TITLE: THE LUCY SHOW - THE OFFICIAL FOURTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011 (CBS Home Entertainment)
Color / 1965-1966
Packaging: Viva Pack
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 666 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: approx. 30 minutes
Subtitles and Captions: English Subtitles
Special Features: Clip from "Magic of Broadcasting"; Clip from "Wonderful World of Burlesque"; Lucy: Behind the Scenes; Rare Promos; Vintage Openings; Vintage Closings; Guest Cast Biographies; Production Notes; Photo Galleries
Lucy is on the move in The Lucy Show - The Official Fourth Season! Lucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball) and Mr. Mooney (Gale Gordon) move from Danville to California (leaving Viv behind, and leaving son Jerry in a California military academy) in this season of change. No longer is Lucy just a domestic terror in her own home, now she is the single girl in Southern California causing chaos for movie stars, as well as her own former banker, Mr. Mooney, who just happened to (by pure coincidence) also move to the same place. You get 26 episodes worth, along with plenty of special features, in The Lucy Show - The Official Fourth Season!
The season begins with "Lucy at Marineland," where an innocent trip with Jerry and Mr. Mooney to Marineland turns into chaos for Lucy. In "Lucy and the Golden Greek," Lucy goes on a blind date with a shy guy, who turns out to be not quite as shy as expected. Lucy becomes a secretary in "Lucy and the Music World," but a cancelation of a musical group for a TV show becomes a golden opportunity for Lucy. Mel Tormé guest stars. In "Lucy and Joan," Lucy wants to go to a charity event, and will do anything to get her neighbor to escort her. Lucy becomes a stunt man in "Lucy, the Stunt Man," and nothing can go wrong with that, right? Ann Sothern returns in "Lucy and the Countess Have a Horse Guest," where William Frawley makes one last appearance alongside Lucy.
Lucy becomes Mr. Mooney's secretary, but causes chaos when she has to deliver some important papers to Danny Thomas in "Lucy Helps Danny Thomas." Lucy's friend, the Countess, becomes a real estate agent, and creates a real nightmare for Lucy and Mr. Mooney in "Lucy Helps the Countess." In "Lucy and the Sleeping Beauty," Lucy's date is afraid to fall asleep because he might just wake up and attack somebody. Lucy gets taken in a little too much by a James Bond movie in "Lucy, the Undercover Agent." In "Lucy and the Return of Iron Man," Lucy has to become a stuntman again after she tears up Mr. Mooney's winning ticket at the racetrack. Milton Berle guest stars in "Lucy Saves Milton Berle," where preparing for a movie role gets him involved with Lucy's shenanigans. Lucy tries to get Mr. Mooney to allow Jerry and his boys' choir to perform Christmas carols at the bank in "Lucy, the Choir Master."
In "Lucy Discovers Wayne Newton," Lucy discovers a singing farmhand who can only sing when the farm animals are around. Lucy accidentally stumbles upon an Indian reservation where she is mistaken for a rain goddess in "Lucy, the Rain Goddess." Can Lucy keep quiet for 24 hours? That is her challenge on "Lucy and Art Linkletter." In "Lucy Bags a Bargain," Lucy finds a good deal, but unfortunately, she has to take a job at the same store where she bought it to pay for it! Mickey Rooney takes out a loan at the bank in "Lucy Meets Mickey Rooney" so that he can open an acting school, but in the process, he gains Lucy and Mr. Mooney as his students. Lucy finds out that her actor neighbor is about to be killed off on a soap opera and disrupts the production in "Lucy and the Soap Opera." In "Lucy Goes to a Hollywood Premiere," Lucy is going to go to a Hollywood premiere no matter what, even if it means disguising herself as an usher. Kirk Douglas guest stars.
In "Lucy Dates Dean Martin," Lucy has a date with Dean Martin's stunt double, but when the double has to work, who is going to double for him? In "Lucy and Bob Crane," Lucy gets into yet more stuntman trouble when her stuntman alter-ego is asked to work on Bob Crane's new picture. Lucy has to disguise herself as a robot in "Lucy, the Robot." Jay North guest stars as Mr. Mooney's nephew. Lucy knits a sweater (and gets the measurements all wrong) in "Lucy and Clint Walker." In "Lucy, the Gun Moll," Lucy goes undercover in the gangster world to find out where some stolen money is. The season ends with "Lucy, the Superwoman," where Lucy is convinced that she has superhuman strength, and is ready to go all the way--even if it means the Olympics!
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Lucy at Marineland" (25:21)
2. "Lucy and the Golden Greek" (25:32)
3. "Lucy in the Music World" (25:33)
4. "Lucy and Joan" (25:31)
5. "Lucy, the Stunt Man" (25:32)
6. "Lucy and the Countess Have a Horse Guest" (25:31)
7. "Lucy Helps Danny Thomas" (25:31)
8. "Lucy Helps the Countess" (25:32)
9. "Lucy and the Sleeping Beauty" (25:29)
10. "Lucy, the Undercover Agent" (25:29)
11. "Lucy and the Return of Iron Man" (25:32)
12. "Lucy Saves Milton Berle" (25:32)
13. "Lucy, the Choir Master" (25:31)
14. "Lucy Discovers Wayne Newton" (25:20)
15. "Lucy, the Rain Goddess" (25:30)
16. "Lucy and Art Linkletter" (25:38)
17. "Lucy Bags a Bargain" (25:31)
18. "Lucy Meets Mickey Rooney" (25:13)
19. "Lucy and the Soap Opera" (25:32)
20. "Lucy Goes to a Hollywood Premiere" (25:32)
21. "Lucy Dates Dean Martin" (25:32)
22. "Lucy and Bob Crane" (25:29)
23. "Lucy, the Robot" (25:29)
24. "Lucy and Clint Walker" (25:28)
25. "Lucy, the Gun Moll" (25:29)
26. "Lucy, the Superwoman" (25:28)
CBS has stayed very consistent on the packaging on these sets, and this one is no exception. It uses a Viva case once again, with an outer slipcover (which has the same artwork as the case). The cover has a picture of Lucy in a fur coat (which actually seems somewhat low-resolution, but it is no big deal) with a pink background, along with various black and white photos of Lucy in various costumes. On the back, we get the information about the set, along with a few snapshots from the episodes.
Inside the case, we have a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and a brief description. The special features for each disc are also listed here. The discs contain no artwork, aside from the series logo on a gray background. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 contains episodes 7-13, Disc 3 contains episodes 14-20, and Disc 4 contains episodes 21-26.
Like the previous two sets, this set uses a standard Viva pack with an outer cardboard sleeve. The sleeve and the case itself both have the same artwork, with the cover showing a large picture of Lucy dressed as a doorman in color, along with smaller black and white photos of Lucy and Viv in their various schemes from this season. Everything is in an orange color scheme this time. The back has various snapshots from the season, a description of the season, and a listing of special features. Inside, there is a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and a description for each episode. The discs contain just the series logo on a gray background. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 contains episodes 7-13, Disc 3 contains episodes 14-20, and Disc 4 contains episodes 21-26. Special features are scattered throughout the set.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are along the lines of the previous sets, with an opening transition that resembles the opening credits from the season. Once the animated transition is done, you get the main menu with options of Play All, Episode Selection, Special Features, and Set Up, with a snapshot of Lucy off to the left inside of a heart.
The menus are all fairly self-explanatory this time. The Episode Selection menu takes you to a menu that shows four episodes per screen, with a snapshot from the episodes. Once you select an episode, you have options of Play, Set Up, and Credits, as well as a list of scenes from the episode. Selecting Set Up allows you to turn on the English subtitles. The Credits option allows you to see the production credits for the episode. Obviously, with a scene selection menu, chapters are placed throughout the episodes.
Special Features gives you a list of all of the special features on the disc, in a text only format. Finally, Set Up allows you to turn on English subtitles. There is no option here to watch the episodes with original openings tacked on to the episode this time as there has been in previous sets.
Video and Audio Quality:
As usual, the video and audio quality is great. There is a little bit of grain, and VERY SLIGHT and occasional crackle in the mono audio, but it looks much better than you'd expect episodes that are almost fifty years old to look and sound. Some of the special features are in poor shape (including many of the opening/closing credits on the special features menu that are in black and white), but it doesn't detract from the set at all, it almost gives a friendly "vintage" feeling to the set. Every episode contains English subtitles.
There are numerous special features on this set, as usual, although the quantity has declined somewhat this time. Still, they are all very high quality, and very much appreciated for this set. The biggest disappointment (which isn't that big) is the fact that you can't watch the episodes with the original openings and closings attached to the episodes this time. Furthermore, the set doesn't include the original openings and closings for all of the episodes this time, either, though it contains them for most. But luckily, the ones that could be found are included on the special features menu. What is interesting is that all of these include the original CBS color bumper, yet some of the opening sequences are in black and white (though a few actually are in color). Most likely this is because color versions of the openings couldn't be found, but I'm glad that they decided to keep that bumper in there for all of them. There are many different variations to be found on each disc, and they all run around 53 seconds each.
Additional special features that can be found on each disc include Production Notes, Guest Cast List, Guest Cast Biographies, and Photo Gallery. These are all fairly self-explanatory, though for those not familiar with the sets, it is worth describing the Production Notes. Here, you'll find on-screen trivia and facts about the most minor of details about all of the episodes, but everything that can be found here is very interesting to read. For instance, the episode "Lucy, the Superwoman" was actually conceived from a script for the series Gilligan's Island! I'm always anxious to read these on each new set of the series that is released.
Disc 1 has "Lucy Behind the Scenes" (5:56), which contains behind-the-scenes video footage from the episode "Lucy at Marineland." This is presented in black and white, and there are also several still photos from the episode. Honestly, it doesn't look like the filming of this episode was a very pleasant experience for anybody, at all, and it is very interesting to see this side of the series. "CBS Fall Promo" (1:03) is a very rough promo for the new season of the series, originally airing on CBS, and announcing the "change" to color (as this was the first season CBS AIRED in color, despite seasons 2 and 3 actually being filmed in color). "Meet the Thompsons" is an on-screen text biography of director Maury Thompson and producer Tommy Thompson, which doesn't really provide a whole lot of information.
Disc 2 has several public service announcements from 1965 recorded for radio by Gale Gordon where he reminds people to drive safely, specifically, to not drink and drive during the holidays. It is interesting to hear Gale Gordon delivering such a serious message on these. There are five of these in total, with runtimes as follows: 0:58, 0:37, 0:30, 0:34, and 0:37. "Wonderful World of Burlesque" (2:49) is a clip from a Danny Thomas special that Lucy appeared on in December 1965. We also have a "Meet Milt Josefsberg" featurette, which is a text biography for the script consultant of the series who later went on to other hit series including All in the Family, Archie Bunker's Place, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, and Laverne & Shirley. There isn't a whole lot in the biography, though.
Disc 3 includes the "Beatrice Foods Presentation" (3:25), which is a special presentation presented at the annual convention of Beatrice Foods Corporation where Lucy and Mr. Mooney essentially "thanked" the corporation for sponsoring Desilu's The Greatest Show. What is interesting about this special feature, though, is that only the audio was preserved, and not the video, so the DVD producers actually took a video scene from one of the episodes in the set to somewhat "recreate" the effect. It actually looks pretty good if you ignore the fact that the lips aren't saying the words that are coming out of Lucy and Mr. Mooney's mouths!
Disc 4 contains the feature "The Magic of Broadcasting" (7:00), a clip from a CBS special where Arthur Godfrey goes behind the scenes at Desliu Studios. We get to see a rehearsal from the episode "Lucy, the Robot," and even get to see an interview with Gale Gordon in this segment. "Promo" (0:24) is just a promo from the series featuring two episodes from the fourth season. It appears that this is a syndication promo, although it isn't totally clear. "Daytime Bumper" (0:10) is a bumper that was used for the mid-break bumper of the episodes reminding viewers to stay tuned for the second part. This was used during the CBS daytime run of the series.
Overall, I'd say for the fourth season of a series, this set does very well in regards to special features. Sure, we could always ask for more, but how many series make it to even the first season with any special features?
Some may say that this is the season where the series begins to jump the shark, and in fact, prior to seeing it, I would have thought the same, but that isn't so. It is still fresh, and there are still many great stories and plots to be found within this season. The series still has some creative steam here, and it hasn't resorted to the "guest star of the week" format quite yet that it will evolve into by season five (which is where the series legitimately did get weak). And, as always, CBS Home Entertainment (and particularly executive producer Thomas Watson) has put together a set that all Lucy fans can be proud to own. While I think fans of Lucy may want to start with the earlier seasons, this season is a great season as well, and it still makes no sense to me why this show doesn't get the amount of exposure that I Love Lucy gets.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/02/11
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