LIFE WITH LUCY – THE COMPLETE SITCOM (ABC 1986)
On Saturday, September 20th, 1986, the legendary Lucille Ball partnered with producers Aaron Spelling (Charlie’s Angels) and Douglas S. Cramer (Wonder Woman) and brought back to the small-screen a sitcom that chronicled the updated adventures of Ball’s iconic Lucy persona.
This time, the actress played grandmother Lucille Barker, who resided in Pasadena, California, with her daughter Margo (Ann Dusenberry), son-in-law Ted (Larry Anderson), two grandchildren Becky (Jenny Lewis) and Kevin (Philip J. Amelio II), and in-law grand-father/hardware-store-business-partner Curtis McGibbons, played by Gale Gordon. It also co-starred Donovan Scott as Leonard Stoner, who worked at the hardware store.
Some 12 years after Here’s Lucy left CBS, Life With Lucy arrived on ABC. Thirteen episodes were produced, but only seven were aired. The first, “One Good Grandparent Deserves Another,” cleared the Top Twenty in the ratings, but the critics were brutal. In subsequent weeks, the audience dwindled.
Life With Lucy was rejected, and the real-life Lucy took it personally. The show was called archaic and out of step with the times. Sadly, Lucille felt unloved, by fans, critics, and colleagues and the overt negative reactions devastated her.
Life With Lucy did have its issues, but like with any new television show it needed time to find its pacing and place. Life was no different. Its development required patience — from all of those involved with its production, the network and from Lucy’s fans. Had it been granted at least one full season, or more, Life would have found its rhythm, especially bringing in more named guest stars like Carol Burnett, Danny Thomas and Don Rickles, etc.
All in all, if you are a Lucy fan, then you need this series as part of your collection. Notable guest stars were John Ritter, Audrey Meadows, Ruth Buzzi, Greg Mullavey, Peter Graves, Dick Gautier, Kellie Martin, Brandon Call, Dave Maden and Dena Dietrich.