The 'I Love Lucy Christmas Special', A One-Hour Special Featuring Two Newly-Colorized Classic Episodes, to Air Friday December 20

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

October 22nd, 2013


via press release:




The Seldom-Seen "Christmas Episode" and "Lucy's Italian Movie"

To be Seamlessly Combined




            The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, a one-hour special featuring two newly colorized back-to-back classic episodes of the 1950s series, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.


The two episodes—the seldom-seen "Christmas Episode" and "Lucy's Italian Movie" (aka "Grape Stomping")—were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed.  The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set—at the beginning and end of the hour—with no interruption between the episodes.


The programs feature Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as the Ricardos' friends and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz.


"The Christmas Episode" finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardo's son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux).  Flashbacks (in black-and-white to emphasize the time lapse) recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.


"The Christmas Episode" was first presented as part of the regularly scheduled "I Love Lucy" series on CBS in December 1956.  The episode wasn't included in the series' long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication.   Thought to be "lost," CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.


"Lucy's Italian Movie" finds the Ricardos and Mertzes visiting Rome, where Lucy is invited by a famous Italian film director to appear in his next picture, "Bitter Grapes."  Mistakenly thinking the film concerns the wine industry, Lucy sets out to visit a local vineyard where she soaks up more local color than intended.


"Lucy's Italian Movie" was originally presented on "I Love Lucy" in March 1956 and became an instant classic.  It was included in CBS's 1958 summer series, "The Top 10 Lucy Shows," as chosen by television critics.


"I Love Lucy" aired on CBS from Oct. 15, 1951 until May 6, 1957.  It was voted "the best TV show of all time" in a 2012 viewer poll conducted by People Magazine and ABC News.


  • Oliver

    I see CBS is trying to attract a younger audience.

  • TimsDale4ever

    This is amazing that a one of the big 4 networks is running something like this. I wish all of them would do things like this occasionally. Just last Friday, October 18th, 2013, marked 25 years since the first episode of ROSEANNE was run, and I already had had the thought that ABC should run that first episode again at the exact same time it ran in 1988 (8:30PM ??) on last Friday night to mark the anniversary. Obviously only the most popular shows that are no longer on could do something like this. NBC could do something like this with FRIENDS.

  • romo

    I hope joey “2 fingers” lucezi & frankie “the fin” pavonni show up in the italian show.

  • AllOfHerTw!st

    If this bombs in the ratings, there will be some essplaining to do.

  • Benz

    I would love to see the networks air their old hit comedies more often. Hopefully this works for CBS as it could start a trend of networks repeating their old comedies.

  • Jon23812

    Didn’t they already colorize “Christmas Episode”? I remember they skipped the flashbacks.

  • DryedMangoez

    Amazing! How awesome to see THE greatest television show of all time get a nice little primetime broadcast.

    Looking forward to the new colorized episodes. The colorized Scotland episode was pretty good.

  • PurpleDrazi

    I like this idea. Wouldn’t it be great if they did something like this with all of their classic shows. Take the Christmas episodes of say The Cosby Show or Golden Girls and turn them into holiday specials instead of subjecting us to yet another cheesy Christmas story retread or some horrible hokum about how a [insert cute animal here] saves the holidays for a bunch of orphans or whatever.

  • RTV

    Except this can’t really work as some of the networks’ most well known series are owned by different entities.

    Friends is owned by Warner Brothers

  • sandy245

    I can’t wait to watch it. Thank you CBS!

  • Joseph


    Most of “I Love Lucy”‘s current fans weren’t even born yet when reruns began playing on local stations in 1967 (after a decade of being rerun on CBS, first in prime-time and then in daytime).

  • Joseph

    There is a colorized (partially??) version of the Christmas episode in the Season 6 DVD set of “I Love Lucy”.

  • Joseph

    CBS should re-schedule this show for a Monday night in December, given that all of Lucille Ball’s three sitcom series for CBS (“I Love Lucy”, “Lucy Show”, and “Here’s Lucy”) all aired on Monday nights.

    Even today, people associate “I Love Lucy” with Monday nights; and also associate Monday nights and situation comedies with CBS.

  • DryedMangoez

    Yeah, a Monday at 9pm would be great. But I understand Friday at 8pm of course. =/

    I didn’t know a new DVD with all three colorized episodes are being released next week. I think I might grab one!

  • Fake Me Out

    I do loves me my holiday themed episodes. I too wish they would find a way to air some of the best ones from the past each year, or market them as a stand alone product. One of my fav DVDs is the Roseanne Halloween episodes all on one disk.

  • catsrule

    This is great news! I’ve never seen the lost Christmas episode, am looking forward to it.

  • Ralph Hahn

    The show should be a treat but I hate colorized movies. See ‘Ted Turner’.

  • Ultima

    I would love to see the networks air their old hit comedies more often. Hopefully this works for CBS as it could start a trend of networks repeating their old comedies.

    I wouldn’t expect much, certainly nothing close to what happened the first time they did this.

    In December 1989, CBS aired the Christmas episode during their Monday night comedy block; at the time, it really was a lost episode as it had been excluded from the syndication package. It drew an 18.5 household rating, good enough for the top show of the night, edging out an original Murphy Brown (also CBS) as well as Monday Night Football.

    Last year, for their 25th anniversary, FOX aired the original Christmas episode of The Simpsons and the Married… with Children pilot. :)

    The availability of lot of older, successful programs on DVD, Netflix, network streaming sites, and cable syndication really limits the ability to do this to the rare holiday/network special.

  • Rebecca

    I think I’ve seen that Christmas episode just once. Looking forward to this since it’ll be on network TV (I don’t have cable; nice I don’t have to find it streaming somewhere later) and can watch it the night before I fly down to CA for my kiddo’s Christmas break. She can watch, too – awesome.

  • jaydog

    I’m a HUGE Lucy fan and still watch it everyday, but I have to admit, the Christmas episode is the worst one ever. It’s super cheesey and not at all funny. You can tell just by watching it, the actors were just phoning it in. I’ll always love the show, but not this episode. Wish CBS would show the candy factory episode instead.

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