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Lucy Desi Comedy Hours - Live Audiences ?


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I know that some of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Specials were filmed in front of a live audience. (And in some cases, there were exterior shots interspersed with shots filmed in front of an audience eg. the Fred MacMurray special).

 

By the time of the last episode with Ernie Kovacs, I have read that the specials were shot without an audience. (If you listen carefully to the laughter on the soundtrack, you can tell.)

 

QUESTION: Has anyone analyzed all 13 of the specials in terms of whether or not a live audience was present for at least some of shots?

 

If so, I'd like to see your listing of the specials along with your classification of each special: Live Audience / Partial / NO Live Audience.

 

Thanks !

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I know that some of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Specials were filmed in front of a live audience. (And in some cases, there were exterior shots interspersed with shots filmed in front of an audience eg. the Fred MacMurray special).

 

By the time of the last episode with Ernie Kovacs, I have read that the specials were shot without an audience. (If you listen carefully to the laughter on the soundtrack, you can tell.)

 

QUESTION: Has anyone analyzed all 13 of the specials in terms of whether or not a live audience was present for at least some of shots?

 

If so, I'd like to see your listing of the specials along with your classification of each special: Live Audience / Partial / NO Live Audience.

 

Thanks !

 

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Well, i'm glad THAT's settled, LOL! Always wanted to know myself!

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Clearly there was a move towards filming without an audience during the latter specials.

 

Was this due to their personal problems? Or would there have been some technical considerations affecting the decision to film without an audience?

 

There personal problems was a big factor to filming without an audience, which was a bad move because Lucy always preformed best before an audience. The last 4 Comedy Hours were downhill in quality and except for Japan one not very funny. You could see the strain between Lucy and Desi onscreen by the last one and that makes it hard for me to watch.

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There personal problems was a big factor to filming without an audience, which was a bad move because Lucy always preformed best before an audience. The last 4 Comedy Hours were downhill in quality and except for Japan one not very funny. You could see the strain between Lucy and Desi onscreen by the last one and that makes it hard for me to watch.

I agree, only the Berle one was funny to me of those four, BUT, all would have been better in front of an audience.

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The lack of audience is particularly jarring in the DVD release of Lucy Goes To Mexico where the laugh track is completely excluded from a good portion of the show for some reason.

Maybe they were afraid to put in laughs thinking there were none there? 39 minutes of exposition and three minutes of a boffo ending.

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Clearly there was a move towards filming without an audience during the latter specials.

 

Was this due to their personal problems? Or would there have been some technical considerations affecting the decision to film without an audience?

 

Both more than likely, but depending on which episodes: "Racehorse" was an "early(er)" LDCH but I can see why they were hesitant to try and shoot an hour show around the whims of an unpredictable albeit trained animal; "Berle" I can see why technically as they had the challenge of the whole "bucket" sequence ostensibly outside Berle's office building. By the time they got to Ida Lupino/Howard Duff, "Japan" and "Moustache", perhaps they just couldn't be bothered. I'd love to know the "backstage banter" of the why/why not, etc.

 

As most seem to agree (I certainly do!), the show definitely suffered without the presence of a live audience, which is perfectly pointed out if you watch the last one that used one ("Career") and then one of the others: the difference is almost jarring.

Guess we'll never know the whole story, dang it. lucyhorror.JPG

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The lack of audience is particularly jarring in the DVD release of Lucy Goes To Mexico where the laugh track is completely excluded from a good portion of the show for some reason.

 

Gee I didn't even remember that! Subconsciously, maybe that's another reason it's probably my least favorite episode of all 13! :D

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According to The Lucy Book, "Lucy Wins a Racehorse" did have an audience for the interior scenes. The laughter sounds very canned, though. "Milton Berle Hides Out at the Ricardos" had a small audience for some scenes too.

 

Well, if you're going by that infallible source....you're on your own! ;)

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Well, if you're going by that infallible source....you're on your own! ;)

 

Normally, I would agree with you here, but Fidelman states in the book that every person he interviewed connected to "Lucy Wins a Racehorse" said that there was an audience despite the strange sounding laugh track. Milton Berle and Bob Schiller both state that there was a small audience present for parts of "Milton Berle Hides Out at the Ricardos."

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Normally, I would agree with you here, but Fidelman states in the book that every person he interviewed connected to "Lucy Wins a Racehorse" said that there was an audience despite the strange sounding laugh track. Milton Berle and Bob Schiller both state that there was a small audience present for parts of "Milton Berle Hides Out at the Ricardos."

Maybe it was the people in those small fake cars we saw from upstairs?

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There personal problems was a big factor to filming without an audience, which was a bad move because Lucy always preformed best before an audience. The last 4 Comedy Hours were downhill in quality and except for Japan one not very funny. You could see the strain between Lucy and Desi onscreen by the last one and that makes it hard for me to watch.

 

I totally disagree - if you wouldn't know it you would not be able to tell that there is any strain. I find the whole episode flows easily with no tension.

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The laughtracks made the response to the scenes seem so forced, especially if the situation wasn't funny in the first place. I was disappointed in the timing of the actor's to their responses. It lacked the energic level in the "I Love Lucy" 30 minute shows. I didn't like the new music for the hour shows. I thought the music used in "I Love Lucy" was superb, but I think they wanted to modernize the show by updating the music for that period.

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Friends, family, hangers on, friends of friends . . .

Exactly. Still trying to decipher what a "small" audience was! They either had one or they didn't!

 

Too, watch how those respective shows are "performed" and filmed to tell: they paused often (as we were accustomed by now from ILL) when they performed before an audience as they often had to wait for laughs before proceeding to their next line(s); not so with the episodes without, which was one reason the timing was "off" or felt different. Camera angles, etc. are another giveaway, depending on the setup, etc. Could be subtle, but if you really pay attention....

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