Legendary comedian Harpo Marx and motion picture star Van Johnson are the guests on THE NEW I LOVE LUCY SUPERSTAR SPECIAL, a new one-hour special featuring two colorized back-to-back episodes of the 1950s series, to be broadcast Friday, May 19 (9:00-10:00PM, ET/PT) on CBS.
The two episodes, “The Dancing Star,” featuring Van Johnson, and “Harpo Marx,” with comedian Harpo Marx, are newly colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. This is similar to episodes presented in “I Love Lucy” specials on the Network the past few spring and holiday seasons. Previously only shown in two installments, the episodes tell a continuous story and will be presented as one hour for the first time. As with the previous specials, the main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour.
“I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as the Ricardos’ best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz. Doris Singleton appears in both episodes as Lucy’s friend, Caroline Appleby.
“The Dancing Star” finds Lucy caught in a fib: while visiting Hollywood, she bragged to her friends back in New York that she has been “rubbing elbows” with many big-name movie stars. Now Caroline Appleby, a longtime girlfriend – but also something of a rival – is stopping in Los Angeles on her way to Hawaii, and she would like to meet some of Lucy’s new celebrity friends. Van Johnson is appearing in the hotel nightclub, and, even though they have never met, Lucy hopes he can help solve her problem.
In “Harpo Marx,” Caroline delays her departure for Hawaii in order to meet more of Lucy’s movie star friends. Knowing Caroline is extremely nearsighted without her glasses, Lucy and Ethel conspire to hide her spectacles just long enough for Lucy to “visit,” disguised to resemble such stars as Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante, and Harpo Marx. The real Harpo, meanwhile, is entertaining at a Woman’s Club benefit at the hotel, and, unaware of Lucy’s chicanery, Ricky asks Harpo to drop in and surprise his wife. It’s Harpo who is in for a surprise!
“The Dancing Star” and “Harpo Marx” originally aired May 2 and 9, 1955, respectively, and became instant classics. “The Dancing Star” was included in CBS’s 1958 summer series, “The Top Ten Lucy Shows,” as selected by a panel of 155 newspaper TV critics and columnists.
“I Love Lucy” aired on CBS from Oct. 15, 1951 until June 24, 1957. It was voted “the best TV show of all time” in a 2012 viewer poll conducted by People magazine and ABC News.