CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment have officially announced the Blu-ray release of I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1, which features the first 35 episodes of the beloved classic television show starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and William Frawley and Vivian Vance as Fred and Ethel Mertz. The 6-disc set arrives on Blu-ray on April 8, 2014.
Studio Synopsis: You've loved and laughed at Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel for years, but you've never seen I Love Lucy like this on glorious high-definition. Coming to Blu-ray in a highly collectible set with special gloss packaging that includes every episode from the first season, each one beautifully restored in high definition, in original night-of-broadcast form with original sponsor openings and closings. The set also includes a number of as yet undetailed special features, many never before released on DVD.
@Newby1080p: Why six discs? Because 35 episodes is 17.5 hours of material not including the extras. If they put it on fewer discs, people would be complaining that the bit rate was too low. Six discs makes it just under three hours per disc, which is just about right.
This show has held up technically because it was shot on film...35mm black and white film. And it was shot by Karl Freund, who shot Metropolis, Dracula and who directed The Mummy. He also shot Key Largo. Desi Arnaz got Freund out of retirement to shoot the show.
I'm going to wait until the complete series box set is available. It might have bonus materials on an extra BD exclusive to the complete series box set. This happened with the Breaking Bad money barrel complete series set.
VERY excited to see 'I Love Lucy" heading to bluray. Will be keeping an eye on price and the packaging, as well as the frequency of the rest of the series releasing on bluray. I'd expect CBS/Paramount to release 2 seasons each year, especially considering from what I recall...they've been prepping "I Love Lucy" for bluray treatment for a good year or so now. I'd also be curious to see what they do with a complete bluray collection of the classic show! Definitely excited :-)
35 episodes in a season? You're joking of course. No TV series every had that many in one season!
OK before you all fire back, I'm just joking but I'm delighted to be vindicated. Several years ago at this website I posted the comment that TV shows in 50's had 39 episode seasons followed by 13 weeks of summer reruns (52 weeks). I received a pile of comments from "knowledgeable" folks who told me that I was crazy and that no series ever went beyond 25 episodes. It was so bad that I began to doubt my own memories. It's nice to know that I was right.
What's great is that it looks like it will have the original stick figure animated openings for every episode rather than the heart titles that were for syndication. That always bothered me about the DVD set - wasn't original broadcast titles and end credits
Hearing about the show being shot by Freund makes me wanna check this out in HD. I was a big Honeymooners guy, but Lucy just never clicked with me. May need to give this show another shot.
As far as waiting for a complete set, I'm thinking of CBS' releases of Twilight Zone and Star Trek...they just rebundled the season releases together with no new extras, so for the fans (or me) I don't think you need to wait for the complete set, unless you must have an extra slipcase, or some chochkies (sp?).
Any idea why it'll be SOOOO expensive? If each of the 9 seasons of "I Love Lucy" sell for between US$80-120, that's close to $1000 for the complete series!?! What, have they turned this show over to the folks who worked on & completed the restoration/tweaking work on "Star Trek:TOS" (another Desilu production) & plan to re-do all those elaborate special effects shots from "I Love Lucy" like the sign over 'Club Babalu' or the enormous bread popping out of the oven or Lucy's icicle covered face from their basement freezer? This looks like it'll be the most expensive TV series BD of all time. Even "ST:TOS' is way cheaper!
@mattguyor: Interesting point about the clarity. Most of us watched Lucy on small snowy picture TV sets hooked up with rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna. There was certainly no cable or satellite reception when this series started. The chance to see it with a near perfect picture might be a shocker for the old timers here. Thank heavens there were some people in the business back then who recognized the advantage of shooting on 35 mm.
@cossackusa: You do realize that Lucy in its day was one of the most watched of all series and that the stars seemed to be constantly negotiating bigger and bigger salaries? Lucy herself eventually could command any amount just about she fancied. She was CBS' biggest star for years. The price of the BDs is probably designed to reflect the epic popularity of the lady and of her series. As to whether this is a good marketing strategy after so much time has passed, only time will tell if CBS has guessed right about the show's staying power. They certainly have been correct with their assessment of how easily Star Trek fans could and still can be fleeced.
@alphadec: Just curious. What other series, contemporary to Lucy, would you like to see on BD?
@reidw - And the "some people in the business back then who recognized the advantage..." was none other than Desi himself. It wasn't for "preservation", in the long term, though - it was because at the time most television was live - once it aired, it was gone. Kinescope existed but was not in use for "reruns" - basically, Desi invented the re-run, figuring that if they spent all of this $ on production values, why not be able to show it again. Besides the fact the show was of very high quality, one of the key reasons it is recognized as a pioneer today is because it survived for future generations. Desi also originated the 3-camera technique - while Lucy was the talent, Desi was the businessman/showman who invented the modern sitcom format that is still largely in use today with very little deviation from the original format.
To those complaining of the price, I guess you don't remember X-Files or Star Trek TNG first showing up on DVD at that same price point a season?
If it's $120 list price, amazon will probably have it at $80, right around the same price of The Twilight Zone seasons on day 1. And The Twilight Zone seasons have gotten as low as $40 before. Just be patient
Actually it's getting WAY TOO PRICEY to just simply KEEP replacing the old tv shows I paid for on entire series(season sets) and then again rebuy. I figure I rebought the classic Star Trek series so many times, it's insane., single vhs, 2 episode dvd, orig. footage dvd season sets, remastered dvd/HD sets, and now bluray! My I Love Lucy dvd boxed sets look amazing enough to be content not to rebuy the entire 9 seasons again! I had just finished buying Twilight Zone on dvd seasons sets when they started doing Bluray w/ extras NOT on dvd set..when it claimed it was the ultimate everything release possible..then the BD had the unaired pilot w/ Desi Arnaz intro, Not Rod Sterling and other extras and I was livid I'd been duped.
People are freaking out over the price for something that doesn't even come out until April and more than likely will go down in price (ala Star Trek TNG--which for the blu's hovers around $100 or so but comes down to a bit over $50)
I don't care about the high MSRP as I don't see this going OOP quickly and I'll pick it up when there's a good deal on it like we're seeing now with the Star Trek TOS 3-season set. I can't wait to see how great this show looks being restored from 35mm film!
It's too bad the entire history of American television wasn't filmed. So much has been lost. Some stuff survives on kinescope, while some live shows simply don't exist in any recorded form. L&D had the foresight to film the series. This release is promising. I hope it bodes well for more vintage material to be released on BD. Still waiting for the original Outer Limits, etc.
I'll wait for the whole thing to come out and get cheap, but I'd buy now if they'd release the entire thing in a single, condensed box, and then string out the single seasons for those on a budget. I don't like 9 separate releases wrapped in plastic. Not my idea of good, complete-series packaging.
I am happy to see this! They need to do this to all of the shows back then that was shot using film, as it is aging and we want to protect it for future generations. Converting them all to digital will do that!
They should rescan them all at 4k, so they can do it for Blu-ray, as well as when the 4k media comes out in a couple of years (?) possibly!