In the beginning, there was I Love Lucy. It was a series that changed the way sitcoms were filmed and its influence is still felt today. I Love Lucy (1951-1957) was the first sitcom to use the multi-camera technique that is still used on series that have a live studio audience (or in some cases today, a laugh track).
It was the first TV series to be shot on 35mm film, to air a re-run, the first series to grace the cover of TV Guide (its first issue, actually), and the first series be number one in the ratings for four consecutive years.
Not to mention all the awards including five Emmys, accolades, and other milestones the series racked up over its six-season run. It’s a series that is as popular today, if not more popular, than it was during its initial run on CBS. It has spawned more than a couple TV movies, books, a live theater show, and a wide variety of products from dolls and purses, to shirts and jewelry.
This past Christmas, CBS aired two colorized episodes of I Love Lucy – “The Christmas Episode” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie.” The hour did so well in the ratings (8 million viewers) that CBS re-aired the special a second time. Not too shabby for a series that’s over 62 years old!
I Love Lucy will forever be a part of our pop culture, and Lucille Ball will always be the iconic face of television comedy.
Following I Love Lucy was The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-1960), which was spin-off of the original Lucy series. The thirteen episodes were a series of hour-long specials that once again showcased the comic genius to the foursome that had previously weaved comedy gold for six years.
And then came The Lucy Show (1962-1968). Lucille Ball once again brought comedy gold to the small screen with the help of I Love Lucy co-star Vivian Vance. Along for the ride as well was Lucille Ball’s friend from her radio days, Gale Gordon who played her flustered boss, Mr. Mooney.
The Lucy Show, like many series of the time like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Andy Griffith Show also found themselves in the era of transitioning from black and white to color episodes.
Not one to rest after three successful series, Lucille Ball struck gold again with Here’s Lucy (1968-1974). Here’s Lucy brought Gale Gordon into the comedy fray once again as Lucy’s flustered boss/brother-in-law, along with Lucile Ball’s real-life kids Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Here’s Lucy delivers an intriguing mix of comedy styles and episode variety. It also is a showcase for dozens upon dozens of celebrity cameos and guest appearances that are even more prominent than they were on I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, and The Lucy Show combined.
From slapstick, broad comedy, and satire, musical episodes, on-location episodes, and more, Here’s Lucy runs the gambit and keeps the laughs coming for six hilarious seasons. The chemistry between Lucille Ball and Gale Gordon is superb, and the way they play off each other and can make even the corniest of jokes sell is a testament to how talented and skilled these two performers were.
Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series offers up lots and lots of special features. Much like the season box sets of I Love Lucy, the individual seasons of Here’s Lucy deliver trivia, behind-the-scenes information, promos, home movies, cast information and more.
I especially liked the brief introductions about each episode provided by Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz, Jr. and others who worked on the series. I personally enjoy hearing about what was going on behind-the-scenes during a particular episode or season, and these intros deliver.
Here’s Lucy continues the Lucille Ball comedy legacy and shows why she is the most iconic and influential comedienne of the 20th century and beyond.
If you are a fan of I Love Lucy or Lucille Ball in general, I highly, highly recommend Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series on DVD. I’m a huge Lucy fan (in case you didn’t figure that out from this article already), and I know other Lucy fans will agree that there’s no such thing as too much Lucy! Heck, I think I’ll go watch a few episodes right now!
Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series is available NOW on DVD!
What is your favorite Lucy series? Episode? Guest star? Leave a comment and let us know!