October 2011


Why We Love Lucy

On the 50th anniversary of I Love Lucy, a video tribute to television’s greatest comic actor, Lucille Ball.


‘Lucy and Harpo Marx,’ aired May 5, 1955. Episode 28, Season 4. Lucy decides to impersonate some Hollywood notables to impress nearsighted Caroline Appleby, who is visiting from New York. A mixup occurs when Lucy, having introduced her friend to "Gary Cooper," "Clark Gable," "Marlon Brando," and "Jimmy Durante," decides to impersonate Harpo Marx just as the real Harpo arrives. The two then restage the famous “mirror scene” from the Marx Brothers’ 1933 film classic, Duck Soup.

From the episode ‘Job Switching,’ Episode 1, Season 2, aired on September 15, 1952. Ricky and Fred think doing housework is much easier than earning money. Lucy and Ethel feel the opposite. So the boys try doing the housework while the girls attempt to hold down a job at a candy factory. Problems soon arise on both fronts. Ricky and Fred cause a huge mess in the apartment by burning the clothes with irons and getting food all over the kitchen. Lucy and Ethel find themselves fighting against a speedy belt of chocolate. Elvia Allman guest stars.

‘Drowning in a vat of grapes is not what I had in mind as a way to go’: Lucille Ball tells Dick Cavett about her favorite I Love Lucy scene, the grape stomping scene from ‘Lucy’s Italian Movie,’ Episode 22, Season 6, aired April 23, 1956.On route to Rome, Italy, an Italian producer offers Lucy a role in a film called Bitter Grapes. So she decides to take a job in a vineyard to absorb a little "local color." This episode contains the famous scene in which Lucy stomps grapes and picks a fight with her fellow stomper. Lucy’s reminiscence is as funny as the scene itself.

‘Tennessee Ernie Hangs On’: Cousin Ernie (Tennessee Ernie Ford) visits the Ricardos and won't leave. Lucy gets creative trying to find a way to get him to go home, including impersonating one of the predatory big city women Ernie’s mother warned him about. Episode 29 (the second of a two-part Tennessee Ernie Ford arc that began with the previous week’s ‘Tennessee Ernie Visits’), Season 3, aired May 10, 1954.

Ernie Ford and His Four Hot Chicken Pickers perform ‘Y’all Come’: From the ‘Tennessee Ernie Hangs On' Episode (see above)

From the episode ‘Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress,’ Season 3, Episode 3, aired October 12, 1953. Co-presidents of the Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League, Lucy and Ethel plan a duet on Cole Porter’s ‘Friendship,’ which they rehearse for Fred and Ricky. Come show time, though…

...when they find they’re wearing the same dress on the air, the co-presidents take measures to correct their fashion faux pas

From ‘Lucy and Bob Hope,’ Episode 1, Season 6, aired October 1, 1956. Lucy succeeds in her effort to get Bob Hope to appear at Ricky’s Club Babalu. In the final scene, Lucy, Rick and Bob work up a routine for ‘Nobody Loves the Ump,’ and wind up with a warm rendition of Hope’s theme song, ‘Thanks For the Memories.’ Classic.

‘L.A. At Last,’ Episode 17, Season 4, aired February 17, 1955. Unnerved at finding William Holden sitting in the next booth, Lucy, having lunch at the Brown Derby with Fred and Ethel, manages to get a plate of food dumped all over Holden as she rushes out of the famed Hollywood restaurant.

‘L.A. At Last’: Ricky brings William Holden home to meet Lucy. Her nose catches fire. One of the funniest of all Lucy scenes.

‘Lucy Is Enceinte,’ Episode 10, Season 2, aired December 8, 1952. Lucy feels strange, and tells Ethel. She responds by suggesting Lucy might be pregnant. Lucy laughs...but comes back from a doctor's visit and reveals that Ethel was right. Lucy tries to prepare the 'perfect' moment to tell Ricky, but his business at the club keeps him away. Eventually, Lucy anonymously requests that Ricky perform his song 'We're Having A Baby' at the club. Ricky gets quite a surprise when he finds out who requested the song. The title of the episode uses the French word for ‘pregnant,’ Ball's way to get around the network censor restriction at the time which barred the word ‘pregnant’ from being spoken or referred to directly.

‘Lucy’s Last Birthday,’ Episode 25, Season 2, aired May 11, 1953. When it seems that everyone has forgotten Lucy's birthday, she becomes depressed and wanders around town. She meets the ‘Friends of the Friendless’ in the park, and joins the ranks of the unhappy mob. They all march to Ricky's club to protest--where a surprise party is waiting for the birthday girl! This episode features Ricky singing ‘I Love Lucy,’ a version of the show's theme song with lyrics. This was the only time the theme song lyrics were sung on the air.

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