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CBS Salute Lucy:
The First 25 Years.
Image Entertainment (DVD)

The year 2001 marked Lucille Ball's 50th Anniversary on television, and Image Entertainment celebrated the event by releasing on DVD the big 25th anniversary special that CBS aired in 1976.

Sadly, only 97 minutes of the show were included -- 8 minutes were cut out. Among the missing segments were a tribute to William Frawley, hosted by Gale Gordon, featuring Bill and Vivian Vance singing "Carolina in the Morning." Also missing is one of Lucy's own numbers, a soft-shoe rendition of "Makin' Whoopee," performed with Eddie Albert. Apparently the owners of the music copyrights were asking more dollars for licensing fees than the DVD producers were willing to pay. Result: the viewers get short changed!

The show, of course, is an all-star salute to the great Redhead, with various celebrities each introducing a series of film clips from I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy or one of the Lucy specials. Gary Morton produced the show, and it originally aired on CBS on Sunday, November 28, 1976. (Because of the "anniversary" theme of the show, it was never repeated.)

Among the celebrities introducing the various film clips were Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, Gale Gordon, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, John Wayne -- and many, many others.

The program was very well received when it aired -- it racked up a huge 29.0 rating and 39 share of audience (figures unheard of today!). The only negative comments we heard about the show centered on the fact that it tended to regard all Lucy shows as equals. Some people thought I Love Lucy (and the subsequent Lucy-Desi specials) should have been given more special recognition. (Even in 1976, I Love Lucy was considered a television landmark!)

Otherwise, the anniversary special was a wonderful tribute to our favorite Redhead -- and the DVD will be a wonderful addition to our collections. For some reason, Image Entertainment has elected to go with an Emmy photo as their cover artwork for this release. We like the original CBS artwork -- it was based on Lucy's Scotland outfit -- so we thought you'd like to see it, too:

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Original materials © 2001 Lucyfan Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.
"I Love Lucy" is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.