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The Lucy Show: The Official First Season
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After the death of her husband, Lucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball) and her friend, the recently divorced Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance), move into a house together with their children. The series follows the adventures of the widow Lucy as she grapples with the comic complications of life on her own.
The Lucy Show does not have the iconic status of I Love Lucy, but it was a worthy and very popular successor (it was the fifth-rated show in its inaugural season). Based on a book, Life Without George, it was something of a groundbreaking series in that it centered on two single moms: one, Lucy, a widower, and the other, Vivian (Vivian Vance), a divorcee (the first such sitcom character). Vivian and her son, Sherman (Ralph Hart), share Lucy's suburban home in Danfield, New York, with her two children: teenage daughter Chris (Candy Moore) and wisecracking young son Jerry (Jimmy Garrett), who delivers zingers like a pint-sized Fred Mertz. Don’t look for Gale Gordon as banker Mr. Mooney. He doesn't arrive until season two. The great Charles Lane (one of Mr. Potter's minions in It's a Wonderful Life) appears this season as cranky Mr. Barnsdahl, who is in charge of Lucy's trust fund. Also appearing this season only is Dick Martin, of Rowan & Martin fame, as Lucy's neighbor, Harry. The Lucy Show is more contemporary than I Love Lucy. One episode references the dance craze, the Watusi. ""Lucy Visits the White House"" directly references the Kennedy clan and includes some mild political humor. When Lucy asks a diner counter man (Alan Reed, the unmistakable voice of Fred Flintstone) why he won't give her sugar cubes to rebuild a damaged model White House to present to the president, he replies ""I'm a Republican."" But The Lucy Show has aged gracefully thanks to the timeless physical comedy Lucy performs with Chaplin-esque grace (in ""Chris's New Year's Eve Party,"" she appears in a silent movie routine as the Little Tramp). Episodes may begin routinely, but they inevitably end up with Lucy and Viv stuck in a rapidly filling shower stall, wrestling with a circus elephant, or some other outrageous predicament. The Lucy Show is not as widely syndicated as I Love Lucy so these episodes have not been rerun to death. A treasure trove of archival extras includes an interview with Lucie Arnaz, who made her screen debut opposite her mother in the first-season episode ""Lucy Is a Soda Jerk,"" and another with Garrett, who tells some great and heartfelt stories about working with Lucy. Also fun are commercials that feature members of the cast in character, and clips from a 1962 CBS special, ""Opening Night,"" which previewed the network's fall lineup. With all this, what's not to love? --Donald Liebenson
Stills from The Lucy Show: Season 1 (Click for larger image)
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Some of these episodes are comedy classics -- "Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower" and "Lucy Puts Up a TV Antenna" -- but the season also shows that Lucy and her company were trying to find their way. In some episodes, Lucy has a boyfriend, Harry (Dick Martin), but by the end of the season, he is gone. Lucy and her producers seemingly decided that the Lucy character was more fun without a boyfriend. Lucy also tangles with the banker who oversees her trust fund (Charles Lane), but he doesn't lend much in the way of comedy and he is gone by season's end also. Over the course of the season, Lucy and other women 1) form a barbershop quartet and 2) start a volunteer fire department, but none of this takes the series anyplace.
I highly recommend The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman as a companion to any Lucille Ball viewing.
New Interview with Lucy Arnaz
New Interview with Jimmy Garrett
Clips from "Opening Night" Special
Vintage Network Promos
"The Lucy Show" Vintage Merchandise
The Lucy Show The Official First Season is filled with very funny Episodes, lots of laughs, Great DVD transfer as well as Sound, it is in Black and White, however, it is high quality, very clear. In my family, we all enyoy watching the Lucy and Vivian Team all over again! ...Thank You D.D.