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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > TV Special > The Lucy Show – The Official Second Season (1963 – 1964/CBS DVD)

The Lucy Show – The Official Second Season (1963 – 1964/CBS DVD)

Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: A +     Episodes: A-



The Second Season of The Lucy Show featured significant beginnings and endings.  This would be the first year the series would be shot in color.  However, the episodes were broadcast on CBS in black and white.  In addition, Gale Gordon would begin a regular stint on a Lucille Ball sitcom.  She had wanted Gordon to join her for quite awhile. Previously, the actor was always unavailable but she finally got him.  In the show’s Second Season, Gordon is more restrained in his portrayal of banker Theodore J. Mooney.  Later in the series (and the subsequent Here’s Lucy, reviewed elsewhere on this site) he would go into comedic fits of rage.  This would be the last season Vivian Vance is a full-time regular on a Lucy’s series.  It is also the last season longtime writers Madelyn Martin and Bob Carroll, Jr. are involved with the scripts. 


The episodes are filled with physical comedy professionally performed by the cast. Guest stars this season included Alan Hale (Lucy Puts Out A Fire At The Bank), Wally Cox (Lucy Conducts The Symphony), Robert Alda (Lucy Goes To Art Class) and Ethel Merman (Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman How To Sing & Ethel Merman and The Cub Scouts Show).  While guest stars did pop up, the comedy remained focused on the talents of Ball and Vance. 


Lucille’s regular troupe of supporting players appeared during the second season. Mary Jane Croft and Mary Wickes provided able support in Lucy Plays Cleopatra, Lucy and Viv Play Softball and Lucy Puts Out A Fire At The Bank. Kathleen Freeman appeared in Lucy Plays Florence Nightingale, Lucy and Viv Open a Restaurant and Lucy Enters A Baking Contest.  Mary Jane Croft recalled performing on both The Lucy Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet during the same period.  The actress stated she preferred doing The Lucy Show “because it was like doing a play.”


The extras are well worth the purchase cost of this beautifully packaged DVD set, including an entertaining and informative interview with Carole Cook, who made numerous appearances on The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy.  Cook recalled how Lucy was “very methodical” in her work and “praised her writers.”  Regarding Gale Gordon, Cook recalled “Lucy loved him and trusted him.”  Another interview included is with Barry Livingston, who played Mr. Mooney’s young son (another character who would simply vanish during the run of the series).


The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour: Mr. and Mrs. which originally aired in 1964 is included on this set.  It is a delightful special featuring Lucille Ball as a studio head in trouble with the bank.  She tracks down Bob Hope who agrees to appear in a special demonstrating her capability to run the studio.  The production values of the special are first rate though it is a bit distracting watching Hope read his lines off cue cards. 

The 1.33 X 1 image is available in two versions.  One is the optional commercials-added version which shows all the big sponsors who were able to back Lucy as she moved into color, but that footage is in black and white because the commercials are that way and that was the only way these add-ons were produced.  Otherwise those versions are in color.  Then there are the totally color copies and they are amazing.  The shows were all filmed in 35mm film and Lucy made sure she was going to have the best-looking TV show on the air and she did.


With exceptional wardrobe and studio resources from the studio she now outright owned, this season set the highest full color standard and it is one that would hold for the rest of the history of the Desilu Studios (and a few years beyond when they were sold to Paramount Television) on classic TV shows like Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, The Greatest Show On Earth and even The Immortal, setting a new high watermark for how great color television could look.  All the shows were shot with the quality of feature films and that is why this looks so good on DVD.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono can show its age, but these materials were stored well enough, so they sound much better than many shows from the time.  The combination will shock fans of the show who have never seen how good these can look outside of non-faded film prints.

The production notes feature information about the reasons why Ball’s longtime writers Madelyn Martin and Bob Carroll Jr. left the series. According to the notes, Martin left due to a marriage and move while Carroll planned to live in Europe. However, according to The Lucy Book (1999) by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, Ball and her writers had a falling out due to “poorly chosen words” and “other misunderstandings”.  Unfortunately, the direction of the series would suffer with the departure of Martin and Carroll.


The Lucy Show – Season Two is a delight for fans of Lucille Ball and those wanting to simply laugh out loud.



-   Fred Grandinetti


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