Each disc contains four episodes of the series, moving forward in the order they wereoriginally broadcast (so volume 9 ends gets us as far as episode 35). These are valuable historicaldocuments of TV’s pioneer days, and the show, at the time, was hugely impressive from aproduction standpoint in that it used multiple cameras (and employed such luminaries aslegendary cameraman Karl Freund). I’ll admit Lucille Ball’s style of slapstick doesn’t do muchfor me, but I guess I just…don’t get it. At any rate, I should point out that volume 8 features thefamous “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” episode where she gets drunk promoting“Vitameatavegamin.”
The sound is the original mono, and since this is TV footage from the 1952, no miraclesshould be expected. The clarity is acceptable, and the distortion minimal (though there is somebuzz). I can’t really imagine the shows sounding much better than this, though, and there hasn’tbeen any foolish attempt to transform the soundtrack into stereo. The original music cues have allbeen restored.
As with the sound, so with the picture. The grain is minor, and there are some speckles, andthe picture definition isn’t exactly razor sharp, but anyone hoping for the latter is kiddingthemselves about the source material. Watch out for jewellery or checked patterns (as on Lucy’sskirt, for instance), which do cause shimmering colours.
The features on each disc are variations on a theme. All of them have the original seriesopening, a couple of flubs pointed out, some special footage (usually involving the differencebetween the original broadcast and the edited re-runs), guest cast information, and an episodefrom the “My Favorite Husband” radio show that has some connection with one of the TVepisodes on the disc. Volumes 7 and 9 also have production notes (which are little more thantrivia). Volume 8 has an audio excerpt from Jess Oppenheimer’s book Laughs, Luck… andLucy (with some video clips included), and Volume 9 has a photo gallery. The menus arebasic.
I can’t help but feel that putting only four episodes on a disc and then sending each outindividually is pretty blatant way of skyrocketing the price of collecting the entire first season.On the other hand, this also means you can pick and choose if you’re only interested in specificepisodes.
Special Features List
- Series Original Opening
- Special Footage
- Radio Show
- Guest Cast Information
- Production Notes (vols. 7 and 9)
- Audio Book Excerpt (vol. 8)
- Photo Gallery (vol. 9)