lucy has to return a lost purse to somebody, but of course it belongs to a celebrity in "Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea." In "Lucy and Candid Camera," Alan Funt plays a dual role where a Candid Camera stunt may not actually be a Candid Camera stunt. Lucy has a week to train a chimp in order to win a thousand dollars in "Lucy's Lucky Day." When Harry suddenly gives Lucy a raise, Lucy becomes suspicious in "Lucy's Bonus Bounces."
In "Lucy and the Little Old Lady," Harry gets taken by a scam artist, and it is up to Lucy, Kim, and Harry to use a séance to get the money back. Lucy learns that saving a life can be a nightmare in "Lucy and the Chinese Curse." In "Lucy's Replacement," Harry buys a computer to replace Lucy, but Lucy and Kim have plans of their own to show Harry how convenient the computer can be! Kim decides to move out in "Kim Moves Out," but Lucy is going to be following every step, of course. Harry needs a loan and the only way he can get it is to let Lucy take control of the office finances, which result in disaster when she sublets half of the office to a toymaker in "Lucy Sublets the Office." Lucy's new boyfriend may be a playboy in "Lucy's Puncture Romance." Vivian Vance makes her final appearance in the series in "With Viv As a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy?," where she takes Lucy's job at the employment agency. The season ends with a pilot for a proposed spinoff, "Kim Finally Cuts You-Know-Whose Apron Strings," where Kim moves into her own apartment and has problems of her own to deal with.
The episodes on the set appear to be unedited, which is fine and dandy, but why stop with JUST unedited? Why not go above and beyond that? Well, this set does with a few episodes! There are a handful of episodes that include sponsor billboards and even original commercials within the episodes! I don't know if this was intentional or accidental (it isn't mentioned anywhere that original commercials would be included on certain episodes), but in any event, they are definitely nice to see. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Lucy and Flip Go Legit" (25:40)
2. "Lucy and the Mountain Climber" (25:39)
3. "Lucy and Harry's Italian Bombshell" (25:40)
4. "Lucy and Mannix are Held Hostage" (25:39)
5. "Lucy and the Astronauts" (25:39)
6. "Lucy Makes a Few Extra Dollars" (25:40)
7. "Someone's on the Ski Life with Dinah" (27:36)
8. "Lucy and Her All-Nun Band" (25:42)
9. "Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea" (25:39)
10. "Lucy and the Celebrities" (25:40)
11. "Won't You Calm Down, Dan Dailey?" (25:40)
12. "Lucy Helps David Frost Go Night Night" (25:42)
13. "Lucy in the Jungle" (25:40)
14. "Lucy and Candid Camera" (28:05)
15. "Lucy's Lucky Day" (25:38)
16. "Lucy's Bonus Bounces" (25:41)
17. "Lucy and the Little Old Lady" (25:38)
18. "Lucy and the Chinese Curse" (25:40)
19. "Lucy's Replacement" (25:38)
20. "Kim Moves Out" (25:40)
21. "Lucy Sublets the Office" (27:41)
22. "Lucy's Punctured Romance" (25:39)
23. "With Viv as a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy?" (25:39)
24. "Kim Finally Cuts You-Know-Whose Apron Strings" (27:11)
The packaging for the set is consistent with the previous releases (as is customary for MPI), with a standard Viva-pack holding the discs. The cover art has a photo of Lucy and Harry (the two main stars for this season, as Kim played a smaller role and Craig was completely gone) with a purple color scheme. The back of the package has information about the season, along with a snapshot of Lucy and Flip Wilson from the season premiere. Inside, we have a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and a listing of who introduces the episodes on the DVD set, but no episode descriptions unfortunately. Each Disc just has the series logo on an orange background, with a purple background underneath with the puppet version of Lucy on it. 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, along with the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are basically the same as the previous sets. The main menu has options of "Play with Introductions" and "Play Without Introductions," which, as I've mentioned before, I think this is a bad place to put this option. There is also an option to turn on the subtitles here, as well as (on Disc 4 only) a Special Features option. Once you've selected an option for episodes, you get an animated transition to a list of episodes contained on the disc, along with a Play All option. And once you select the episode, you get another animated transition before the episode. There are chapters within all of the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality of the set is on par with the previous sets for the most part. The only real problem that I noticed, just as I noticed with the previous sets are minor grain and debris, and some fluctuation on audio levels (beware: the menus can be particularly loud!). I'm sure that the effort put into restoring these episodes wasn't huge in comparison to other series, but it is still clear that the episodes were cleaned up rather well, and this is noticeable when you compare the episodes to things such as the syndication promos. Each episode is presented in mono, with English subtitles available for each episode.
Each episode has a video introduction (just as the previous sets have had). Introductions are done by the following people for each episode:
1. "Lucy and Flip Go Legit" (2:30) - Lucie Arnaz and Kim Hamilton
2. "Lucy and the Mountain Climber" (1:21) - Lucie Arnaz
3. "Lucy and Harry's Italian Bombshell" (1:17) - Kaye Ballard
4. "Lucy and Mannix are Held Hostage" (1:39) - Lucie Arnaz
5. "Lucy and the Astronauts" (2:03) - Paul Picerini
6. "Lucy Makes a Few Extra Dollars" (0:56) - Lucie Arnaz
7. "Someone's on the Ski Life with Dinah" (1:23) - Lucie Arnaz
8. "Lucy and Her All-Nun Band" (1:43) - Marl Young
9. "Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea" (1:56) - Lucie Arnaz
10. "Lucy and the Celebrities" (1:48) - Rich Little
11. "Won't You Calm Down, Dan Dailey?" (1:16) - Marl Young
12. "Lucy Helps David Frost Go Night Night" (1:11) - Lucie Arnaz
13. "Lucy in the Jungle" (1:57) - Lola Fisher
14. "Lucy and Candid Camera" (1:49) - Jim Bates
15. "Lucy's Lucky Day" (2:15) - Jim Bates
16. "Lucy's Bonus Bounces" (1:55) - Paul Picerni
17. "Lucy and the Little Old Lady" (1:18) - Lucie Arnaz
18. "Lucy and the Chinese Curse" (1:02) - Lucie Arnaz
19. "Lucy's Replacement" (1:47) - Jim Bates
20. "Kim Moves Out" (2:02) - Lucie Arnaz and Tim Matheson
21. "Lucy Sublets the Office" (1:30) - Lucie Arnaz
22. "Lucy's Punctured Romance" (1:10) - Lucie Arnaz
23. "With Viv as a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy?" (1:27) - Lucie Arnaz
24. "Kim Finally Cuts You-Know-Whose Apron Strings" (2:30) - Lucie Arnaz and Alan Oppenheimer
"Here's Harry" (15:09) is a retrospective mostly featuring Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., but also others involved with the series, reflecting upon their experiences of working with Gale Gordon, and the type of person that Gale Gordon was. It is a very thorough retrospective of Gordon, and a very nice tribute to him that fans are certain to appreciate.
"Let's Talk to Lucy: Dinah Shore" (26:33) is yet another one of Lucy's interviews from her radio program, where she interviews Dinah Shore. These are just like all of the previous radio interviews conducted by Lucy in the 60s, and it is nice to see MPI continuing to include these on sets where appropriate.
"Lucy on the Pearl Bailey Show" (7:22) is a segment from the 1971 series starring Pearl Bailey where Lucille Ball makes an appearance on the show. She is carried out on stage and brought in with big fanfare, attesting to her celebrity status, especially at the time. The video quality on this is a little rough, but it is a humorous segment to watch.
"Australian Promo" (0:34) isn't a whole lot more than just a promo for the series from Australia's Channel 9.
The "Slide Show" (3:20) is a photo montage of memorable moments from the season. Everything seen here can be seen on the episodes, but this essentially capstones the season in summary.
Next, we have a series of special features called "Treasures from Lucy's Vault." Many of these have nothing to do with the set itself, but are great special features for any Lucy fan out there. The first is "TV Commercials" (9:20), but not from Here's Lucy, but rather from The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, featuring Westinghouse appliances. "Lucy and Family at Home" (1:58) is a series of silent home videos featuring Lucy and the kids at home, in what appears to be the mid ‘60s. They seem just a slight bit younger than they do on the series, but there is a lot of them just running around the yard and riding around in their limo. "Lucy on the Farm" (4:21) is a home video retrospective of Lucy and Gary Morton's visit to Arthur Godfrey's farm, with narration done by Lucy and Gary themselves. "Lucy Hits the Slopes" (3:57) is home video footage of Lucille Ball on the ski slopes. It is a rare opportunity to see Lucy enjoying herself on her own time.
Syndication Promos (14:43) are just as they were on previous sets--a set of promos used for each and every episode on the set during the syndication run of the series (presented in production order). I love seeing these, because they give the series the vintage feeling that it deserves.
Sponsor Billboards (1:18) is a bunch of billboards from the series ("sponsored by" messages) from the series from the original sponsors. You can see some of these within the original episodes on some of the episodes.
Finally, Production Files is another series of special features where Lucy's secretary, Wanda Clark, reads production press releases for various episodes. These are included for "Lucy and Flip Go Legit" (2:16), "Someone's on the Ski-Lift with Dinah" (2:08), "Lucy and Her All-Nun Band" (2:11), "Lucy and Candid Camera" (1:39), and "Kim Finally Cuts You-Know-Whose Apron Strings" (2:05).
That covers pretty much everything, but it would still be nice to see commentaries on future sets.
I loved this DVD set! Not only was it a very-well produced set (and we can thank the fine folks at MPI for always going above and beyond to put together such a superb set, they have never once disappointed us), but I really think that this has been my favorite season of the series so far. I only managed to watch the earlier seasons when the series was airing on PAX over a decade ago (has it really been that long?), but the series seems to gain some charm here that it didn't have in the earlier years, almost like a rejuvenation of the typical Lucy character. I actually watched every episode on the set within 48 hours of receiving it, and was desperate for more when I finished. All we can really ask for is to have MPI keep these sets rolling, and I'm pretty sure that they will, and I'm sure we'll see more great surprises along the way in the future sets.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/17/11
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