Saturday, March 20, 2021

I Love Lucy - Lucy's Night in Town

 A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting the 7th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon and I thought I would undertake the impossible and choose an episode from the beloved 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. This comedy classic ran for six seasons and then switched to an hour-long format where twelve additional episodes were made. Every episode was so well-written, it is difficult enough trying to pick a favorite season, let alone a single episode! 

Lucy's Night in Town is a real winner however, not just because it is fun to watch but because within its 25-minute runtime it encapsulates the formula that the show is famous for: Lucy gets herself into trouble with Ricky, she then tries to get herself out of trouble, she gets herself deeper into trouble, and finally, she gets Ricky, Fred, and Ethel into trouble with her and they all end up with nothing! 

In Lucy's Night in Town, the Ricardos are living in a sprawling ranch in Connecticut that they purchased after moving away from their apartment in New York City. The Mertzes later come out to join them and move into the guesthouse on the property but, in this episode, they were still living in New York. 

Ricky and Lucy have four tickets for a sold-out show - The Most Happy Fella - and Lucy is excited about going into the city again after spending weeks in the country. Ricky and Fred plan to meet Lucy and Ethel at a restaurant just before going to the theater. They bought the tickets six months prior and since tickets are impossible to get, Ricky warns Lucy repeatedly "not to forget the tickets!"

With this kind of buildup, the audience knows that Lucy is going to forget the tickets...but surprisingly, she does not. Instead, as she and Ethel are about to order their dinner at the restaurant she realizes that the tickets are for the matinee performance. They missed it completely! Lucy says "Well, at least I didn't lose them. You have to admit that"...."Well bully for you!", Ethel replies. So Lucy's mental gears quickly spin into action and she tells Ethel to stall while they eat. You can only stall so long, but Lucy is desperate! Here begins a great scene with Lucy and Ethel eating as slow as they can while Ricky and Fred are gulping their dinners down. 

"What are you doin'? Would you please tell me what you are doin'?" - Ricky

"Chewing" - Lucy

"Well swallow it now and chew it later. We're in a hurry." - Ricky

Once Lucy realizes the jig is up she confesses that the tickets are no good. They head to the theater to see if they can get some last-minute tickets for a cancellation and are in luck when a couple turns in their tickets for box seats - but there are only two tickets. They decide that the girls will see the first half and the boys will see the second. So Lucy and Ethel go first and when intermission time comes Lucy realizes that the two seats behind them were empty the entire time. Lucy decides to sneak back after intermission, but Ethel objects. 

"Do you know anyone who's missed the whole first act and still wants to see the show?" - Lucy

"Sure, Ricky and Fred!" - Ethel

Of course, the couple who bought the seats shows up but, instead of leaving to wait in the lobby, Lucy and Ethel simply push Ricky and Fred aside and try to sit two people in one chair! Things really get funny when Lucy knocks down Ethel's purse into the audience below....the purse that Fred just hid $500 in!

Surprise! The couple wants their seats. 

Lucy's Night in Town aired on March 25, 1957. It was part of the 6th season, a season that was full of great episodes like Lucy and the Loving Cup, Lucy and Superman, Lucy Raises Chickens and Building a Barbeque. This episode was always a favorite of mine because of its extra witty script and because it mixed the new country setting with the old city setting. Joseph Kearns, best known for playing Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace, has a great spot as a fussy theater manager. We also get to hear some wonderful Frank Loesser songs from The Most Happy Fella in the background and Lucy and Ethel's reaction to them are perfect. 

At the theater, Ricky asks, "I wonder what the show is about anyway." Fred responds, "Well, I can tell you one thing - the guy is not married." "How can you tell?"..."Look at the title!" Fred says pointing to the poster marked The Most Happy Fella. 

Interestingly, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball helped to finance the original production of The Most Happy Fella on Broadway and it turned out to be a smashing success running for 14 months straight. This was a clever way to promote their own investment. 

Lucy's Night in Town is just one of many favorite I Love Lucy episodes. What are your favorites? 


  1. Like you, I'd have trouble picking a favourite I Love Lucy episode, but "Lucy's Night in Town" is one of them. I love that they play with the formula a bit. You really expect Lucy to forget the tickets, but then she doesn't. That having been said, they turn out to be for the matinee! I thought that was a nice twist! Anyway, it is such a funny episode. Anyway, thanks for taking part in the blogathon!

    1. Thanks for hosting! I always look forward to this blogathon and nearly missed it this year!

  2. Wonderful post on a memorable (aren't they all?) episode. Can't go wrong with a Frank Loesser show!

    Discussing a favourite I Love Lucy episode years ago, I settled on The Operetta. It appeals to me as a community theatre denizen, and as an admirer of Lucy's clowning.

    1. "I am the good Prince Lancelot. I love to sing and dance a lot!"....yes, The Operetta is a good one, too. Their writing staff must have had a ball coming up with all of the stories!

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