It's a funny family feud from Desi Arnaz and the writers of I Love Lucy! Set in the swinging late 1960s, The Mothers-in-Law centers on the laugh-filled misadventures of longtime neighbors who become related when their children suddenly get married.
Emmy Award-Winning actress Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks, Grease) stars as Eve Hubbard, the sophisticated wife of straight-laced lawyer Herbert Hubbard (Herbert Rudley). Comedienne Kaye Ballard plays Kaye Buell, the outspoken wife of bombastic television writer Roger Buell (Roger C. Carmel and Richard Deacon). The strong-willed mothers are determined to meddle in the lives of newlyweds Jerry (Jerry Fogel) and Suzie (Deborah Walley).
This deluxe set of The Mothers-in-Law (1967-1969, NBC-TV) features all 56 color episodes digitally remastered for superior quality plus a wealth of rare special features. Guest stars include Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Rob Reiner, Jimmy Durante, Larry Storch, Ozzie Nelson, Beverly Garland, Alice Ghostley, Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Desi Arnaz.
A fight breaks out between the Hubbards and the Buells about their children's wedding plans in "On Again, Off Again, Lohengrin." The newlywed's honeymoon is over when the Hubbards and the Buells show up at their resort hotel in "Everybody Goes on a Honeymoon." Problems arise when both Kaye and Eve break their legs skiing in "All Fall Down." Kaye and Eve are locked inside a store for the night in "A Night to Forget." Kaye and Eve promise not to interfere in their kids' lives when the kids move into their apartment above the Hubbard's garage in "The Newlyweds Move In." Kaye and Eve audition for parts in a play in "The Career Girls."
Kaye and Eve throw their husbands out after they both admit they would like to have an affair with Elizabeth Taylor in "Who's Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor?" The Hubbards and the Buells help Jerry win a part in the school play in "My Son, the Actor."
Eve helps Kaye sell her famous spaghetti and meatballs on the college campus to help pay off Suzie's ring in "How Do You Moonlight a Meatball?" A fugitive bank robber hides out at the Hubbards' home in "I Thought He'd Never Leave." The Hubbards and the Buells enter a cycling race in "The Great Bicycle Race." When Roger is arrested--the whole clan disguises themselves in costumes to go and rescue him in "Through the Lurking Glass." The kids pretend to divorce in order to teach their mothers a lesson in "Divorce Mother-in-Law Style." Eve gives her old refrigerator to Kaye in "The Not Cold Enough War." Herb and Roger have a fight, which leads to Roger challenging Herb to a duel in "You Challenge Me to a What?" Eve and Kaye try to write a TV script, but unfortunately it turns out that they stole it from another writer in "Everybody Wants to Be a Writer."
Jerry and Suzie decide to move out when Eve and Kaye's interference and meddling ways become too much for the both of them to endure in "The Kids Move Out." The Hubbards receive an unexpected visit from their bullfighting friend, who plans on sticking around a while n "The Hombre Who Came to Dinner - Part 1." The Hubbards and the Buells visit Mexico in "The Hombre Who Came to Dinner - Part 2." The two couples fight over who actually owns the boat that they won on a game show in "Don't Give Up the Sloop." Jerry and Suzie decide to use a group therapy session to get their parents speaking again in "I'd Tell You I Love You But We're Not Speaking." Eve becomes Herb's secretary when his regular secretary calls in sick in "Herb's Little Helpers." Eve uses Herb's reserve money to pay back Roger the loan he gave, without telling Herb she's using his own money in "Bye, Bye Blackballer." Kaye believes Roger has fallen in love with the blonde wig she borrowed from Eve in "The Wig Story."
Herb plots to get even after Roger makes him pay for half the bill at a restaurant - even though Roger and Kaye ordered the more expensive dishes in "It's Only Money." Roger's scripts are being considered for a TV series, but Kaye just can't do as he wishes and keep the secret to herself in "I Haven't Got a Secret." Jerry wants to go play poker but Suzie won't let him - and their parents take sides in the argument in "Jerry's Night Out with the Boys." A snowstorm traps the Buells and the Hubbards in their mountain cabin in "The Long, Long Weekend." Eve gets jealous when Herb's former girlfriend visits in "Jealousy Makes the Heart Grow Fonder." The Buells and the Hubbards decide to invest in a new rock group called The Warts (played by The Seeds) in "How Not to Manage a Rock Group." Jerry and Suzie agree to renew their vows in second wedding ceremony for Kaye's mother, who is visting from Italy in "Here Comes the Bride, Again." The Buells and the Hubbards come up with a plan to help Jerry save his job at a computer dating service in "The Match Game."
Kaye and Eve think Roger and Herb are planning to take them on a Hawaiian cruise in "A Little Pregnancy Goes a Long Way." Flashbacks show how the Buells bought the house next door to the Hubbards in "Lovy Thy Neighbor - If You Can't Make Him Move." Eve and Kaye set out on a self improvement quest after deciding that they haven't done enough with their lives i "I Didn't Raise Myself to be a Grandmother." Roger and Herb's mothers come to visit in "Even Mothers-in-Law Have Mothers-in-Law." The Buells and the Hubbards try to get roles in Raphael del Gado's upcoming film in "The Matador Makes a Movie." Kaye and Eve each give Jerry and Suzie a puppy as a gift in "It's a Dog's Life." Suzie gives Jerry's jacket away, unaware that their folks hid money in one of the pockets as a surprise gift in "The First Anniversary is the Hardest." To earn extra money, Suzie becomes an animal babysitter in "The Birth of Everything But the Blues."
Jerry and Suzie surprise everyone with their plans to move to Alaska in "Nome, Schnome, I'd Rather Have it at Home." Herb and Eve hide under their bed to avoid Roger and Kaye in "Hail, Hail the Gang's Still Here." Kaye's bandleader ex-boyfriend shows up in "Didn't You Used to Be Ossie Snick?" The Buells and the Hubbards decide to add another room to Jerry and Suzie's apartment in "Make Room for Baby." Eve and Kaye misplace Suzie on their way to the hospital in "Haven't You Had That Baby Yet?" Suzie gives birth to twins, and the in-laws argue over what to name them in "And Baby Makes Four." Kaye and Eve scheme to get rid of the nanny hired to watch the babies after the woman refuses to let the eager new grandmothers visit whenever they want in "Nanny Go Home." Kaye and Eve volunteer to watch the twins while Jerry and Suzie take off for a quiet weekend in "Double Trouble in the Nursery."
The girls try to win a cereal contest to raise money for the twins' college education in "Void Where Prohibited by In-Laws." Kaye and Eve rent out Jerry and Suzie's newly vacant apartment to a black man in "Guess Who's Coming Forver?" The Buells and the Hubbards decide to take Jerry's place in a nightclub act after he catches the flu in "Every In-Law Wants to Get Into the Act." The Buells and the Hubbards argue over who will use the two theater tickets received in the mail in "Two on the Aisle." Kaye grows jealous of Roger's new secretary in "Take Her, He's Mine." Eve and Kaye compete for the job of Don Rickles' partner in a benefit show at the lodge in "Show Business is No Business." Eve and Kaye need jobs to pay off their department store bills in "The Charge of the Wife Brigade." Kaye and Eve compete for the lead role in their club's upcoming opera production in "The Not-So-Grand Opera." Episode summaries courtesy of TV.com .
Notable guest stars included Desi Arnaz as matador Raphael del Gado (4 episodes), Rob Reiner, Larry Storch, Alan Reed, Herb Edelman, Desi Arnaz, Jr. as Tommy del Gado (2 episodes), Beverly Garland, The Seeds (rock band), Paul Lynde, Bruce Kirby, Doris Packer, John Byner, Joe Besser, Mel Blanc as the voice of Mynah Bird, Ozzie Nelson, Avery Schreiber, Alice Ghostley, Jimmy Durante, Teri Garr (credited as Terry Carr) and Don Rickles.
All of the episodes appear to be uncut, with runtimes of around 25 minutes. The Seeds (as The Warts) singing "Pushin' Too Hard" and the cast singing "Some Enchanted Evening" is included. Several episodes include some of the original Procter & Gamble sponsor spots and cast commercials. These commercials can also be viewed in a section on the Special Features disc. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and exact runtimes:
1. On Again, Off Again, Lohengrin (09/10/67) (25:45 - 27:14 with the Desi Arnaz, Jr. series introduction)
2. Everybody Goes on a Honeymoon (09/17/67) (24:48)
3. All Fall Down (09/24/267) (24:49)
4. A Night to Forget (10/01/67) (24:59))
5. The Newlyweds Move In (10/08/67) (25:58) - sponsor: Thrill
6. The Career Girls (10/15/67) (24:58)
7. Who's Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor (10/22/67) (24:59)
8. My Son, the Actor (10/29/67) (25:43) - sponsor: Scope
9. How Do You Moonlight a Meatball? (11/05/67) (24:58)
10. I Thought He'd Never Leave (11/12/67) (24:59)
11. The Great Bicycle Race (11/19/67) (24:58)
12. Through the Lurking Glass (11/26/67) (24:46)
13. Divorce Mother-in-Law Style (12/03/67) (24:57)
14. The Not Cold Enough War (12/10/67) (24:59)
15. You Challenge Me to a What? (12/17/67) (25:31) - sponsor: Crest
16. Everybody Wants to Be a writer (12/31/67) (24:58)
17. The Kids Move Out (01/07/68) (24:47)
18. The Hombre Who Came to Dinner - Part 1 (01/14/68) (24:58)
19. The Hombre Who Came to Dinner - Part 2 (01/21/68) (24:59)
20. Don't Give Up the Sloop (01/28/68) (24:58)
21. I'd Tell You I Love You But We're Not Speaking (02/04/68) (24:58)
22. Herb's Little Helper (02/11/68) (24:59)
23. Bye, Bye Blackmailer (02/25/68) (24:49)
24. The Wig Story (03/03/68) (24:49)
25. It's Only Money (03/10/68) (25:44) - sponsor: Camay soap
26. I Haven't Got a Secret (03/17/68) (24:58)
27. Jerry's Night Out with the Boys (03/24/68) (24:58)
28. The Long, Long Weekend (03/31/68) (24:47)
29. Jealousy Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (04/07/68) (24:47)
30. How Not to Manage a Rock Group (04/28/68) (24:58)
31. Here Comes the Bride, Again (09/15/68) (24:58)
32. The Match Game (09/22/68) (24:58)
33. A Little Pregnancy Goes a Long Way (09/29/68) (25:57) - sponsor: Dash
34. Love Thy Neighbor - If You Can't Make Him Move (10/06/68) (24:57)
35. I Didn't Raise Myself to Be a Grandmother (10/13/68) (24:54)
36. Even Mothers-in-Law Have Mothers-in-Law (10/20/68) (24:54)
37. The Matador Makes a Movie (10/27/68) (24:59)
38. It's a Dog's Life (11/10/68) (25:01)
39. The First Anniversary is the Hardest (11/24/68) (24:59)
40. The Birth of Everything But the Blues (12/01/68) (25:30) - sponsor: Bold
41. Nome, Schnome, I'd Rather Have it at Home (12/08/68) (24:50)
42. Hail, Hail the Gang's Still Here (12/15/68) (24:48)
43. Didn't You Used to Be Ossie Snick? (12/22/68) (24:59)
44. Make Room for Baby (01/05/69) (24:59)
45. Haven't You Had That Baby Yet? (01/12/69) (24:56)
46. And Baby Makes Four (01/19/69) (24:59)
47. Nanny Go Home (01/26/69) (24:56)
48. Double Trouble in the Nursery (02/02/69) (25:51) - sponsor: Head & Shoulders
49. Void Where Prohibited by In-Laws (02/09/69) (25:02)
50. Guess Who's Coming Forver? (02/23/69) (24:54)
51. Every in-Law Wants to Get Into the Act (02/02/69) (24:59)
52. Two on the Aisle (03/16/69) (24:49)
53. Take Her, He's Mine (03/23/69) (25:23)
54. Show Business is No Business (03/30/69) (25:01)
55. The Charge of the Wife Brigade (04/06/69) (24:51)
56. The Not-So-Grand Opera (04/13/69) (25:00)
The eight-disc set, which includes all 56 episodes from the two seasons (1967-1969), comes in a large plastic snapcase. The cover art has a color publicity photo of Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden. The show logo is above them. The set has a red and gold background color scheme. The back of the snapcase features a cast photo of Roger C. Carmel, Kaye Ballard, Eve Arden and Herbert Rudley and a smaller circular photo of Deborah Walley and Jerry Fogel. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features, the show credits and the DVD specs are provided. A photo of Ballard and Arden on telephones is on the spine of the case. Inside the snapcase, we find the 8 discs in 4 plastic holders with 2 discs back-to-back. There are four color photos inside the case: Ballard and Arden in 3 of them (2 with the title card logo) and a cast photo of Ballard, Arden, Carmel and Rudley. A 4-page booklet is provided that lists the episode titles and original airdates by disc. There are photos of Ballard and Arden on telephones on the front, four small headshots of Arden/Carmel/Ballard/Rudley inside, and a season 2 cast photo with Richard Deacon, Rudley, Fogel, Ballard, Arden and Walley. I would have liked to see a more comprehensive booklet that included episode summaries and production notes/trivia, but it's nice they included something for reference. The disc artwork has a red and gold color scheme, with the series logo at the top. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8. Disc 2 contains episodes 9-16. Disc 3 contains episodes 17-24. Disc 4 contains episodes 25-32. Disc 5 contains episodes 33-40. Disc 6 contains episodes 41-48. Disc 7 contains episodes 49-56. Disc 8 includes all of the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The late '60s vibe is continued on the menus. They are simple and easy to navigate. They begin with an animated logo with the funky instrumental theme played in the background. This leads to a static menu where they have the red/pink/orange patterned background and the show logo on the top left of the screen. There are various photos of Arden and Ballard on each disc on the right side of the screen. Episodes are listed vertically in white text. There is a yellow dot next to episode that you highlight that turns pink upon your selection. A subitles option can be turned on/off at the bottom of the screen. It's not that big of a deal, but there is no Play All option available. The special features can all be found on Disc 8. Chapters are placed at all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
The Mothers-in-Law has largely disappeared from syndication since the late 1970s and early 1980s. It has aired in some local markets on rural UHF stations and briefly on TRIO, but other than that the show hasn't really been seen often in years. I never saw it in syndication, so I don't have any episodes to compare the quality. I've read descriptions that the prints in syndication were terrible and had scratches from 16MM prints and other video problems. The episodes on this DVD release have been digitally remastered to the highest quality. The episodes all look quite good and watchable. There is still some occasional dirt and debris, but they have cleaned up these episodes quite nicely. These prints seem to be an improvement over what MPI had available for Family Affair and The Doris Day Show. Those were taken from a different videotape source. The Mothers-in-Law episodes look comparable to MPI's release of Here's Lucy. The color isn't particularly vibrant, but this is how the episodes were originally filmed. About 7 episodes have some of the original sponsor spots and commercials for Procter & Gamble products like Thrill, Scope, Crest, Camay, Dash, Bold, and Head & Shoulders. The episodes also have the original sponsor graphic embedded in the closing credits when they had a sponsor for that particular week. It's great that they have the original "brought to you in living color on NBC" opening and the closing NBC chime on the pilot episode. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for United Artists Television.
The audio is your typical late 1960s mono track. The volume level seems a little low. You may have to turn up the volume a notch or two. I loved the catchy instrumental themes and transition music they used. They also had some nice musical numbers and dancing in a few episodes. English subtitles are available on all of the episodes.
All of the special features can be found on Disc 8. They include a new interview with Kaye Ballard, original unaired pilot, cast sponsor commercials, network promotional spots, Lucille Ball radio interview with Eve Arden, photo gallery, rare Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden footage, unproduced script & outline, and the pilots for The Carol Channing Show and Land's End. It would have been nice to hear Jerry Fogel's memories of working on the show. He is the only surviving cast member besides Kaye Ballard.
Featurette with Kaye Ballard - Remembering The Mothers-in-Law (15:02) - This is a new interview with Kaye Ballard. She covers many different topics in this interesting featurette. A lot of behind-the-scenes footage and promotional photos are shown. She talks about how she got the part, the original pilot with Kay Cole, working with Jerry Fogel, working with Desi Arnaz, meeting Eve Arden and working with her, how some of the storylines came from her, Roger C. Carmel leaving the show, the hiring of Richard Deacon, the parade of guest stars, the musical shows, working on The Doris Day Show, her work before The Mothers-in-Law and her fondest memory of the show. She was 83 at the time of this interview and looks quite a few years younger. Her memory from those years is great. She even sings a special treat over the closing credits. A nicely produced featurette on a funny and talented lady.
Original Unaired Pilot (28:14) - This pilot had different animated opening credits and featured Kay Cole in the role of Suzie Hubbard. The rest of the cast was the same. The plot generally follows what they did in the aired pilot. It runs an extra 2-3 minutes, so there are a few additional scenes. I'm not sure why they replaced Kay Cole. She looked a lot like Eve Arden. They even had a similar hairstyle.
Cast Sponsor Commercials (5:41) - These are the same sponsor spots that are included in the episodes.
Ballard and Arden for Camay soap (:30); Ballard, Arden and Carmel for Scope (:30); Ballard and Arden for Crest (:45); Head & Shoulders (1:01); Jo Anne Worley for Bold (:31); Dash (:32); Give to the College of Your Choice (:20); Carol Burnett for Easter Seals (:12)
Network Promotional Spots (7:26) - A series of promotional spots with Ballard, Arden and Desi Arnaz.
Arden and Ballard (:27); Arden and Ballard (:58); Arnaz introduces Ballard and Arden (2:32); Arnaz, Arden and Ballard for The Hombre Who Came to Dinner (:22); promo for The Hombre Who Came to Dinner in Spanish (:22); Desi and Desi, Jr. (:23); general show trailer (:22); general show trailer (:31); Arden for Channel 4 Boston (:21); Arden promoting the episode with Jeannete Nolan as a guest star (:21), Arden promo (:23)
Behind the Scenes (17:02) - In September 1967, Desi Arnaz Productions documented the entire production of the episode "My Son, the Actor." This is presented for the first time and with commentary by Kaye Ballard, Madelyn Davis and Dann Cahn. They show the table read, working in front of a studio audience, and rehearsing the music and dance numbers. There is no original dialogue. They just have the new commentary with some interesting production details and memories.
Lucille Ball Interviews Eve Arden (19:11) - Let's Talk to Lucy - Show #196 and #197 - June 7-8, 1965. This is a radio interview. Lucy asks Eve about her 4 children, her work at the time and traveling to Europe. There are some home movies from Eve's family and many photos shown during the interview.
Photo Gallery (13:55) - A montage of mostly black and white (with a few color) photos is shown.
Rare Kaye Ballard Footage (12:42) - Kaye on The Hollywood Palace on April 6, 1978. Don Adams introduces her and Kaye sings. This footage is in color. The Mike Douglas Show - November 18, 1963 - This footage of her appearance is in black and white.
Rare Eve Arden Footage (7:46) - Cyd Charisse Startime Special from December 29, 1959. This color footage is introduced by James Mitchell and features Eve singing and dancing with Cyd Charisse.
Unproduced Script & Outline - A text script for the episode "My Obestetrician Was More Sensitive Than Yours" by Nate Monaster.
Pilot: The Carol Channing Show (36:59) - This unsold sitcom pilot was made in 1966. Carol Channing starred as a woman who moved to New York City trying to make it big. It also starred Richard Deacon and Jane Dulo. Jimmy Garrett (from The Lucy Show) played the Candy Boy. Desi Arnaz produced and directed it. Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll, Jr. were the writers. There was a lot of physical comedy and not much dialogue in this pilot. I can see why it didn't get picked up as a series.
Pilot: Land's End (28:54) - This unsold pilot aired on NBC on April 21, 1968. It starred Rory Calhoun, Gilbert Roland, Sonny Tufts, Leigh Chapman and special guest star Martin Milner. In the pilot, the owner of a small Mexican hotel and the local sheriff assist travelers and natives in trouble. It was shot in Baja, CA. Some of the original sponsor spots are included, as well as the brought to you in living color on NBC opening.
Promos (13:48) - Promos for Kaye Ballard's 4-CD Audio Book available at kayeballard.com , The Color Honeymooners, The Lucille Ball Specials, Lucy and Desi - A home Movie, The Doris Day Show and Here's Lucy.
The Mothers-in-Law is finally available on DVD! The show has had a bit of a cult following on our message board. I've received a number of inquiries about the show on DVD over the years. Even though it was short-lived, there are quite a few fans out there. This is my first time I've been able to see episodes. I like what I see. There are some similarities to I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy because Desi Arnaz produced and directed a number of The Mothers-in-Law episodes and the writing team of Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll, Jr. were the primary writers. Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden were great and funny together on the series. The supporting cast was very good. I think most fans preferred the first season episodes with Roger C. Carmel over the second season episodes with Richard Deacon. Carmel played the character a bit more wackier. Deacon was more serious and didn't have the same chemistry with Ballard. It's interesting that all of the actors except Deborah Walley had their character's first names the same as their own. The show had a nice time slot between Walt Disney's World of Color and Bonanza, but it had to go up against top 25 shows in The Ed Sullivan Show and The F.B.I., so it was canceled after the 2nd season due to low ratings.
This DVD set has been a long time in the making. It was first announced in February 2009 that we would see a release in late 2009. After seeing this fantastic release, I'm sure fans will have no problem with the wait! MPI Home Video has put together another excellent sitcom release. All 56 episodes from the 2 seasons are uncut and digitally remastered for the best quality. There are over 2 hours of special features that include a new interview with Kaye Ballard, original unaired pilot, cast sponsor commercials, network promos, rare behind-the-scenes footage, lost pilots and much more. It's pretty incredible that this package is currently available for only $18.99 at Amazon.com . That is less than most single season releases. There are over 27 hours of episodes available on this set. Even if you have never heard of or watched the show, this is probably one that you could pick up as a blind buy and enjoy. MPI Home Video seems to be a pretty small company, but they always put out first-rate releases that are loaded with special features. Some shows that I would like to see them release would be Our Miss Brooks (with Eve Arden), Dennis the Menace, Please Don't Eat the Daisies and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:
Please e-mail me with your sitcom related questions, sitcoms to add, and suggestions for additional links. © 1999-2014, Todd Fuller Contact Form