John McWhorter | New York, New York United States | 07/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People incensed that we are not getting these a season at a time are neglecting to review the product itself. This DVD is SPLENDIFEROUS.The picture quality is gorgeous -- the lighting looks as good as movie stills. And these are complete episodes -- remember that in syndication we have always seen them with bits chopped off except on Nickelodeon (did you ever wonder why the audience was often already laughing when the show started? It was because the syndicated version cut in AFTER the original beginning).We get a whole episode of the radio show MY FAVORITE HUSBAND -- one of the few old radio shows that still holds up for us moderns with minor adjustment. One cannot really understand what I LOVE LUCY "was" historically without starting with MY FAVORITE HUSBAND; what a great idea to put episodes on these DVDs. (Maybe it will help turn LUCY fans on to old radio -- if you love Lucy, there is a lot of, particularly, late 40s radio comedy that you will love as well, and old radio is now cheaper and more available than it has ever been before in this era of MP3 files.)We get the pilot -- complete with the original announcer restoring the lost first few seconds of the voice-over 50 years later! (Why, though, is it listed as 45 minutes but takes up ten minutes less time?)And then also bonuses like an alternate laughtrack over an ending, a clip used for a rerun not seen since 1953, etc.This is the definitive presentation of this show, in a medium that does not turn to dust on the shelf after 20 years. This is very, very special.The truth is that like all shows, I LOVE LUCY took a little while to get its sea legs; I do not consider these first three to be the best of the run by any means. But their historical value is obvious, and here they are for us to possess forever.As for the piecemeal release schedule, honestly, I find getting 20-odd episodes at a time a little overwhelming. I guess it depends on your lifestyle, but for me sets like that are an instant huge backlog waiting to be taken in bit by bit, kind of like a massive book you never seem to finish. I LIKE getting to sample the whole run of this show four shows at a time -- you can see them all at your leisure and maybe even repeat them. It's kind of like belonging to a book-of-the-month club. And as one reviewer said, a whole season set with all the little extras would be a REAL monster.I do have one complaint, though. It WOULD be better if we could see the episodes with their original credits every time, rather than just having the original opening as a separate bonus. (Is it that clean negatives of that opening no longer exist?) And also, what about the original commercials, often done on set, and often by Lucy and Desi? I hope we can see these in later editions.But overall, this is a milestone achievement. One thing, though -- the people who are eating this up would surely relish a similar release of the first three seasons of THE LUCY SHOW. What is available of this show concentrates on the later seasons that hinged on tacky star guests. But these were not good television; the plots are boneheaded, the performances are kindergarten-broad, and the whole show was resting on its laurels by then. The earlier LUCY SHOWS were as good as I LOVE LUCY, especially the first season in crisp black-and-white with lots of Vivian Vance. Paramount and CBS Video take note -- a nice box set of the first season of the LUCY SHOW would sell big."
The best Lucy episode here is actually the "lost" pilot
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first season of "I Love Lucy" the most classic of television situation comedies had a 50.9 rating in the Nielsen ratings, which meant that half the television sets in the country were tuned into CBS on Monday nights at 9:00. Unlike most recent television DVD sets which offer an entire season as a set, the first season of "I Love Lucy" is coming out on DVD four episodes at a time. Volume 1 offers up the original pilot episode, and the first three episodes of the series. All of these episodes were written by the team of Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., who would stay with the show for its first five season:"The Lost Pilot" was kinescoped on March 2, 1951 as an audition episode with which to woo potential backers for the show. Desi and Lucy play Larry and Lucy Lopez in what was a rewrite of the vaudeville skits the couple were doing on tour patched together with an old "My Favorite Husband" radio scripts (a lot of the first season episodes of "I Love Lucy" had similar points of origin). In a story that will sound familiar as the years go by, Lucy is determined to break into show business and decides to replace the ailing clown (Pepito the Clown) in her husband's nightclub act. Episode 1, "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub" (October 15, 1951) for the Mertzes' anniversary, but Fred and Ricky would rather go to the fights. Lucy and Ethel dress up as hicks and show up as the boy's blind dates. This battle of the sexes sets the tone for the show's perpetual subtext, although the recurring theme is Lucy trying to get into showbiz. Episode 2, "Be a Pal" (October 22, 1951) has Lucy taking advice from a self-help text and trying to keep her marriage fresh by becoming Ricky's pal. Now if only Ricky could figure out what Lucy is REALLY up to.Episode 3, "The Diet" (October 29, 1951) is what Lucy is using to lose 12 pounds in just two days so she can be a part of the chorus line in Ricky's nightclub act. An early opportunity for Lucy to do the physical humor that was her forte. The value of Volume 1 is in the historical importance of both the original pilot and the show's first episode. Even though it has little resemblance to what actually aired, the "lost" pilot is the funniest of the bunch (compare Lucy's comic antics at the end of the pilot with the similar but lesser hijinks at the end of Episode 1). None of these first three televised episodes would be considered classic Lucy shows and they are really rather pedestrian all things considered. Note: Episode 1 was the first episode aired, but it was not the first episode taped. That would be "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her," which can be found on Volume 2. See you there."
Great Idea....but they are milking it
tvdvdfanatic | California | 07/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm am really happy that they are putting the show on DVD, and the picture quality is awesome, as well as the special features. I just wonder why they insist on only putting 4 episodes on each disc. Why couldn't they do like MASH, and release an entire season on a 3 DVD set, then throw in an extra disc loaded with special features?
at an average of $13 (lowside) for 4 episodes (There were 179 episodes in the entire series), you're looking at quite a bit of money. For the same number of MASH episodes at approximately $30 for 24 episodes (7 seasons worth), you're looking at [price]. I really feel that Lucy fans are being taken advantage of here.
... But do the math.
What you paid for 1 volume of Lucy Season 1 x 6 (# of discs for a full season)
Multiply by 7 (the number of years lucy was on)
Compare that to what MASH will run you for 1 season and multiply by 7. See how much you could save?"
Where it All Began
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 01/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I Love Lucy is a television classic. 50 years old, and it still plays daily on TV and is loved by millions. This DVD features the first four episodes of the classic show starting with the pilot that was found in the early 90's. In addition, it presents the first 3 episodes to air in the fall of 1951 on CBS.Fans of the show will love this disc. The sound and picture are great. Every episode is broken down into several chapters, including a separate chapter for the musical sequence. There are plenty of extras as well, including an episode of Lucy's radio show "My Favorite Husband" and an excerpt from Jess Oppenheimer's book on the creation of the show.Like many TV shows, the first episodes aren't the strongest. Lucy is the only character fully developed at this point with the other three delivering straight lines. Still, there are several good laugh an episode.It would be nice if the show were being released in season, or even half season sets. But this certainly isn't settling for second best since it's a great DVD."
Why only four episodes?
Susan | NC, USA | 09/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am a huge fan of I Love Lucy and was so glad to see the episodes finally come out on DVD, but I wish they were being distributed by someone else. The current distributors are only putting 4 episodes on each DVD, when they could fit at least twice as many, plus extras. And I think the bonus material was good but not great. At this rate, if you want to own the entire first season, your DVD/tape cabinet will be full before you can even begin collecting the second season. I wish they put at least 10 episodes on each DVD and charge a little more, so we don't have to try to store all these DVDs, search through them for certain episodes, and change them from the player as often. Shame on the distributor for wanting to make more money and not thinking about the customer's convenience! I also feel the packaging should be more special for one of the most popular T.V. shows ever."