DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012 (MPI Home Video)
Color / 1973-1974
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 720 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 171 min
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Episode Introductions; Here's Lucy Spotlight: Desi Arnaz, Jr.; Let's Talk to Lucy: Andy Griffith; Lucy on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Special; Lucy and Vivian Vance on Dinah!; Special Here's Lucy US Savings Bond Episode; Public Service Film; Treasures From Lucy's Vault; Here's Lucy Slideshow; Series Production Files; Syndication Promos
After nearly two and a half decades, the time came in 1973 for Lucille Ball to begin her final season of her final regular series for CBS... and now, MPI brings that final season of Here's Lucy to DVD in a four disc set. Lucy's third major series follows Lucy Carter (Lucille Ball) and her brother-in-law Harry (Gale Gordon) as they make it through everyday life at Carter's Unique Employment Agency... which actually closed down at the end of the fifth season! As explained by Lucie Arnaz (who plays daughter Kim, now a recurring character for this season), the fifth season ended with an episode that was planned to be the final episode where the employment agency actually closed, but a last minute decision by Lucille Ball to bring the series back for one final season required a bit of backtracking to create another season worth of episodes, including reopening the agency! In any event, we now get to enjoy the final 24 episodes of Lucy's weekly CBS series legacy (and, by the way, this is the final release among all of those) in MPI's release of Here's Lucy - Season Six.
The season begins with "Lucy and Danny Thomas," where Lucy helps a starving artist (Danny Thomas) fake his death in hopes that the value of his paintings will rise. O.J. Simpson guest stars in "The Big Game," an episode that takes on a much different tone in the modern era. Lucy tries to resolve the marriage separation between Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence in "Lucy, the Peacemaker." Ed McMahon guest stars as a banker whom Lucy tries to scheme to borrow money from in "Lucy, the Wealthy Widow." In "The Bow Wow Boutique," Harry buys a pet shop... and Lucy and Kim have to fill in for the weekend. Eddie Albert and Doris Singleton guest star in "Lucy Gives Eddie Albert the Old Song and Dance," where Lucy is mistaken for a stalker. Jackie Coogan guest stars in "Lucy's Tenant," where Lucy decides to rent out Kim's room.
In "Lucy and Andy Griffith," the legendary actor plays a charity worker that befriends Lucy. Lucy has jury duty in "Lucy and Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty," and as the title suggests, a famous celebrity is also on the jury. Lucy is charged with keeping an author sober in "Tipsy Through the Tulips." Kim and Frankie Avalon imitate Sonny and Cher in a local competition in "The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon." Lucy chairs a neighborhood watch program in "Lucy Plays Cops and Robbers." Look for Dick Sargent and Al Lewis in this episode. In "Harry Catches Gold Fever," Harry believes that he can get rich by finding gold. Lucy ends up knocking out Chuck Connors in "Lucy and Chuck Connors Have a Surprise Slumber Party."
Lucy has to babysit a rare bird in "Lucy is a Bird-Sitter," but things go wrong when the bird gets loose. Harry sells the agency in "Meanwhile, Back at the Office." Lucy becomes sort of a nurse when everybody is sick in her home at the same time in "Lucy is N.G. as an R.N." In "Lucy, the Sheriff," Lucy becomes an honorary sheriff in a small Montana town for a week... but when there is a real bank robbery, that "honorary" title means she must go into action. Lucy gets Milton Berle as a guest for her next party in "Milton Berle is the Life of the Party." In "Mary Jane's Boyfriend," Mary Jane has a new boyfriend, but he seems to have eyes for Lucy. Lucy faces trouble with a women's liberation group in "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike Up the Band." In "Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball," Lucy decides to enter a Lucille Ball lookalike contest... so do they really look alike? Lucy spends the weekend with Kim, but leaves after she overhears Kim complaining about her visit in "Where Is My Wandering Mother Tonight?" The season (and series) ends with "Lucy Fights the System,” where Lucy and Kim scheme to prove to a restaurant manager that age and experience are an asset after he fires a waitress based solely upon her age.
The episodes on the set appear to be mostly unedited, with each episode running around 25:40. This is actually about 30 seconds longer per episode than that previous season. What is unusual, though, is that each episode in this set has the late '90s Warner Bros. Television Distribution logo at the end. This isn't a bad thing or anything like that, just an unusual quirk. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Lucy and Danny Thomas" (25:41)
2. "The Big Game" (25:44)
3. "Lucy, the Peacemaker" (25:42)
4. "Lucy, the Wealthy Widow" (25:42)
5. "Bow Wow Boutique" (25:43)
6. "Lucy Gives Eddie Albert the Old Song and Dance" (25:44)
7. "Lucy's Tenant" (25:42)
8. "Lucy and Andy Griffith" (25:42)
9. "Lucy and Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty" (25:42)
10. "Tipsy Through the Tulips" (25:44)
11. "The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon" (25:42)
12. "Lucy Plays Cops and Robbers" (25:44)
13. "Harry Catches Gold Fever" (25:44)
14. "Lucy and Chuck Connors Have a Surprise Slumber Party" (25:43)
15. "Lucy is a Bird-Sitter" (25:44)
16. "Meanwhile, Back at the Office" (25:44)
17. "Lucy is N.G. as an R.N." (25:43)
18. "Lucy, the Sheriff" (25:42)
19. "Milton Berle is the Life of the Party" (25:41)
20. "Mary Jane's Boyfriend" (25:41)
21. "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike Up the Band" (25:40)
22. "Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball" (25:41)
23. "Where Is My Wandering Mother Tonight?'" (25:41)
24. "Lucy Fights the System" (25:43)
As is always the case with MPI releases, the packaging for this set is very consistent with all of the previous releases, which make all six seasons look very nice next to one another on the shelf. The cover art has a photo of Lucille Ball, Gale Gordon, and Lucie Arnaz (who was only a semi-regular by this season) inside what appears to be the living room set from the series, and on the back, there is a brief description of the guest stars, special features, and a photo of Lucy with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme (they were among the guest stars in this season). Inside, you'll find a listing of all of the episodes on the set, along with the original air date and the name of the person providing the episode introduction. The disc artwork contains the series log, along with the "puppet" version of Lucy from the opening credits. Discs 1 through 3 contain seven episodes each, and Disc 4 contains three episodes, along with all of the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are identical to all of the previous releases. On the main menu, you get the weird menu with options of Play with Introductions, Play without Introductions, Special Features, and English Subtitles On/Off. Once you select one of the first two options, you get a text listing of all of the episodes on the disc, where the episode plays immediately upon selecting an episode (unless you chose Play with Introductions, where you'll see the introduction first). Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
I really can't find much to complain about as far as the video and audio quality of the episodes. The episodes don't look or sound extraordinary and I don't think that there was too much remastering involved in the episodes, but the episodes do look as clear and crisp as one could reasonably expect. Mostly, there is just some (minimal) grain and debris. The audio is presented in mono, with English subtitles available for each episode.
We've made it through all six seasons with a ton of special features! Of course, as usual, each episode includes a video introduction for the episode. In fact, one of the episodes includes a video introduction from Doris Singleton, who recently passed away, so it was nice that they were able to include something from her before that happened. Introductions and runtimes are listed below by episode:
1. "Lucy and Danny Thomas" - Shirley Anthony (1:52)
2. "The Big Game" - James E. Brodhead (1:26)
3. "Lucy, the Peacemaker" - Lucie Arnaz (2:00)
4. "Lucy, the Wealthy Widow" - Lucie Arnaz (1:21)
5. "Bow Wow Boutique" - Lucie Arnaz (1:38)
6. "Lucy Gives Eddie Albert the Old Song and Dance" - Doris Singleton (1:40)
7. "Lucy's Tenant" - Lucie Arnaz (1:50)
8. "Lucy and Andy Griffith" - Lucie Arnaz (1:34)
9. "Lucy and Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty" - James E. Brodhead (1:19)
10. "Tipsy Through the Tulips" - Lucie Arnaz (1:39)
11. "The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon" - Lucie Arnaz (1:40)
12. "Lucy Plays Cops and Robbers" - Gino Conforti (1:00)
13. "Harry Catches Gold Fever" - Lucie Arnaz (1:31)
14. "Lucy and Chuck Connors Have a Surprise Slumber Party" - Ryan MacDonald (2:20)
15. "Lucy is a Bird-Sitter" - Arte Johnson (1:03)
16. "Meanwhile, Back at the Office" - Lucie Arnaz (1:30)
17. "Lucy is N.G. as an R.N." - Al Checco (1:30)
18. "Lucy, the Sheriff" - Cliff Osmond (2:23)
19. "Milton Berle is the Life of the Party" - Elliot Reid (1:10)
20. "Mary Jane's Boyfriend" - Lucie Arnaz (1:53)
21. "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike Up the Band" - Lucie Arnaz (2:19)
22. "Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball" - Lucie Arnaz, Carole Cook, and Marl Young (4:21)
23. "Where Is My Wandering Mother Tonight?'" - Lucie Arnaz (2:07)
24. "Lucy Fights the System" - Lucie Arnaz (2:29)
As usual, the remaining special features can be found on Disc 4. These begin with "Here's Lucy Spotlight: Lucie Arnaz" (18:00), where Lucie and Desi Arnaz, Jr. talk about Lucie Arnaz (who else?). Like the Desi Arnaz, Jr. one on the season five set, this probably would have been appropriate on one of the earlier seasons, where the character of Kim was featured more regularly, but it is still nice to see.
"Let's Talk to Lucy" (19:18) is a pair of radio interviews that Lucy did with Andy Griffith on her radio show in March 1965. We get a nice glimpse into his life, life in the south, a bit of American history, his family, celebrities expressing political views (his opinion here is a bit different than his opinion was in recent years), and about how he is interested in working in entertainment "as long as possible," something that he ultimately proved to do. What is interesting, though, is that Lucy brings up a statement that he'd made only a year earlier where he said that he hoped to just wrap up The Andy Griffith Show and just retire after that... I'm sure that his fans are glad that he didn't. The interview is one of the best of these that I've heard on all of these sets, and a lot of what I heard in the interview seems to be very much in line with the person that we've known him to be.
"Lucy on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Special" (8:36) is a brief comedy skit featuring from the 1968 Tennessee Ernie Ford Special. It is fun to watch, but nowhere near as fun as Ford's appearances on I Love Lucy a decade earlier.
"Lucy and Vivian Vance on Dinah!" (20:15) is an extended interview of Lucy from Dinah Shore's show in 1975 with a much different looking Lucy... the hair isn't red, and is instead black with streaks of gray. As she mentions early in the interview, "I look like Maude," in reference to Bea Arthur's character on the series. Later in the interview, Vivian Vance joins Lucy. You'll also see Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lucie Arnaz, and even Lucille Ball's mother in this interview. It is very nice to see Lucille Ball in the role of a guest on a talk show... it isn't a form you see her in too often.
"US Savings Bond Episode" (12:20) is a special "episode" (or more specifically, educational film) of the series made for the US Treasury to promote the purchase of savings bonds. We've seen this on many other series, and I always love to watch these.
"Film Short: For a Wonderful Life!" (12:47) doesn't really have a whole lot to do with Lucy, but it is an educational film that is introduced by Lucille Ball and Lucie Arnaz. Beyond that, this is one of those "health class" films that students would have watched in the '70s, all about uterine cancer. It talks about signs that a woman may have uterine cancer, the importance of getting pap smears, and very serious and detailed women's health issues.
"Syndication Episode Promos" (14:47) is a series of promos used for each episode of the series in syndication (these were clearly made in the late '70s or early '80s based upon the style of the promos), presented in production order. It is nice that we made it through all six seasons of the series with these promos for every episode.
"Slide Show" (3:22) is, as it sounds, another slideshow of publicity photos from the season.
The set includes several production files once again, where Lucy's secretary (from the later part of her life), Wanda Clark, reads press releases for episodes included in this season. These are included for "The Bow-Wow Boutique" (1:59), "Lucy Gives Eddie Albert the Old Song and Dance" (2:00), "The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon" (1:40), "Lucy and Phil Harris Strike Up the Band" (2:05), and "Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball" (1:47).
Finally, the set ends with "Treasures from Lucy's Vault," where we get some videos from, well, Lucy's vault. These begin with "Promotional Interview for Mame" (9:06), where we get to see a 1974 interview featuring Lucille Ball related to her film Mame. "Sales Reel for Game Company" (2:29) is more footage where Lucy is dressed as she was in the film Mame, this time advertising games for Milton Bradley. I'm actually a bit confused about what this is all about, but it is nice (and weird) to see. Finally, "Home Movies" (3:31) is footage of Lucy, Desi, and the kids taking a trip to Disneyland in the mid-'50s. It is a very clichéd time capsule of everything 50s, but is fun to watch. It is just too bad that some of this footage couldn't have been included on the I Love Lucy DVDs, where they probably would have been a bit more appropriate.
As always, we have a very nice list of special features!
I can't believe that this is it... we've actually reached the end (21 seasons worth!) of Lucille Ball's work as a star of a sitcom on CBS. What is even more unbelievable is that we've gotten all of this with excellent quality releases that have included plenty of special features all the way through. As a Lucille Ball fan, I feel satisfied that the DVD legacy for Lucille Ball is pretty much as complete as I would want it to be, although the series Life with Lucy from the '80s remains unreleased. In all fairness, though, that series didn't quite live up to the legacy of Lucy... but it would still be nice to see as an added bonus.
As for this series, as I've watched it on DVD, I've come to appreciate it as one of Lucy's better works. Clearly, I Love Lucy is probably agreed to be her greatest series, and The Lucy Show was good in the first year or so, but I've found this series to be consistently enjoyable from the first episode to the last as I've watched it on DVD. It really is too bad that it hasn't enjoyed much play in syndication over the years. Aside from when PAX TV aired it (over 10 years ago), it really hasn't aired anywhere. Luckily, these DVDs are a way for fans of Lucy to watch and enjoy this series on DVD. In the end, I'm impressed with how MPI has handled this series and how they created consistent quality releases from the first season to the sixth season.... and at a very nice price as well. Fans of Lucy should be eager to pick up this set to complete their collection of "Lucy CBS series" collection, and I think that even fans of sitcoms in general are sure to enjoy this set.