Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, July 8, 2002

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

I Love Lucy DVDs in the Stores

At long last, the first two I Love Lucy DVDs have arrived in the video stores. The series pilot and episodes 2, 3 and 4 are on the first disc, and episodes 1, 5, 6 and 7 are on the second. (Additional discs will be released this fall.)

These newly packaged discs are distributed by Paramount Home Video, in association with CBS Video. Nevertheless, these discs contain the same material as those produced and released last year by Columbia House Home Video.

If you subscribe to the Columbia House mail-order series, you will probably NOT want to buy these (unless you want them for the new packaging).

Susan King, of the Los Angeles Times reviewed these first two discs earlier this week. Her comments:

One of the greatest sitcoms of all time, "I Love Lucy," finally enters the digital age this week with the release of two volumes of episodes from the series' first season (Paramount and CBS Video, $15 each). The first features the original TV pilot, which did not air until it was discovered in 1990, and the first three episodes of the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz classic show. The second volume features episodes 5-8 (sic) from the 1951-52 premiere year. Thanks to digital remastering, the episodes look gorgeous. Each disc features the original opening of the series, guest star information, flubs, a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, episodes from Ball's radio series, "My Favorite Husband," and special prologues filmed for the reruns aired while Ball was on hiatus from the series after the birth of Desi Jr.

Indeed, most officially-released DVDs contain a pristine reproduction of the program or feature in question, and many throw in the exciting "little extras" like those mentioned above. Which is the best reason I know for avoiding bootlegged DVDs that are also flooding the market.

Take, for example, a new package of The Lucy Show DVDs that has appeared recently. This set was most assuredly NOT released by Paramount Television (which owns the rights to the series)... It is the product of "Platinum Disc Corporation" of LaCrosse, Wisconsin... The package, which retails for $12.95, includes four separate DVD discs, each crammed with seven episodes, all of which were taken from used 16mm film copies of the shows. Fans may be tempted to purchase these, if only because officially-produced DVDs have yet to be released... but be prepared to be disappointed in the visual quality of what you are getting.

As for the legitimate I Love Lucy discs -- if for some reason you cannot find them in your town, drop us an e-mail note and we can get them for you here in Los Angeles. They sell for $15 each (plus sales tax) and, at least for now, are readily available. We attempted to make this same offer last year for the Columbia House releases, and were indeed able to secure copies for a couple of fans living abroad... but for some strange reason, the Columbia House computers balked at sending multiple copies of the same discs to the same person/address. We will not have that problem with these, so if we can be of help, let us know. We will put them on our shopping list right after "buy can All Pet."

That's all the news for now. See you next week!


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Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
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