Lucy keeps trying to break into show business..
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The bad news is that to continue to parcel out the first season of "I Love Lucy" four episodes at a time on DVD. The good news is that this is the first volume in the collection that merits the top rating we commonly associate with the classic television situation comedy which was just starting to hit is stride at this point. During that first season of "I Love Lucy" the show had a 50.9 Nielsen rating, which meant that half of the television sets in the country were tuned to CBS on Monday nights at 9:00. Here are four examples why, most of which focus on Lucy's eternal effort to break into show business:Episode 16, "Lucy Fakes Illness" (January 28, 1952) has Lucy pretending to suffer a nervous breakdown because Ricky has (once again) refused to hire her for his nightclub act. Since he knows Lucy is faking, Ricky gets a fake psychiatrist (Hal March) to check her out.Episode 17, "Lucy Writes a Play" (February 4, 1952) has Lucy writing a play entitled "A Tree Grows in Havana" for an amateur playwriting competition. Ricky ends up playing the lead, which really does not help the play.Episode 18, "Breaking the Lease" (February 11, 1952) is the best of the four episodes, with the Ricardos and the Mertzes having a fight which develops into an all-out war in at attempt to, well, break the lease. When you see Lucy smoking a cigarette, remember that the sponsor for "I Love Lucy" during that first season was the Phillip Morris Tobacco Company.Episode 19, "The Ballet" (February 18, 1952) features the physical comedy of Lucille Ball. Once again Lucy is trying to get into the act at Ricky's club. Ricky has an opening for a burlesque comic and a ballet dancer, so Lucy tries out for both parts (giving a whole new meaning to the word "tutu"). Mary Wickes, always a delight in anything she did, has a nice part in this one.All of these episodes were written by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, and Bob Caroll, Jr., who wrote all the episodes for the show's first four seasons. Marc Daniels was the director for all of the episodes that first season, except one (which is on the next DVD). Volume 5 is the second best in the Season One collection; the best is Volume 8 with both "The Freezer" and "Lucy Does a TV Commercial." So hang in there; the best is yet to come."
Newly-discovered footage has been restored.
James McDonald | Southern California | 06/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All "I Love Lucy" episodes on this DVD are in the same order filmed. "Lucy Fakes Illness", episode 16, filmed December 18, 1951, broadcast January 28, 1952. Newly-discovered footage has been restored to the first scene. Hal March was also in "Lucy Is Matchmaker" (episode 62, 1953). "Lucy Writes A Play", episode 17, filmed December 22, 1951, broadcast February 4, 1952. "Breaking The Lease", episode 18, filmed January 5, 1952, broadcast February 11, 1952. Barbara Pepper met Lucille Ball early in their careers. Mrs. Pepper appeared in 9 "I Love Lucy" episodes. Bennett Green has appeared in a total of 16 "I Love Lucy" episodes. The most of any extra or bit player. "The Ballet", episode 19, filmed January 11, 1952, broadcast February 18, 1952. Mary Wickes guest stars."