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Flashback - 25 Years Ago: "NICK AT NITE LOVES LUCY" Marathon

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"Nick At Nite doth love Lucy!"

Tomorrow marks 25 years since the mammoth, week-long "Nick At Nite Loves Lucy" tribute commenced. (Monday, February 12 - Friday, February 16, 1996 from 8pm to Midnight each night).

Promotional Poster:

POSTER.png


Commercial:

 

How the hell has it been 25 years?

tenor.gif

This was actually the second marathon to employ this name, the first occurring two years earlier when I Love Lucy joined the network. While that 1994 event included exclusively I Love Lucy episodes, it's often confused in retrospectives with this 1996 extravaganza that broadened its scope to represent all five series from Lucille Ball's career, as well as two showings of Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie.

Overall, 21 uncut episodes of I Love Lucy were shown (4 or 5 each night), and two Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours were also included: "Lucy Takes A Cruise To Havana" (February 13) and "Lucy Goes To Mexico" (February 16).

Though it was still shown as part of the "regular" overnight schedule, I recall just one episode of soon-to-depart-Nick-At-Nite The Lucy Show during the actual marathon; "Lucy, The Good Skate" (February 13).

A quarter of a century later, we're fortunate to have every one of these episodes on DVD but - at the time - the real draw was the seldom aired episodes from Lucy's later shows.

Applying a little 'rithmetic, 25 years before Nick At Nite Loves Lucy, Here's Lucy was still on the air (!) nearing the conclusion of its third season that week with "Lucy Goes Hawaiian: Part 1" (February 15, 1971).

While that classic didn't make the cut, Here's Lucy was represented by two episodes: "Lucy And Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty" (February 14) and "The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon" (February 16). Despite apparent efforts to add it to the TV Land roster later that year, these would end up being the only two episodes of Here's Lucy ever shown on Nick At Nite.

Valentine's Day also featured what I believe is the lone Life With Lucy repeat in US broadcast history...the debut episode "One Good Grandparent Deserves Another". Though it felt like a lifetime since the initial airing, this 1996 rebroadcast actually occurred LESS than 10 years after it had first aired on the ABC network.

If anyone has a complete list of "Lucy's Favorite" I Love Lucy episodes that aired during this week, I'd love to read it. (I had a lot of this taped but skipped some ILL episodes I already had.)

 

Classic Nick At Nite title card for I Love Lucy episodes:

Episode-Title.png

 

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On 2/11/2021 at 10:19 AM, Luvsbway said:

I taped so much that week. First time ever seeing Life With Lucy.

Didn’t they also show The Time Element?

I think The Time Element aired a few months later on Nick At Nite during their TV Land "preview" - that channel launched 25 years ago, too!

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I actually repurchased the issue of the TV Guide from this week in 1996 trying to figure out exactly which I Love Lucy's were chosen. I'd forgotten that episode titles and/or synopses weren't always provided... just a sea of VCR Plus+ codes for people who wanted to program their VHS recorders. :lucydisgust:

tvguide1996-1.png

 

Anyway, there is a small feature about Lucy mentioning the Nick At Nite marathon, but it's largely an astrology piece!

tvguide1996-2.png

 

As for the Lucy's Favorite "Lucy's" episodes - from a bit of research and my own memory - this is the best I can do putting together the list of episodes that aired:  

 

Monday, February 12, 1996

8:00     I Love Lucy - The Adagio [uncut episode] (VCR Plus+ Code: 925638)
8:30     I Love Lucy - The Ballet [uncut episode] (937473)
9:00     I Love Lucy - The Freezer [uncut episode] (452367)
9:30     I Love Lucy - Lucy Does A TV Commercial [uncut episode] (4630305) - needs confirmation
10:15   Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie (93077183)

Tuesday, February 13, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy Is Enceinte [uncut episode] (835597) - needs confirmation
8:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy Goes To The Hospital [uncut episode] (910232)
9:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (620752)
9:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (4607077)

10:15  The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour - Lucy Takes A Cruise To Havana (26396874)
11:30  The Lucy Show - Lucy, The Good Skate (319874)


Wednesday, February 14, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (704627)
8:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (716462)
9:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (599882)

9:30    I Love Lucy - L.A. At Last! [uncut episode] (4501849)
10:15  Here’s Lucy - Lucy & Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty (6351646)
10:45  Life with Lucy - One Good Grandparent Deserves Another (8112608)
11:15  I Love Lucy - Job Switching [uncut episode] (11829849)

Thursday, February 15, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Harpo Marx [uncut episode] (673757)
8:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy And John Wayne [uncut episode] (685592)
9:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy And Bob Hope [uncut episode] (468912)
9:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (4561221)
10:15  Lucy & Desi:  A Home Movie (93915399)

Friday, February 16, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy Meets Orson Welles [uncut episode] (542887)
8:30    I Love Lucy - Little Ricky's School Pageant [uncut episode] (554622)
9:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy And The Loving Cup [uncut episode] (264142)
9:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy Misses The Mertzes [uncut episode] (4538993) - needs confirmation
10:15  Here’s Lucy - The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon (6388790)
10:45  The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour - Lucy Goes To Mexico (42217577)

 

 

If anyone can fill in any blanks or provide any corrections, I'd love to have the complete list.

 

 

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2 hours ago, WELL! said:

I actually repurchased the issue of the TV Guide from this week in 1996 trying to figure out exactly which I Love Lucy's were chosen. I'd forgotten that episode titles and/or synopses weren't always provided... just a sea of VCR Plus+ codes for people who wanted to program their VHS recorders. :lucydisgust:

tvguide1996-1.png

 

Anyway, there is a small feature about Lucy mentioning the Nick At Nite marathon, but it's largely an astrology piece!

tvguide1996-2.png

 

As for the Lucy's Favorite "Lucy's" episodes - from a bit of research and my own memory - this is the best I can do putting together the list of episodes that aired:  

 

Monday, February 12, 1996

8:00     I Love Lucy - The Adagio [uncut episode] (VCR Plus+ Code: 925638)
8:30     I Love Lucy - The Ballet [uncut episode] (937473)
9:00     I Love Lucy - The Freezer [uncut episode] (452367)
9:30     I Love Lucy - Lucy Does A TV Commercial [uncut episode] (4630305) - needs confirmation
10:15   Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie (93077183)

Tuesday, February 13, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy Is Enceinte [uncut episode] (835597) - needs confirmation
8:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy Goes To The Hospital [uncut episode] (910232)
9:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (620752)
9:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (4607077)

10:15  The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour - Lucy Takes A Cruise To Havana (26396874)
11:30  The Lucy Show - Lucy, The Good Skate (319874)


Wednesday, February 14, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (704627)
8:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (716462)
9:00    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (599882)

9:30    I Love Lucy - L.A. At Last! [uncut episode] (4501849)
10:15  Here’s Lucy - Lucy & Joan Rivers Do Jury Duty (6351646)
10:45  Life with Lucy - One Good Grandparent Deserves Another (8112608)
11:15  I Love Lucy - Job Switching [uncut episode] (11829849)

Thursday, February 15, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Harpo Marx [uncut episode] (673757)
8:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy And John Wayne [uncut episode] (685592)
9:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy And Bob Hope [uncut episode] (468912)
9:30    I Love Lucy - ?? [uncut episode] (4561221)
10:15  Lucy & Desi:  A Home Movie (93915399)

Friday, February 16, 1996

8:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy Meets Orson Welles [uncut episode] (542887)
8:30    I Love Lucy - Little Ricky's School Pageant [uncut episode] (554622)
9:00    I Love Lucy - Lucy And The Loving Cup [uncut episode] (264142)
9:30    I Love Lucy - Lucy Misses The Mertzes [uncut episode] (4538993) - needs confirmation
10:15  Here’s Lucy - The Carters Meet Frankie Avalon (6388790)
10:45  The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour - Lucy Goes To Mexico (42217577)

 

 

If anyone can fill in any blanks or provide any corrections, I'd love to have the complete list.

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing this! I was curious what I Love Lucy episodes were included in this as well as the sole The Lucy Show one. Now I know!

Unfortunately, I didn't see this marathon. Wish I did. I was a casual viewer of both Nick-at-Nite and Lucy at the time and really wasn't a Lucy fan until summer '97. Too bad they didn't have a similar Lucy marathon later on. Oh well, Nick-at-Nite did have other Lucy marathons (such as Lucy's Top 10, Lucy's Greatest Outfits, Whole Lotta Lucy, The I Love Lucy Marathon to the Millennium) but they weren't quite unique as this 1996 one.

The Here's Lucy episode selections are so-so but I'm sure fans would have preferred an episode with her long-time sidekick, Vivian Vance, and the most famous one of all - "Lucy Meets the Burtons". And Nick-at-Nite could have shown another The Lucy Show episode in place of Feb. 14th 11:15pm showing of I Love Lucy. And speaking of which it's too bad that Nick-at-Nite didn't air more The Lucy Show episodes in this event as they still had the rights to the series at the time. And it's ironic that less than three months after this event, the show was dropped from their line-up.

 

 

 

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Re: Harrison's post "a sea of VCR Plus+ codes for people who wanted to program their VHS recorders."  I did not know ANYBODY who used this to record shows but various TV listings dutifully included them. "The Lucy Show" has never gotten much respect.  "Good Skate" is pretty good for a post Bob-Madelyn episode but I like mainly to marvel at Lucy's physical agility rather than the laughs, though there are some.  I don't know who chose "Frankie Avalon" as 1/2 of the Here's Lucys they aired.  I wonder, without the high profile glare of the attention of Lucy's big return to TV, if 10 years had been kind to "One Good Grandparent".  

As I'm sure you all know, a batch of Lucy Shows from previous seasons aired during the summer hiatus between TLS and HL.  CBS repeated most of these each summer through 1971 instead of rerunning that season's HLs.  The big mystery to me is why CBS didn't take the opportunity to run 2nd season episodes.  These did not look dated and it would have been the first time they aired in prime time in color.  Instead the chosen episodes were mostly guest star episodes from the Hollywood stretch.  As I recall there was only one episode originally aired in b/w: 3rd season's "Mechanical Man".  Not bad but most of the 2nd season's were much better. 

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@Neil I'm always fascinated reading about when certain episodes from the second and third seasons finally aired in color for the first time on television. Would love a definitive list.

@Harrison  I think the decision to largely ignore The Lucy Show during the 8:00-12:00 marathon blocks in 1996 may have been due to the switch back to Nick At Nite's regular schedule. Each night at 12:30, an episode from The Lucy Show was going to air anyway, but shouldn't they have just thrown another Lucy program on at midnight each night and let the event run to 1:00am?...

I know they showed "Lucy The Stockholder", "Lucy At Marineland" and - I think - "Lucy Goes To A Hollywood Premiere" after hours that particular week. Those felt a little like an extension of Nick At Nite Loves Lucy but, as stated, "Lucy The Good Skate" was the only one programmed for the actual event.

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14 hours ago, WELL! said:

@Neil I'm always fascinated reading about when certain episodes from the second and third seasons finally aired in color for the first time on television. Would love a definitive list.

When CBS added The Lucy Show to their morning sitcom line up in the fall of 1968 (9am Pacific time), they started with the 2nd season, aired for the first time in color..  I was in school and left my (audio) tape recorder running through "Captain Kangaroo" (8-9am).  My mother was not one to watch TV during the day but I remember her telling me she walked through the TV room and noticed Lucy's red hair in COLOR.   I knew that Lucy didn't start airing color episodes until season 4.  It was years before I found out about the 2nd and 3rd being shot in color but aired in b/w because of Bill Paley's color-STUBBORNESS.  CBS  was able to air color, pre-1965 because they showed Wizard of Oz annually.   In 1965, most (but not all) of the network shows were shot in color.  I don't know the percentage of color TVs in use but the number increased post-1965.   It was stupid of CBS to refuse to air the episodes in color because it would have been a draw.   I've said this many times before but it was a strange (as in different) experience listening to all those early Lucy Shows without the visuals.  The 1963 Lucy Show was completely different from the 1968 episodes. 

 

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On 2/21/2021 at 2:58 PM, Neil said:

When CBS added The Lucy Show to their morning sitcom line up in the fall of 1968 (9am Pacific time), they started with the 2nd season, aired for the first time in color..  I was in school and left my (audio) tape recorder running through "Captain Kangaroo" (8-9am).  My mother was not one to watch TV during the day but I remember her telling me she walked through the TV room and noticed Lucy's red hair in COLOR.   I knew that Lucy didn't start airing color episodes until season 4.  It was years before I found out about the 2nd and 3rd being shot in color but aired in b/w because of Bill Paley's color-STUBBORNESS.  CBS  was able to air color, pre-1965 because they showed Wizard of Oz annually.   In 1965, most (but not all) of the network shows were shot in color.  I don't know the percentage of color TVs in use but the number increased post-1965.   It was stupid of CBS to refuse to air the episodes in color because it would have been a draw.   I've said this many times before but it was a strange (as in different) experience listening to all those early Lucy Shows without the visuals.  The 1963 Lucy Show was completely different from the 1968 episodes. 

 

I'm pretty sure your date is off as far as your "...in 1965, most (but not all) of the network shows were shot in color" statement; 1966 certainly, but not 1965.  "Lucy" may have begun filming in color as early as 1963 in Desilu's prescient nod to the upcoming transition --and realizing they'd garner more for the shows shot in color than B&W in syndication -- but they were definitely in the minority.  "The Dick Van Dyke Show",  still popular in its last (5th), 1965-66 season would most certainly have converted to color if it was by then commonplace; same with ABC's most popular sitcom, "Bewitched" which did not do so until its 3rd (1966-67) season; similarly, NBC"s "BW"-lite "I Dream of Jeannie" premiered in 1965 in B&W and did not convert, like its Screen Gems sibling "BW", to color until its 2nd (1966-67) season.  I'm sure there are multitude other examples I could think of but you get the idea.  "Full blown" color broadcasting didn't really occur by all of (then) "The Big Three" (ABC/CBS/NBC) until the 1966-67 season, despite earlier occasional exceptions the season before like the now-iconic 1965 CBS production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella", which proved so popular in the ratings as well as the viewing public that it, along the lines of "Wizard of Oz", became a perennial annual event for the better part of a decade.  

I'd venture to say that the main reason Paley was loathe to give in and broadcast in color (despite the likelihood there was no stopping its ultimate implementation) was mostly economics, as naturally it was more expensive to shoot in color, particular on film, which by the mid-60s had become the predominant medium in which most primetime television was produced, save perhaps for news and variety shows and daytime television not expected (then) to go into perpetual reruns, thus shot on cheaper to produce (and of course, looked it) videotape... and the fact he hated to "give in" to rival NBC, as they owned RCA at the time and were the chief movers in selling color sets.  

Thankfully, eventually there was no stopping progress and by 1969/70, color was in full bloom (!) and black and white was primarily old movies on the late show and reruns of certain "old" favorite sitcoms from the early 50s! :HALKING:

[In a quasi-related aside, I viewed "Lucy Calls the President" the other night on Tubi, the ONLY "Lucille Ball Production" shot on videotape instead of the usual 35mm film as pioneered by Desilu....while it didn't really deter the enjoyment too much, it still was definitely less sharp on a 45+ inch screen and certainly makes one wonder who's decision to go that route.... after creating, pioneering the process and utilizing it so well for over two decades, it sure was strange that they went against the grain (see what I did there?) in this case.  Odd....]

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On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2021 at 11:40 PM, WELL! said:

 @Harrison  I think the decision to largely ignore The Lucy Show during the 8:00-12:00 marathon blocks in 1996 may have been due to the switch back to Nick At Nite's regular schedule. Each night at 12:30, an episode from The Lucy Show was going to air anyway, but shouldn't they have just thrown another Lucy program on at midnight each night and let the event run to 1:00am?...

I know they showed "Lucy The Stockholder", "Lucy At Marineland" and - I think - "Lucy Goes To A Hollywood Premiere" after hours that particular week. Those felt a little like an extension of Nick At Nite Loves Lucy but, as stated, "Lucy The Good Skate" was the only one programmed for the actual event.

You might right, I don't know. But I personally think why they chose to emphasis on I Love Lucy and not throw in more episodes of The Lucy Show in that particular marathon is because of their perception of the public's fondness and familiarity with ILL and feeling that having more I Love Lucy would draw in more viewers or sustain them unlike The Lucy Show. I could be wrong too. But I've noticed over the years since I became a fan of both shows is that many networks have had that same sentiment/line of thinking, unfortunately.

If you noticed back when Nick-at-Nite first added I Love Lucy to their nightly schedule that was when they pushed The Lucy Show from its 11:30pm timeslot to later timeslots in overnight. Aside from weekends and special events here and there, from that point forward The Lucy Show never returned to prime-time or any timeslot earlier than 12:30am.

 

On ‎2‎/‎21‎/‎2021 at 2:58 PM, Neil said:

  The 1963 Lucy Show was completely different from the 1968 episodes. 

 

I have always felt that the first three seasons of The Lucy Show had an I Love Lucy feel to them unlike the last two or three seasons of the show. That's not to say the other seasons weren't any good but they were just different as the show evolved. Different background music, different dynamic between the main characters, different writing, different settings and even Lucy's voice was different as it went from her almost "Lucy Ricardo voice" in the earlier seasons to a deeper, huskier one.

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