I Love Lucy: The Complete Series
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The Whole McGillicuddy: All 9 Seasons! All 194 Episodes! Fall in love again and again with the timeless comedy that entertains generation after generation. This special 34-disc DVD collection contains every hilarious episode of every classic season of I Love Lucy - from the Lost Pilot to the The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour shows. Join Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel for non-stop laughter as you savor every magical moment of the greatest sitcom of all time. Includes all new special features including I Love Lucy: The Movie, the first Fully-Colorized I Love Lucy episode, I Love Lucy at the 6th Annual Emmy(R) Awards, highlights of Lucy & Desi's First Joint TV Appearance, and hours of bonus features from the individual complete season releases!
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Season 2 of I Love Lucy includes two of the most famous half-hours in television history. "Job Switching," originally broadcast mid-September of 1952, is the crazy, battle-of-the-sexes episode in which husbands Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) and Fred Mertz (William Frawley) trade roles with wives Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ethel (Vivian Vance), culminating in the men making a shambles of domestic chores while Lucy and Ethel take disastrous work at a chocolate factory. That's right: This is the show where the ladies have a Chaplinesque experience with a too-fast factory conveyor belt, forcing them to hide candies in their mouths, in their hats, and down their blouses lest a tough forewoman fire them for incompetence. A half-century later, the scene is still so fresh and funny it would grace any current sitcom. "Lucy Goes to the Hospital," which received an amazing 71.7 rating on January 19, 1953, is the historic episode featuring the birth of Little Ricky and a load of wonderful slapstick. Other television series (The Dick Van Dyke Show) and movies (Nine Months) have tried to top Lucy's time-to-go-to-the-hospital shenanigans, but there's nothing like the sight of Ricky and Fred falling all over themselves or Ricky showing up at the maternity ward (direct from a voodoo-themed show at the Tropicana) in witch doctor makeup.
The other 31 episodes included in I Love Lucy: The Compete Second Season have choice moments, too. "Lucy Becomes a Sculptress" finds the ever-ambitious redhead falling for empty flattery at an art-supply store and commencing an ill-advised career working in clay. Ricky agrees to bless this new endeavor if an art critic says she has talent, but Lucy tries to increase her chances by posing as a bust of herself--resulting in mayhem, of course. The usual running themes in I Love Lucy--Lucy's misguided desire to be a part of Ricky's musical career, and her penchant for disguising herself to investigate something--are all over The Complete Second Season. "Ricky Loses His Voice" is a delightful piece in which Ricky's laryngitis inspires Lucy, the Mertzes, and an aging chorus line to put on a Tropicana spectacle, and "Ricky Has Labor Pains" finds Lucy and Ethel going undercover as male reporters to find out what happens at a stag party. Lots to enjoy here, and the special features include bloopers, information about the guest cast, and snippets from Ball's radio show. --Tom Keogh
I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season finds Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) making an international mess out of husband Ricky's globe-trotting tour as an entertainer. Beginning with "Lucy Visits Grauman's" and "Lucy and John Wayne," the impulsive redhead risks Ricky's sanity in Hollywood by stealing a cement slab, from the famous entrance to Grauman's Chinese Theater, that contains the imprint of John Wayne's footprints and signature. In the tradition of superstars playing themselves on I Love Lucy, an exasperated (and very funny) Wayne gets into the act over and over and over again, making new imprints on multiple slabs because Lucy keeps messing up the results. After more shenanigans in Los Angeles (Lucy attends a ritzy party with a dummy substituting for her unavailable husband) and a disastrous train ride home, it's time to jeopardize Ricky's success during an interview show that ends disastrously.
Lucy's fifth season travel theme continues when Ricky and his band are booked on a European tour that does not include his wife or the Mertzes. Of course, that doesn't stop the determined Lucy (or Ethel), who schemes her way into Ricky's plans, only to have a number of snafus arise as she tries to leave the country. In the I Love Lucy tradition, entire episodes are written around such simple matters as trying to get a passport, or helping with Fred's fear of getting seasick while traveling. All this show's stars really need is a ridiculous, open-ended situation to exploit, and the comedy flows from there. "Bon Voyage" is a particularly funny episode in which Lucy gets left behind by the European-bound ship carrying Ricky and the others, and she has to find a way to get back aboard. The hilarious "Lucy and the Queen" finds her angling in London for a way to meet the Royal Family after Ricky is invited to say hello at the Palladium. From there, Lucy creates chaos in Scotland (this episode includes a memorable dream sequence in which Ricky appears as Scotty MacTavish MacDougal MacCardo), Paris (where she and Ethel plot to meet guest star and good sport Charles Boyer at an outdoor café), Rome (the outstanding "Lucy's Italian Movie" finds her dispatched to a vineyard, where she has to crush grapes--brilliantly--with her feet). Lots of special features, including a behind-the-scenes peek and bloopers. --Tom Keogh
The sixth and final season of I Love Lucy finds new laughs in some old formulas while also expanding the hugely popular show’s horizons with a change of scene. Things get off to a familiar start when Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) gets in the middle of husband Ricky’s business--in this case, disguising herself as a hot dog salesman at Yankee Stadium in order to get near Bob Hope. Hope, she believes, has ignored Ricky’s offer to be the first act at his new nightclub. But, in fact, Hope had already agreed; Ricky was just sitting on the information to keep Lucy from getting typically ditzy in front of one of his celebrity pals. Not surprisingly, mayhem follows when poor Hope finds his hand slathered with condiments and his noggin bonked by a foul ball. Other celebrity sightings include Orson Welles, who copes with Lucy’s aspirations as a Shakespearean actress, and George Reeves, television’s Superman, who shows up unexpectedly, in costume, at Little Ricky’s birthday party. Meanwhile, Lucy--who didn’t want to disappoint the tyke--stands in a makeshift Man of Steel outfit on a window ledge, in the rain.
A number of episodes concern Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux) now that he’s old enough to be a functioning character on the show. In "Little Ricky Learns to Play the Drums," the lad takes after his musician father and starts playing percussion, leading to some frayed nerves. A couple of episodes later, young Ricardo gets a bad case of stage fright at school, and Lucy suggests Ricky let him play the drums at the nightclub. (But then, of course, she has to figure out how to talk her son into performing.) A big change comes to I Love Lucy in the season’s second half, when the Ricardos decide it’s time to become homeowners and pull up stakes at their old Manhattan apartment. Moving to a nice, new house in Connecticut, they’re soon joined by Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel (Vivian Vance), and the season’s storylines take on a distinctly suburban flavor, with country clubs, barbecues, and gardens figuring into the comedy. With those developments, I Love Lucy came to a close after making television history as a much-beloved sitcom. Lots of special features, including multiple audio commentaries, flubs, lost scenes, and five episodes of My Favorite Husband, Ball’s radio show. --Tom Keogh
Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show
From Lucy-tormented Hollywood A-listers and bongo-propelled production numbers to archival goodies such as long-lost footage, there is much to love in this collection of all 13 episodes from The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (also known as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour). Following I Love Lucy's sixth and final season, these monthly (give or take) specials reunited America with Ricky and Lucy (and Keith Thibodeaux's adorable Little Ricky, still living the country life in Connecticut. The expanded, hour-long format allowed for celebrity guest stars and excursions to far-flung locales, such as Japan and Mexico. Not matter where they go, Lucy can always be counted on to act, in Desi's words, "a little crazy in the head," which is how she winds up masquerading as Ernie Kovacs' chauffeur in "Lucy Meets the Moustache" (an episode making its home-video debut), dangling Milton Berle from a construction crane in "Milton Berle Hides Out at the Ricardos," or sparking a uranium uproar in Las Vegas in "Lucy Hunts Uranium."
A highlight of this set is the first-ever home video release of the uncut version of "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana," a flashback episode in which Lucy meets Ricky on a "maiden voyage" to Cuba. She also meets future best friend Ethel (Vivian Vance) and her new husband Fred (a toupeed William Frawley), and goes overboard for her first celebrity sighting, Rudy Vallee. Because these episodes do not play as often in syndication, they seem fresher than their endlessly re-run counterparts. They are full of delights for movie, TV, and Lucy buffs, among them, Fred MacMurray getting "Uranium" fever, Maurice Chevalier singing "Yankee Doodle Boy" in the "Mexico" episode, prolific character actor Sid Melton as a bellboy in the "Alaska" episode, and a va-voom Vance decked out as maid and a dance hall girl, respectively, in the "The Celebrity Next Door" and "Milton Berle" episodes. Among this set's prodigious bonus features include 1951 color footage that an audience member surreptitiously filmed, rediscovered scenes that were cut from the original broadcasts, and a filmed presentation to Westinghouse, which sponsored the series. If you don't add this to your library, you have some 'splainin' to do. --Donald Liebenson
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1. The price - Even if this set was sold at its SRP (suggested retail price) of $80, it would be a steal, but the fact that it's being sold (as I write this) for around $45 is insane! That's less than $1.50 per disc. It's an amazing deal for the complete series.
2. Uncut episodes - OK, this is a pro for any of the DVD releases, but it's important to list this here anyway. TV networks today butcher episodes - especially classic shows - to make room for more and more commercials. These are uncut and in some cases, contain over 3 minutes of footage per episode not shown in syndication repeats.
3. Space saving - This set is significantly smaller than the previous release. It's not as elaborate, but it will fit on your shelf with the rest of your DVDs and it won't take up too much space. It's a little bit wider than 5 standard DVD cases.
4. The discs are packaged better - There are issues with the way the discs are packaged (see below) - BUT, they are packaged a lot better than the previous set, which had them loose in cardboard sleeve books. This set is a definite improvement.
1. The missing disc(s) - Unlike the original complete series set, this one doesn't contain the exclusive bonus disc with the colorized Lucy Goes to Scotland episode or the I Love Lucy movie (along with several other special features). Fortunately though, you can buy that disc by itself. Just search for I Love Lucy: The Movie and Other Great Rarities. This set also doesn't contain the special Colorized Christmas disc that was released two years ago (which you can also buy by itself). True, that particular release was never included with the original complete series set, but it would have been a nice addition with this set, even though it's a bit out of date already, not having three of the six episodes (so far?) that have been colorized by CBS - Job Switching (the chocolate factory episode, aired in 2014) and Lucy and Superman and L.A. at Last (aired in 2015).
2. The packaging - As you can see from the pictures I've posted of the set, the packaging is very cheap and prone to issues. Full disclosure: I didn't buy mine from Amazon; I purchased mine at Walmart, in store, but that doesn't mean you won't encounter similar issues from other retailers including Amazon. If you do, though, it won't be their fault. The box itself (which was torn a bit for me, I don't know why) that houses the disc cases appears to be a little too big for the cases. I can imagine some dents could become an issue for some people, especially on the side where the cases come out. There is almost a quarter of an inch of wiggle room in there, which could also lead to cracks in the disc cases themselves (as mine was, on both the spine and the side that opens). The discs come in two cases, one larger (and wider) than the other, which makes them look a bit odd together. There are 25 discs in the larger case and 8 in the smaller one. As you can see with the larger case, the disc holders themselves aren't attached to the case. Mine was already broken on one of the hinges. It makes it a little awkward going through the discs when the holder isn't firmly in place, too. The discs overlap in the larger case as well unlike in the smaller case (which is more in the style of those 6-disc, clear amaray cases that have become so popular now, for good reason) leaving the discs in the larger case prone to scratches (several of mine had small scratches). The hubs in the larger case were very flimsy as well, only containing two "prongs" on each side to hold the discs in place, which leaves the discs moving around more than they would on a normal hub, making the possibility for scratches even higher. One of my discs was loose inside because one of the prongs broke. There were also a couple discs that had a speck or two of glue or something on the play side of them. I don't know where it came from, but luckily it was very easy to rub off and may have only been an issue with my set in particular, something that would be found rarely if at all. But, having said all of that, at the end of the day, this set is very, very cheap - unbelieveably cheap - and you can't complain too much.
3. The missing "The Celebrity Next Door" scene - OK, so, the set isn't COMPLETELY uncut. There is one instance where a scene is missing - the scene in the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour with Tallulah Bankhead where she first mentions her strawberry allergy to Lucy while at dinner. This wasn't included in any of the other releases either. How it ended up on the cutting room floor from the original masters, I have no idea. It's only a brief moment that is missing, though, certainly not enough of an issue where it would make this set not worth getting.
4. No episode guide/booklet - The original complete series set came with a nice episode guide/booklet, but this only has the episode titles listed on the inside of the cases and on the discs themselves. Anyone who's a huge I Love Lucy fan will know the episodes by their titles, but a more casual fan - you know, one who wouldn't recognize an episode called Job Switching as the chocolate factory episode - may have a hard time finding a particular episode.
There are the pros and cons to help you decide whether to get this new set or not. I recommend it a great deal, even with the (possible) issues. It's worth the money and any I Love Lucy fan will love this.
If you have any questions about the set, post them in the comments and I'll try to answer them for you.
Certainly no true fan of Lucille Ball and 'I Love Lucy' needs to be convinced to get this set since you are likely a die hard fan who still watches the episodes on TV on various nostalgia type channels. With that said, I will confess I had this disk set on my wishlist for a period of eight months, as I initially balked at the over $200 price tag in 2011. Although I love Lucy, Ricky and the Mertzs enough to pay that much for owning all the episodes at home, I thought it was excessive at the time. So, for over an eight months period, I monitored the price as it fluctuated. Finally, in late November 2011, it was at $70.99 for literally like a minute and I jumped at the chance to purchase it right then and there.
Even though I was sure I had seen all the episodes on TV Land and Nick-at-Night over the years, I was pleasantly surprised that in the entire collection of the show, there were about 10-12 episodes I had never seen. It was wonderful to watch these newly discovered (for me) episodes and of course, laugh out loud and smile at the TV as I re-watched all the familiar classic ones.
The DVD set itself comes in a beautiful and thoughtfully packaged heart shape box, that is within a rectangular clear hard plastic shell. All CDs were present and in mint condition.
Of course, each episode has all the charm, laughs and love that we all know the series to have so I won't go into those details. However, I do want to point out how fantastic the picture quality is and how wonderful the special features and extras are. Each disk is filled with good features that further shed light into the making off, backstory and insider production tidbits and mistakes that you may not know of.
I love Lucy and I know you do too, so I don't recommend you wait for the price of this set to go down if price is the only reason you may not want to purchase it now or why you are reading reviews on it. If you do though, rest assured when you finally get it, it is a fantastic addition to any classic TV collection. It is an absolute gem and I continue to play the disks consistently throughout each year I've owned it.