Format: DVDMultiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
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In this timelessly funny third season of The Lucy Show, in which iconic I Love Lucy cohorts Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance star as two single women, one widowed and the other divorced, who share a home with their children, Lucy and Viv are awarded ample opportunities to carry on like a proto Laverne & Shirley. "What we need is a plan and we need it fast," is this series' comedic raison d'être. Lucy's lost her contact lens? What are she and Viv to do but frantically and messily search through 14 bake sale chocolate cakes for it? Lucy also gets Emmy-worthy support from the great Gale Gordon as Mr. Mooney, the ever-exasperated banker in charge of her precarious finances. But this is, after all, The Lucy Show, and Lucy ("that fantabulous dynamic gifted ball of fire," to quote Danny Kaye in one of this set's bonus features), like all great clowns, will do anything for a laugh. In "Lucy, the Great Skate," she again evokes Charlie Chaplin when she takes to the dance floor on roller skates (don't ask) at a swank country club dance. In "Lucy Meets Danny Kaye," she's a scene-stealing extra on the entertainer's TV show. She has two great comic set pieces in "Lucy Becomes a Father," trying to extricate herself from a sleeping bag, and interacting with a real live bear. This season's Very Special Episode is "Lucy and the Plumber," featuring guest star Jack Benny as a plumber whose cross to bear is that he looks like Jack Benny. Non-spoiler alert: Another legendary FOL (Friend of Lucy) makes a surprise cameo at episode's end. This would be Vance's last season, and she is absent for several episodes. Enter Ann Sothern as an old school friend who is by all appearances a fabulously wealthy countess, but who is actually broke, and whom Lucy helps maintain the charade. Added pleasures for radio, TV, and comedy buffs include appearances by Harold "The Great Gildersleeve" Peary, Pat Harrington (Schneider on One Day at a Time), and episodes cowritten by Garry Marshall (creator of Laverne & Shirley). Each episode can be viewed in color as they were filmed, or in black and white as they were broadcast in 1964-65, complete with vintage openings, closings, and commercials. Bonus features also include footage of Lucy Day at the 1964 New York World's Fair, text bios of the show's cinematographer and costume designer, and bonus clips of a Lucy appearance on The Danny Kaye Show. --Donald Liebenson