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Lucy Calls the President
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I LOVE LUCY CO-STAR VIVIAN VANCE REUNITES WITH LUCY
Following the long-running success of her Here's Lucy series, the inimitable Lucille Ball returned to television with a series of special programs, pairing her with other legendary performers and friends.
When Indiana housewife Lucy Whittaker (LUCILLE BALL) calls the White House to complain about a housing project, she soon discovers the President accepting an invitation to visit her home for dinner. Calamity and comedy follows as Lucy frantically prepares for the special event with the befuddled help of her family, friends and even Secret Service agents. Includes a surprise cameo appearance.
Essential for Lucy lovers, this found treasure, available for the first time on DVD, is more than a special, it's more like a This Is Your Life for the First Lady of Television. It reunites Lucy with two of her most dependable writers from the I Love… days, Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis, and a veritable stock company of Lucy players, including Gale Gordon (The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, Life with Lucy), Mary Jane Croft (I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy), Mary Wickes (The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy), and Vivian Vance appearing with her I Love Lucy cohort for the last time. In this one-hour special taped before a studio audience in 1977, mayhem ensues when Lucy frantically prepares for a visit from President Jimmy Carter and his family. Gordon portrays her Republican father-in-law, with Ed McMahon as ever the consummate straight man as Lucy's husband. Some of the humor is atypically (for Lucy) topical. When she asks Gordon how her saxophone rendition of "Hail to the Chief" sounded, he replies, "Like you voted for Ford." But there's plenty of old-school slapstick and clowning that never gets old. What's really special are the generous bonus features, a trove of archival rarities including recently unearthed rehearsal footage, a Tonight Show appearance with a deferential Johnny Carson, and an excerpt from a 1965 radio broadcast of "Talking with Lucy" featuring Steve Allen, who appears as himself in Lucy Calls the President. This is one Call Lucy fans will not want to miss. --Donald LiebensonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Lucy plays Lucy Whittaker from Indiana, who calls in to President Jimmy Carter's weekly speak to the President phone service for the public, so she can bring up a topic of local importance. President Carter tells Lucy he'll discuss her local issues with her in person, as he will be in her area soon. Later plans change so the President will actually be at Lucy's house to have dinner with her! Of course, everyone who has ever known Lucy in her life, just has to be invited to this special dinner for President Carter, so this will be some dinner Lucy has to prepare for such a large crowd!
With 5 of The Lucy Show's cast re-united for this special, it would sadly turn out to be their last time together. Vivian Vance had been fighting breast cancer for a while undergoing chemotherapy, when she suffered a stroke just a few months before the special started filming. This stroke left Vivian's left side of her face partially paralyzed, but she unbelievably still went on filming this special with Lucy. In July of 1977, just 4 months before filming, Lucy lost her beloved mother DeDe Ball. DeDe never missed a show of Lucy's as she was always in the audience, through every episode of I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and all her television specials. This was the first time Lucy would do a show without her wonderful supportive mother in the audience. They said Lucy was visibly distraught and upset with the absence of her mother and that it shows in her acting and movements in the show.
Sadly, Vivian Vance lost her battle with cancer only a year and a half later and passed away on August 17, 1979. Vivian's health and stroke prevented her from working with her beloved television partner ever again, so this is the last time Vivian and Lucy ever worked together. MPI says they are including the following bonus materials along with this great special: Never before seen rehearsal footage of Lucy and the cast, a featurette with guest star James E. Brodhead, Lucy on the Tonight Show in 1969 and more rare Lucy footage.
I can't express my gratitude to MPI enough for bringing these long lost treasures to us once again since their premiere in 1977! I can't wait until Lucy Calls The President's dvd is released on April 6, 2010! On April 27th, 2010 I Love Lucy: The Movie dvd is being released also and we have a bit of a wait from CBS to release The Lucy Show Season 2 dvd on July 13,2010 and The Lucy Show Season 3 dvd on October 12, 2010! I have been keeping in contact with CBS for all the news on The Lucy Shows dvd releases. CBS said they will base future releases on sales, so please all you Lucy fans- keep buying and CBS and MPI will keep releasing! CBS has pushed the release dates farther away only because of the pristine clean up they are doing on The Lucy Show! The job they did on The Lucy Show Season 1 was beyond perfect! Again, THANK YOU MPI for more Lucy television treasures from all of us Lucy (and Vivian) fans!
Although this special may not be the all time best" Lucy" shows it has the memories and nostalgia in it's favor. Lucille Ball is reunited with Gale Gordon, Mary Wickes, Mary Jane Croft her old I LOVE LUCY writers, first season director and of course Vivian Vance.
It is a cute little plot about an Indiana housewife trying to save a park for under-priviledged children. Without giving away too much Lucy finds out President Carter will be nearby and tries to get him to pay her a visit. Soon enough the entire town finds out and you can guess what happens.
Lucy was still able to do her comedy and match wits with anyone. At times this program can be a little old-fashioned and corny but I thought her last couple of HERE'S LUCY years were that considering what CBS was putting out in the 1970's. Probably what is most unbelievable in this program is Gale Gordon being Lucy's father-in-law. In this show Lucy is married to Ed McMahon and truthfully everyone looks around the same age.
Whatever Lucy put her self into I would watch and glad to own it one day nothing could dampen my love for her. Lucy always surrounded herself with the best supporting actors like Gale Gordon. It is fun to hear the potshots Gale Gordon makes at the newly-elected President Carter.
Most of all I wanted this program for the reunion of Lucy and her players especially Vivian Vance. This would make the last time Vivian Vance and Lucy would work together. Lucy and the cast knew Vivian Vance was not well at the time of this program so it is kind of a bittersweet show. Never the less as always Vivian delivered 110% and proved once again how valuable and priceless she was to Lucille Ball.
I have heard people say that this cast was showing their age which may be somewhat true but you are very unlikely to get a cast like this on television today.