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The Lucy Show: Season 04

The Lucy Show undergoes a number of major changes as the series enters it fourth season. For one thing, the show is now lensed in color rather than black-and-white. For another, wacky widow Lucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball) has moved from Danfield, CA to San Francisco -- as has banker Theodore J. Mooney (Gale Gordon), who by transferring to an executive post at Frisco's Westland Bank had foolishly assumed he had rid himself of his longtime nemesis Mrs. Carmichael, whose bank account had been (and would continue to be) in Mr. Mooney's trembling hands. Also, Lucy's longtime cohort Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance) has left the series as a regular character, though she will continue to show up for several well-received guest appearances. Other regulars missing from season four are Lucy's daughter Chris (Candy Moore) and Viv's son Sherman (Ralph Hart), while Lucy's son Jerry (Jimmy Garrett) has been reduced to "recurring" status. Although most of this season's episodes are set in motion by the friction between Lucy and Mr. Mooney -- especially after Lucy takes a job as Mooney's secretary in order to make financial ends meet -- a trio of guest actresses have been added to the fold to make up for Vivian Vance's absence. Mary Jane Croft is seen in a handful of episodes as Mary Jane Lewis, Lucy's co-worker at the bank and frequent coconspirator in our heroine's zany schemes. And carried over from the previous season for a number of memorable appearances is Ann Sothern as the glamorous globetrotter Countess Framboise, who in an earlier life had been Lucy's school chum Rosie Harrigan -- and who, being as flat broke as Lucy, is forced to accept a job as a real estate agent. Finally, Joan Blondell can be seen in two episodes as another of Lucy's bosom buddies, movie-studio employee Joan Brenner. Season four is distinguished by a number of celebrity guest appearances, beginning with baseball great Jimmy Piersall in the season opener, "Lucy at Marineland" (which also marks the first time that the series filmed an episode "on location" rather than within the walls of Desilu studios). Later episodes this year include "Lucy Helps Danny Thomas," "Lucy Saves Milton Berle," "Lucy and Art Linkletter," "Lucy Discovers Wayne Newton" -- and best of all, "Lucy Dates Dean Martin," which Lucille Ball has cited as her all-time favorite Lucy Show installment. One of these "guest" episodes, "Lucy Meets Bob Crane," is a continuation of a running gag introduced during season five, wherein Lucy supplements her income by moonlighting -- in drag -- as Hollywood stunt double "Iron Man Carmichael." And on at least two occasions, the series' reliance upon guest performances conjures up sweet memories of past triumphs for Desilu studios. "Lucy the Gun Moll" is a broad spoof of the classic Desilu crime drama The Untouchables, with Robert Stack (the former Elliot Ness), Bruce Gordon (the onetime Frank Nitti), and narrator Walter Winchell going through their familiar paces; and on a more poignant note, "Lucy and the Countess Have a Horse Guest," which features the last-ever TV appearance by I Love Lucy's unforgettable Fred Mertz, William Frawley. The changes wrought upon The Lucy Show resulted in some of the series' best ratings, with the series ending its fifth season as America's third most popular program. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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