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I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 Blu-ray Review

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#21 of 70 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 24 2014 - 11:24 AM

This should of been sold as a complete series.

 

Yes....

 

...and here is where the studios really make things unfair (and I see it more

with modern television releases)...

 

They sell single season Blu-rays at the end of the current year's run.  But

then, after the entire series has run its course, they put out a complete series

set with loads of extras that were not on the individual season discs.

 

It's almost worth not buying the individual seasons because eventually there

might be a complete series on Blu-ray with new extra material. 


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#22 of 70 mrz7

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Posted April 24 2014 - 11:50 AM

Great review!! But like most people on the this forum, I have to say the price for this is "out of touch" with the consumer.

I do realize the studio has put in the extras and cleaned of some of the footage (to even make it better from the DVD release) and there is alot of cost to doing this. Totally understand that from the studio's point of view.

However, from the consumer's point of you, it's not feasible to spend that type of money for ONE season on Blu-ray, when you can buy the whole series on DVD for about $100.00 or less (that's 7 seasons if you count the "Lucy Desi Comedy hours).

Let's not forget, "I Love Lucy" (the complete series) has been released 4 times on DVD. The first go around (individual DVD volumes) were sold by Columbia House on DVD (when DVD was first starting to become popular). However, Columbia House stopped after season 5 because they started to release the seasons on DVD at retail in box sets (all 7 seasons) marking it a second time on DVD. Then they release the complete box set (with the heart shaped box)....the 3rd time released on DVD. Then they reissued the individual season sets on DVD in different packaging (a year or two ago for the 4th time on DVD). Not to mention, they release the 1st season in individual volumes at first with retail (in between the 1st time (with Columbia) and the 2nd time (with season box sets at retail)...so the 1st season was actually released 5 times on DVD). By saying all this, the blu-ray price, despite the extras that will be included in this set and the better picture quality, really still doesn't justify the price since the studio has over-saturated DVD releases (mind you at very lowered prices). The studio has kind of shot themselves in the foot.

And if the Blu-rays don't sell as well (to the studios standards), then they might not release the rest of the series (which would be unfortunate, but could very well happen).

I wish that the studio would just take the time to release the whole series at once on Blu-ray at first. Example, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" series (5 seasons) was released as a box set at first. Yes, there was a hefty price tag (I believe the retail starting price was around $369-389 price range). I waited to buy the complete series at $110. But a few months after the box set was released, they started to release the series on Blu-ray by individual seasons at around $30-40. It made more sense to do it this way, in my opinion, because if the studio didn't make money on the box sets, they turn it around and try selling them off by individual sets. Makes more sense economically for both the consumer and the studio. In addition, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" complete series was released on DVD twice (Individual season sets and Complete Series Box Set) before the Blu-Ray set, but despite that, it still sold very well on Blu-Ray in the way the studio released it.

With "I Love Lucy" (and also "The Andy Griffith Show") Blu-ray releases, the studio (CBS/Paramount) should follow the example of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" Blu-Ray release. I think in the end it would benefit BOTH the studio and the consumer. By CBS/Paramount releasing individual sets like their doing now, there is a good chance the studio won't profit from it (price too high and oversaturated DVD releases) and stall the series (which would be bad for the consumer/collector of the series).

Now as for "The Honeymooners: The Classic 39", the price is a little out of reach, however, this is the whole collection seris (one season). And it will be actually better then the DVD release (there was no "play all" feature on the DVD version and it was lacking in extras). Plus the 39 Classic was only release twice on DVD (Columbia House sold them by volume (which had a "play all" feature...and I kept those) and the retail version. So the market wasn't as saturated with DVD releases as "I Love Lucy" was. And the "Honeymooners: 39 Classic" Blu-ray, from my understanding has alot more extras than the DVD versions, and of course, hopefully the better picture quality. I will definitely being buying this Blu-Ray set....but I will wait for the price to go down.

However, as big of a fan as I am of "I Love Lucy", I am going to have to pass on this one as a "wait and see" what the studio will eventually do with the series. I have spent way too much money on the DVD's alone (bought the Columbia House ones first, and then bought the Retail individual seasons (the 2nd release)after Columbia stopped making the DVD's after season 5. The same would apply for "The Andy Griffith Show" in which I really only want seasons 1-5 (the "Barney" years). Just my 2 cents worth of info.

#23 of 70 McCrutchy

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Posted April 24 2014 - 02:32 PM

I don't know, I still find it difficult to agree.

 

First of all, let's dismiss the argument that because Series A was released on DVD twice, and Series B was released on DVD five times  the Blu-ray of Series A is worth more than the Blu-ray of Series B. Unless the exact same HD masters from a 2007 DVD release are used for a 2014 Blu-ray release, this argument holds no water. DVD is DVD and DVD sucks, that's why it is so inexpensive, and it, in turn, cheapens the Blu-ray format (and home video itself) by continuing to dominate sales.

 

Some have brought up the idea that TNG is worth more because CBS went back to the negatives, but my understanding is that they also did that for I Love Lucy. Perhaps in this case, that was done for DVD some time ago (if that is the case, the arguments against this Blu-ray are much stronger, and I will gladly concede), but as far as I can tell, it looks like CBS re-scanned the film specifically for this Blu-ray release. 

 

And sure, the re-composited VFX work costs a ton, and probably makes the TNG Blu-ray project one of, if not the most, expensive Blu-ray projects ever undertaken. But that show also has a massive fanbase of Blu-ray buyers who can offset that cost, does i Love Lucy appeal to many of them? Probably not.

 

Add that to the fact that the 35mm elements for I Love Lucy were probably not as pristine as say, those for TNG, given that there is an age difference of over 35 years between the two series, and I imagine the film elements for I Love Lucy had to be used more than once for new prints, etc. Whereas the TNG film was probably scanned once, and then stored, with all subsequent work delivered on SD video. 

 

While I agree that CBS/Paramount should follow Image's Entertainment's example and release a complete series box first, followed by individual seasons, they are two different companies, and we don't know how these deals are worked out.

 

All we know is that a studio is a business, so they will do what they can to make profits. I imagine, then that if it was more cost-effective for them to release a complete series on Blu-ray first, they would have done so. Certainly, sometimes the people running these labels make stupid decisions, but usually not where profitability is concerned. I'm willing to bet that, just like TNG, the work on the I Love Lucy Blu-ray project is nowhere near finished, and this is the reason for getting season sets now, as opposed to a complete box set.

 

Now, what I know as a consumer, is that I have seen some shows take a decade or more to finish out runs on DVD, and some shows have stalled and may not finish at all on DVD.

 

And what I also see is a paltry selection of remastered TV on Blu-ray, especially serialized TV. Indeed, Image's releases of The Twilight Zone and The Dick Van Dyke Show would seem to be the exception, rather than the rule. If complete series boxes on Blu-ray worked for everyone, and all they had to do was release the one box and wait for the profit to slowly trickle in over time, wouldn't we see a lot more HD ready shows getting released as Blu-ray boxes? 

 

Obviously, I Love Lucy is beloved everywhere, and probably one of the most profitable TV programs in home media history. But I would hate to see it stall on Blu-ray, and then more series not get the green light for remastered Blu-ray release because of it.



#24 of 70 TravisR

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Posted April 24 2014 - 03:02 PM

Some have brought up the idea that TNG is worth more because CBS went back to the negatives, but my understanding is that they also did that for I Love Lucy.

When I said that they went back to the negative for Star Trek, I was using that as a shorthand (though an incorrect one) for them having to re-edit the show on film since it was originally finished on tape since I assume there is a pretty serious cost associated with that.

 

That being said, my understanding is that they made new HD scans from the negative for The Twilight Zone Blu-rays (and that's after already having HD versions that were the basis of the Definitive Edition DVDs) and they used the negatives for The Dick Van Dyke Show and I imagine all those shows that are much cheaper have used the negatives too. So I still have to wonder what it is- beyond CBS/Paramount thinking that people will pay Star Trek prices for everything- that makes their shows far more expensive than every other company's classic TV Blu-rays?

 

For what it's worth, I love a deal as much as anyone but I'm not one of those people who sees a disc get released at $15 and automatically says "I'll wait until it's $10". I'm willing to spend to get a product that I want but all things considered, I'm waiting for this to drop by at least $25 or $30 to a $50-ish price tag which seems much more reasonable to me.



#25 of 70 JohnMor

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Posted April 24 2014 - 03:32 PM

It totally should have been handled like The Dick Van Dyke Show: complete series first (which all really die hard fans would buy) and then individuals seasons afterward, for people who either can't afford all at once, or don't want all to begin with.  That said, I'll still get this, I'm sure.


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#26 of 70 classicmovieguy

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Posted April 24 2014 - 03:46 PM

Yes....

 

...and here is where the studios really make things unfair (and I see it more

with modern television releases)...

 

They sell single season Blu-rays at the end of the current year's run.  But

then, after the entire series has run its course, they put out a complete series

set with loads of extras that were not on the individual season discs.

 

It's almost worth not buying the individual seasons because eventually there

might be a complete series on Blu-ray with new extra material. 

It surely can't be worse than the BBC in the UK, who release boxset after boxset of their series.



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#27 of 70 Steve...O

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Posted April 24 2014 - 04:53 PM

The before and after comparison is relevent as it demonstrates the cleanup that was done on the original broadcast elements that were 16mm.  This includes the original openings and flashback segments, among others.  It is not a comparison of the 16mm to 35mm.  35mm elements of this footage are not known to exist

 

Clarification on the pilot.  The pilot is not offered in both kinescope and 35mm formats.  The previous DVDs used a 16mm kinescope print, thought to be the only surviving copy.  However, the pilot was shot on 35mm film (still a kinescope - from a TV monitor).  CBS recently discovered they had the original 35mm negative of the kinescope.  This newly remastered print is what is presented.  This print was also inserted into the remastered version of "The Very First Show" special.  Final note: the pilot looks great (much better than released before), but don't expect it to look like the filmed episodes because it is still a kinescope.  It is wonderful that the opening few seconds which were missing from the 16mm are intact on the 35mm neg.

 

Hello, Larry:

 

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your clarifications.  For my own education, are you saying that there are no 35mm film elements on ILL, just 16mm?  Or do you mean that  a subset of footage (things aired on night of broadcast but removed from syndication) only exist in 16mm with the episodes proper existing in 35mm?   Also, do you know if the original camera negatives exist on ILL or just prints? 

 

Thanks.


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#28 of 70 Brian W.

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Posted April 24 2014 - 08:40 PM

I understand the outrage about the price.  However, I never hear any such comments about Criterion pricing a 90-minute movie with a list of $39.99, less than half the Amazon price of this set containing an entire season of a show.  

 

I'm uncomfortable paying 75 bucks for it, but it's one of the rare titles that I simply have to have day-of-release.  It's the inclusion of the complete Philip Morris promos that makes this a "must-have now" for me.  This will be my third purchase of Season One -- Columbia House, then the series box set, and now the Blu-Ray.



#29 of 70 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 24 2014 - 09:42 PM

I understand the outrage about the price.  However, I never hear any such comments about Criterion pricing a 90-minute movie with a list of $39.99, less than half the Amazon price of this set containing an entire season of a show. 

 

That's a very good point, Brian.

 

Me, personally, I rarely ever buy a Criterion title the day it comes out.  

I wait until it drops to $20.

 

As someone who has been buying the Star Trek: The Next Generation

seasons when they go on sale for about $50, I know first-hand the quality

of work that goes into restoring these shows.

 

There is no argument that CBS is doing painstaking work to make these

shows look exceptional.  There is a level of work here that exceeds what

one would find elsewhere.

 

I also understand -- especially in this economic climate -- that this is a very

costly process and the studio needs to recoup their investment.  They actually

need to depend on those that will buy these sets day one at full price.

 

As already discussed, most people would rather wait months to year(s) for

said product to drop in price.  In the case of Star Trek, I usually don't have 

to wait more than 6 months for the price to drop in an Amazon sale.

 

I am not mad at CBS/Paramount for their pricing policy.  I get it.  And at

what point you, as a consumer, buys this set all depends on what its value

is to you.  There are many members snatching up Star Trek TNG discs at

nearly $100 apiece.  Those are true fans.


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#30 of 70 mrz7

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Posted April 24 2014 - 11:41 PM

/

I don't know, I still find it difficult to agree.

 

First of all, let's dismiss the argument that because Series A was released on DVD twice, and Series B was released on DVD five times  the Blu-ray of Series A is worth more than the Blu-ray of Series B. Unless the exact same HD masters from a 2007 DVD release are used for a 2014 Blu-ray release, this argument holds no water. DVD is DVD and DVD sucks, that's why it is so inexpensive, and it, in turn, cheapens the Blu-ray format #and home video itself# by continuing to dominate sales.

 

 

I think you were missing my point.  It's not that Series A is worth more than Series B on Blu-ray because the number of times it was released on DVD.  I was trying to point out the fact, if CBS/Paramount is trying to make a profit with this set at the initial price tag there looking for the Blu-ray of "I Love Lucy", they shouldn't have saturated the market with different versions of DVD releases.  For collectors, yes it might make a difference. But for the average consumer, who just want the series and doesn't care that the picture is not a perfect HD/1080p, the DVD's for the complete series will be just as good (btw, the DVD's of "I Love Lucy" don't look bad at all). Bottom line: It's not gonna a make a whole lot of difference to the average consumer in this economic climate.  Lets face it, the story is gonna be the same....were still going to laugh at Lucy getting drunk on "Vitameatavegamin" whether it's in the DVD format or Blu-ray format. Again, if it's a collector, yes it will, but not the average consumer who not looking for the best picture possible and extras......they are looking at the episodes.  This is a black and white sitcom.....not an action movie where Blu-ray shines.

 

I will agree that yes, "I Love Lucy" is beloved by alot of people, and I hope the Blu-ray sales do well for CBS/Paramount, because I would like all the seasons on Blu-Ray (I am a huge fan of Lucy's....I have all her series.....I even had bought the whole series on VHS through Columbia House at $29 dollars a pop for 3 episodes per video.  Then again on DVD.....not once.....but twice.....the first time Columbia House, as mentioned before, they only released up thru season 5.....so I rebought them again at retail, all 7 seasons, which include the "Lucy Desi Comedy Hour"). I'm just afraid with the amount of times that "I Love Lucy" has been released on DVD and the economic climate that sales won't do well and the studio will  stall the series on Blu-ray due to sales with the current price tag.  A classic example of this is "The Soprano's" series. They release season 6 (part I), season 6 (part II) and season 1 (in that order).  But because of the price tag of these sets (around $60) and there are only like 10-13 hour episodes in each set AND the complete series were out already on DVD at a lesser price tag (twice released...as individual season sets and a complete series box set), HBO stalled the series on the Blu-rays because of sales. They haven't released another season on Blu-ray for 3 years!!!  I just don't want part of t.v. series on Blu-ray.....I want the whole series on Blu-ray.  I also think alot a consumers are on to the studio's game, with going thru season by season on DVD and stalling some series cause of sales. Blu-ray is more expensive and I think most consumers who want to invest in a classic series, like "I Love Lucy" or "The Sopranos" on Blu-ray, they are not gonna play the same game they did with the DVD's......they are going to wait for the whole series to go on Blu-ray. 

 

That is why I wish CBS/Paramount would follow the model of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" Blu-ray release. The studio that released this series, released the complete series first, then followed up with individual season sets. And I know different studios do different things to make their profits, but it just makes more sense, to me anyway, that you would start off with the completed series, and if they didn't sell well, you would go to the season by season model after that to, one, recoup some of your losses from the box set sales and two, get rid of your inventory. 

 

Is "I Love Lucy" more popular than "Dick Van Dyke Show"? Most likely yes, and maybe that is why CBS/Paramount is taking that approach with the Blu-ray releases (season by season first instead of the completed series first)....I don't know that and thats not what I was stating in my last post by comparing the two series.  I know for me, as a collector, I really want "I Love Lucy" on Blu-ray, but at the same time, I want to "wait and see" how the studio is going to handle this series. I invested enough on the series, on both VHS and DVD, and I just don't want to get trapped on  "some" of the series on Blu-ray, if it should stall.  If they would have done the completed series at once on Blu-ray......that would have been a totally different story......I most likely would grab the set within the first 6 months of it's release......and we wouldn't be having this conversation.  Again, just my 2 cents.



#31 of 70 TravisR

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Posted April 25 2014 - 04:00 AM

However, I never hear any such comments about Criterion pricing a 90-minute movie with a list of $39.99, less than half the Amazon price of this set containing an entire season of a show.

That's not a fair comparison because you're using the MSRP of a Criterion title and the sale price of the I Love Lucy Blu-ray. If you compare the MSRPs of both, a Criterion title is $40 MSRP and this set is $130 MSRP so the cost is more than three times the price of a Criterion disc. With the usual Amazon 30%-ish discount, a Criterion title goes for about $30 (after tax and shipping) and Lucy is going for about $80 (after tax and shipping).

 

While you're definitely getting way more for your dollar with Lucy than you do with nearly any movie on Blu-ray (not just Criterion), the price is still much higher than the price for other TV shows of the same era.



#32 of 70 Cinescott

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Posted April 25 2014 - 04:44 AM

If $75 for a season of Lucy is a justified price, how can Lionsgate afford to release individual seasons of Little House on the Prairie for $18.99?

 

LHOP is also a newly-remastered show from original elements and would have involved a great deal of effort to release as well. Why the disparity?

 

LHOP was a top ten rated show for many years, so has a built in fan base, although granted not as large as Lucy's. If that's the case, how do the bean counters arrive at a MSRP of $129.99 for ILL? In my opinion, no Blu-ray release should be listed for more than the cost of the hardware. It doesn't make any intuitive sense: "Great, we have the Blu-ray player for $99.99, now let's get something to watch. How about this 'I Love Lucy' set? Sticker price is $119? Put it back."

 

Although ILL doesn't interest me personally, I do want to see it sell well, because I believe it will be a model by which other potential releases will be judged.

 

"Well, if there isn't a market for 'I Love Lucy' on Blu-ray, we should probably just forget about xxxx."

"Let's focus on streaming."

"Dead format. Time to move on."

 

I see $49.99 or less as a fair retail price per season for Lucy. I don't see the current pricing being successful. 


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#33 of 70 Rob W

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Posted April 25 2014 - 06:15 AM

When I said that they went back to the negative for Star Trek, I was using that as a shorthand (though an incorrect one) for them having to re-edit the show on film since it was originally finished on tape since I assume there is a pretty serious cost associated with that.

 

 

 I don't believe the original Star Trek was finished or edited on videotape, although the much later follow-up series were.  There are plenty of old 16mm syndication prints of the original Trek around, and they would look very poor indeed had they been sourced from 1960's-era videotape.

 

Let's also keep in mind that the upgrade of the original series was not just done for home video ; it was Paramount's way of future-proofing one of their most valuable properties for long-term television syndication as well, in the new era of high-definition.

 

 

 

 

 



#34 of 70 KPmusmag

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Posted April 25 2014 - 06:38 AM

Trouble is, the first two-thirds of season one contain the weakest episodes (Drafted, The Young Fans) of the entire series.  I know some diehard Lucy fans who detest season one as a whole, even though it contains several classic episodes (Lucy Does a TV Commercial, The Freezer, Lucy's Schedule).

 

However, I've had it preordered from day one mainly because of the original broadcast materials and the unique repeat broadcast footage, of which I've been told more has been found since the DVDs were released.

 

Interesting. I didn't know there are fans who really hate the season as whole.

 

I agree that "Drafted and "The Young Fans" are weaker episodes, and the ones you mention are surely classics, but there are so many that, in my opinion, set the tone for the Lucy character and the series, containing hilarious, clever moments, just to name a few: Lucy at the ballet barre with Mary Wickes, the giant loaf of bread, Lucy making a caesar salad on Ricky's head, and quite a few more, IMO.

 

I have to admit I bought every Columbia House VHS (the entire series), the laserdiscs (they didn't do whole seasons), the first season DVDs with fewer shows per disc, and finally the entire series on DVD. So they have surely made their money on me but I am in for the day of release. Can't help it!



#35 of 70 TravisR

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Posted April 25 2014 - 06:58 AM

 I don't believe the original Star Trek was finished or edited on videotape, although the much later follow-up series were.  There are plenty of old 16mm syndication prints of the original Trek around, and they would look very poor indeed had they been sourced from 1960's-era videotape.

Sorry, I should have been more specific but I meant Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since McCrutchy and I were discussing ST: TNG, I figured that saying Star Trek would be enough.



#36 of 70 Rob_Ray

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Posted April 25 2014 - 07:41 AM

Interesting. I didn't know there are fans who really hate the season as whole.

 

I agree that "Drafted and "The Young Fans" are weaker episodes, and the ones you mention are surely classics, but there are so many that, in my opinion, set the tone for the Lucy character and the series, containing hilarious, clever moments, just to name a few: Lucy at the ballet barre with Mary Wickes, the giant loaf of bread, Lucy making a caesar salad on Ricky's head, and quite a few more, IMO.

 

I have to admit I bought every Columbia House VHS (the entire series), the laserdiscs (they didn't do whole seasons), the first season DVDs with fewer shows per disc, and finally the entire series on DVD. So they have surely made their money on me but I am in for the day of release. Can't help it!

 

I'm also one of the suckers that has to have it on Day One.  But there's no denying that in the early episodes, the show is still trying to find out what works and what doesn't in the relatively new medium of television.  Too often the early scripts, many of which are remakes of My Favorite Husband radio shows, contain gags that work for radio but don't work in the more explicit medium of television.  (Ricky doesn't recognize Lucy even when she wears the flimsiest of disguises, etc.)

 

It's interesting that Lucy literally hasn't found her voice yet.  She tries a higher-pitched childlike voice when the comedy suggests it (Be a Pal).  Vivian's hair color goes from natural to platinum blonde to a more honey blonde.  She instigates some of the schemes (Lucy Thinks Ricky is Going Murder Her, Numerology) instead of being sucked into them by Lucy.    Ricky is *so* young in the early shows.  Only the character of Fred was set in stone from the start.

 

It isn't until somewhere around the midpoint of the season or later, that everything finally clicks and by the last episodes, the show is the classic that it has remained for over 60 years.

 

I am so looking forward to the "Night of Broadcast" feature.  My favorite Philip Morris commercial (and I think it's in season two) is the one where the announcer hints that unless we start buying more Philip Morris cigarettes, they may be forced to cancel their sponsorship of I Love Lucy!  (God forbid that the #1 show on television would have to find a new sponsor!)



#37 of 70 Traveling Matt

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Posted April 25 2014 - 08:07 AM

Is it plausible Dick van Dyke was mastered in HD for the earlier DVD run and that, combined with a lack of reissues, allowed a more cost-effective approach than Lucy?



#38 of 70 Richard Gallagher

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Posted April 25 2014 - 10:08 AM

Is it plausible Dick van Dyke was mastered in HD for the earlier DVD run and that, combined with a lack of reissues, allowed a more cost-effective approach than Lucy?

 

I don't know about that, but the MSRP for the entire series of The Dick Van Dyke show is $349.98. I was waiting for it to come back down to the $100 range, and today I got it for $62.98 at Amazon.


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#39 of 70 Mark Collins

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Posted April 25 2014 - 10:13 AM

I have all the VHS tapes and the Comedy hour tapes and then the DVD box set.  So I have spent the most on Lucy then any other series.  I also happen to be one of the fans who did not like year 1 that much BUT there are yes some good episodes.

 

I want to thank Matt for his great review! I will admit I am very tempted to buy.  I am going to wait for a bit and then decide.

 

Does year 1 have the cast wish everyone a Merry Christmas while dressed in Santa Suites at the end of the regular episode? I have never seen that footage.



#40 of 70 Rob_Ray

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Posted April 25 2014 - 10:28 AM

Does year 1 have the cast wish everyone a Merry Christmas while dressed in Santa Suites at the end of the regular episode? I have never seen that footage.

 

I recall that footage being on the DVD set somewhere in the bonus footage, so I'm sure it will be on the BluRay.  It originally aired at the end of "Drafted" on 12/24/51.







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