Archive | February, 2017

S1E8: Men Are Messy

27 Feb

Aired Dec 3, 1951

Plot: Lucy gets upset at Ricky for being sloppy after she cleans the house all day. To make him shape up, she decides to basically destroy the place when a photographer comes to shoot the apartment.

Let’s Get Into It: Lucy starts on the phone with Ethel saying how she just can’t stand the house being messy so of course Ricky immediately comes home and throws his stuff everywhere. He took 1 shoe off and was wearing only 1 shoe for so long it made me uncomfortable! He needed to keep 1 shoe on so he could step on and crack his nuts, then thankfully he took it off, throwing it on the floor with everything else.

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Lucy comes in and gets on his case. She picks up a magazine to show him how other people live and Ricky says he was supposed to be the next spread in the magazine. Lucy’s joke “Better Homes and Garbage” is quite clever! Now the Mertzes are coming and Lucy tells Ricky to straighten up for company. Sure, clean up for friends, but she tells him to put his shoes on. I’m with Rick on this one. I wouldn’t put on shoes. They just can’t agree on anything so Lucy divides the room right down the middle.

The phone is right in the middle of the line and so Lucy insists Ricky listens and she talks. Kenny, the publicity agent on the other end, doesn’t even seem fazed by this weird arrangement. Maybe he’s used to their antics? Lucy also blocks Ricky from the kitchen and yet immediately forgets her own rule and tries to go into the bathroom. Not so fast, Luce.

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It’s the next day at the club and Ricky is rehearsing. As much as I have my problems with this episode, this scene of Ricky singing and dancing “The Hat Song” with Maggie, the club’s cleaning woman is one of the most adorable scenes of the show!

Kenny shows up with photographer in tow to do the photo spread and he says he wants to shoot Ricky at home. All this gets relayed to Lucy who justifies that no one reads the musician magazine anyway so she’s going to teach Ricky a lesson and have the place look like a total pig sty. Oh Lucy! She sure can be immature and, well a brat sometimes and I just hate seeing her like this. Don’t people in the music industry read that magazine? Like Ricky’s contemporaries and possible future employers?? And wouldn’t it still be an embarrassing reflection on her as well? This always felt like an extreme overreaction! Of course I’ve always fallen in Ricky’s “lived in” camp. Do you agree with me that Lucy went too far?

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So on top of being a slob, Lucy makes herself ugly? Just another wig she has on hand. And she talks with another weird voice. I guess she’s trying to be a redneck. And where does she get a car tire that she can so casually display in her living room?

And chickens! More live animals that are available to Lucy on a whim. Where does she get chickens in Manhattan? They’re good for a couple gags. Lucy throws it in the air and it flaps to the ground and Ricky sits on an egg.

Plus it kills me that Ethel is just waiting in the laundry on the line the entire time. She and Lucy go “hunting” in the bedroom. Did they actually shoot that gun off? What else would make that sound? And they come out with their… bear. I can’t even ask all my questions.

So it’s revealed that Jim White is not from that musician magazine no one reads, but is in fact from a very popular magazine, Look! The last scene, has Ricky with the newly printed magazine and he says how the photographer promised not to include Lucy in his article. But ouch, she made cover! okay but huh? Cover pictures are supposed to entice readers to buy the mag. Will anyone buy this? And is she linked to Ricky or is there just some strange redneck woman on the cover? Again a million and a half questions…



According to IMDb, The cover of Look! magazine that Lucy appears on is the August 1951 issue. The three headliners on the right side of Pope Pius, the B-47 jet and of Gaylord Hauser are factual. Lucy’s dubbed photo is covering the cover photo of the 3 Universal starlets of 1951.
Familiar Faces:
Kenny Morgan who plays Kenny the publicity agent, is married to Lucille Ball’s cousin, Cleo– who was more of a sister to Ball.
Maggie, who is just a delight, is later in Fan Magazine Interview and The Great Train Robbery. 

Happy Birthday Bill!

26 Feb

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William Frawley, who was born 100 years before me exactly (wow!) would be 130 years old today! As Desi said, Buenas Nochas, Amigo!


The Lost Pilot Episode

23 Feb

The pilot of ILL was filmed on March 2nd, 1951 but wasn’t aired until April 30th, 1990. It wasn’t meant to be in the regular broadcast rotation and it got “lost.” Pepito the clown’s wife notified CBS that she had a copy that was given to the now late performer by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The copy’s original titles and first few seconds were either damaged or missing but were reconstructed and the original announcer, Bob LeMond re-recorded his narration after 50 years.

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The pilot is really just the rough draft of episode 6- The Audion. There’s a lot of overlap so I wont go over the plot much but I will look at the major differences. This pilot episode opens, like mentioned, with narration unlike any other episode. It introduces who Ricky and Lucy are and pans over their apartment building. Then we see this giant hand open the window so it was really like a dollhouse but people live inside. Kinda funny, kinda strange.

Their bedroom set (which is common for pilots) is totally different from the rest of the show. And Lucy is wearing a size 5XL in pajamas it looks like. In reality, Lucille Ball was pregnant with Lucie while shooting the pilot.

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The conversation about Lucy asking for a part in his TV audition is almost word for word as in episode 6. Lucy even puts on another lampshade, although this one is huge and upside down.

Jerry comes over to talk to Ricky about the show. The pilot originally had side characters as Jerry and  Pepito who later were replaced by Fred and Ethel. I’m SO glad they brought in a friend for Lucy. She needs someone to bounce her crazy schemes and play off of. Other than Ricky, she only interacts with Pepito and it’s not enough!

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Also I’m so glad they nixed Pepito. His act is… not good. That baby cry thing? Ooof it’s awful! He is the weirdest clown ever. And when he crashes his bike, it looks like he jumps off the back and the bike just splits suddenly into two pieces and then he slowly lays down.

I would never go see Pepito’s act but I’m starting to get the appeal of Desi Arnaz. He plays the congo so passionately, it’s like when someone is so passionate about something they get you to like it. Does that make sense? Watch when they first show Ricky in the club. He doesn’t like playing with his wedding ring on and he forgot to take it off before they started filming. He quickly slips the ring off and puts it in his pocket without missing a beat.

Skipping around, I have always liked the Cuban Cabby song. Does he sing that again later in the series?

Back at the Ricardo’s apartment, Pepito is resting and somehow the bike is back together. He sees if he can ride it around the apartment and Lucy moves a piece of furniture right in his path which is enough to completely lose his balance and go flying through wall. So Lucy takes his spot in the audition.

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Pay attention to Ricky when he asks Lucy if she can play that “thin.”  He tries so hard not to laugh at her response of “What thin?” and even breaks a little and stumbles over his next line.

And the episode finishes with the same great pie line!



S1E7: The Seance

20 Feb

Aired Nov 26, 1951

Plot: Lucy, suddenly superstitious, meddles in Ricky’s career when she tells theater producer Mr. Merriweather “no” because Ricky’s horoscope told her to. To make it up to everyone, Lucy holds a seance to contact’s Merriweather’s dear departed, Tilly.

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Let’s Get Into It: I guess Ethel’s tarot card reading from episode 4 convinces Lucy in the supernatural because now she is all about horoscopes and palm readings and numerology. She is a 3. Ricky is a 5 and Ethel is a 7. Whatever that means. At one point Ricky tells Lucy to “nip it in the 3” and Lucy’s reaction is “Watch your language!” Is he saying a bad word or saying to nip it in the Lucy?? Also maybe suggestive (for a 1950’s show) Ricky asks Lucy if she likes the way he “vibrates!” There’s also a Hers and Hers joke thrown in.

Lucy thinks she’s talking to Ricky’s barber and tells him “no no no” because Ricky’s horoscope says Gemini’s should stay in bed all day.Well she’s really talking to Ricky’s potential employer, Mr. Merriweather. Ricky marches Lucy straight over to Merriweather’s office to explain and lucky for them, Merriweather is all about horoscopes too. He’s a 7. “We’re all odd, aren’t we?”

So to schmooze him, Lucy invites him over for a seance so he can talk to Tilly. Ethel has more of that costume money and dressed up as the medium. Ricky and Lucy both have the same idea to fake the Tilly voice. Fred agrees to Rick’s plan, pretends to have a headache and waits downstairs for Ricky’s cue when it’s time to fake his voice, but it takes him too long and Lucy beats him to it. She sneezes and burns herself on the fireplace and convinces eager Mr. Merriweather that she has a cold and I guess is in Hell. They have a nice, deceiving chat and then he wants to contact Mrs. Merriweather! Fred arrives just in time and does that voice to remind Merriweather of his terrible memories with his wife. Ha!

Since Lucy doesn’t know about Fred and Fred doesn’t know about Lucy, they’re convinced Ethel really was talking to a ghost. They start looking for one. Like under chairs and stuff. Ricky comes in after walking Merriweather out when he gets the info. Yes, Mrs. Merriweather is his wife but he is convinced Ethel is the real deal because Tilly’s voice sounded just like what he imagined it would be if Tilly could talk. Tilly, as it turns out, was his cocker spaniel!


Starting with this episode one side of the Ricardo’s sofa was padded to make Desi appear taller when sitting next to Lucy.


Ricky is a Gemini. Ethel is a Leo (as is Viv in real life) and Lucy is a Taurus– in this episode. A later episode quotes Lucy’s birthday as Ball’s real birthday, Aug. 6th.


When Ball went on maternity leave, this was one of the episodes that re-ran with a new opening scene. Ricky comes home to Ethel babysitting because Lucy is at the library. She is trying to find the best name for the baby according to numerology. She almost named the baby Xavier! No child of Ricky’s will be named after Cugat!

MFH Connection: Based on the episode “Numerology.”

Familiar Faces:

Mr. Merriweather is played by Jay Novello, and old My Favorite Husband player who is also Mr. Beecher in The Sublease and Mario in Visitor From Italy.


Is a Biopic in the Works?

16 Feb

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Rumor has it Aaron Sorkin is set to write an authorized biopic of Lucille Ball’s marriage to Desi Arnaz  starring Cate Blanchett. Lucie and Desi Jr are going to produce with Escape Artists on behalf on Sony.

No word on when it’ll come out or who will play Desi.


S1E6: The Audition

13 Feb

Aired Nov 19, 1951

The Plot: Lucy fills in as a clown in Ricky’s club act

Let’s Get Into It: I’m sure I’ll talk about this further in depth someday but people always assumed Lucille was such a natural comedienne because physical comedy looked like it came so naturally to her. In reality she worked very hard. But opening scenes like this one, where Lucy puts on Ricky’s Congo drum and immediately falls to the floor is so simple and yet so funny.  It’s a testament to her talent that it looks so easy.

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We get a peek inside the Ricardo’s bathroom! This is the first time  we see this set and I can only think of one other time we come back here. Lucy is trying to convince Ricky to put her in his act and this is such a cute scene for these two. We get to see them set up the entire premise of the show but they are being silly and lovey with each other. Lucy is making faces in the mirror as Ricky shaves and Ricky is cracking jokes. Very endearing.

To prove how good of an addition she would be, Lucy dons a lampshade and a fur shall. Why the lampshade? What does it add to her “costume?” And what exactly is her costume? Well the lampshade doesn’t convince Ricky and it’s still a no.

We see Ricky at rehearsal and Boffo the clown bites it on his bike act. His breaks supposedly lock up but both times the actor just jumps off the bicycle. Instead of taking him all the way home to Staten Island, Fred who’s at rehearsal for some reason, takes him back to the Ricardo’s apartment where Lucy comes home and finds him. He tests out his bike again and flies right through the kitchen door! How much is that gonna cost?

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So Lucy takes his spot and gets to be in the show- not that Ricky approved this, of course. She puts on the weirdest voice but her whole act is hilarious and iconic. Ricky, for his part, plays right along and their banter is fun. Are they making sex jokes? Ricky asks to see her credentials and if she has any experience and her reactions are perfectly hysterical!

Ricky’s show was so important because it was an audition for a TV show (hence the title) but Lucy is so funny, she’s the one offered the contract to which Ricky is less than thrilled. He comes home (notice the door is still broken) and gives Lucy the same speech from the morning. He wants her to clean the house and cook for him and bring him slippers and be a mother to his children. With that, Lucy tells Ricky she has a surprise for him. Ricky’s face lights up before Lucy tells him she’s baked him his favorite pie! Ha.


Ethel is not in this episode. This episode is a remake of the pilot when the Mertzes weren’t characters, instead the sidekicks being Jerry the Agent and Boffo the clown. Jerry’s part just got rewritten for Fred and Ethel got left out.

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An audience goer snuck in a camera and captured some color footage of the crew filming. It’s super weird to me to see the Tropicana in full color. Which I guess is pink!

MFH Connection: Based on the broadcast titled “The Wills.”

Familiar Faces:

The Network Execs there to review the show are Jess Oppenheimer on the left, CBS exec Hal Hildon on the right, and in the middle is the man who greenlighted Lucy and Desi’s real life audition, Harry Ackerman. (Oppenheimer’s voice is also heard in Lucy Does a TV Commercial and an extra in The Tour.)

Bennett Green plays a stagehand in this episode. He is Desi’s stand in. He has a lot of background parts in 21 episodes.


The Best of ILL Part 2

9 Feb

There are 4 episodes on the Best of DVD that didn’t match up with the IMDb‘s user ratings for the top 10 and 4 extra episodes (14 are on the DVD) so to follow up with part 1, here are the other notable 8 eps.

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#11 Lucy is Enceinte (S2E10)
How could this not make the list? Lucy finds out she’s preg going to have a baby and she can’t find the perfect way to tell Ricky. In the end, the way she does it and Ricky’s song to his wife is pure magic.

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#12 The Ballet (S1E19)
Classic Ball physical comedy. Plus there is a song in this ep that has a very special meaning for me so I’m happy to see it on the Best of. 

#13 Paris at Last (S5E18)
This one doesn’t rate too high on the IMDb list. Lucy accidentally exchanges her money for counterfeit and ends up getting arrested. So to converse with the police officer, Lucy speaks English to Ricky who speaks Spanish to another prisoner who speaks German to one officer who speaks French to the sergeant. It’s a mess. A hilarious mess.

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#14 Lucy Gets in Pictures (s4E18)
Lucy’s dream has come true! She has a part in a movie. And everything goes wrong.

#15 Lucy Goes to the Hospital (s2E16)
Little Ricky makes his entrance into the world! I can’t say that I put this episode on repeat very often myself but in terms of history making, it’s a biggie.

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#16 Lucy Gets a Paris Gown (S5E20)
I think this one surprised me the most. Lucy pesters Ricky for a designer dress until he makes her one out of burlap. That scene of them strutting their stuff down the streets of Paris is instantly recognizable.

#17 Bon Voyage (S5E13)
Lucy and the gang are all set to sail to Europe but of course, Lucy misses the boat. And then the pilot boat. And has to be lowered onto the ship by a harness.

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#18 Lucy and Harpo Marx (S4E28)
This one is always highly rated in ILL canon. Maybe people love the Marx Bros more than I? In the ep, Lucy, who’s been running her mouth off to frenemy Caroline Appleby dresses up like her celeb “friends” to keep up appearances. But the real Harpo shows up and they preform the famous mirror routine.