THE “I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL,” A ONE-HOUR SPECIAL FEATURING TWO CLASSIC EPISODES, TO BE BROADCAST SUNDAY, DEC. 7
The Seldom Seen “Christmas Episode” and the Newly Colorized “Job Switching”
To be Seamlessly Combined
Never-Before-Broadcast Make-up and Costume Test Footage Included
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, a one-hour special featuring two colorized back-to-back classic episodes of the 1950s series, will be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 7 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The two episodes – the seldom-seen “Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Job Switching” (aka “Chocolate Factory”) – 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 “I Love Lucy Christmas Special” that aired last year on the Network included the “Christmas Episode” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (aka “Grape Stomping”), starting a holiday broadcasting tradition.
Also included in this year’s special is never-before-broadcast footage from Lucy and Desi’s “I Love Lucy” costume and makeup tests. Filmed just days before the first Lucy episode went into production in 1951, the footage provides a warm and wonderful glimpse of the two people who were about to make television history.
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.
In “Job Switching,” a marital spat over the value of money results in the Ricardos and Mertzes all changing roles: Ricky and Fred try their hand at housekeeping, while Lucy and Ethel go to work – in a chocolate factory.
“Job Switching” was originally presented on “I Love Lucy” Sept. 15, 1952 and became an instant classic. While the episode was not included in the original 1957 listings for “The Top 10 Lucy Shows,” it has long been ranked by fans as one of their all-time favorites. In 2013, the episode’s penultimate scene with Lucy and Ethel trying to keep up with a chocolate factory conveyor belt was selected by Paley Center for Media (in their “TV’s Funniest of the Funniest” poll) as the funniest TV moment of all time.
“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.