Still in Love with Lucy
by Thomas Watson
Monday, August 23, 2004
"The Best of 'Here's Lucy'" -- a 24-episode package of DVDs -- made its debut last week, but many Lucyfans across the country spent as much time looking for the set as looking at it! Many of the larger discount outlets -- Target, Costco, Best Buy, etc. -- did not stock it, and many of the regular full-price video chains, like Tower Video, Virgin Video, Sam Goody, etc. stocked only 3 or 4 copies.
As we explained on the Discussion Board, many of these stores seem to divide all of Lucy's TV work into two parts: I Love Lucy, and everything else. Video bootleggers have been filling the discount bins for years with poor-quality rip-off releases of The Lucy Show, priced at $5.99, so the stores are now reluctant to offer these Here's Lucys at $34.99.
More's the pity, because these DVDs are beautiful! Overall, the reviews of the package have been mixed to glowing, but the one factor that gets rave notices everywhere is the pictorial quality. Producer Paul Brownstein had access to the master recordings made back in the early 1980s, when the show first went into syndication -- so not only are the shows beautiful, they are complete!
Also winning applause are the "bonus materials" included in the package, especially some behind-the-scenes footage shot in 1970 for a proposed (but never completed) documentary, and some "bloopers"... As many fans have noticed, even "bloopers" can have "bloopers" -- there's at least one scene that dates back to The Lucy Show, not Here's lucy. Brownstein included it here because Lucille Ball Productions included it when the company produced a blooper reel for a Here's Lucy wrap party -- and because it's funny!
Also delightful and revealing are the special audio commentaries by Lucie Arnaz, Desi Jr., Carol Burnett, and Wayne Newton.
Among the 24 episodes included in the package are "Lucy Meets the Burtons," "Lucy Joins the Air Force Academy," "Lucy is Really in a Pickle," "With Viv as a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy?" and guest appearances by Johnny Carson, Shelley Winters, Carol Burnett, Sammy Davis Jr., Milton Berle, Ginger Rogers, and Flip Wilson.
If the package sells extremely well, there may be a follow up set released in the future -- but for now there are NO plans to release the entire series on DVD. Many of the later shows included extensive musical numbers -- and those are now very expensive to clear for DVDs... The composers, lyricists, music publishers, etc. want BIG BUCKS for home video releases... In fact, it was because of this that the second season of I Love Lucy DVDs was delayed last spring. (That set is due out August 31!)
As for fan comments, here is what Mark Easley had to say:
- "I watched every bit of it this weekend... I am exhausted. It was fabulous! I grew up with THIS Lucy, and it was great just to see the set again. Although it wasn't comparable to the classic I Love Lucy, it was still a big part of my growing up. I recommend this to all Lucy lovers! It was great."
Dan Wingate agrees:
- "I have to tell you how much I am enjoying the "Here's Lucy" DVDs. This set sparkles like a polished diamond. So many things I like about it, but am especially glad to see the documentary footage out there for the world to see the lady in action -- and to refute some of the stories about what that set was like. Lucille Ball may have been "all business" but it was obvious they were having fun, too.
"These shows look gorgeous, the packaging is great. First rate all the way!"
If "The Best of 'Here's Lucy'" is not available in your area, you can order it from the Lucy-Desi Gift Shop in Jamestown, New York. Visit their web site at:
"Stage Door" To Be Shown in Chautauqua
Fan Peter Ennamorato wrote to tell us that "Stage Door," RKO's 1937 release that featured Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, and, oh, yes, Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers, is being screened this Wednesday night, August 25, at the Chautauqua Cinema in Chautauqua, New York (near Jamestown). The film will be introduced by movie historian David Zinman, who will also lead a discussion immediately afterward. Screening starts at 6:30PM.
Lucie Arnaz Concert Tickets On Sale
As reported here earlier, Lucie Arnaz will bring her cabaret act to Southern California for five nights in October. She will appear in concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Tuesday, October 5th through Saturday, the 9th, 2004. Curtain time is 7:30PM. All tickets: $58. Tickets are now on sale.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center is located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, CA. The Arnaz concert will be in Founders Hall.
For more information about the Lucie concert, visit the Orange County Performing Arts Center web site at:
Coming Soon: Lucy & Desi's Scrapbook!
One of the highlights of the recent Lucy Birthday Celebration in Jamestown was an opportunity to see inside "Lucy & Desi: A Real-life Scrapbok of America's Favorite TV Couple." The book, published by Running Press, is due out September 30 -- but members of the Lucy-Desi Museum could purchase "advance copies." (This is why everyone needs to be a member!)
Trust me when I say this is one book that every Lucy fan will want and treasure! Culled from material in the Arnazes' scrapbooks, it includes rare pictures of Lucy and Desi growing up, their early years in show business, a copy of their marriage license!, photos of their ranch in Chatsworth, behind-the-scenes shots from "I Love Lucy," reproduced articles from newspapers and magazines -- everything a REAL scrapbook would have!
This beautifully-crafted package is authored by Elisabeth Edwards, with layouts designed by David Nelke and Willabel Tong of White Heat, Ltd. We will have more information about the book closer to the actual publication date...
That's the news from here... Have a great week everybody!
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