This was Lucille Ball’s follow-up to I Love Lucy. Here Ball is a widowed mother of two, sharing her home with best friend Vivian Vance, who is a divorced mother of one. All the other members of household are, of course, faced with the disasters triggered by Lucy. I screened this set immediately after viewing its close contemporary, Petticoat Junction, and the difference between the two was instructive. There are plenty of hokey gags and situations on The Lucy Show, but there is an enormous difference between the shows, thanks to the comic genius of Lucille Ball. Her energy fills each episode, her timing is spot-on, but there is also her commitment to a type of physical comedy that to this day remains pretty much the exclusive domain of male performers. Not only does she make this style her own, she grounds it in a female reality. There is a reason she was so beloved a performer, and why her work still stands up today.
The second season offers up even more laughs. While the show was filmed in color, the episodes still aired originally in black and white. Here they are in full color on this 4-disc collection. Some highlights of the season include: What could go wrong when Lucy and Viv start their own children’s party business? Watch Kiddie Parties, Inc. and find out. Gale Gordon joins the cast as Lucy’s new nemesis Mr. Mooney in the two part episode Lucy Gets Locked In The Vault. Mr. Mooney would go on to be the perfect foil for Lucy, and this is the genesis of the show most of us remember to this very day. In Lucy And The Bank Scandal, Lucy is convinced that Mr. Mooney has stolen ten grand and has buried it in his own back yard. Now the girls grab some shovels to recover the missing dough. Lucy and Viv have their sights set on the same guy and enroll in an art class to impress the man. But, when Viv lands a date, Lucy’s going to make sure things don’t go so well in Lucy Goes To Art Class. In the two-part shows Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman To Sing and Ethel Merman And The Boy Scout Show, guest star Merman shows why she was the queen of Broadway for so long. It’s one of the show’s most famous classic moments. Lucy takes Mooney to court to shut up his barking dog in Lucy Is Her Own Lawyer. Lucy and Viv are baking contest rivals in Lucy Enters A Baking Contest. The all out food fight will remind you of those old Three Stooges gags.
Though the image is a bit soft, with features losing definition in long shots, the picture is still looking remarkably good for television from 1962-63. The newly-restored colors are brighter than you might expect. There is no edge enhancement to deal with. It is, frankly, very unlikely that these episodes have ever looked better.
The soundtrack is mono (you were expecting anything else?), and it’s a very solid mono. There’s a warm tone to it, and it avoids being tinny. There isn’t too much to say beyond that, but it is always clear (again, keeping in mind the vintage here) and up to the job at hand.
Paramount went all out for the second season of The Lucy Show. Each disc contains production notes, an option to watch in the original broadcast format (vintage open/closes and cast commercials). Plus…
A Note About Color: (1:28) Tony Marietta hosts most of these features. Here he explains why these episodes are in color even though they originally aired in black & white.
Let’s Talk About Carole: (24:27) Carole Cook talks about working with Lucy. The interview bits are accompanied by show clips.
CBS – The Star’s Address: (3:27) Lucy and Viv stared as postal workers in the CBS Network’s fall preview show. This is just a short clip. I remember the networks were still doing these preview shows in the 70’s when I was a kid.
Lucy And Merm: (3:41) A look at how a single episode featuring Ethel Merman became a two-part ordeal.
Let’s Talk To Barry: (10:27) This time it’s Barry Livingston who talks with Marietta about his experiences on the set.
Opening Night: Two clips from another fall preview show.
The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour: (51:47) Lucy’s first CBS comedy special with Bob Hope.
While the first season was quite anticipated on DVD, it’s this second season that defined the show most of us remember from syndication. It was the first to eventually air in color, although not originally. It also introduced us to Mr. Mooney. Gale Gordon and Lucy’s chemistry was always remarkable. It’s what I remember most of the show. See it all for the first time all over again. If you haven’t seen The Lucy Show yet, “Uh. well, about Mrs. Carmichael. Well, there are some things you should be warned about–told about.”
Some of this review was written by David Annandale.