DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005 (Paramount Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 11 hours and 20 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Spanish,
English; Spanish Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: Lost scenes, flubs, original
openings, production notes, script excerpts, five
complete episodes of the radio show, "My Favorite
Husband," and more!
That zany, crazy redhead is back on DVD in the fifth
season release of I LOVE LUCY. Follow along as the
Ricardos and Mertzes continue on in their travels.
Watch as Lucy finds trouble in California, New York,
Paris, London, Rome and nearly everywhere else in
between! Lucy gets herself into even more hilarious
situations when she steals John Wayne's footprints in
California. Then, on the train back to New York, she
becomes convinced a train robbery is taking place and
uses the all-too-convenient brake cord. Next, Lucy
goes to extremes to get on board an ocean liner when
it sets sail for Europe with the Ricardos and Mertzes
- without her! And then in Europe, Lucy's crazy antics
continue as she gets thrown in a Parisian jail, models
a French "designer" potato sack, and causes an
avalanche in the Swiss Alps and accidentally hitting
the jackpot in Monte Carlo. All of that, and more, is
included on this set of all 26 original season five
episodes with loads of special features, ranging from
flubs, lost scenes, script excerpts, to four complete
episodes of Lucy's radio show: MY FAVORITE HUSBAND.
Unfortunately, it has come to my attention when
looking at the back of the box, that Episode #130,
"Lucy and The Dummy" has been edited from its original
network version (SEE "Video and Audio Quality").
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The fifth season, like nearly all seasons of I LOVE
LUCY contain quite a few memorable episodes (almost
every episode this season is a classic), and they
include, most notably, "Lucy Visits Grauman's," "Lucy
and John Wayne," "The Great Train Robbery," "The
Passports," "Staten Island Ferry," "Bon Voyage," "Lucy
Meets Charles Boyer," "Lucy Gets a Paris Gown," "Lucy
Gets Homesick in Italy," "Lucy's Italian Movie,"
"Lucy's Bicycle Trip," and more! The more memorable
guest appearances in the fifth season include such big
name stars as John Wayne, Charles Boyer, and more!
The packaging for this set follows the same design as
season's one through four, but its teal
(greenish-blue) in color. Inside the box, there are
four individual cases, one for each disc. Each case
has a spliced shot of Lucy from one of the episodes
from that disc (such as, on Disc 4, has a solo picture
of Lucy from her famous Italian Grape Stomping scene).
On the discs themselves are spliced screenshots from
one of the more memorable episodes on that disc (such
as, on Disc 1, is a cut out of Fred and Lucy from the
train back to New York and Fred has on the rain parka
because he and Ethel were always eating when Lucy
pulled the brake). On the back of each case, there is
a list of each episode that is included on that disc
(inside the case are episode descriptions). The
descriptions themselves are a couple of sentences and
include the episode title, the original airdate and
the production number. The episodes are presented in
original production number order instead of the
airdate order and chapter skips are available. On the
inside of the discs are episode descriptions, episode
numbers and episode titles. There are four discs in
the set, each one in its own individual case. There
are seven episodes for Discs 1 and 2, and six episodes
on Discs 3 and 4.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen is simple and is exactly the same
format as seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4. It features a spliced
shot of Lucy from one of her memorable scenes (Harpo
Marx for the main menu, or the chocolate factory on
the bonus features menu) on a red background that has
screenshots from various episodes of the series. The
main menu has a list of the episodes that take you to
scene selections and the theme plays. It doesn't loop.
It has the popular "Play All" feature as well as
"Setup". The bonus menu is the same design as the main
menu and lists all the bonuses for that disc. The
"Setup" menu allows you to choose if you want Spanish
subtitles or a Spanish language track.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video is very good, but the audio still needs work
(this has been an issue on nearly all the releases of
classic television shows). The picture is crystal
clear but the audio is still very, very low, which is
common for releases of older series. The audio is
presented in Dolby Surround Sound. Each episode runs
about 26 minutes (or more), which means you get almost
four-five minutes of extra footage you can't see in
syndication. The episode, #130 "Lucy and The Dummy"
has been edited from its original network version (a
first for the "I Love Lucy" sets). The only notice of
this is on the back of the main box. On the disc
itself, there was no reason given and it runs about 23
minutes, so I can't be sure why it's considered
"edited," unless it refers to added footage (see
Special Features Disc 1 below)? It's possible.
UPDATE: Explanation by Gregg Oppenheimer
Special Features on all of the four discs, which are
explained in more detail further down, include
"Special Footage." Guest Cast Information is the list
of the special guests that are featured on the
episodes on that disc. "Original Opening" is the
original animated opening that was originally aired
along with the episodes on each disc. Now on to the
special features--hang on folks, this is a long read
Special Footage -
Restored Opening - In the late 1950s, CBS edited the
show for syndication and replaced the cartoon,
voice-over, music, and applause that would usually
open the first scene of each episode. It's restored on
each episode on this set.
Restored Ending - Same as the opening, basically, CBS
replaced the cartoon and also the music. They've fixed
this here and it's the way it originally was.
Restored Voice-Over - Many voiceovers from the closing
credits were removed, they're added back in on this
Lost "Dummy" Scene - In the original broadcast of
"Lucy and the Dummy," the studio emcee introduced a
movie preview before the dance number, and there was
an additional segment in the dressing room. Using a
rare 16mm print, they've restored these elements to
the episode for the first time since 1955.
Restored Transition - CBS' syndication edits also
eliminated the animation going into the middle
commercial break and sometimes edited the music cues.
For this release, they've restored these elements to
their original form.
Lost "Train" Scene - "The Great Train Robbery"
originally included an additional scene in which Fred
and Ethel go into the dining car. Using a rare 16mm
print, they've restored this scene to the episode for
the first time since its original network broadcast on
October 31, 1955.
Outta My Way - Lucille Ball always hit her mark on the
first take. Other actors blocked her path at their
peril. In this scene from "Lucy and John Wayne" watch
what she does to husband Desi when he inadvertently
gets in her way.
Lucy's Radio Show -
"Liz's Inferiority Complex" - This unedited recording
(including outtakes and retakes) was taped January 26,
1951, for CBS radio's February 3, 1951 broadcast. It
inspired the I LOVE LUCY second season episode "The
Special Footage -
Restored Transition - In the late 1950s, when CBS
edited I LOVE LUCY for syndication, it replaced the
animation going into the middle commercial break and
often edited the music. For this release, they've
restored these elements to their original form.
Lost "Palladium" Scene - On December 26, 1955, CBS
aired a rerun of "Lucy's Club Dance," featuring this
new opening "flashback" scene in which Ricky announces
that his band has been booked to play the London
Palladium. This scene, lost for decades, was recovered
recently from a rare 16mm print.
Lost "Bon Voyage" Scene - "Bon Voyage" originally had
an additional "tag scene" designed to promote Desi's
new recording of "Forever Darling" (and Lucy and
Desi's upcoming MGM movie of the same name). Using a
rare 16mm print, they've restored this scene to the
episode for the first time since 1956.
"How Much It'll Be?" - One reason that I Love Lucy
remains so fresh is that you're seeing a truly "live"
performance, filmed straight through, like a play.
Retakes were frowned upon, even when an actor flubbed
a line, as in this scene from "Ricky's European
Booking" in which Lucy tries, twice, to say, "How much
will we need?"
"Get The Phone!" - In this scene from "The Passports,"
Desi is supposed to ask about the trunk as he reaches
over to answer the phone, but he's so busy laughing at
Bill Frawley's line that he forgets where he is!
Lucy's ad-libbed reminder snaps Desi out of it, but
then he asks about the trunk after he answers the
"I Get a Kick Out Of You" - in the final scene of "Bon
Voyage" watch carefully as Desi grabs Lucy and is
pulled up into the air with her. He inadvertently
kicks Vivian Vance in the face! Luckily, Vivian's
quick reaction allows her to escape uninjured.
Lucy's Radio Show -
"The Passports" - This episode, featuring guest stars
Sarah Selby and Jerry Hausner, was originally
broadcast over the CBS Radio network on March 3, 1951.
It inspired the I Love Lucy episode of the same name.
DISC THREE -
Special Footage -
Lost "Tag" Scene - On April 7, 1955, after wrapping
"Ricky Needs an Agent" Lucy and Desi filmed a "tag
scene" bidding viewers farewell till the fall. CBS
aired the scene on June 27, 1955, at the end of the
last show of the season - a rerun of "The Handcuffs".
This long-lost scene is shown here for the first time
Heart Fund Spot - At the end of the original network
broadcast of "Paris at Last" on February 27, 1956,
Lucy and Desi made this appeal to viewers to support
their local Heart Association.
"Forever Darling" Promo - On February 6, 1956, at the
end of the original network broadcast of "The Fox
Hunt" Lucy and Desi took the opportunity to plug their
new film, "Forever Darling" which was set to premiere
the next day. This extra scene made the show run so
long that there was no time left to run the regular
"A Bag of Two Cities" - In "Lucy Meets Charles Boyer"
Ethel proudly shows off the stylish new bag she bought
for herself on The Champs Elysees in Paris. If the bag
looks familiar, it should. Three months earlier, in
New York, it belonged to Lucy Ricardo, who took it
with her to Helen Kaiser's apartment in "The
Lucy's Radio Show -
"The Misunderstanding of the Black Eye" - This episode
with Bobby Jellison - "I Love Lucy's" "Bobby, the
Bellboy," was original broadcast over the CBS Radio
Network on February 10, 1951. It inspired the second
season I Love Lucy episode "The Black Eye."
Behind The Scenes -
A book excerpt from "Laughs, Luck ... And Lucy" by
Jess Oppenheimer, the Series Producer and Head Writer.
DISC FOUR -
Special Footage -
Restored Voiceover - Syndication editing in the late
1950s removed many of the voice-overs originally heard
during I Love Lucy's closing credits. For this special
DVD edition, they've restored most of these original
voice-overs, including a plug at the end of "Lucy Gets
Homesick In Italy" for Lucy and Desi's spread in Look
Restored Opening - Syndication editing also cut or
altered the music, cartoon, voiceover, and applause
that originally began the first scene of each episode,
in some cases simply chopping off the opening notes of
the music cue. For this release, they've restored each
of these elements to their original form.
Read My Lips - In "Lucy's Italian Movie" actor Franco
Corsaro learned the script so well that when the other
actors yelled, "Has she ever considered acting?!!!"
Corsaro simply couldn't resist mouthing the line right
along with them!
"Desi with a Z?" - When CBS prepared Season Five
"heart on satin" credits for syndication in the late
1950s, someone inadvertently spelled "Desi" with a "z"
("the Dezi Arnaz Orchestra"). The misspelling wasn't
corrected until the recent remastering, and it can
still be seen on many I Love Lucy broadcasts.
Lucy's Radio Show -
"Mrs. Cooper's Boyfriend" - This episode, featuring
guest stars Hal March, Frank Nelson, Hans Conried, and
Eleanor Audley (as George's mother), was broadcast on
CBS Radio on February 10, 1950.
In my final thoughts here, I really do have to commend
Paramount for another awesome release. The last
release was in May of 2005, and it's now August 2005,
and the speeds of these releases are great. The bonus
features really give great insight to what went on
behind the scenes, as well as giving a great and
thorough explanation on why an episode had a scene cut
out, or why transitional scenes were replaced, etc. On
top of that, the sets maintain virtually the same
layout which makes it a really good collector’s item.
It's familiar and easy. Paramount has done a
spectacular job with these releases. It's sad to
realize the next season will be my last review for
this true gem of a series. A classic release for a
truly timeless and classic series--here's to the next