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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > I Love Lucy – The Complete Seventh thru Ninth Seasons aka The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour

I Love Lucy – The Complete Seventh thru Ninth Seasons aka The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour


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



With I Love Lucy cancelled, the Arnaz’s marriage in trouble and Desilu itself on a meteoric rise, the couple continued their roles form the show in 13 great hour-long programs dubbed The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour where the continued to play The Ricardos, while William Frawley and Vivian Vance played Fred & Ethel Mertz.  Though fans of the half-hour show are not always as fond of these shows, CBS DVD has issued them as if they were a continuation of the series, even if the original title was not used.


This was also the point where they started featuring guest stars of great note, something fans have also pointed out as the beginning of a decline as the follow-up Lucy series, but I am one of those fans who thought it was the ultimate extravagant gesture towards the legitimization of TV as a medium like dramatic radio and feature films as a media and locale capable of a greatness worth celebrating and it is that spirit with great class, grace, wit and humor all the way to the final Lucy Show that Lucy and company (before moving on with the new family of Here’s Lucy) that is the reason why Lucy will always be legend.


Some fans would argue that the hour-long shows were too long like the fourth of five original Twilight Zone seasons where the show lost its way for some.  I liked many of those too.  The episodes made from 1957 – 1960 include:


1)     Lucy Takes A Cruise To Havana (guest stars Hedda Hopper & Rudy Vallee)

2)     The Celebrity Next Door (guest stars Tallulah Bankhead)

3)     Lucy Hunts Uranium (guest stars Fred MacMurray & June Haver)

4)     Lucy Wins A Racehorse (guest stars Betty Grable & Harry James)

5)     Lucy Goes To Sun Valley (guest stars Fernando Lamas)

6)     Lucy Goes To Mexico (guest stars Maurice Chevalier)

7)     Lucy Makes Room For Daddy (crossover with Make Room For Daddy cast)

8)     Lucy Goes To Alaska (guest stars Red Skelton)

9)     Lucy Wants A Career (guest stars Paul Douglas)

10)  Lucy’s Summer Vacation (guest stars Ida Lupino & Howard Duff)

11)  Milton Berle Hides Out At The Ricardos

12)  The Ricardos Go To Japan (guest stars Bob Cummings)

13)  Lucy Meets The Moustache (guest stars Ernie Kovacs & Edie Adams)



A quick note on #7 with the Make Room For Daddy cast.  That was the TV series that became the first-ever hit for ABC, happened to be shot at Desilu Studios and began the long and great TV dynasty of the Thomas family staring with the great Danny Thomas.  It was also the first crossover between hit shows on competing networks.  Either way, the Thomas show is long overdue on DVD and when you watch, you can see who good their cast was too.


All the shows are very entertaining and with less shows to have to worry about, more money and effort is actually in these shows.  The guests are hilarious and the writing remains top notch.  Milton Berle Hides Out At The Ricardos is particularly a riot, possibly marking the peak of lunacy of a decade of these characters, showing no matter who they grew or changed, the heart and soul remained.  Frawley was funnier than he ever got credit for and Vance is one of the great comic talents of her generation and the chemistry she had with Ball still resonates to this day.


Then the shows look as good, if not better than the original DVD releases of the half-hour series, as the 1.33 X 1 image come from a series of restored prints whose source material is in great shape.  The further improvement in Video Black, detail and clarity is amazing and even better than the recently released first season of The Untouchables (reviewed elsewhere on this site).  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also nice, clean and clear again sounding even a bit better than the older shows since they are later recordings.  Playback is incredible for DVD, making one wonder how amazing these could be in HD.


Extras are again extensive including uncut footage within some episodes, rare 1951 on-set color footage that shows how incredible the production design really was, deleted scenes, original opening & closing credits, original animation, original cast commercials, promo spots, production notes, text guest cast info and a remarkable corporate/industrial film Lucy & Desi made for the series main sponsor Westinghouse.  Even in an industrial film, only Lucy could be this funny!


Hopefully, the badly-in-need-of-restoration Lucy Show will soon follow, which began in black & white, then became one of the most color-rich TV shows ever made.  Until then, The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour makes for a great set that belongs on the same shelf as the best comedy TV on DVD out there.  Don’t miss it!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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