I Love Lucy

If you've been dreaming of a red Christmas, then Santa — or, rather, CBS — is about to make your holiday wish come true. The network celebrates the holiday with the I Love Lucy Christmas Special, pairing newly colorized versions of the series' seldom-seen Yuletide installment and the classic grape-stomping episode, "Lucy's Italian Movie" (airing Friday at 8/7c).

The so-called lost Christmas episode, a 1956 clip show in which everyone shows up in Santa suits, went unseen for 30 years after its initial broadcast, reemerging only with the advent of home video. "People were afraid the Christmas episode would get rerun on the Fourth of July, so it didn't go into syndication," explains CBS Home Entertainment executive vice president Ken Ross, who brought the series to VHS in 1989.

The vineyard-set episode was chosen for this special — rather than, say, the iconic candy factory or Vitameata-vegamin installments — because, Ross says, it was inherently colorful. "Why not see grapes in purple rather than black and white?" he says. The color, though, is as vintage as the wine. "It looks like it was shot in color in the '50s. It doesn't look like a 2013 show."

Although purists may complain about the colorization of a classic, Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of the series' stars, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, says, "I am happy it continues to bring joy to folks 57 years later, whatever color it is."

The biggest Lucy news, however, isn't red but Blu. Ross divulges that the first season of I Love Lucy is coming to Blu-ray on April 8, with extras that will blow fans' minds: "We're calling it 'The Ultimate Lucy.' It's going to be breathtaking." CBS Home Entertainment will also be releasing first-ever Blu-ray versions of The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete First Season and The Honeymooners: "Classic 39" Episodes on the same date. Below is an exclusive preview of how the high-def upgrade will look.


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