Over 50 years ago during the early years of broadcast television, the very inspired talents of Lucille Ball (1911-1989) and her then husband Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) were showcased on their hilarious television show “I Love Lucy”. TV execs had initially rejected the plausibility of the show because of Desi and because they intended to tape the shows. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of Lucille Ball and Desi’s obvious talents, the show first aired in 1951 and quickly became one of the most successful TV shows during all six of its regular seasons. As Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were joined by William Frawley (1877-1966) and Viviane Vance (1909-1979) as their best-friends/apartment landlords of Fred and Ethel Mertz.
The fifth season of “I Love Lucy” that aired between 1955 and 1956 has 26 memorable episodes:
1. “Lucy Visits Grauman’s”: With Ethel’s help, Lucy steals John Wayne’s footprints from Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
2. “Lucy and John Wayne”: Lucy and Ethel try to return the footprints that they stole, but they break; so Ricky enlists the help from John Wayne (himself) to make a new set. More than one may be needed.
3. “Lucy and the Dummy”: After Ricky backs out of a party where Lucy wants her big break, Lucy makes a dummy of Ricky to dance with at the party.
4. “Ricky Sells the Car”: After Ricky sells the car, Fred & Ethel think they’ll have to ride a motorcycle back to NYC; but Ricky buys train tickets for all.
5. “The Great Train Robbery”: Thinking there’s a jewel thief on board the train to NYC, Lucy can’t stop pulling the emergency brake cord. (Train conductor played by Frank Nelson, 1911-1986.)
6. “Homecoming”: Upon returning to NYC, Ricky is a big star, but Lucy initially doesn’t share in everyone’s worship of him.
7. “The Ricardos Are Interviewed”: Ricky & Lucy consider moving and Ricky is to be interviewed on a prestigious show.
8. “Lucy Goes to a Rodeo”: After Ricky can’t help Fred with a rodeo-themed show for his lodge, Lucy & Ethel volunteer to help.
9. “Nursery School”: After Lucy’s fear of Little Ricky getting sick at nursery school comes to pass, she is determined to stay with him at the hospital.
10. “Ricky’s European Booking”: When Ricky can’t afford to take Lucy on his European tour, she & Ethel dream up a raffle to help the “Ladies Overseas Aid”, which they think is themselves.
11. “The Passports”: Lucy can’t find her birth certificate so that she can get her passport.
12. “Staten Island Ferry”: To help Fred overcome seasickness, Lucy takes him onto the Staten Island Ferry; but she gets seasick herself and may be late to the passport office. (Passport clerk played by Charles Lane.)
13. “Bon Voyage”: When the ship leaves port for Europe, Lucy is inadvertently left behind; so she’ll have to get to ship via a helicopter. One of the best fifth-season episodes!
14. “Second Honeymoon”: Lucy wants the Atlantic cruise to be a second honeymoon, but Ricky is too busy with the band.
15. “Lucy Meets the Queen”: After Lucy misses seeing the queen at Buckingham Palace, Ricky gets invited to met the queen, but not Lucy. Of course, when has “no” ever stopped Lucy?
16. “The Fox Hunt”: Bragging that she can ride, Lucy gets to show how well she can actually ride a horse in a fox hunt.
17. “Lucy Goes to Scotland”: Lucy wants to travel to Scotland to meet her distant McGillicuddy relatives. The dream sequence that unfolds is unforgettable.
18. “Paris at Last”: Not having any French currency, Lucy, Ethel & Fred exchange money with a so-called French artist (Shepard Menken, 1921-1999), who turns out to be a counterfeiter. The translation sequence is priceless, as is Lucy’s introduction to escargot!
19. “Lucy Meets Charles Boyer”: Lucy & Ethel are star-struck when they encounter Charles Boyer (himself) at a sidewalk cafe.
20. “Lucy Gets a Paris Gown”: When Lucy goes on hunger strike to force Ricky to buy her an expensive French-designed dress, Ricky & Fred have dresses custom-made out of burlap. (A fantastic episode!)
21. “Lucy in the Swiss Alps”: Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel get trapped in an avalanche while mountain climbing until they here “La Cucaracha” being played.
22. “Lucy Gets Homesick in Italy”: In this heart-warming episode, Lucy misses Little Ricky during his birthday, so a little Italian shoeshine boy (Bart Bradley) and his friends get to celebrate with her.
23. “Lucy’s Italian Movie”: In one of the best episodes of all time, Lucy takes “getting some local color” a little literally when she travels to an old-fashioned Italian winery to press grapes to impress an Italian film director. (Italian wine stomper played by Theresa Tirelli,…
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Season 5 of this classic sit com begins just a few months after season 4 ended. The gang is still in Los Angeles where Ricky has just finished filming his picture. Fortunately, there’s still time for a few hijinks, including trying to steal John Wayne’s footprints in the two hilarious episodes that start the season. Even traveling back is an adventure when Lucy decides there’s a robber on the train.
Things are just beginning to settle down in New York when Ricky and his band get a series of bookings in Europe. Soon, the foursome are off again where Lucy meets the Queen in England, gets arrested for counterfeiting in Paris, and gets trapped in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.
The most famous episode from this season comes near the end. “Lucy’s Italian Movie” is better known as the grape stomping episode and has one of the classic physical comedy routines from the show in it.
Actually, the last several episodes are sharp as “Lucy’s Bicycle Trip,” “Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo,” and “Return Home from Europe” are also absolutely hilarious episodes.
Even after five years, this show hasn’t lost any of its laughs. In fact, the situations just seem to get more outrageous and yet they work. If we’d started with some of these stunts, it would seem implausible, but by now when Lucy wins a fortunate at roulette accidentally, we buy it. As with any season of any show, this one has its week moments. I find the England episodes rather dull. But over all, this set is more then worth it.
And this set continues to meet the high standards set by the previous releases. Since there are only 26 episodes this go around, there are only four discs. Still, the picture is sharp. The sound seemed a little weaker then normal is spots, but it’s only a minute or so once or twice at disc. On the whole, it’s fine. The discs are still loaded with the behind the scenes info we’ve grown to expect.
A brief note about “Lucy and the Dummy.” The back of the box mentions it is edited from its original version. As the disc itself explains, the episode ran short originally, so they included a preview of a new movie coming soon from MGM. Since they couldn’t get the rights to that promo, they couldn’t include it here. Still, they have restored the run up to it, and it has nothing to do with the storyline or any of the jokes. We aren’t really missing any I LOVE LUCY here.
This set has so many classic moments it’s hard to list them all. Pack your bags and get ready to travel and laugh with Lucy.
We left Lucy and the gang in Hollywood with Ricky about to make his big film.
Lucy Visits Grauman’s – Ricky has finished the film and tells everyone that they are returning to NYC in on week. The girls have to get everything done in one week. First stop is Grauman’s Chinese Theater. When they are there, they find that John Wayne’s footprints are loose and she decides it would make the perfect souvenir.
Lucy and John Wayne – Lucy must replace the footprints or go to jail. First Fred tries to forge but it doesn’t fool anyone. Then Ricky remembers he met Duke and calls him to help out. But Lucy thinks it’s another Freddie the forger original and erases it. They get Duke back and he again makes the print and signature (#2) but then Little Ricky is found playing in it. Ricky has already gone to the studio and had Duke make another print (#3). And Lucy comes up with the idea to have Duke step into wet cement then ask him to sign it. She and Ethel put the wet cement outside Duke’s dressing trailer but it’s Ricky who steps into the cement ruining the boot print. Lucy then realizes that she just needs to borrow the Duke’s boots and redo the imprint. This of course goes crazy when Duke surprises her in the trailer and she hides but does not escape as wanted – this is just crazy. She winds up running out and leaving Ethel behind. John Wayne, like most stars were doing the show to promote a movie.
Lucy and the Dummy – Ricky returns from a studio going away party with a plastic head of himself used in the movie. The studio calls and wants to have Ricky perform at an executive party at the studio. Lucy has convinced the studio that they have an act but Ricky is going fishing. Lucy decides to use the plastic head and creates a fake Ricky for the performance. As expected everything goes wrong but the studio execs thought it was a great comedy routine and offers Lucy a year’s contract.
Ricky Sells the Car – Ricky has an offer to sell the car and he figures that with the family plan it would be cheaper to take the train but he has forgotten the Mertzes.
The Great Train Robbery – The train trip home starts and stops and starts and stops…. First, Lucy forgot her purse at the newsstand and sends Ricky to get it but the train is leaving and Lucy pulls the emergency brake to stop it (#1). Then when Mother and Little Ricky are moved to another car, Lucy sees the new passenger has a gun and panics and pulls the emergency brake (#2). He is really a jeweler carrying diamonds. Lucy finds out that there is a jewel thief on board and assumes that it is her new neighbor. The real thief uses her to rob the jeweler and takes Lucy hostage but she pulls the emergency brake to foil him (#3). The press get on board and are taking her picture when the conductor thinks that she going to pull the emergency brake and …. (#4). Each time Fred and Ethel are in the Club Car and have their meal splattered on them.
Homecoming – The gang arrives back in NYC. Everyone treats Ricky as a star and ignores Lucy which infuriates her. But after talking to a tabloid reporter, Lucy follows suit, which infuriates Ricky.
Face to Face – Ricky is booked on a TV talk show. But when Ricky’s agent insults the apartment and tells Ricky he needs to move uptown, the Mertzes decided that he might be right and pick a fight to make the Ricardo’s move.
Lucy Goes to a Rodeo – Fred’s lodge is having a show but when Ricky is booked to do a radio show, Fred must ask Lucy and Ethel to help out. Fred and gang come up with a western themed show. Ricky finds out that he is not booked to perform on a radio show but the rodeo. When he cannot put together a show for the rodeo, he must beg Lucy, Fred and Ethel to pitch in.
Nursery School – Lucy doesn’t want to send Little Ricky to a nursery school but Ricky insists that he goes. After his first day, Little Ricky comes down with a cold and needs his tonsils removed. But when he goes to the hospital Lucy won’t leave him there alone overnight.
Ricky’s European Booking – Ricky gets a booking for a European tour. But he cannot take Lucy with him. Lucy and Ethel can go if they raise the money. They decide to hold a raffle and create a fake name Ladies Oversees Assistance. What the girls don’t know is that it is illegal to hold a raffle for a fictitious organization. All works out when Ricky finds out that if the band plays on the ship, the voyage is free. So he can take the girls. Ricky sings Forever Darling to promote his and Lucy’s upcoming film.
The Passports – Lucy cannot find her birth certificate and needs two people to sign an affidavit they knew when Lucy was born. In this episode we learn that Lucy was born in 1921 and this is the episode where Lucy gets locked in a steamer trunk.
Staten Island Ferry – Fred is…