Why does a series end when it’s at the top of the ratings and the star wins the Emmy? Most of the time the star wants to pursue film projects. Or the producers claim the “going out on top” excuse. The Lucy Show was #2 in the nation and Lucille Ball had won her second straight Emmy for best actress. But she pulled the brake after only six seasons. This was not a creative burn out or diva tantrum. This was purely a business decision. Lucy had sold Desilu productions to the company that also owned Paramount. They now had control over her current productions including Mannix, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and The Lucy Show. Lucy was savvy enough to know better than deal with studio beancounters. She formed a new company and created Here’s Lucy which also featured Gale Gordon as her foil once more. Nobody was that heartbroken about the demise of The Lucy Show. They’d still have their wacky redhead on the television. The Lucy Show: Official Sixth and Final Season was her last season as Lucy Carmichael, the tormenter of Mr. Mooney.
“Lucy Meets the Berles” gets her hired as a secretary to Milton Berle. This part time gig immediately turns bad when she think Uncle Milty is having an affair. Turns out he’s practicing for a part. But it’s too late as the rumors swirl thanks to Lucy. “Lucy and the Starmaker” brings Frankie Avalon (Beach Party) into the bank. He dreams of music, but needs to work for a living. Lucy wants to give Frankie his big break. “Lucy Gets Her Diploma” has her finishing up high school. There’s problem since earlier in the series, Lucy said she’d gone to college. But this was a show that also forgot she had kids at one point. “Lucy Gets Jack Benny’s Account” goes after the notorious cheapskate’s vault. Can she handle such pressure?
“Lucy and Robert Goulet” has the Camelot crooner playing a down and out truck driver. He can’t get a loan, but Lucy thinks he can make fast bucks in a Robert Goulet look-alike contest. He’s got to fear Will Ferrell getting in a time machine. “Lucy and Carol Burnett” is two episodes of the top women in comedy exchanging wit. Carol and Lucy are students training to be flight attendants. Can passengers survive their onslaught? Mr. Mooney (Gail Gordon) must help them set up a musical at the school. “Lucy and Viv Reminisce” brings back Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy). She has to nurse Lucy. This gives the two a chance to set up clips from the early years of The Lucy Show. “Mooney’s Other Wife” tangles him up with a woman. Edie Adams (Ernie Kovacs Show) follows Mr. Mooney back from a convention. Lucy has to pose as Mr. Mooney’s wife to get her brushed off. Is Edie really going to fall for that?
The big episode for the final season is “Lucy and the Lost Star.” Lucy and Viv stumble across a dirty mansion where they find Joan Crawford cleaning the floor. They think Joan has given up acting to be a maid. Viv and Lucy plot her comeback even though Joan has retired from showbiz. Fans of the show are overwhelmed with Lucy, Viv and Joan sharing the screen.
The Lucy Show: Official Sixth and Final Season wraps up the second TV version of Lucy. It’s hard to tell why this series doesn’t get that much rerun action. Even now, there seems to be six stations running I Love Lucy, but none giving a slot to The Lucy Show. The show went through so many changes over its run. They swapped the film from black and white to color. The premise was Lucy and Vivian as single mothers in New York. They dumped the kids after a few years. Vivian departed. Gale Gordon arrived as her new antagonist. Lucy moved to California to pester Hollywood stars. This is not the same series found in Season One. Often there’s a sense of loss when you reach the final episode of a series. There’s no real ending to The Lucy Show. Lucy and Gale did the same schtick with big time guest stars on Here’s Lucy. Basically it was one last change for a series that went through so many transformations over six seasons. Yet with all these creative changes, the show ended on top of the ratings. No matter what she did or called her show, viewers loved Lucy.
“Lucy Meets the Berles,” “Lucy Gets Trapped,” “Lucy and the French Movie Star,” “Lucy, the Starmaker,” “Lucy Gets Her Diploma,” “Lucy Gets Jack Benny’s Account,” “Little Old Lucy,” “Lucy and Robert Goulet,” “Lucy Gets Mooney Fired,” “Lucy’s Mystery Guest,” “Lucy, the Philanthropist,” “Lucy Sues Mooney,” “Lucy and the Pool Hustler,” “Lucy and Carol Burnett,” “Lucy and Viv Reminisce,” “Lucy Gets Involved,” “Mooney’s Other Wife,” “Lucy and the Stolen Stole,” “Lucy and Phil Harris,” “Lucy Helps Ken Berry,” “Lucy and the Lost Star,” “Lucy and Sid Caesar” and “Lucy and The Boss of the Year Award.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The color transfers bring out the red in Lucy’s hair. You can see the frustration lines in Mr. Mooney’s face. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You might want to turn down the volume when Lucy goes into her “wahhhhh” mode. The episodes are subtitled.
Keep Smiling (1:42) is the raw footage of Lucy posing for the opening montage.
Special Footage (1:39) are the trims from when the 35mm was getting up to speed from the Jack Benny episode.
Youth Appreciation Week (2:02) are two radio PSAs made by Lucy.
Lucy Goes Italian (25:33) is “Lucy Gets Her Diploma” as it ran in Roma. They have a whole new opening credit sequence. Gives a sense of what it would be like if Fellini directed her.
Original Broadcasts has the vintage openings and closings. Included are sponsor spots for Pepsodent, Phase III deodorant, Wisk, Lux and Toni.
Guest Cast gives the background on the actors.
Production Notes explains how this was a glorious year for Desilu with The Lucy Show, Star Trek, Mannix and Mission: Impossible.The Mothers-in-Law in production.
Photo Gallery contains plenty of publicity shots from the various episodes.
Fashions by Stevenson is a text essay about the background of designer Eddie Stevenson. It shows his sketches with the finished wardrobe.
The Carol Burnett Show (3:13) is a sketch with Carol and Lucy as feuding car rental agencies at the airport. They beat up Tim Conway. This was from the first season of Carol’s show.
Meet Jack Baker speaks of the show’s choreographer. He went on to work on Here’s Lucy.
Lucy Wins An Emmy (2:16) has her beat Marlo Thomas in 1968. Frank Sinatra calls her name.
Funny Outtakes (3:54) are the few flubs left from the show.
Here’s Lucy promo (1:09) for the DVDs of Lucy’s next season.
The Lucy Show: Official Sixth and Final Season wraps up the only show to have major changes over its run yet never fell from the top of the ratings. The big highlight is Lucy and Vivian spending time with Joan Crawford. They must have kept wire hangers out of Joan’s dressing room. There’s nothing sad about the end of The Lucy Show since it was altered once more to become Here’s Lucy.
CBS DVD presents The Lucy Show: Official Sixth and Final Season. Starring: Lucille Ball and Gale Gordon. Boxset Contents: 24 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: October 9, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Here's Lucy, I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Star Trek, The Lucy Show, Vivian Vance