S1E5: The Quiz Show

6 Feb

Aired Nov 12. 1951

Plot: Lucy’s finances are a mess so she goes on a radio show in hopes to win $1,000 but they have her do the worst prank in history.

Let’s Get Into It: The long running gag that Lucy is bad at money begins with her showing Ethel how she throws all her bills in the air and only pays the “winners” that land face up. Ricky isn’t too keen to find out how behind she is in her books and she tells him she basically flirts her way out of bills. I wish I could use this strategy. She’s so far behind, the song “Jingle Bells” would be playing when the bills were actually due. Pay attention to that song; it makes many appearances in ILL. In a later season, “Jingle Bells” is her and Ricky’s “song!” If I remember right, it’s because it was the only song he knew in English… yet come Christmas special episode, doesn’t he not recognize it when Ethel sings??

Ricky tells Lucy he is taking over the money stuff and Lucy is devastated. Wouldn’t she be happy that all the stress of bills is off her? But now she doesn’t get to spend wildly like she wants to do, I guess. So in order to make a quick buck, she goes on the “Freddie Fillmore Show” to win $1,000. That’s like $9,461 today. A pretty good chuck of change. Freddie Fillmore is played by a familiar face, Frank Nelson. (see end)

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Is this the dumbest radio show in the world? Lucy’s tryout is being squirted in the face every time she sings a world associated with water but the audience can’t see that. Would that be fun to listen to?? And the big prank she has to do to win the money all happens off mic! She is told to go home and a man will show up who she is supposed to introduce to her current husband as her first husband and let the hilarity ensue. WHAT? Why not bring on her husband and have all this happen on air so the audience can hear it? And couldn’t Lucy just tell all this to Ricky before the man comes over and have him play along? The whole thing makes no sense at all.

But Lucy agrees and goes home to wait for a stranger, so when a homeless man knocks on the door she lets him right in. This guy is pretty hilarious. He steals anything he can, sticking it in his pants and coat, including a banana! And his exchange with Lucy asking about their children is fun.

Lucy: “Don’t you have them?”
Harold: “You’ve misplaced them again?!”

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Ethel comes in and ID’s the husband as a bum and a tramp (ha!) and not the man from the show. The man who IS from the show arrives just then – Lucy’s second first husband and he’s played by Vance’s real life husband Philip Ober.  Lucy wildly explains what’s up to Ricky but luckily she does so after midnight so she wins the money. Which always makes me wonder, what time did that guy show up? 11:59??


William Frawley does not appear in this episode

Ricky says their rent cost $250 which would be $2365 today!

Familiar Faces: 
Freddie Fillmore will come back for 2 more episodes, Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio and Ricky’s Hawaiian Vacation. But actor Frank Nelson will appear in 11 ILL episodes overall. In Lucy Changes Her Mind,  Ricky and Fred are TV Fans, The Million Dollar Idea, Ricky’s Movie Offer, The Great Train Robbery, Return Home from Europe and of course in the final season as Ralph Ramsey in Lucy Gets Chummy with the Neighbors and Country Club Dance.
Freddie’s announcer sidekick is Lee Millar.Son of Verna Felton, who’s another familiar face (hint: Mrs. Porter). You’ll find Millar in Changing the Boy’s Wardrobe, Mr. and Mrs. TV Show, and Lucy and the Dummy.
Look closely at Mrs. Peterson. She is played by Hazel Pierce and she is Lucille Ball’s stand in. She’s in a total of 16 episodes, most often as a club goer or party member.
And of course, as previously mentioned Mr. Vivian Vance, Philip Ober plays Arnold. He is seen again in Don Juan is Shelved. 

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