June 30, 2009

The Lucille Ball TV Specials DVD Out Today!

Released today are a couple of Lucille Ball TV Specials on DVD! Two of Lucille Ball's television specials - "Lucy Gets Lucky" and "Three for Two" - on one release. The latter show features three mini comedies and features Jackie Gleason as a co-star. "Lucy Gets Lucky" has Ball playing a star-struck woman who heads to Las Vegas to see her favorite entertainer, Dean Martin.

"Lucy Gets Lucky" which aired on March 1, 1975 features Lucy as Lucy Collins, an avid fan of Dean Martin, who is determined to see her idol perform in concert at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Upon learning the concert is sold out and that Dean Martin is doing a special performance just for hotel employees, Lucy gets herself hired by the hotel. As usual, Lucy causes plenty of trouble along the way, and Dean Martin has to step in and save her, and Las Vegas, from disaster. Dean Martin had previously appeared in an episode of The Lucy Show, "Lucy Dates Dean Martin", which was Lucille Ball's favorite episode.

Lucy Gets Lucky was directed by Jack Donohue who also appeared in the TV Special as Ralph. TV ratings weren't quite what they used to be for Lucille Ball in her final season of Here's Lucy, but they were still substantial enough for Ball to negotiate with CBS and various sponsors, Timex sponsored Lucy Gets Lucky, to produce a series of TV specials where Lucy could work in a longer format. It seemed that Lucy was an undeniable "fact" with audiences; they would love her in anything for as long as she continued to work. The idea behind this TV special featured Lucy within the standard "typical Lucy" comedy formula of stunts and ensuing hilarity.

"Three for Two" which aired on December 3, 1975 was originally broadcast as "A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason", features Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason, two giants of American TV comedy, combined in this single special which broke down into three separate situations depicting marital crises. In the first, Herb and Sally, Lucy and Jackie Gleason are a couple seeking to restore excitement in their marriage, they discover truths about one another after 24 years of marriage in a trip to Rome; in the second, Fred and Rita, they play a couple involved in adultery trying to decide whether they should tell their spouses; in the final situation, Mike and Pauline, Lucy and Jackie play a couple involved in a Christmas family crisis as over-dominating parents forced to realize their children's independence. Lucy previously worked with Jackie Gleason in the Here's Lucy episode, "Lucy Visits Jack Benny".

Directed by Charles Walters, "Three for Two" was inspired by stories written by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, "Lovers and Other Strangers, Made for Each Other". In this special, we see a more dramatic Lucy instead of the zany antics we have come to expect. A more serious mode for both Gleason and Lucy appear in all three vignettes in this TV special.

The DVD:
Considering the age and relative obscurity of these two specials from the 1970s, the full-screen, 1.33:1 transfers for The Lucille Ball Specials: Lucy Gets Lucky & Three for Two look quite nice. Shot on film, the source materials used for these transfers look quite clean, with minimal damage and correct color. Overall, these probably look better than they did coming over most folks TV antennas back in 1975.

Some interesting extras are included on the DVD. First is a black and white clip from Art Linkletter's long-running daytime variety show, House Party, where Lucy shows up to discuss her new radio series, Lets Talk to Lucy, before Lucy and Art enact a comedy sketch where Lucy produces some wacky sound effects for a radio program. It's from 1965, and the clip runs 10:51. Next are two "visually enhanced" episodes from Lucy's Let's Talk to Lucy radio series, where stills, expertly produced, are animated over the radio programs' audio track. First is Episode #5, from 1964, where guest Dean Martin discusses a variety of projects he has coming up, including his smash single, Everybody Loves Somebody, Kiss Me, Stupid, and Robin and the 7 Hoods. This clip runs 11:29. Next, Lucy visits Dean again on the set of Marriage on the Rocks, in Episode #195 of her radio series, where Dean again smoothly discusses his career. This clip runs 9:03. Next, we have a featurette with the marvelous comedic actor Gino Conforti discussing his long association with Lucy. We even get to see a snippet of Lucy's first and only credited directorial effort (according to Conforti): the unsold pilot for Bungle Abbey, which co-starred Conforti. Conforti is effusive in his praise for Ball, and he has some fascinating insights into the actress. The featurette runs 14:09. Finally, we have some outtakes and bloopers from Lucy Gets Lucky that run 5:42.

Be sure to order your copy from the Everything Lucy Store to help us keep all the Lucille Ball news and up-to-date information coming your way!

Read more about all of the other Lucille Ball TV Specials on Everything Lucy! If you are interested in any of these on DVD, be sure to contact Everything Lucy!

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