Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rant #310: The Mothers-In-Law on DVD!

Finally, and after much too long a time in a dormant state, the short-lived TV series "The Mothers-In-Law" has been released on DVD.

Along with a number of other shows, including "It's About Time", this show seemed to fall into the holy pit of TV shows that won't ever be on DVD for one reason or another--but now, it has finally received its official release.

You might remember this show. It ran on NBC from September 1967 to April 1969, and starred Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard as the mothers-in-law to two young newlyweds--Jerry Fogel and Deborah Walley--who marry and live in the garage of Arden's character's (Eve Hubbard) home, which she shares with husband Herb (Herbert Rudley). Ballard (Kaye Buell) and husband Roger (Roger C. Carmel) just happen to live next door, and you can see where there would be lots of comedy in this situation.

During the second season, the newlyweds had twins, and a new grandpa, as Richard Deacon replaced Carmel.

The show was sort of a 1960s version of "I Love Lucy," with Arden being Lucy and Ballard being Ethel (or was it the other way around?). In fact, the show is a real artifact, as it was produced by Desi Arnaz himself, who actually appeared on a couple of episodes. Also, two-thirds of the "I Love Lucy" writing team--Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll--wrote most of the episodes.

With such an excellent cast, great writers, and the presence of Desi Arnaz, NBC thought they had a major hit on their hands. It was on Sunday nights, sandwiched between ratings winners "The Wonderful World of Disney" and "Bonanza."

However, the ratings were never great for this show. For some reason, people turned away from the sitcom when it was on. The ratings were so bad that it is amazing that it actually had two full seasons of episodes.

I remember absolutely howling in laughter at this show. I was young then, but the repartee between Arden and Ballard was amazing, much like that of Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in their heyday, and even I could see that at my young age.

It was a great show that just never found an audience.

But now, MPI Home Video released the show on July 27 after numerous delays, including rights problems. A number of entities claimed ownership of the show--including Eve Arden's estate!--but that has been cleared up now.

If you want to see a real artifact of the 1960s, this is the show to see. It's sort of I Love Lucy-lite, but it is very, very funny, with both Arden and Ballard absolutely at their best.

Now, how about "It's About Time"?


  1. Another show that seems to have been forgotten is "He and She" starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, it lasted only a season but i remember the show fondly. And it is about time for "It's About Time".

  2. Yes, I remember "He and She" too. And there are some others that have missed the DVD boat, too, including "Batman" (I have heard that it is so tied up in litigation that it will never be released on DVD), "The Green Hornet (I have high hopes for this one since the movie comes out in January), and "Life With Lucy" (another show I have high hopes for due to the release of the "Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" sets).

    And yes, I watched these shows when they were originally on the air, including "Life With Lucy," which ABC gave up on pretty quickly even though its ratings were OK.

  3. Hi,
    I really loved watching The MIL. Eve and Kaye are hysterical. I love the running gags, it reminds me of The Nanny in some ways. I think Fran Drescher liked The MIL because I see some of the same ideas on The Nanny.

    "Car 54", needs a release date as does "Alice"! Where the heck is "Alice" already? I would like to see 'The Pruitts Of Southampton", "Love On A Rooftop", and "Life With Lucy" would be great. I never seen all the episodes and the theme song was really good, which reminds me I would like to see "It's A Living", and "Angie", also with great theme songs!



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