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Freddie2

Lucy on Home Video

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The recent post about The Lucy Show being available for so cheap on DVD got me thinking about the earliest Lucy episodes that I owned. 

To start, someone in my family recorded the 50th Anniversary Special on VHS for me (I was less than two years old at the time- talk about a lifelong fan!), and I also had those GoodTimes releases on VHS that seemed to consist of public domain Lucy material, like the Toast of The Town special and some kind of Westinghouse presentation where Lucy hides in a fridge? (Someone please clarify)

And here's a very personal story: When I was being potty trained, my reward for every successful endeavor would be to watch one episode from those "Best of I Love Lucy" tapes, Volumes 1 and 2. They have portraits from "TV Commercial" and "Job Switching" on the box covers. They're very nostalgic until I remember how much they're associated with bowel movements. Whenever I had a babysitter, I would pull out one of the tapes and watch episodes without my parents' consent. A rebel from the start! 

Additionally, we never had cable when I was growing up, so kind friends and relatives would always give me VHS recordings of TV Land broadcasts of Lucy. "Ricky Needs an Agent", one of the series' premier outings has been a favorite forever because I was lucky enough to get it on a fuzzy old tape from one of my mother's co-workers. 

Later on, I was at Target with my mother and saw that they had seasons one and two of ILL packaged together for $15! Before this, I'd only seen complete seasons of the show go for $25-30, so I absolutely panicked and my mother acquiesced. She said I could only watch a couple of episodes a day. I'm sure we all know how that one went. Ten years later and I'm here rambling on The Lounge.

So, what was your earliest recording or purchase of Lucy on home video? 

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Great topic.  When Nick at Night was showing ILL and later LDCH I taped them all. Those VHS tapes are what I pulled out when I needed a Lucy fix. In the late 90s TVLand started airing ILL. We didn’t get that channel on our cable so a friend of my mom’s taped them for me as TV Land was showing them uncut for the initial run. Also they had mini interviews with people like Barbara Eden, Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, so I wanted those too.

I didn’t get TCM and AMC didn’t show too many Lucy movies, so I stalked Suncoast Video at the mall for Lucy movies. That’s where I picked up all those Goodtimes public domain tapes. I watched them a lot.

The other way I got Lucy stuff was by VHS tape trading. Many of the people I traded with were on the old Lucy mailing list that started around 1996. People would post what they had and what they wanted. Most worked that each person would run off an equal tape quantity worth of stuff and then you would mail each other the tapes. So it was a fun way to build a collection and you were only spending on tape cost and postage since we didn’t charge to do them, just trade. My biggest trade was 10 tapes as I needed TLS, no one was showing it by the late 90s and I was stupid for not keeping copies when I had the chance years earlier.

At one time I think I had about 80 VHS tapes of Lucy stuff. When I went off to college, those tapes came with me. I could fit 50 in one of those tall VHS tower organizers. I dragged the tower and VHS tapes back and forth for 4 years.

By the mid 2000s and with so much coming to DVD I was able to trash a lot of my tapes. What I did want to keep was rare stuff from tape trading and anything I recorded off TV in the 90s and 2000s. Those were lots of retrospectives on the show, interviews, and special things like the 50th Anniversary show, the Lucy Movie in 2003, etc..  I borrowed my parents VHS to DVD converter and copied over as much as I could. Some tapes gave me issues. But now I have 80 tapes worth and much more in far less space then it took 20 years ago.

Currently I sometimes make DVDs from things I record off TV but mainly I’m saving things from Youtube and burning those to DVD.

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My dad started taping episodes of ILL for me off Nick at Nite in the mid 90s. He also started recording a few episodes of LDCH and TLS after I showed an interest in those series. That was around the time Nick pulled TLS so I didn't get many episodes of that program. Years later I transferred from VHS to DVD several of the clever promos Nick at Nite did for ILL and TLS.

When I went to my first Jamestown festivals in the early 2000s I paid an embarrassing amount of money for those Columbia House videos of TLS. But I hadn't seen most of those episodes, so I felt justified haha.

Suncoast Video store came along in the late 90s/early 2000s and sold official VHS releases of ILL and public domain sets of TLS. I also got the individual volumes of ILL season one from there and the first "Best Of" HL DVD release as well. That was a great store during the golden age of TV on DVD releases. So that pretty much sums up my history of collecting Lucy on video.

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My best SunCoast story is about The Facts of Life. I found out it was coming out on VHS so I wanted to pre-order it. I made the clerk double check the movie in his computer to make sure I was not getting Mrs. Garrett yelling at a bunch of boarding school girls. We verified it by finding the release date. I got the right movie and watched the hell out of it. I now have it on bluray and see that it's on TCM tomorrow. 

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13 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

To start, someone in my family recorded the 50th Anniversary Special on VHS for me (I was less than two years old at the time- talk about a lifelong fan!), and I also had those GoodTimes releases on VHS that seemed to consist of public domain Lucy material, like the Toast of The Town special and some kind of Westinghouse presentation where Lucy hides in a fridge? (Someone please clarify)

The Westinghouse special was a sales presentation. They all use their real names but basically play their I Love Lucy characters. (I mean, would Viv and Bill really be going to lunch together?) Desi has forbidden Lucy from buying their sponsor's products but she goes behind his back anyway. At the end, he finds all her purchases stashed in her dressing room, and she's hiding in the dryer because there's no room for her to stand. It's on the official Comedy Hour DVD set, plus Legend Films colorized it for their "Lucy's Really Lost Moments" DVD.

13 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

She said I could only watch a couple of episodes a day. I'm sure we all know how that one went. Ten years later and I'm here rambling on The Lounge.

Jimmy and Timmy Hudson rubbed off on you at a young age!

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Okay, this is gonna be long.

My first I Love Lucy videotape was one my mother recorded off TV. She taped a marathon of the Hollywood episodes that TNT broadcast either in the late '80s or early '90s. The Hollywood arc has always been her favorite, so naturally she wanted to capture it. They just popped in the tape and let it run, so all the commercials were included (there's one Clorox Bleach jingle in there I'll never forget). It started at Lucy Learns to Drive and ended with Ricky Needs an Agent, with the only one missing in between being Don Juan is Shelved (apart from a few seconds; she must've accidentally stopped it). Years later, when I got the DVD sets, I marvelled at how severely edited the episodes were, but that tape got a lot of use because it was my only source of on-demand episodes for years.

Eventually, I started seeing the official tapes pop up at Wal-Mart. The first one I bought was from the six volume "Classics" line. It was Volume 3, which contained Lucy Does a TV Commercial and Lucy & The Loving Cup. I eventually got all six of those, and later moved on to the larger I Love Lucy Collection label from CBS/FOX. I never had all of them but I did snag a lot. I sold most of them at a garage sale after I got the DVDs, but I did keep a few. Looking back, I kind of wish I hadn't, as there was a lot of sentiment attached to those tapes (I'm kind of a hoarder). The only Comedy Hour I ever owned on VHS was The Ricardos Go to Japan. Later on, I also got the "Best Of" sets Freddie mentioned as gifts. I didn't care that they had repeats, because there were a few on there I was missing. I still own those. 

My first exposure to The Lucy Show came about by accident, through one of the Goodtimes boxsets. It had their usual public domain fare, including Lucy's Barbershop Quartet and Lucy & Viv Put in a Shower. The cover for that tape had a picture of Lucy and Desi on it, so I naturally assumed (as I'm sure Goodtimes were hoping) that it contained two episodes of I Love Lucy. At the time, I was too young to know anything about the public domain or anything like that. You can imagine my shock after popping in the tape to see little cartoon Lucy and Viv running around with those letters. I remember thinking, "WTF is this!?" - although probably not in those words, as I was only ten or so. However, I was most delighted by what I saw, as now I got to see Lucy and "Ethel" without Ricky and Fred getting in the way of the fun! The quartet episode was great, but man did I love the shower one. It became then, and remains, my personal favorite of the whole bunch. 

After my initial confusion, I watched another tape in the set, their Funny World of Lucy documentary. That was actually my first exposure to the life of Lucille Ball, as prior to that I'd only known her from the show and nothing about her personal life. Anyway, the second part explained about her later TV career, something I'd been unaware of prior to that moment. I couldn't believe she'd done other sitcoms! Eventually, I did see other Goodtimes boxsets in Wal-Mart containing just episodes from The Lucy Show, but I refused to get them because they only contained Hollywood offerings, and I wasn't interested in the non-Viv episodes back then (when I learned from the documentary that she'd left the show, I was crushed). It wasn't until I was in Texas while my grandmother was receiving cancer treatment that I stumbled on some of the Laserlight DVDs with those PD episodes. That rekindled my interest in the show, and prompted me to track down the Columbia House tapes so I could see more of Viv. It was also while in Texas that those individual I Love Lucy Season One volumes started being released, so I got the first four of those as well.

Funnily enough, I actually saw episodes of Life With Lucy before seeing Here's Lucy.  My dad found a tape on eBay containing four of the unaired episodes, the only missing one being World's Greatest Grandma. Therefore, Lucy & The Guard Goose became the first LWL show I ever saw - not exactly a stellar introduction to an uneven series! Nevertheless, it was exciting knowing that I was watching something with Lucy that not many others would've seen at the time. 

Not much to say about Here's Lucy except I had a bitch of a time finding that original Shout! Factory boxset. Practically no store in Bangor bothered to stock it, and it wasn't until I went to Borders (last on the list) that I struck it lucky. That's probably my all-time favorite Lucy package - not for the episodes, per se, but simply for the treasure trove of bonus features that were included. It really was a commendable effort.

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I concur about that great Here’s Lucy set- I think I bought it used at FYE awhile ago. I really do revisit those bonus features a lot. The sales tape bloopers with Lucy and Bob are a hoot!

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I began recording ILL eps after I had purchased my first VHS recorder in 1985. Channel 33 here in Miami back in the 80's used to show ILL eps practically unedited so I recorded those from them until Columbia House began selling them. Then it was 5 years of torture and $$$ waiting to get them all. This might be off topic but in the early 90's, I remember that there were a small handful of ILL eps that were restored and re-edited. Almost Bluray quality. They  were broadcast along with the other scratchy eps. I recorded some of them but never saw those on tv ever again. Bewitched got the same treatment and they started airing them with the first season theme song. What ever happened to those ILL eps if anyone remembers? 

 

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My earliest videos were the ones I recorded in the year 1997 of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Eventually I Love Lucy too in 1998.All from Nick-at-Nite. That led to recording Here's Lucy, in the fall of 1998, when that series began airing on PAX-TV. At one point in time I was recording 5-7 different series in the late 90s (i.e. The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Jeffersons, Mork and Mindy, etc.) in addition to Lucy. I still have Nick-at-Nite's "Lucy: The Perfect 10" which featured the 10 most popular episodes of I Love Lucy. I have bits and pieces of Nick-at-Nite's "Lucy’s 10 Greatest Outfits with a Whole Lotta Lucy" marathon which featured ten episodes highlighting outfits worn by Lucy Ricardo plus some of the popular episodes of the ILL series. A year later Nick-a-Nite did a stunt called "Marathons to the Millennium" re-airing some of their most popular marathons from the past for ten weeks straight prior to the new millennium (2000). The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, The Jeffersons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Happy Days, Bewitched, All in the Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, and Taxi  were the programs selected for this unique event. I recorded most of these. Almost two years later I Love Lucy left Nick-at-Nite and TV Land welcomed the program by celebrating the show's 50th anniversary with showcasing the show's 50 Greatest Laughs (episodes) UNCUT (with animated opening credits) along with interviews by those that worked with Lucy like Carol Burnett, Lucie Arnaz and Madelyn and Bob, etc. This special marathon showed memorable Lucy classics such as Lucy and Superman, L.A. at Last!, The Camping Trip, Lucy's Schedule, The Great Train Robbery, The Million Dollar Idea, The Freezer, Building a Barbecue, The Operetta, The Fashion Show, The Ballet,  Lucy Gets In Pictures, Job Switching, Off To Florida, Lucy Tells the Truth, Be a Pal, Lucy and the Loving Cup, Pioneer Women, Return Home From Europe, Lucy Raises Chickens, among many others. I, of course, recorded this special event and still have it to this day.

Looking back I wished I recorded more especially in the 90s. Like Nick-at-Nite's various Lucy blocks on Saturday nights. And their all-star fall 1998 prime-time line-up that featured their "TV Hits": The Brady Bunch, The Wonder Years, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, I Love Lucy, and Bewitched. And much more.

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Perfect timing for this topic.

Today I just picked up four volumes of I Love Lucy VHS at a local Goodwill. And these ones are ones that I don't have. Here are the volumes:

 

The I Love Lucy Collection: Volume 1 (CBS/Fox Video)

featuring ...

"Lucy Does a TV Commercial" & "Lucy's Italian Movie"

 

The I Love Lucy Collection: Volume 3 (CBS/Fox Video)

featuring ...

"L.A. At Last" and "Lucy and Harpo Marx" (aka "Harpo Marx")

 

The I Love Lucy Collection: Volume 7 (CBS/Fox Video)

featuring ...

"The Courtroom"  & "Never Do Business with Friends"

 

The I Love Lucy Collection: Volume 8 (CBS/Fox Video)

featuring ...

"The Handcuffs"  & "The Ballet"

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On August 3, 2019 at 2:31 AM, Harrison said:

My earliest videos were the ones I recorded in the year 1997 of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Eventually I Love Lucy too in 1998.All from Nick-at-Nite. That led to recording Here's Lucy, in the fall of 1998, when that series began airing on PAX-TV. At one point in time I was recording 5-7 different series in the late 90s (i.e. The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Jeffersons, Mork and Mindy, etc.) in addition to Lucy. I still have Nick-at-Nite's "Lucy: The Perfect 10" which featured the 10 most popular episodes of I Love Lucy. I have bits and pieces of Nick-at-Nite's "Lucy’s 10 Greatest Outfits with a Whole Lotta Lucy" marathon which featured ten episodes highlighting outfits worn by Lucy Ricardo plus some of the popular episodes of the ILL series. A year later Nick-a-Nite did a stunt called "Marathons to the Millennium" re-airing some of their most popular marathons from the past for ten weeks straight prior to the new millennium (2000). The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, The Jeffersons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Happy Days, Bewitched, All in the Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, and Taxi  were the programs selected for this unique event. I recorded most of these. Almost two years later I Love Lucy left Nick-at-Nite and TV Land welcomed the program by celebrating the show's 50th anniversary with showcasing the show's 50 Greatest Laughs (episodes) UNCUT (with animated opening credits) along with interviews by those that worked with Lucy like Carol Burnett, Lucie Arnaz and Madelyn and Bob, etc. This special marathon showed memorable Lucy classics such as Lucy and Superman, L.A. at Last!, The Camping Trip, Lucy's Schedule, The Great Train Robbery, The Million Dollar Idea, The Freezer, Building a Barbecue, The Operetta, The Fashion Show, The Ballet,  Lucy Gets In Pictures, Job Switching, Off To Florida, Lucy Tells the Truth, Be a Pal, Lucy and the Loving Cup, Pioneer Women, Return Home From Europe, Lucy Raises Chickens, among many others. I, of course, recorded this special event and still have it to this day.

Looking back I wished I recorded more especially in the 90s. Like Nick-at-Nite's various Lucy blocks on Saturday nights. And their all-star fall 1998 prime-time line-up that featured their "TV Hits": The Brady Bunch, The Wonder Years, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, I Love Lucy, and Bewitched. And much more.

From what I've heard around here, Nick-at-Nite was like a training ground for burgeoning classic TV fans in the late 90s-early 2000s. When I was younger, the shows everybody watched on N-A-N were mostly Full House, The Nanny, and The George Lopez Show. Now, I don't want to knock those shows because they certainly have their merits, but it makes me realize how many people from my generation have missed out on being exposed to the really great stuff!

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 8:28 PM, Freddie2 said:

From what I've heard around here, Nick-at-Nite was like a training ground for burgeoning classic TV fans in the late 90s-early 2000s. When I was younger, the shows everybody watched on N-A-N were mostly Full House, The Nanny, and The George Lopez Show. Now, I don't want to knock those shows because they certainly have their merits, but it makes me realize how many people from my generation have missed out on being exposed to the really great stuff!

It went earlier than that. N@N started in the 1985 with a block of classic TV shows and the rest of the time were filled up with older movies. But as time went on,  more classic TV programs were added to line-up thus expanding the block to the entire night (8pm-6am). I didn't see much of the programs they had on from when N@N started to about 1994 but I do have vague memories of them (mostly black & white programming) like Mister Ed, Bewitched, The Patty Duke Show, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis the Menace, Flipper, Timmy & Lassie, etc. I was a child of the 80s and mostly interested in cartoons at that time. lol. And I did have a curfew as well. But if I was older in the 80s/early 90s, I definitely would have been tuned into Nick-at-Nite and TBS for that matter too. But yeah the Nick-at-Nite of the 80s and the 90s was THE PLACE TO BE for those who really enjoyed the Classic TV of the Golden Era of Television. 

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