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LIFE WITH LUCY Coming to DVD Oct. 8 2019

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16 hours ago, mickie said:

another review of Life With Lucy: https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/74063/life-with-lucy-the-complete-series/

and not a bad review. 

"more sophisticated comedy in shows like Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, etc."  Yes, but only ONE of these was still on the air in 1986.  "Cheers" and "Golden Girls" could make me laugh. Hits circa 1986  "Cosby" "Who's the Boss", so many other etc's: NO. 

As fair a look back as could be expected.  Reviewer makes good points, some I hadn't thought about.  Like how The Lucy Show set up the premise, then found the kids incidental to the plots, seen less and less until they disappeared.  (Ditto the narcoleptic Little Ricky, rarely seen until his dose of Gigantigrow between seasons 5 and 6).   Grandma Lucy interacting with the little ones was cute but maybe having them all live together, appearing in every episode, was a mistake..    Reviewers assessment of Ted and Margo "competent, but unmemorable": apt. They should have learned from The Mothers In Law that casting the young adults with bland actors, giving them really no discernible character would add nothing to the show.   Larry and Ann just didn't have the comedy acting chops to forge their own characters, as actors from a previous generation might have.   Donovan Scott did.  Maybe he should have played Ted.  With a Ruth Buzzi as Margo?  They needed some sort of character clash at home other than Lucy and Gale. 

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1 hour ago, Neil said:

"more sophisticated comedy in shows like Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, etc."  Yes, but only ONE of these was still on the air in 1986.  "Cheers" and "Golden Girls" could make me laugh. Hits circa 1986  "Cosby" "Who's the Boss", so many other etc's: NO. 

As fair a look back as could be expected.  Reviewer makes good points, some I hadn't thought about.  Like how The Lucy Show set up the premise, then found the kids incidental to the plots, seen less and less until they disappeared.  (Ditto the narcoleptic Little Ricky, rarely seen until his dose of Gigantigrow between seasons 5 and 6).   Grandma Lucy interacting with the little ones was cute but maybe having them all live together, appearing in every episode, was a mistake..    Reviewers assessment of Ted and Margo "competent, but unmemorable": apt. They should have learned from The Mothers In Law that casting the young adults with bland actors, giving them really no discernible character would add nothing to the show.   Larry and Ann just didn't have the comedy acting chops to forge their own characters, as actors from a previous generation might have.   Donovan Scott did.  Maybe he should have played Ted.  With a Ruth Buzzi as Margo?  They needed some sort of character clash at home other than Lucy and Gale. 

Maybe later episodes would've cut back the kids' appearances like TLS did, with more plots taking place with them at school or already in bed, or off visiting friends. Or, maybe they would've gone the boarding school route, turning Grandma Heaven into Grandma Hell (MARGO: "I'VE LOST MY BABIES!")

You're right that more conflict in the home could've given them more possibilities. Lucy getting along perfectly well with Ted and Margo is lovely and all, but friendly isn't necessarily funny. Perhaps an Endora/Durwood type relationship between Lucy and Ted could've livened things up a bit. 

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Yes, I’ve always thought if the series had continued, the kids parts should have been diminished. Not to the extent of the California Lucy Show years, but look at season three of The Lucy Show compared to season one. 

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22 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

Although brief, the reviewer makes some good points. I love that he refers to criticisms of Lucy's Mame as "atypical". When he hypothesizes the show actually being a hit, he brings up something that I've never thought of. If the show had continued, how long would Lucy and Gale be able to keep up the physical comedy? I really do believe that if LWL had continued Lucy would have made it past '89, and maybe (like with the broken leg arc on HL) the scripts would actually start to acknowledge her age. The gals on Grace and Frankie are now older than Lucy and Gale were in 1986, and even though the physical comedy bits aren't nearly as constant, they still pull them off without critics bitching about their age and mobility. 

This is an interesting point. In 1990 or so, Gale said had successfully auditioned to join the cast or an established sitcom (reading between the lines, my unconfirmed theory is the role that eventually went to John Hillerman on The Hogan Family) but lost out in the end because either the network or producers were unable to ensure him due to his age. 

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2 hours ago, Brock said:

 but lost out in the end because either the network or producers were unable to ensure him due to his age. 

According to Tom on Stu's Show this week they could not get insurance for Gale for LWL. They were able to for Lucy.

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Wow, that's unbelievable about the insurance issue. Even in his 80s (and he didn't look it), he was so robust and full of life. Multiple sources say he was still sharp as a tack, and never once flubbed a line on the LWL set. Such a pity he lost out on that 1990 role.

In my opinion, Gale would've made a great guest-star on Wings as Roy's father, had they chosen to go that route. He had it until the end.

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On 11/2/2019 at 2:36 PM, Brock said:

This is an interesting point. In 1990 or so, Gale said had successfully auditioned to join the cast or an established sitcom (reading between the lines, my unconfirmed theory is the role that eventually went to John Hillerman on The Hogan Family) but lost out in the end because either the network or producers were unable to ensure him due to his age. 

I’d never heard that before and The Hogan Family is an excellent theory. As a fan of Valerie Harper and Jason Bateman, I enjoy the show and would have loved to see Gale on it. However, if it really was the role that Hillerman got, that was after the show had switched networks and only lasted for an additional 13 episodes- same as LWL!

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On 11/2/2019 at 2:16 PM, Luvsbway said:

According to Tom on Stu's Show this week they could not get insurance for Gale for LWL. They were able to for Lucy.

I wonder why they couldn't get insurance on Gale.  He seemed in tip-top form to me.  So strictly because of his age?  In that case, no actors who are 80 (or whatever the cutoff age) can work on TV unless uninsured?  What does this type of  insurance cover and why it is necessary on individual people?  I can only guess there's some compensation if 

--they become incapacitated and it covers the expense (?) of replacing them in the cast; or

-they have an accident on the set?

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44 minutes ago, Neil said:

I wonder why they couldn't get insurance on Gale.  He seemed in tip-top form to me.  So strictly because of his age?  In that case, no actors who are 80 (or whatever the cutoff age) can work on TV unless uninsured?  What does this type of  insurance cover and why it is necessary on individual people?  I can only guess there's some compensation if 

--they become incapacitated and it covers the expense (?) of replacing them in the cast; or

-they have an accident on the set?

At the very least he should've qualified for goose insurance!

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On 11/2/2019 at 12:32 AM, Mot Morenzi said:

Instead of cancelling it outright, they should've tried moving it to a different time slot to see if it performed any better. 

Yes, Saturday night at *pm was the worst night. I guess they couldn't do Monday night as they Macgyver on that night. 

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46 minutes ago, mickie said:

Yes, Saturday night at *pm was the worst night. I guess they couldn't do Monday night as they Macgyver on that night. 

With Monday Night Football on ABC starting at 9 eastern time, the ABC 8:00 (eastern) show was at a severe disadvantage.  Football was played live across the country so we on Pacific time got it at 6:00.  The official schedule had the game running until 9 Pacific.  But it (followed by all that post-game BLATHER) ended whenever it ended.  I think the 8:00 series shown in the east was either scheduled for 9:00 (or 10:00?)  on the west coast or started whenever the pundits finished analyzing the game and many times they didn't seem to be in ANY rush.    Or later if God forbid, the game went into overtime.  There were many times the football game ran 3-hours-plus so the last part aired opposite Here's Lucy on the west coast.  You can imagine the resistance I faced trying to commandeer the set at 9:00 especially if that was part of a nail-biting overtime conclusion.   Monday Night Football/Here's Lucy: not exactly the same fan base.

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Having now seen all 13 episodes in high quality, I've reevaluated my opinion of the show. I feel the way many nowadays do: it needed work, but it was hardly a disaster.

True, the premise could've been better constructed, and some of the roles given stronger personalities, but there was plenty of room to work with what they had. The last four episodes shot were considerably stronger than many that preceded them, and that growth would've likely continued.

I see a show that had a good heart and was genuinely eager to please. It may not have consistently succeeded, but it did often enough to bestow it with significant charm. For the first time, I was genuinely disappointed there weren't more episodes to enjoy. I'm already looking forward to re-watching them all. 

The series can only be considered lacking compared to Ball's past TV outings (although personally, I think the weakest LWL episodes are still stronger than a number of Here's Lucy offerings). Since 1986, there have been countless sitcoms that have come and gone which were genuinely lousy, far worse than anything this show provided, and had there been more "bad" shows to compare it to at the time, people might've reacted differently. LWL may have been considered a dud when newly minted, but I think time has been kind to it, and I truly feel it deserved more of a chance (and a better time slot).

At least we'll always have these 13 as the cherry on top of her preceding episodes.

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For those interested in the alternate Lucie Arnaz & Cy Coleman theme song, I found some information and lyrics that Lucie shared years ago. Not sure if these have been circulated recently or not:

Quote

...I wrote a theme song for [Life With Lucy] with famed composer Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, See Saw, Little Me, City of Angels, Wildcat, among others) that ABC optioned and then abruptly dropped.  They eventually used a song that a friend of Aaron Spelling (the producer) had written.  Too bad.  Our tune was adorable.  It was called "She Keeps Gettin' Better All The Time."  I wrote a few clever lyrics (if I do say so myself) that I really felt captured my mother's antics through the years, and Cy gave it a terrific upbeat melody.  I ended up performing it during my show at the Feinstein's at Regency Nightclub in New York in 2000, just before I left for London to do The Witches of Eastwick.  Maybe I'll record it with Cy someday.  Who knows?  Here's a bit of it:


Here she comes, the lady fair,
Stoppin' traffic everywhere.
On the ground.  In the air.
Bless her heart, I do declare.

She's a nut, she's a case,
But everybody wants to pay to see that face.
On the town or out in space,
She keeps gettin' better all the time.

(Chorus)
She's a lady, she's a clown,
A comic with a crown.
You'll love her when she's up
Or upside down.

Amazing grace, a lusty laugh,
A lotta guys would like to change her autograph
Weird and wise she's half and half
And keeps getting better
And once you've met her
You won't forget her
She keeps getting better all the time.

 

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Thanks so much! I've always wanted to get some kind of information on Lucie and Cy's theme song. Of course, hearing the music would be great as well. Would it be jazzy and swinging like Eydie's? Or maybe trying to sound more like your typical synthesized sitcom opening of the time? 

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