DVD Review: I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #1

I Love Lucy has been a sensation since it hit the air back in 1951 in the early days of broadcast television. While many of its peers have faded off the TV dial, Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel have been constantly in reruns. You have never lived in a world where Lucy wasn’t on the cable dial. Over the last decade, the home video market has gone deep into the vaults to uncover all the rare footage. This is all great for fans. But what can producers wanting a TV event involving I Love Lucy create to get both old lovers of Lucy and a new generation interested in watching at the same time? The black and white series can pop eyes with a touch of color. I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #1 colorizes two episodes without smearing the legacy.

“L.A. At Last!” and “Lucy and Superman” deal with Lucy’s overwhelming desire to meet stars and never let Little Ricky down. “L.A. At Last!” has the gang finally arrive in Hollywood as part of the major story arc from season 4. While Ricky goes off to the studio, Lucy, Ethel and Fred scoot down to the Brown Derby for lunch in hopes of seeing stars eating. They have an awkward exchange with Eve Arden. But she saves a messy encounter for William Holden (The Wild Bunch). Things get weird when Ricky brings back a special guest from the studio and Lucy has to get into disguise for fear of upsetting the star. This one is noted for the gag where Lucy’s fake nose catches fire while she’s smoking. “Lucy and Superman” is from season six. Little Ricky’s birthday party is the same day as a classmate’s party. Neither set of parents is wanting to change the time. Since the other kid is having a clown, Lucy promised Little Ricky will have Superman (George Reeves) appear at his party. This guarentees the kids will come. She thinks they can get him since he’s in town doing a promotional appearance nearby and they met up during the LA trip. However when it looks like Superman won’t make it, Lucy puts on the tights and cape to save the day and nearly kill herself on the building’s ledge.

Unlike some purists, I have no problem with colorizing a black and white show or movie as long as a studio isn’t “replacing” the original with the new version. The black andwhite episodes are also on the disc. Colorizing should be used as a creative way to enhance a series. What good is Lucy as a crazy redhead when her hair is grey? The best news is that the producers used a color scheme that looks like tinted postcards from the ’50s. They’re not trying to fake viewers into thinking that they discovered the original color negatives in the vault. It’s a fun and fresh way to watch the two super episodes that you’ve probably seen dozens of times over the years.

The videos is 1.33:1 full frame. The colorized image looks sharp with its tints adding to the nostalgia value. The black and white versions look great. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You will hear Lucy’s voice clearly. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

CBS DVD presents I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #1. Starring: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance & William Frawley. Running Time: 45 minutes. Released: October 4, 2016

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