So I spend most of today rounding up the items I successfully brokered on eBay (I think “brokered” is a much more classy term than “sold”—don’t you?) and no sooner am I out the door and past the bank when I realize—idiot that I am—that the Post Office is closed today. They need to seriously consider passing legislation that would keep me off the streets here in
This means I don’t have much in the way of heavy posting (though I am working on a vintage TV post that I hope to get up in the next day or so) today, but I did receive a couple of e-mails from TVShowsOnDVD.com that brightened my day considerably.
According to the website, MPI Home Video has planned a release of the domestic comedy The Mothers-in-Law, a brief bright spot that ran on NBC from 1967-69 and starred Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard in the title roles of Eve Hubbard and Kaye Buell. (To be honest, I’d be even happier if it this was an Our Miss Brooks release, but since I’m astounded that this forgotten show is in the DVD pipeline I’ll take what I can get.) Created by longtime I Love Lucy scribes Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Pugh and directed-produced by Desi Arnaz hizzownself (though OTR renaissance man Elliott Lewis also helmed several episodes), Mothers-in-Law was a slapstick-based sitcom romp that married off Ballard’s son (Jerry Fogel) to Arden’s daughter (Deborah Walley) and…well, as is frequently noted here at TDOY, the wacky complications ensued. Also in the cast were Herb Rudley as Eve’s hubby and Roger C. Carmel as Kaye’s better half; Carmel had a salary dispute with producer Arnaz before the return of the show for its second season, resulting in Carmel getting a pink slip and the part of Roger Buell assigned to TV vet Richard Deacon. (Many people thought Carmel was the better of the two actors in the role, and while he certainly had legitimate ground to challenge Arnaz re: his salary demands [he had a clause in his contract that granted him the right to a raise] I myself didn’t have a problem with Deac as his replacement—though it was unfair that Carmel was persona au gratin in television for years after that.) Mothers-in-Law has been available in bootleg form for several years now (I have a set that’s missing three of the fifty-six episodes) but the quality is poor and it will be great seeing this show in pristine quality via MPI (the date of the release was unknown as of this posting).
But the really big news coming from MPI Home Video is the company’s announcement that they plan to bring all six seasons of Lucille Ball’s third television hat trick, Here’s Lucy, beginning this summer (again, they’re a tad fuzzy with the details). Here’s Lucy has seen previous DVD action in the form of a “Best of” compilation courtesy of Shout! Factory in 2004, but the Factory’s rights to the sitcom warhorse have expired and so MPI will take its turn at bat with plans to release all 144 episodes on six season-by-season sets.
It’s good to hear that companies like Shout! Factory, MPI and Timeless Media are willing to eschew the bottom line to get forgotten television treasures into the hands of the public…particularly since you’re probably not going to see them on TVLand anytime soon. I do have to say, though; I’m surprised that Here’s Lucy has beat The Lucy Show to DVD (well, apart from the public domain Lucy Show episodes and an episode that was featured as an extra on one of The Untouchables DVD sets) because I figured once CBS-Paramount was done with I Love Lucy they’d be racing to get to Ball’s successful follow-up. The only thing I’m worried about is that most of the best moments of Here’s Lucy have already been released (on the Here’s Lucy: Best Loved Episodes set) and that the demand for the MPI sets may not be high enough to carry out the entire six season package. Still, this is Lucy we’re talking about—and I know I’ll do my part in purchasing them as they come. Now if only MPI would get to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir before it slips out of their hands…