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The Mothers-in-Law: The Complete Series

4.6 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's a funny family feud from Desi Arnaz and the writers of I Love Lucy
Set in the swinging late 1960s, THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW centers on the laugh-filled misadventures of longtime neighbors in suburban Los Angeles who become related to each other when their children suddenly get married.

Legendary actress Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks, Grease) stars as Eve Hubbard, the sophisticated wife of straight-laced lawyer Herbert Hubbard (Herb Rudley). Veteran comedienne Kaye Ballard plays Kaye Buell, the outspoken wife of bombastic television writer Roger Buell (Roger C. Carmel and Richard Deacon). To the dismay of their hapless husbands, the strong-willed mothers are determined to meddle in the lives of  newlyweds Jerry (Jerry Fogel) and Suzie Hubbard (Deborah Walley).


The Mothers-in-Law is one of those "You had to be there" shows, best appreciated by those who dimly but fondly remember this short-lived series. This was Desi Arnaz's last TV series as a producer. As a swan song, it's more "We're Having a Baby, My Baby and Me" than "Cuban Pete," but for a show that was hopelessly square even back in 1967 (as witness the cringe-worthy episode featuring the one-hit wonder band the Seeds, who perform said one hit, "Pushin' Too Hard"), it rates as a found treasure thanks to the crack timing and expert clowning of its stars. Show biz troupers Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard star as reserved and sophisticated Eve Hubbard and histrionic and overly emotional Kaye Buell. They are neighbors with an odd-couple friendship whose lives become further bound when their children, Eve's daughter Susie (Deborah Walley) and Kaye's son Jerry (Jerry Fogel), get married and move in to the Hubbards' garage. Arnaz did not attempt to reinvent the wheel with The Mothers-in-Law. Created and written primarily by I Love Lucy scribes Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis, the series takes several pages from the Lucy playbook. Arden and Ballard have a Lucy-Ethel chemistry. Arnaz, who directed many of the episodes, deftly stages the ladies' slapstick shenanigans. And just as Lucy never stopped plotting to get into husband Ricky's act, so do Eve and Kaye insist on meddling in their children's lives, much to the eye-rolling annoyance of their long-suffering husbands (Herbert Rudley and Roger C. Carmel). Several episodes also manage to work in comical production numbers to showcase the cast's talents. Fan-favorite episodes include those in which Arnaz guest stars as matador Raphael Del Gado from Barcelona. Other memorable guest stars include Don Rickles, Ozzie Nelson, Paul Lynde, and a pre-All in the Family Rob Reiner. Despite being sandwiched between Disney's The Wonderful World of Color and Bonanza, The Mothers-in-Law was not a ratings smash. In season 2, Carmel left the show in a salary dispute and was replaced Darrin-style with Richard Deacon, and not even the addition of grandchildren to the family mix could save the series. The extras on this eight-disc set are impressive. Baby boomers will get a nostalgic kick out of seeing the NBC peacock unfurl its feathers in "living color," as well as period commercials. There is a newly filmed interview with the gracious Ms. Ballard, the original unaired pilot featuring Kay Cole as Susie, two failed Arnaz series pilots for The Carol Channing Show and Lands End, and solo variety show performance clips featuring Arden and Ballard. Unlike the intrusive Mrs. Hubbard and Mrs. Buell, TV buffs should welcome The Mothers-in-Law into their homes. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

New video interview with Kaye Ballard
Original unaired pilot
Cast sponsor commercials
Network promotional spots
Behind the scenes footage including dress rehearsal
Script for unproduced episode of The Mothers-In-Law
Desi Arnaz Productions pilots: The Carol Channing Show & Land's End

Product Details

  • Actors: Eve Arden, Kaye Ballard, Herb Rudley, Roger C. Carmel, Richard Deacon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 1620 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JHXS5A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,371 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Mothers-in-Law: The Complete Series" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tante Maren TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
MPI Home Video just keeps bringing out more rarities to please their fans! They planned to release The Mothers-In-Law last year in 2009, but decided to do both seasons- which is the entire series- together in one set. They are not rushing the release of this series as they are remastering the original film into pristine condition, like they have been doing for Here's Lucy and the Lucy specials and have stated to me that this set will be LOADED with bonus materials! After hearing all this, I can't wait until July 27, 2010 to be able to see this darling sitcom again!

This sitcom was the complete project of Desi Arnaz after he resigned as President from Desilu Studios in 1963, which followed his divorce from Lucy. He put together this show along with the same writers from I Love Lucy- Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis. By the time he had scripts and the cast it was ready for it's premiere in 1967. Desi produced, directed and even guest starred in The Mothers-In-Law.

Even though the show was placed right in the middle of NBC's top shows, Bonanza and The Wonderful World Of Disney, the shows ratings were very unimpressive. NBC wanted to cancel the show after this first dismal year, but Desi talked NBC to give them a second chance on a second season, with no pay raises for anyone in the show. NBC agreed to this and all the cast agreed with no raises except for Roger C. Carmel who played Roger Buell- Kaye Ballard's husband. Even when Desi pleaded with him to accept his same pay for the second year of $2,000.00 a week with residuals, Roger refused. Roger's ungratefulness to Desi Arnaz got around the studios and he had a hard time finding work for years. After this second year did even worse on the ratings, the show was cancelled.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just received "The Mothers-in-Law" DVD and it's everything a classic TV lover, like myself, would want. Bonus features, commentary from Kaye Ballard, behind-the-scenes footage, vintage cast commercials, sponser plugs, WOW! Not to mention that the episodes were re-mastered in all their wonderful 1960's glory. It's funny to see some of the colors vividly especially the Hubbard's orange couch in season one. The price for this DVD set is well worth the money. considering you get all 56 episodes in one box set.
I think one of the highlights is that Kaye sings the lyrics to the crazy theme song which I never knew existed. It's hystercial just like the music itself. Also, the pilot with a different "Susie" played by Kay Cole (who was she, anyway?) instead of Deborah Walley is an interesting sight to behold. Never, ever seen and the opening and closing credits are also different, but amusing. Kaye does point out that she was very sad to see Roger C. Carmel leave after the first season and that Richard Deacon could not fill his shoes as well but there are still wonderfully funny episodes in the second season. I have to tell you, this is a must for any die-hard fans of "The Mothers-in-Law" who only remember the cut syndicated episodes during the 1970's. MPI, THANK YOU and KAYE !
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THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW: THE COMPLETE SERIES is everything a classic TV fan ever dreamed a DVD set could be. DVD producer Don Wingate and DVD executive producer Jim Pierson have done a sensational job!!! Loaded with bonus features, excellent print quality, attractive packaging, and bargain priced!! This folks is how it should be done and the proof is in the sales, on it's second day of release THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW was in the top 40 selling DVDS of any kind on Amazon.com - as it was on day one! When I wrote this there was not another television show older than the last decade in the Top 100 - heck, there's not anything else in the Top 100 made before 1990 beyond two Disney animated classics and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, all of them in the back of the chart!! This unassuming little show from almost a half century ago is holding it's own in sales against today's hottest TV shows and multi-million budget dollar movies! That a sitcom seldom seen in the last 40 years could rack up such high sales numbers is astonishing and is vivid proof of the market potential for classic television on DVD.

This show and it's through the roof sales on DVD are tributes to the talents of two extraordinary comediennes, the late Eve Arden and the great Kaye Ballard (Eve's great too, of course!!) Watching these two pros ring solid laughs out of their material is a joy to behold. Eve Arden, for years Lucille Ball's main rival for the queen of tv comedy hasn't been too well represented on DVD in the past but this series set is a perfect tribute to this legendary actress.

If you love Lucy and Ethel, you'll love THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW. If you love Laverne and Shirley, you'll love THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW. If you love The Golden Girls, you'll love THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW - heck if you just love great comediennes and high-spirited comedy you will love THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW!! Thank you Eve and Kaye for the wonderful memories and the enduring laughs.
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I was three years old when this show went off the air, but I actually remember it because my mother was a big fan. I also remember seeing it on a religious channel during the 1990s, but the film was very faded. The contents of this DVD set appear to have come from the Arnaz estate. It's put together very well, the shows are well restored and the pilot even includes an introduction by Desi Arnaz Jr., commerical bumpers AND NBC's peacock annoucing this program is brought to you in living color. There's lots of extras too including Kaye Ballard remembering the show fondly as two of the greatest years in her career (she looks well for being in her 80s). Also, there are commercials used on the show, network promotions, photos, and a film made by Desi Arnaz documenting the making of one episode showing what happened behind the scenes, commentary by Kaye Ballard, Madeline Davis, and Dann Cann. If you liked I Love Lucy, this show borrows a lot from that concept and I think you'll like this show as well.
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