By Tony Maglio
Viewers who wanted “I Love Lucy” in color for the holidays are getting their wish — just, like, 60 years later.
CBS will air the “I Love Lucy Christmas Special,” a one-hour block featuring two newly colorized episodes of the 1950s series, on Friday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m.
The two episodes — the rarely-seen “Christmas Episode” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie” (aka “Grape Stomping”) — were colorized with a vintage look to match the time period. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes were combined into one set, the network said, at the beginning and end of the hour. There will be no interruption between the episodes.
“The Christmas Episode” finds the family reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardo’s son. In-episode flashbacks will be in black-and-white to emphasize the time lapse.
“The Christmas Episode” was first aired 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. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.
In “Lucy’s Italian Movie,” the family visits Rome, where Lucy is invited by a famous Italian film director to appear in his next picture, “Bitter Grapes.” Mistakenly thinking the film concerns the wine industry, Lucy sets out to visit a local vineyard where she soaks up the local flavor.
“I Love Lucy” aired on CBS from Oct. 15, 1951 until May 6, 1957.