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Lucy Calls the President

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 Liebenson

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: April 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003498RRC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,691 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tante Maren TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
MPI is really making all of Lucy's fans beyond happy with their second release of Lucy's Television Specials! Lucy Calls The President is a one hour special that was originally aired on November 21, 1977 on CBS. It starred Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Gale Gordon, Mary Jane Croft, Mary Wickes (all from The Lucy Show) along with Ed McMahon, Steve Allen, Lillian Carter (President Jimmy Carter's mother) and others.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This special aired on CBS back in the fall of 1977 on CBS to great ratings. This is one of Lucy's best comedy specials (the other being "The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour" which also aired on CBS back in the spring of 1964)and brings back the pairing of Lucy & Vivian Vance for one last time. This special is really funny and I am delighted that MPI is releasing this gem. The special also stars Gale Gordon, Mary Wickes, Mary Jane Croft and Ed McMahon. It is a truly great comedy ensemble and a very, very enjoyable comedy outing. I recommend this special to everybody who truly loves to laugh. Unfortunately, this will be the last time Lucy and Vivian appear together.
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The release of LUCY CALLS THE PRESIDENT has been a highlight of this year for me. I remember first watching this in 1977 when CBS originally aired this and well I am glad the wait to see it again is over.

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.
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Thank you MPI Home Theater for your dedication to all that is Lucy. Each release that you issue is handled with loving care and a gift to all us Lucy fans. LUCY CALLS THE PRESIDENT is one of the many specials Lucy did after ending HERE'S LUCY. It is infamous for many reasons. Some sad, most importantly that Lucy's mother Deedee had just passed away. Throughout Lucy's entire career she had never missed a single taping and the bond between these two was strong. How bittersweet and sad it must have been for Lucy to go forward but Lucy was a trooper and this special provides some of the best magic of her entire career.

The plot of Lucy phoning the president and then the announcement that he would be stopping by her house is a simple premise for some hilarious comedic stunts as only Lucille Ball could provide. Lucy was always loyal to fellow actors she liked to work with and this special was indeed special for it was a final reunion that brought them all together. We get Mary Wickes, Mary Jane Croft, Gale Gordon but most importantly the final television reunion of Lucille and Vivian Vance. None of their magic chemistry had been lost and each scene sparked with reminders of all the laughs these two have provided us. And this special continues those laughs nonstop. The simple use of potato salad and a cake provides the most hilarious moments of the special. I sat through this and laughed from beginning to end and remembered watching it when it first aired in 1977. I had been 16. Lucy was the master and her comedic timing was still fully intact. This special is a must for all Lucy fans as well as fans of comedy history.

The bonus features here are worth the price of admission in itself.
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