Judge Ryan Keefer did have red hair at one point, but it was associated with an obsession with punk rock music.
Our reviews of The Best Of I Love Lucy (published June 29th, 2011), I Love Lucy: The Complete Second Season (published December 1st, 2004), I Love Lucy: The Complete Third Season (published March 16th, 2005), I Love Lucy: The Complete Fourth Season (published January 11th, 2006), I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season (published October 26th, 2005), I Love Lucy: Season One, Volume Nine (published November 11th, 2003), and I Love Lucy: Season One, Volumes One And Two (published July 23rd, 2002) are also available.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had enjoyed stratospheric success with I Love Lucy since the first episode aired in 1951. But it was 1956 and both had presumably gotten tired of the show that made them stars, so season six of the show was its last. Does it go out with a bang or a whimper?
Facts of the Case
The final season of I Love Lucy is spread out over 27 episodes and discs in nice slimline cases for the world to see and enjoy. The episodes are as follows:
• "Lucy and Bob Hope"
Well, if anyone other than Lucy and Desi knew that this was the swan song, you'd never have guessed it. But with guest stars like Bob Hope, Orson Welles and George Reeves (a.k.a. the 1950s-era Superman), they were certainly not holding anything back. And upon further review, some more notable guest appearance in this season were Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein), Claude Akins (From Here to Eternity) and Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie). Lucy didn't hesitate to throw herself into sticky situations that resulted in some hilarious comic moments. Before anyone had heard of this show, women in television primarily made the house and served as "straight men" to their husband's one-liners.
Now there really isn't much mystery to the show for anyone who's seen it; Lucy gets into a sticky situation and Ricky, a club owner, tries to get her out of it. And get ready to brace yourself; I for one had never really seen much of Lucy growing up, aside from the obligatory show highlights that were aired over the years, and I don't really watch that much TV Land. But upon further review, Lucy did a lot for comedy in front of and behind the camera. Aside from the three camera shoot that we know and love for television comedy, the Lucy and Desi jointly-owned production company Desilu had their hands in just about every major television project for years, including Batman, Hogan's Heroes, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Lassie, My Favorite Martian and My Three Sons, along with shows from Danny Thomas, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Andy Griffith and Dick Van Dyke.
In terms of the upfront comedy that Lucy helped to entertain people with, she quite simply didn't hesitate to do whatever it took to get a laugh. The comedy of a DeGeneres or a Louis-Dreyfus or a Cho pales in comparison because (maybe some would call it too layered and nuanced for my blunt red-meat consuming personality), let's face it, comedy is tough. Robert DeNiro tried it once without really trying (Midnight Run) and it worked, and then played a shadow of it in Meet the Parents. Now the guy thinks he's Slappy White and doesn't turn down any comedy script that gets handed to him. Anyone remember Showtime? And with Desi, Lucy had a straight man that could play up all the big laughs and didn't shy away from being any Latin stereotype (God, hearing the phrase "conniving Cuban" on TV nowadays would get several interest groups' heads simultaneously spinning).
At the end of the day, even if this was the last season of a show that is a cultural landmark in America, it was still quite strong and pretty funny more often than not. And the couple (despite off-screen problems) kept the strong production going long after the cameras were turned off in May of 1957, and after watching this season (and finding out more about her), it's safe to say I've got a better respect and understanding for the type of impact Lucille Ball had on television and comedy.
For 50-year-old television productions, these shows look and sound better than I expected. I thought the picture would have been neglected after all this time, and you can make out some pretty good detail when you watch the show, like small backhand veins on Lucy's scuba gloves and pictures of the kids when Ricky whips them out. And to see some of the advertisements included for kitsch's sake is pretty good. I wanted to finish watching the series and have some Sanka and some generic pie shortening/filling spread of some sort…
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Speak ill of a comedic genius? I say not.
If you've bought all of the seasons to this point, what's one more? It's got some funny episodes in it, the extras are a pleasant surprise and it looks better than I expected. A rental at the least, but worth checking out for Lucy novices like yours truly.
Not guilty for a landmark in televised comedy. Proceed with the next case.
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Scales of Justice
• Original Series Openings
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