Props to MPI Video for finally resurrecting this short-lived 1960s sitcom gem. THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW was the first big project helmed by Desi Arnaz after he divorced Lucille Ball and stepped down from the board of Desilu. He recruited the original "I Love Lucy" scribes Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis, plus many other members of the old Lucy stock company. In addition to directing most episodes, Desi himself even has a recurring role!
THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW was first and foremost a vehicle for it's two formidable leading ladies. Eve Arden plays Eve Hubbard, the demure and cultured wife of Herb (Herbert Rudley); whilst Kaye Ballard is the excitable, highly-strung Kaye Buell, married to Roger (Roger C. Carmel, replaced in the second season by Richard Deacon). Eve and Kaye, predictably, are polar opposites - two ladies who wouldn't normally need to associate in the same social circles - but the only reason they are is because their children are married to each other! Darling 60's teen star Deborah Walley is Eve's daughter Suzie, whilst Jerry Fogel plays Kaye's son Jerry; fresh young newlyweds whose happy life together is at the mercy of their feuding mothers!
MPI Video has assembled both seasons of THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW (that's a whopping 56 episodes!) for this unprecedented 8-DVD boxset. There's something of a faint Lucy/Ethel camaraderie within the writing of the Eve/Kaye characters, but that's almost to be expected given the presence of the "Lucy" writers, who, perhaps more than any other sitcom writers of the period, knew exactly how to write to the comedic strengths of women and female relationships.
In addition to every single MOTHERS-IN-LAW episode, classic sitcom fans will be able to savour a smorgasbord of rare delights mined from the Desilu archives...including the unsold pilot episodes for "The Carol Channing Show" (another zany sitcom from Carroll Jr. and Davis; Richard Deacon co-stars) and "Land's End" (a western drama with Rory Calhoun); plus the original pilot episode of THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW (almost identical to the official first episode, but with Kay Cole in the role of Suzie).
And we haven't even scratched the surface! Additional materials include rare on-set rehearsal footage, commercial tie-ins, promotional footage and a recent interview with Kaye Ballard. All this probably wouldn't have been possible without MPI Video's close working association with Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr., and the Desilu Estate (they've previously collaborated on extras-laden "Here's Lucy" season sets). I hope there's still more rare sitcom material to be shared in future collaborations. Well done, guys!
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Byron Kolln (Byron_Kolln)
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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It's a funny family feud from Desi Arnaz and the writers of I Love Lucy Set in the swinging late 1960s, THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW centers on the laugh-filled misadventures of longtime neighbors in suburban Los Angeles who become related to each other when their children suddenly get married.
Legendary actress Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks, Grease) stars as Eve Hubbard, the sophisticated wife of straight-laced lawyer Herbert Hubbard (Herb Rudley). Veteran comedienne Kaye Ballard plays Kaye Buell, the outspoken wife of bombastic television writer Roger Buell (Roger C. Carmel and Richard Deacon). To the dismay of their hapless husbands, the strong-willed mothers are determined to meddle in the lives of newlyweds Jerry (Jerry Fogel) and Suzie Hubbard (Deborah Walley).