The Lucy Show makes a magnificent return to DVD, with all 28 color episodes from the official Second Season, digitally remastered on 4 discs! This great series was a Top Ten hit its entire run, with classic episodes brilliantly performed by TV's greatest clown. This season, Lucy Carmichael, Lucille Ball, encounters her greatest foil yet in the form of Theodore J. Mooney, Gale Gordon, the long-suffering bank president who controls her trust fund. Typically, Lucy always needs an advance on her allowance--and Mr. Mooney always turns her down, with hilarious results!
Also returning are Vivian Vance (I Love Lucy) as Lucy's best friend Vivian, Candy Moore, as Lucy's teenage daughter Chris, Jimmy Garrett, as Lucy's young son Jerry, and Ralph Hart, as Vivian's son Sherman. Between Lucy and Viv's wild antics--and Mr. Mooney's slow burn--nothing can top The Lucy Show!
For the volunteer fire department fundraiser, Lucy lands the coveted role of Cleopatra, then tries to convince Viv to take the male lead of Antony in "Lucy Plays Cleopatra." Hans Conreid guest stars as Gitterman. Lucy and Viv go into business giving children's birthday parties, but their first job proves more difficult than either imagined - even the balloons do not cooperate in "Kiddie Parties, Inc." When one of the players drops out of the post-season softball game, the coach informs Lucy and Viv that they're going to have to compete for the position in "Lucy and Viv Play Softball." Lucy goes to the bank to apologize to Mr. Mooney, the new bank president who handles her finances, but then ends up locking them both in the vault overnight in "Lucy Gets Locked in the Vault." Ellen Corby guest stars as Miss Tanner and Barry Livingston makes his first appearance as Arnold Mooney. After Lucy locks Mr. Mooney in the bank vault a second time, she hires a reformed safecracker to set him free - but the man decides to rob the bank as well in "Lucy and the Safecracker." Vivian suggests that Lucy take an interest in the hobbies of her handsome date, so Lucy agrees to get up at the crack of dawn and go duck hunting in "Lucy Goes Duck Hunting." Old tightwad Mooney seems to be spending a lot of money lately, and now with a bank shortage reported, Lucy's convinced Mooney's been embezzling funds in "Lucy and the Bank Scandal."
Lucy convinces Mr. Mooney to give her $200 to redo her living room, but then she and Viv make the mistake of doing all of the work themselves in "Lucy Decides to Redecorate." In order to prove to the finance committee that their town needs a fire department, Lucy tests her recent training by pretending to start a fire at the bank in "Lucy Puts Out a Fire at the Bank." Lucy suffers from separation anxiety when Jerry is sent off to military school. Later, she sneaks in and disguises herself as a cadet in order to see her little boy in "Lucy and the Military Academy." While visiting her old university with daughter Chris, Lucy decies to steal the founder's statue as a prank, but then gets locked in the bell tower with Vivian in "Lucy's College Reunion." After she learns that tenant Viv has an option to buy her house, Lucy tries to steal the only proof that can help save her home - Viv's copy of the lease in "The Loophole in the Lease." While trying to cure Viv's cousin of a case of hiccups, Lucy accidentally puts him to sleep, and has to take his place as percussionist with a major orchestra in "Lucy Conducts the Symphony." Working as a hopsital volunteer, it makes sense that Lucy visit Mr. Mooney as he recovers from a broken leg - especially since Lucy needs another advance in "Lucy Plays Florence Nightingale." Bernie Kopell appears as the Intern and Kathleen Freeman plays Mrs. Blake. Lucy and Viv compete for the attention of a handsome bachelor they met at the art supply store. Viv wins out, so Lucy gets revenge by sabotaging their date in "Lucy Goes to Art Class." Robert Alda guest stars as John Brooks III.
When her daughter Chris decides to go steady with Mr. Mooney's son Ted, Lucy convinces Mooney that their kids plan to elope and need to be stopped in "Chris Goes Steady." In order to spend more time with her golfer boyfriend, Lucy takes up the game, then finds herself in a golf tournament competing with two top-ranked players in "Lucy Takes Up Golf." To help Jerry and Sherman book a major act for their fundraising show, Lucy hires an Ethel Merman lookalike, not realizing that she's just hired the real thing in "Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing." Depressed that she's been consigned to wardrobe mistress, Lucy begs to be in the show - an entire evening dedicated to the history of show business in "Ethel Merman and the Boy Scout Show." While they wait for a loan from the government, Lucy convinces Viv to use her nest egg to open a restaurant, but attracting customers proves impossible in "Lucy and Viv Open a Restaurant." Jack Albertson guest stars. Needing to buy a tuba for Jerry, Lucy convinces Mooney to give her a job opening savings accounts, but her efforts start a rumor that the bank is failing in "Lucy Takes a Job at the Bank." After a huge fight with Lucy, Viv decides to move out. Now Mooney jumps at the chance to rent Viv's room to a nightclub singer, who proceeds to rehearse all day in "Viv Moves Out." Lucy is plaintiff, attorney, and even her own witness when she decides to sue Mr. Mooney over his barking dog, which has been keeping her up all night in "Lucy Is Her Own Lawyer."
When Lucys meets a handsome Italian millionaire, things are going smoothly until Lucy ruins his tuxedo and has to break into the dry cleaners for his backup in "Lucy Meets a Millionaire." Lucy's excited about volunteering for Mooney's political campaign, but the feeling isn't mutual - especially when Lucy forgets to book Scottish bagpipers for a rally in "Lucy Goes Into Politics." Den mothers Lucy and Viv crash the boys' overnight scouting trip, lose their only canoe, get lost in the woods, and infuriate scoutmaster Mooney in "Lucy and the Scout Trip." Barry Livingston and Desi Arnaz, Jr. guest star. In order to earn money for a summer vacation, Lucy gets a job as a process server. Now all she needs to do is serve her first subpoena - to one Theodore J. Mooney in "Lucy Is a Process Server." Tired of the girls making fun of her cooking, Lucy vows to win the town's big pie-baking contest. Only she'll have to beat five-time champion Vivian Bagley in "Lucy Enters a Baking Contest."
All of the episodes have running times over 25 1/2 minutes. Like the Season 1 set, there is a small disclaimer on the back of the packaging that says "some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." This seems to be a standard disclaimer on all CBS DVD releases. These episodes appear to be uncut and have all of the original music numbers. There is also an option to play the episodes in "Vintage" mode with the sponsor specific original openings, cast commercials and closings. These add an additional 1-2 minutes to the episodes. Runtimes for the standard episodes and original airdates are as follows:
Lucy Plays Cleopatra (09/30/63) (25:41)
Kiddie Parties, Inc. (10/07/63) (25:41)
Lucy and Viv Play Softball (10/14/63) (25:40)
Lucy Gets Locked int he Vault (10/21/63) (25:40)
Lucy and the Safecracker (10/28/63) (25:42)
Lucy Goes Duck Hunting (11/04/63) (25:42)
Lucy and the Bank Scandal (11/11/63) (25:40)
Lucy Decides to Redecorate (11/18/63) (25:42)
Lucy Puts a Fire at the Bank (12/02/63) (25:42)
Lucy and the Military Academy (12/09/63) (25:40)
Lucy's College Reunion (12/16/63) (25:40)
The Loophole in the Lease (12/23/63) (25:42)
Lucy Conducts the Symphony (12/30/63) (25:40)
Lucy Plays Florence Nightingale (01/06/64) (25:42)
Lucy Goes to Art Class (01/13/64) (25:43)
Chris Goes Steady (01/20/64) (25:42)
Lucy Takes Up Golf (01/27/64) (25:39)
Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing (02/03/64) (25:43)
Ethel Merman and the Boy Scout Show (02/10/64) (25:44)
Lucy and Viv Open a Resturant (02/17/64) (25:42)
Lucy Takes a Job at the Bank (02/24/64) (25:41)
Viv Moves Out (03/02/64) (25:43)
Lucy Is Her Own Lawyer (03/09/64) (25:44)
Lucy Meets a Millionaire (03/16/64) (25:43)
Lucy Goes Into Politics (03/23/64) (25:41)
Lucy and the Scout Trip (03/30/64) (25:42)
Lucy Is a Process Server (04/20/64) (25:44)
Lucy Enters a Baking Contest (04/27/64) (25:43)
This set comes in a standard DVD case and contains all 28 episodes from the second (1963-64) season. The case slides out from the top or bottom of the outer cardboard sleeve. The cover art features a color photo of Lucy baking and smaller blue-tinted photos of Lucy and Viv on the right side. There is a blue and purple background scheme. On the back of the case, there is a synopsis of the set, a listing of special features and the DVD specs. There are four small photos of Lucy with Bob Hope, Lucy as the Mona Lisa, Lucy as George Washington and Viv as Martha Washington, and Lucy as Cleopatra. Lucy is on the spine of the box. The inside plastic case is the same as the outer cardboard sleeve. Inside the case, we have the four discs (with no artwork, of course, aside from the series logo on a gray background) in 2 holders in the center, and the sides on the inside of the case list all of the episodes, along with original airdates and brief descriptions. There is a paper sheet from MPI included that promotes Here's Lucy - Season Three, Lucy Calls the President, Lucy & Desi - A Home Movie and The Mothers-in-Law - The Complete Series. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-15, Disc 3 contains episodes 16-23, and Disc 4 contains episodes 24-28. Special features are scattered throughout all four discs.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are, once again, nicely done with many options available. They are colorful and easy to navigate.
Since they had a new opening credits intro for the second season, they have a new set-up for the menus for this release. The menus open with the title card and then a series of video clips in 6 boxes like you see in the opening credits that eventually lead to a static image with the show logo. These are different images than you see in real opening credits. The show intro music plays for about 20 seconds. On the main menu, there is a photo of Lucy standing in a purple dress holding a purse and Vivian in a blue dress sitting on a green couch. The show logo is above them. The menus have a blue polka dot background. There are options for Play All, Episode Selection, Special Features and Set Up on the right side of the screen. The option you highlight is underlined in yellow that turns red upon your selection. When you choose Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-menu where there are still images from 3-4 episodes per screen. The episode you highlight is tinted in yellow. Choosing an episode takes you to another menu where you can play individual scenes or the entire episode. There is also a credits option which gives a listing of original airdate, the date the episode was filmed, writing/directing credits, and the guest stars for that particular episode. There is some transition music played when you select the Special Features option. There are photos of Lucy and Viv in top hats and their dancing costumes. On the Set Up menu, there is a photo of Lucy leaning on a television set, with a super-imposed image of the real opening credits on the screen. You can turn on/off the English Subtitles here and play the episodes in "Normal" or "Vintage" mode. In "Vintage" mode, you can view the episodes as they originally aired with the original sponsor specific original openings, cast commercials and closings. Chapters are placed at several appropriate places throughtout the episodes, and not just at commercial break spots. There are some previews (2:46) for some other CBS DVD TV releases when you first insert disc 1 that you can either play or skip.
Video and Audio Quality:
Although CBS originally aired these episodes in black and white, this season was actually the first to be filmed in color. CBS would not start airing them in color until the fourth (1965-66) season. The episodes on this release are all in color, although if you play them in "Vintage" mode the original opening/closing credits and cast commercials (for select episodes) are in their original black and white. I don't believe any of these episodes have been released on any public domain DVD releases. These episodes have been digitally reemastered and look and sound great - much better than what I've seen in syndication over the years. They don't look quite as glorious as the episodes on the I Love Lucy DVD sets did, but it certainly looks almost as nice. There is still some occasional dirt and debris, but these episodes have been cleaned up real nicely. A few of the special features, however, tend to be in poorer shape. As previously mentioned, you can watch most (if not all) episodes as they originally aired (with original credits and cast commercials) through an option on the individual episode menu or by Set Up on the main menu. As a result, if you are watching an episode in "Vintage" mode, you'll see a noticeable drop in quality for the credits and the cast commercial closing tag at the end of each episode. It isn't a big deal, though, as this was material that was not exactly intended to be preserved anyway. The audio is presented in mono (what else?) and English subtitles for the deaf or hard-of-hearing are available on every episode.
There are some interesting and enjoyable special features scattered across the 4 discs. On each disc, there are options for Original Broadcasts, Guest Cast, Production Notes and a Photo Gallery. Missing on the set is a "Flubs" section like on the Season 1 set. I thought this was a nice feature to have. They do mention some of these flubs in the production notes, but it would be nice to have easy access to the visuals. The rest of the interviews and featurettes are spread out across the 4 discs. Here is a breakdown by disc:
A Note About Color (1:28) - Tony Maietta gives some information on how this was the first season to be filmed in color, although CBS continued to air it in black and white. Only the color episodes are presented on the DVDs, so he suggests you turn down the color on your television set if you want to see them in their original black and white.
Let's Talk to Carole (24:27) - Actress Carole Cook reminisces with host Tony Maietta about being Lucille Ball's protege and about their work together on The Lucy Show. She also shares her memories about her longtime friendship with her famous mentor. She talks about her character of Thelma Green, going down the firepole, her episode appearances, how she got started on The Desilu Revue, how she changed her name, working wtih Vivian Vance and other women, working with Gale Gordon and how she dubbed for Lucy. It's always a pleasure to see her interviewed. She's so funny and has so many great stories to share.
Original Broadcasts - Original broadcasts of The Lucy Show were fully integrated, with sponsor-specific openings, closings and cast commercials. The footage was dicovered recently in surviving 16mm film. You can choose the "vintage" option from the Set Up menu to view these elements integrated back into the show.
Vintage Openings: Lux Beauty Soap (:29), Jell-O gelatin (:29), Swan dishwashing liquid (:30), Wisk laundry detergent (:30), Jell-O Instant Pudding (:30), Lux Beauty Soap (:29)
Cast Commercials - Candy Moore and Jimmy Garrett fox Lux Beauty Soap (:31); Vivian Vance and Candy Moore for Luxy Beauty Soap (:30)
Vintage Closings - Primetime network broadcasts of The Lucy Show (1963-64) ended with the title card, a billboard for that week's sponsor, and the closing credits. (:55), (:55), (:56), (:55), (:55), (:56), (:56)
Meet Gale Gordon - Photos and a short text biography of Gale Gordon
Guest Cast - A text listing of the guest cast by episode. When you click on somebody's name, it takes you to a menu where you can see a photo of them in the episode and view a short biography. A nice little feature, especially to recognize some of the lesser known actors.
Production Notes - This has some fun facts, trivia for many episodes and other behind-the-scenes details. Very interesting stuff to read. On Disc 1, there is an alternate version of the season two opening (:19) that has black lines between the pictures rather than white.
Photo Gallery - 28 Photos, all but 1 in black and white
CBS: The Stars' Addresses (3:17) - To promote its 1963 fall lineup, CBS presented a 30-minute compilation of previews, heralding new and returning programs: Lucy and Viv dressed as postal workers, presented the network's plans for Montday night, which included, of course, season two of The Lucy Show. This is black and white footage. The shows on Monday night were To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret, Danny Thomas, Andy Griffith and Eastside, Westide. It would be very fun to see this program in its entirety.
Vintage Openings - Jell-O gelatin (:29), Wisk (:30), Final Touch fabric softener (:29), Jell-O Instant Pudding (:30), Pepsodent Toothpaste (:30)
Vintage Closings - (:55), (:54), (:55), (:56), (:55), (:54), (:55), (:55)
Production Notes - Included in this section is more trivia and some postage stamps from the network's press department.
Photo Gallery - 29 Photos, mostly in black and white
Lucy and the Merm (3:41) - Tony Maietta explains how "Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing" started put as a single episode of The Lucy Show, but ended up being a two-parter. Rare photos recreate Desilu's original ending for the episode. There is also part of the interview with Jimmy Garrett from the season 1 set where he talks about working on these episodes.
Vintage Openings - Lux Beauty Soap (:29), Jell-O gelatin (:29), Final Touch fabric softener (:29), Wisk (:30), Pepsodent toothpaste (:30)
Cast Commercials - Jimmy Garrett, Ralph Hart and Candy Moore for Luxy Beauty Soap (:31); Jimmy Garrett and Vivian Vance for Lux Beauty Soap (:30)
Vintage Closings - (:56), (:55), (:55), (:55), (:55), (:55), (:55), (:55)
Photo Gallery - 23 Photos
The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour (51:47) - This special with guest star Bob Hope was sponsored by Pepsodent and aired on Sunday, April, 19, 1964 at 8pm on CBS. This was Lucy's very first "solo" speical that found her playing herself (a studio head) and in a show-within-the-show, the female half of TV's most popular comedy team. This special is in color.
Let's Talk to Barry (10:27) - Actor Barry Livingston reminisces with host Tony Maietta about his appearances on The Lucy Show. He also shares his memories of working with William Frawley on My Three Sons and about "growing up" on the Desil slot. He talks about getting the haircut in the episode, hanging out at Desilu, how he started working at age 5, working with Bill Frawley and a funny story on the My Three Sons set, and his dramatic work at Desilu.
Opening Night - To promote its 1963-64 lineup, CBS presented "Opening Night," a one-hour comedy show starring six of the networks biggest stars. Included in the show was a restaging of the "Slowly I Turned" burlesque routine used in a 1952 episode of I Love Lucy, with Lucy now playing the grievinw comic - Clip #1 (3:42)
Also in "Opening Night," Lucille Ball performed "Hey, Loom Me Over," her hit song from the Broadway musical Wildcat. Special lyrics were used here, with Lucy attempting to convince her sponsor to continue her series. Clip #2 (:43) - This black and white footage isn't in the best quality with some digital lines like you would see on an old VHS tape, but it's still fun to watch.
Recovered Cast Commercial (:39) - In this recently recovered commercial, Viv (Vivian Vance), Chris (Candy Moore) and Cynthia (guest Lucie Arnaz) enjoy butterscotch flavor Jell-O pudding and pie filling. The commercial was originally broadcast during season one of The Lucy Show at the conclusion of "Lucy Is a Chaperone." The video quality is in poorer condition that the rest of the cast commercials on this release.
Vintage Openings - Lux Beauty Shop (:29), Jell-o gelatin (:29), Wisk (:30), Pepsodent toothpaste (:30)
Cast Commercials - Candy Moore and Vivian Vance for Lux Beauty Soap (:30); Vivian Vance and Ralph Hart for Lux Beauty Soap (:30), Candy Moore for Lux Beauty Soap (:30)
Vintage Closings - (:55), (:55), (:55), (:54), (:55)
Meet Jess Oppenheimer - A text biography for the original producer and head writer of I Love Lucy.
Photo Gallery - 11 Photos from The Lucy Show and 25 from The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour
Season two was notable for a couple of reasons. It was the first season to be filmed in color, although CBS continued to air the show in black and white until the start of the fourth season. Gale Gordon joined the cast. He had some great chemistry with Lucy. They really seemed to work well together.
This is another excellent release. It seems like every set for a Lucille Ball show is jam-packed with special features and brilliantly-restored episodes. This set is no exception. There are some interesting new interviews, vintage openings/closings and cast commercials, a Lucille Ball/Bob Hope special and other enjoyable featurettes. I do wish that they would have had a "Flubs" section like they had on the first season set. They do mention some of the essentially bloopers (sometimes not exactly intentional) in the production notes, but it would have been nice to have easy access to the visual for them. The third season is tentatively scheduled to be released on October 12th, but season two must sell well before CBS DVD will commit to making it available. Let's hope that they are able to pick up the pace a bit like MPI's releases of Here's Lucy. There have been 3 seasons of Here's Lucy released since the first season set of The Lucy Show.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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