DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012 (MPI Home Video)
Color / 1972-1973
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 720 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 130 minutes
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Episode Introductions; Here's Lucy Spotlight: Desi Arnaz, Jr.; Let's Talk to Lucy: Frank Sinatra; Lucy on The Donny and Marie Show; Treasures From Lucy's Vault; Here's Lucy Slideshow; Series Production Files; Syndication Promos
Lucy (Lucille Ball), daughter Kim (real-life daughter Lucie Arnaz), and Lucy's brother-in-law Harry (Gale Gordon) return yet again for the fifth season of Here's Lucy on DVD! In the next-to-last season of Lucy's last major series, we get to follow Lucy and Harry as they continue to make it through each and every day at Carter's Unique Employment agency, where they are joined by some surprise guests every now and then. The fifth season, though, starts out with a little problem as Lucy breaks her leg in a skiing accident (an accident that happened in real-life and was written into the series), and we get to see much more of her domestic side as she is home bound and in a wheelchair for roughly the first third of the season. Still, we get to see more classic comedy in the fifth season of Here's Lucy.
The season begins with "Lucy's Big Break," where Lucy breaks her leg and is stuck in the hospital, but quickly becomes attracted to a doctor (Lloyd Bridges). Lucy gets jealous when her new hospital roommate steals all of the attention from her in "Lucy and Eva Gabor Are Hospital Roomies." In "Harrison Carter, Male Nurse," Harry gets the job of looking after Lucy 24 hours a day, so who will lose their sanity first? As much as Harry claims that Lucy is an ineffective secretary, he can't seem to go without her and decides to make her work from home in "A Home is Not an Office." Craig (Desi Arnaz Jr.) is home from college when he meets Joe Namath, who thinks he'll make a great quarterback, in "Lucy and Joe Namath." In "The Case of the Reckless Wheelchair Driver," a con man is out to sue Lucy for $100,000 after a wheelchair accident. The milkman's wife thinks Lucy is having an affair with her husband in "Lucy, the Other Woman."
Lucy works for Petula Clark in "Lucy and Petula Clark," but she becomes a bit overprotecting of the singing starlet. In "Lucy and Jim Bailey," Kim and Harry place a female impersonator (Jim Bailey) in a fundraiser to replace Phyllis Diller after she loses her voice. Lucy is mistaken as a crook in "Lucy and Dirty Gertie." In "Lucy and Donny Osmond," Donny Osmond falls in love with Kim when he sees her at a concert, but it is Kim's cousin Patricia (played by Eve Plumb) who really wants Donny. Harry is promised a reward if he can convince Lucy to marry a prince in "Lucy and Her Prince Charming." In "My Fair Buzzi," Ruth Buzzi guest stars as Kim's friend Annie, who gets a makeover to look more charming to prepare for an audition… except the director wants a less attractive actress. Lucy makes a TV commercial in "Lucy is in a Real Pickle." In "Lucy Goes on Her Last Blind Date," Don Knotts guest stars as Harry's cousin, whom Harry set up on a blind date with Lucy, but Lucy has to go to extreme means to get rid of this nutty man.
In "Lucy and Her Genuine Twimby," Lucy purchases a chair from an antique dealer who realizes that he should have never sold the chair. Lucy does some vital undercover work as an inmate in "Lucy Goes to Prison." In "Lucy and the Professor," Kim is in love with her professor (John Davidson), but Lucy's snooping causes serious chaos, naturally. Lucy opens an ice cream business were everything goes all wrong in "Lucy and the Franchise Fiasco." In "Lucy and Harry's Pot," Lucy breaks one of Harry's important pieces of pottery, and goes to the extremes of learning pottery to attempt to replace it. Lucy and Mary Jane decide to make their own repairs to Harry's car after Lucy forgets to take it to the mechanic as she promises Harry in "The Not So Popular Mechanics." Lucy, Mary Jane, and Vanda are about to lose their insanity while on a diet in "Goodbye, Mrs. Hips." The season ends with "Lucy and Harry's Memoirs," a clip show showcasing the first five seasons after Harry sold the employment agency. The episode was intended to be the series finale, except a last minute deal brought the series back for one more season.
The episodes on the set are unedited, but there aren't any episodes with original commercials intact this time. A few episodes were included in that format on the previous set, which was a nice bonus, but it wasn't totally necessary. The runtimes are all consistently around 25:10 or so, with exact runtimes as follows:
1. "Lucy's Big Break" (25:08)
2. "Lucy and Eva Gabor Are Hospital Roomies" (25:07)
3. "Harrison Carter, Male Nurse" (25:09)
4. "A Home is Not an Office" (25:10)
5. "Lucy and Joe Namath" (25:08)
6. "The Case of the Wreckless Wheelchair Driver" (25:08)
7. "Lucy, the Other Woman" (25:08)
8. "Lucy and Petula Clark" (25:08)
9. "Lucy and Jim Bailey" (25:08)
10. "Dirty Gertie" (25:06)
11. "Lucy and Donny Osmond" (25:08)
12. "Lucy and Her Prince Charming" (25:09)
13. "My Fair Buzzi" (25:07)
14. "Lucy and the Group Encounter" (25:08)
15. "Lucy is Really in a Pickle" (25:07)
16. "Lucy Goes on Her Last Blind Date" (25:08)
17. "Lucy and Her Genuine Twimby" (25:08)
18. "Lucy Goes to Prison" (25:08)
19. "Lucy and the Professor" (25:08)
20. "Lucy and the Franchise Fiasco" (25:09)
21. "Lucy and Uncle Harry's Pot" (25:08)
22. "The Not-So-Popular Mechanics" (25:08)
23. "Goodbye, Mrs. Hips" (25:07)
24. "Lucy and Harry's Memoirs" (25:08)
The packaging for the set is basically identical to the previous releases, but there was one particular quirk with the set that I received, which I will discuss in a moment. The set is packaged in a standard Viva case, with a photo of Lucy on the front cover, and on the back, we see a description of the season, a listing of special features, and a photo of Lucy, Kim, Craig (who was only in one episode this season), and Joe Namath. The quirk can be found inside the case, and it may just be a quirk with the copy that I received. Unlike the previous releases, which used a clear case, this one uses a black case, which is a problem because the episode titles, original airdates, and episode introduction personality is printed on the back of the cover insert. In other words, if you receive the black case (as I did), you won't be able to read the episode listings unless you remove the cover insert! It is very possible (and likely) that this may be a minor isolated issue with the set that I received. The disc artwork has the series logo and a picture of the puppet version of Lucy on each disc. Discs 1-3 contain seven episodes each, while Disc 4 contains three episodes and all of the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
MPI has really not changed a thing on any of these sets as far as the menus go. The main menu plays the theme song (the correct version for the fifth season), and gives options of Play with Introductions, Play Without Introductions, Special Features (Disc 4 only), and English Subtitles On/Off. When you select one of the first two options, you get a listing of all of the episodes on the disc, which play upon selecting the episode. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
There aren't any real problems with the video or audio quality on the set, although there is of course some grain and debris, and as always, the audio levels seem to fluctuate (although this seems to be a bit more under control compared to previous releases). I don't think fans will be unhappy with anything here. The episodes are all presented in mono, with English subtitles available for those who need them.
It is amazing that five seasons into the series, the producers of these DVD sets continue to come up with great and impressive special features, and it doesn't stop with this set! These begin with the video introductions for each episode. Each of these introductions is listed below by episode:
1. "Lucy's Big Break" (1:43) - Alan Oppenheimer
2. "Lucy and Eva Gabor Are Hospital Roomies" (1:58) - Lucie Arnaz
3. "Harrison Carter, Male Nurse" (1:25) - Lucie Arnaz
4. "A Home is Not an Office" (1:48) - Emile Autuori
5. "Lucy and Joe Namath" (1:03) - Desi Arnaz, Jr.
6. "The Case of the Wreckless Wheelchair Driver" (1:37) - Jim Bates
7. "Lucy, the Other Woman" (1:19) - Lucie Arnaz
8. "Lucy and Petula Clark" (1:41) - Petula Clark
9. "Lucy and Jim Bailey" (3:55) - Lucie Arnaz and Jim Bailey
10. "Dirty Gertie" (0:53) - Bruce Gordon
11. "Lucy and Donny Osmond" (3:32) - Lucie Arnaz and Donny Osmond
12. "Lucy and Her Prince Charming" (1:45) - Lucie Arnaz
13. "My Fair Buzzi" (2:35) - Lucie Arnaz
14. "Lucy and the Group Encounter" (1:55) - Lucie Arnaz
15. "Lucy is Really in a Pickle" (2:02) - Lucie Arnaz
16. "Lucy Goes on Her Last Blind Date" (1:37) - Lucie Arnaz
17. "Lucy and Her Genuine Twimby" (2:14) - Lucie Arnaz
18. "Lucy Goes to Prison" (1:42) - Lucie Arnaz
19. "Lucy and the Professor" (1:42) - Lucie Arnaz
20. "Lucy and the Franchise Fiasco" (1:23) - Lola Fisher
21. "Lucy and Uncle Harry's Pot" (1:00) - Lucie Arnaz
The remaining special features are found on Disc 4. These begin with "Here's Lucy Spotlight: Desi Arnaz, Jr." (17:30), where Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. talk about the young actor. It is a very nice feature, although it probably would have been more appropriate for one of the earlier sets where his character of Craig was featured more prominently.
"Let's Talk to Lucy: Frank Sinatra" (14:31) is the full audio clip of a radio interview that Lucy did with Frank Sinatra in 1965. These radio interviews, despite not having a direct link to the series, are nice to see on the sets.
"Lucy on The Donny and Marie Show" (5:46) is a real treat for Osmond fans and Lucy fans alike. Even though this clip is from an appearance that she made on the popular series in 1977, years after Here's Lucy was already off the air, it is an interesting look at Ball in her later years. I would imagine that there were probably many great parts to this episode that would be been nice to include in addition to what the producers placed in here, but given the nature of the series, it would have probably been a copyright clearance nightmare.
"Slide Show" (3:22) isn't particularly exciting, but if you like seeing photos from the episodes, this is a feature to check out.
Once again, the set includes a series of Production Files, where Lucy's personal secretary, Wanda Clark, reads (while the text appears on the screen) press releases for some of the episodes on the set. These are included for "Lucy and Harry's Memoirs" (2:01), "Lucy's Big Break" (2:01), "Lucy is Really in a Pickle" (2:31), and "Goodbye Mrs. Hips" (2:15).
The set also includes syndication promos (14:48) for every episode on the set. These promos were used when the series aired in syndication in the early 80s to promote each individual episode, and each one is approximately 30 seconds long. They are presented in episode production order.
Finally, the set has a series of special features entitled "Treasures From Lucy's Vault," which typically have not all been related to Here's Lucy, even though they definitely are related to Lucy herself and fans have always enjoyed them. However, this time, the first one is strongly related to the series, and it is a series of bloopers (31:02) from every season of the series. This is something that I have been wanting to see on these releases from the very beginning, and it is very nice to see them this time. Some of the language here is a occasionally a bit surprising to see coming from the characters, but that is why they are bloopers, and not part of the episodes.
There are several home movies on here from the 50s and 60s. The first is "Lucy and Desi on Tour" (4:55), where we get to see some color footage (without audio, though MPI has added in some very festive Latin American music by the one and only Lucie Arnaz) of Lucille Ball and Desi performing on stage. At the end, there is a promo for Lucie Arnaz's album, which includes many of her father's classics. Her voice is actually very nice, and I never knew anything about her musical ambitions. "Fun in Palm Springs" (3:55) shows footage of a family trip from the 1950s to Palm Springs, where the Arnaz family is joined by Jane Kean, Nancy Kulp, Gordon and Sheila MacRae, Vivian Vance, and Orson Welles (what a star-studded trip!). Finally, "Hawaiian Holidays" (4:08) is footage of a trip that Lucy, husband Gary Morton, her mother, and the kids took to Hawaii in the 60s. This appears to have been done just a few years prior to Here's Lucy's premiere.
I am comfortable in saying that this set is very complete with regards to special features, although as always, a few commentaries would be nice.
Usually when I say it is the "same story" for a DVD release, it is not a good thing, but in the case of this series, the "same story" is a great thing. Yet again, we have a well-produced set that is virtually flawless with excellent special features. And, unlike The Lucy Show, this series seems to hold up well even into the final seasons. We are now down to just one season remaining to be released and hopefully we will see it soon. Given the near perfection of the first five seasons, I doubt that there will be any reason at all to worry about whether or not the next set will be a great set, but rather just a matter of what kind of greatness will we see in the release of the final season.