Celebrity guest stars such as William Holden, Orson Welles, and John Wayne had always been a successful trademark on Lucille Ball‘s four television series, beginning in 1951 with I Love Lucy through her fourth and final program, Here’s Lucy, lasting 1968 through 1972. Here’s Lucy: Best Loved Episodes from the Hit TV Series is a best-of package with an emphasis on celebrity-driven stories starring the likes of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Benny, Ginger Rogers, and Milton Berle.
The anthology has been compiled by Ball’s two children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., who co-starred on the show as Kim and Craig Carter, adolescent daughter and son of Ball’s character, widow Lucille Carter. The Arnaz offspring are all over this set in a very charming way, offering brief comments once you select a title to watch as well as optional, extended commentary on every episode. They’re also personally involved in a couple of many, delightful extra features, including a 1974 sketch from a live charity event in which Lucie and Desi Jr. played their parents in a scene from I Love Lucy.
Most of the programs in Best Loved Episodes feature one or another show-business legend, sometimes playing themselves, at other times portraying a fictional character.
- Among the latter, Milton Berle is a fount of wicked burlesque as a used-car salesman foisting a psychedelicized hunk of junk on Kim and Craig,
- and Helen Hayes is particularly memorable as a seemingly desperate and kooky Irish tourist who may be pulling a scam on Lucille’s brother-in-law and boss, Harry (Ball’s longtime comic foil, the great Gale Gordon).
- Burton and Taylor, playing themselves, prove wonderful sports in an episode where Lucille mistakes the Welsh master thespian for a plumber and gets Liz’s enormous diamond ring stuck on her own finger. (The show features one of Ball’s best bits, substituting her own, out-of-control left arm for Taylor’s during a press junket.)
- Shelley Winters is equally playful as a movie star with a compulsive eating disorder; the slender Lucille is pressed into service as a watchdog over Winters’s appetite.
- I Love Lucy co-star Vivian Vance has two welcome appearances as old friend Viv (both episodes make excellent use of Gordon’s trademark powers of exasperation),
- and Jack Benny plays himself twice, once in a touching, funny episode in which he and Ball play people from different chapters of Benny’s life.
These old pros from radio, stage, and the Golden Age of Hollywood never lost a step. —Tom Keogh
Product Description of Here’s Lucy: Best Loved Episodes from the Hit TV Series starring Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball, her children and her famous friends delight in this hit TV series!
Here’s Lucy, which ran on CBS from 1968-1974, was the fourth hit TV show starring the most beloved comedienne of her time – the immortal Lucille Ball. In this series, Lucy’s first that ran from beginning to end in full-color with her trademark hair shining bright, she plays Lucy Carter, a widow raising two teenaged children played by her real-life children Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr.
These 24 episodes (hand-picked by Lucie and Desi Jr.) of Here’s Lucy are packed with Ball’s trademark slapstick comedy, but it’s her guests that make this a classic TV experience. Stars like Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton, Carol Burnett, Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle and Jack Benny are characters in her humorous adventures. Musical talent like Ann-Margret, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Wayne Newton offer memorable performances within the story.
So sit back and enjoy! You have front row seats for the wild, star-studded comedy of a genuine TV treasure.
PACKED WITH EXTRAS!
- Commentary by Lucie Arnaz, Desi Jr. and Carol Burnett on their favorite episodes
- Never-before-seen bloopers
- Rehearsal footage
- Sketch from a Jack Benny television special with Lucy, Jack and Johnny Carson
- Sketch from an Ann-Margret television special featuring Lucy and Ann-Margret
- Audience warm-up with Lucy’s husband and the show’s executive producer, Gary Morton
- A classic Pepsodent commercial with commentary
- The original CBS network promos
- The Here’s Lucy syndication sales tape
- Footage from a benefit dinner where Lucie and Desi Jr. play their parents in an I Love Lucy sketch.
Trivia for Here’s Lucy (1968) starring Lucille Ball
- The show came about because of a business transaction. In 1968, _”The Lucille Ball Show (1962) had been running for 6 seasons, and the ratings remained solid. Lucille Ball sold the Desilu studio that year, however, so in order to retain ownership of her series, she ceased production on The Lucy Show and created Here’s Lucy. The new series had a slightly different plot and new character names (plus roles for Lucy’s kids), but continued with the same cast and timeslot.
- The fourth season finale Kim Finally Cuts You-Know-Who’s Apron Strings was actually a pilot for a spin off starring Lucie Arnaz, which never sold.
- The number one television show on CBS during the 1970-1971 season.
- Originally Doris Singleton who played the recurring character of Caroline (originally Lillian) Appleby on I Love Lucy was supposed to costar on the series. Her character was supposed to be Harry’s efficient morning secretary, opposed to Lucy, his scatterbrained afternoon secretary. Her character was dropped after the first episode, because it was decided to show more of Lucy’s family life with the kids than her job.
- Lucille Ball broke her leg shortly before the fifth season began. People worried the show would have to end, but the show continued with Lucy in a leg cast for part of the season.