Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, November 5, 2001

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

The countdown has started: only 6 more days until CBS' big two-hour 'I Love Lucy' 50th Anniversary Special ! The program was originally intended to air on the actual date of the anniversary, October15th, but the network decided it wanted the show to be part of its "November Sweeps" line-up. (ABC will counter with the broadcast network premiere of "Saving Private Ryan.") It is nice that if it had to be postponed, that CBS -- however accidentally -- scheduled the show for what would have been Jess Oppenheimer's 88th birthday! (See our current Photo of the Week.) He'd have been proud!

TV Land, which set a viewership record on October 15 with its I Love Lucy "premiere," will show the original Lucy pilot on Friday, November 16. It has also scheduled the I Love Lucy Christmas Show to air in December.

PBS, meanwhile, will repeat its American Masters presentation, "Finding Lucy," during the late-autumn "membership drive" weeks. Check your local PBS listings for date and time. The documentary won an Emmy Award last month for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series, 2000-2001 season.

Columbia House Video Library has announced that subscriptions to its new I Love Lucy DVD Collection have been so good, that five more discs have gone into production. Co-producer Gregg Oppenheimer tells us that over 2500 people have already signed up for the series (the magic number, apparently, was 2000) -- and that Columbia House now plans to do at least 20 discs (representing the first 80 shows). If fans' enthusiasm for the discs remains high, the company will issue the entire Lucy series on DVD. Hooray!

CBS/Paramount Home Video, meanwhile, has decided not to release its own I Love Lucy Collection on DVD (as originally planned), but will do them only on VHS. The two-tape set should be in your local video stores now. Included are such classics as "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," "Job Switching" and "Lucy's Italian Movie." There are 10 episodes in all -- and at least nine deserve to be here. The tenth selection is "Ethel's Home Town." Now don't get me wrong, I love this episode -- Vivian's rendition of "Shortnin' Bread" is priceless -- but I do not consider it to be one of the Top 10 best of all time... How the Henna did this get included?

That's the news for now...

Until next time...

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