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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
I Love Lucy
Season Four: 1954-55



SEASON ONE: 1951-52
SEASON TWO: 1952-53
SEASON THREE: 1953-54
SEASON FOUR: 1954-55
SEASON FIVE: 1955-56
SEASON SIX: 1956-57
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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1954-55: THE FOURTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 49.3 (1st place)

It's westward ho, Ricardo, when Ricky lands a movie role and moves to California with Lucy and the Mertzes--a slant that provides fresh inspiration for producer Jess Oppenheimer and writers Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll, Jr., as they embark on their fourth consecutive year as Lucy's preeminent scripters. William Asher once again directs every episode in the season.


98 The Business Manager    First Aired: October 4, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Charles Lane, Elizabeth Patterson

Lucy invigorates her sagging household finances with a novel cash-flow system: She buys the neighbors' groceries on credit and keeps the cash.

Charles Lane plays Ricky's accountant in one of his frequent TV guest spots. His stint as Homer Bedloe, the villain of Paul Henning's Petticoat Junction, would assure the actor's lasting fame--for better or worse.


99 Mertz and Kurtz    First Aired: October 11,1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Charles Winninger, Stephen Wootton

After trying to impress an old vaudeville chum with his prosperity, Fred discovers that his former partner is no better off than he and Ethel.


100 Lucy Cries Wolf    First Aired: October 18, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Beppy DeVries, Fred Aldrich, Louis A. Nicoletti

Lucy tests Ricky's devotion by calling him home from the club for a series of phony emergencies.


101 The Matchmaker    First Aired: October 25, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Sarah Selby, Milton Frome

Lucy hopes to inspire an engaged couple to finally tie the knot when she invites them to share an evening of domestic bliss at the Ricardos.


102 Ricky's Movie Offer    First Aired: November 8, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Frank Nelson, James Dobson, Elizabeth Patterson

The entire neighborhood shows up to audition after word leaks out that a Hollywood talent scout plans to pay a call on Ricky.


103 Ricky's Screen Test    First Aired: November 15, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Clinton Sundberg, Ray Kellogg

Lucy is assigned a bit role in Ricky's Hollywood screen test--but there's no such thing as a small part for this actress, and she sets out to prove it.


104 Lucy's Mother-In-Law    First Aired: November 22, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Mary Emery, Fortunio Bonanova

The arrival of Ricky's mother spells trouble in two languages when Lucy tries to make her Cuban mother-in-law at home in New York City.

Lucy so earnestly wants to impress Mother Ricardo with her command of Spanish that she plants a bilingual translator in the kitchen to coach her by secret microphone. Of course the ruse backfires, but--as was often the case--Lucy's touching emotional investment in the hare-brained scheme makes us laugh even harder at her pathetic attempt to fake her way through the conversation.


105 Ethel's Birthday    First Aired: November 29, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher

Fred and Ricky plan to take the girls out for Ethel's birthday, even though the wives aren't speaking to each other.


106 Ricky's Contract    First Aired: December 6, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher

After weeks of waiting by the phone, Ricky finally gets the fateful summons to Hollywood, and the great trip begins.


107 Getting Ready    First Aired: December 13, 1954
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher

Ricky invites the Mertzes to join them on the drive to Hollywood, and then makes the mistake of letting Fred pick out the car.


108 Lucy Learns to Drive    First Aired: January 3, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher

Lucy has barely learned the rules of the road when she decides to teach Ethel to drive--behind the wheel of Ricky's brand-new convertible!


109 California, Here We Come!    First Aired: January 10, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Kathryn Card, Elizabeth Patterson

When the departing travelers encounter a flurry of last-minute complications, Ricky begins to wonder if they'll ever make it out of their parking space.

Kathryn Card joins the cast as Lucy's mother, Mrs. McGillicuddy, in this finely structured sitcom episode. Like most of the best Lucy scripts, a perfectly ordinary situation--packing the family car--soon blossoms, in small, logical steps, to heights of absurdity. And as always, the complications are ironed out by the end of the half hour as the foursome drive off singing "California, Here I Come" in the euphoric finale.


110 First Stop    First Aired: January 17, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Star: Olin Howlin

At the end of their first day, the intrepid travelers are bilked by a canny roadside innkeeper.


111 Tennessee Bound    First Aired: January 24, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Tennessee Ernie Ford, Will Wright, Rosalyn and Marilyn Borden, Aaron Spelling

The tourists are glad to see their old friend Cousin Ernie after a backwoods sheriff snags them in a speed trap.


112 Ethel's Hometown    First Aired: January 31, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Irving Bacon, Chick Chandler

Arriving in Ethel's hometown, the gang is surprised to discover that all of Albuquerque thinks of little Ethel Mae Potter as a Hollywood-bound celebrity.

Ethel is the comic foil when Fred, Lucy, and Ricky decide to upstage the darling of Albuquerque as she performs her big comeback number, "Short'nin' Bread."


113 L.A. at Last    First Aired: February 7, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: William Holden, Eve Arden, Robert Jellison

Lucy makes a mess of things when she spies actor William Holden at the Brown Derby.

Eve Arden, Lucy's old cohort at RKO, takes a break from filming her own Desilu series, Our Miss Brooks, to make a cameo appearance.

Movie stars like Holden generally appeared on the show for minimum pay in exchange for the chance to plug their latest film before Lucy's vast television audience, which explains why the guest stars invariably announce their latest release in none-too-subtle tones somewhere in each episode's script. The big studios still kept an arm's distance from television as late as the mid-1950s, but that didn't prevent them from climbing into bed with TV's most popular couple when the opportunity arose.


114 Don Juan and the Starlets    First Aired: February 14, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Ross Elliot, Dolores Donlon, Beverly Thompson, Shirlee Tigge

Lucy is jealous when Ricky's studio publicist insists that he escort a bevy of beautiful starlets to a Hollywood premiere.


115 Lucy Gets Into Pictures    First Aired: February 21, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Lou Krugman, Onna Conners, Robert Jellison

Lucy makes the director's life miserable when she lands a small part as a showgirl in an MGM musical.

Lucy's burning desire to prove her talents takes on even greater urgency when Fred and Ethel--and even the hotel bellboy--all land movie roles. Of course, she milks her moment in the spotlight for all it's worth as she totters down a long staircase with an immense feathered headdress balanced atop her head.


116 The Fashion Show    First Aired: February 28, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Don Loper, Amzie Strickland

Lucy decides to get a California tan--and quickly--after she finagles her way into a celebrity wives' fashion show.

The wives of Alan Ladd, Forrest Tucker, Dean Martin, William Holden, Van Heflin, Gordon MacRae, and Richard Carlson make cameo appearances here.


117 The Hedda Hopper Story    First Aired: March 14, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Hedda Hopper, Hy Averback, Kathryn Card

A studio press agent convinces Lucy and Ricky to pull a poolside rescue stunt, hoping Ricky's mock heroics will earn a mention in Hedda Hopper's gossip column.


118 Don Juan Is Shelved    First Aired: March 21, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Kathryn Card, Robert Jellison, Phil Ober

When MGM cancels Ricky's picture, Lucy schemes to trick studio head Dore Schary into renewing her husband's contract.

Dore Schary actually was the head of production at MGM, though Vivian Vance's husband, Phil Ober, was called in to play him after the executive begged off at the last minute.


119 Bullfight Dance    First Aired: March 28, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Ross Elliot, Ray Kellogg

Lucy threatens to feed an exposé of Ricky Ricardo to the fan press unless he promises her a role in his TV special.


120 Hollywood Anniversary     First Aired: April 4, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Ross Elliot, Robert Jellison, Kathryn Card

Ricky surprises Lucy with a gala anniversary party at a fancy Hollywood nightclub.


121 Mr. and Mrs. TV Show     First Aired: April 11, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: John Litel, Lee Millar

Ricky is excited when he's offered the chance to host a TV talk show, until he discovers that the producers expect his wife to act as co-host.


122 The Star Upstairs     First Aired: April 18, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Cornel Wilde, Robert Jellison

Cornel Wilde is the latest object of Lucy's star-struck enthusiasm when she discovers he's staying in the suite directly above theirs.


123 In Palm Springs     First Aired: April 25, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Rock Hudson, Kathryn Card

Lucy and Ethel meet Rock Hudson during a Palm Springs getaway vacation.

Hudson's guest shot here marked the first time Universal Studios allowed one of their contract players to appear in a filmed teleplay. Their resistance to such guest shots is ironic--in a few short years, their willingness to exploit the hungry market for television films would make Universal one of the strongest studios in Hollywood.


124 The Dancing Star     First Aired: May 2, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Van Johnson, Doris Singleton

Caroline Appleby unexpectedly arrives in California to call Lucy's bluff after the redhead brags about her friendship with film star Van Johnson.


125 Harpo Marx    First Aired:     First Aired: May 9, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Harpo Marx, Doris Singleton

Lucy's ruse to convince Caroline that the Ricardos' suite is the hub of Hollywood's social scene is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of Harpo Marx.

The justly lauded mirror scene, where Lucy mimes Harpo's actions perfectly through a doorway, is an homage to a similar scene Harpo performed in the early Marx Brothers feature Duck Soup.

 

126 Ricky Needs an Agent     First Aired: May 16, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Parley Baer, Helen Kleeb

Lucy masquerades as Ricky's agent, and in no time at all she negotiates him right out of a job.


127 The Tour     First Aired: May 30, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.
Director:William Asher
Guest Stars: Richard Widmark, Juney Ellis, Benny Rubin

Lucy is determined to snatch a souvenir grapefruit from a tree in Richard Widmark's backyard.


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