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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
I Love Lucy
Season Five: 1955-56



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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1955-56: THE FIFTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 46.1 (2nd place)

The Mertzes and Ricardos travel to Europe in fifth-year episodes written once again by producer Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, and Bob Carroll, Jr., who welcome newcomers Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf to their overworked writing staff at the top of the season. And James V. Kern replaces William Asher as the show's regular director.


128 Lucy Visits Grauman's     First Aired: October 3, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Gege Pearson, Hal Gerard

Lucy cons Ethel into helping her remove a chunk of the historic sidewalk in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre as the ultimate Hollywood souvenir.

Writers Schiller and Weiskopf had acquired a respectable résumé of sitcom assignments when they began a long association with Lucy, which would last well into the mid-1960s. The writing team eventually bridged two generations of situation comedy when they applied the skills they'd honed on I Love Lucy to a long run of memorable scripts for Norman Lear's Maude and All in the Family in the mid-1970s.


129 Lucy and John Wayne     First Aired: October 10, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: John Wayne, Ralph Volkie

Lucy finds out how difficult it is to refill John Wayne's boots after she destroys the star's concrete slab from Grauman's Chinese Theatre.


130 Lucy and the Dummy    First Aired: October 17, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Star: Lee Millar

Ricky declines an invitation to perform at a studio party, but Lucy volunteers her services--along with those of a stuffed "Ricky."

Lucy's inspired dance with a determined mannequin provides ample evidence of the broad physical business that writers Schiller and Weiskopf favored in their story contributions during the show's final seasons.


131 Ricky Sells the Car    First Aired: October 24, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Donald Brodie, Bennett Green

Ricky books return passage home by rail, but the Mertzes feel abandoned when he forgets to buy their tickets as well.


132 The Great Train Robbery     First Aired: October 31, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Frank Nelson, Lou Krugman, Joseph Crehan

Lucy's quotient for confusion on the train ride home involves a flustered conductor, two jewel thieves, and one slightly abused emergency brake.

The train ride provides yet another opportunity for the systematic pandemonium that Schiller and Weiskopf reintroduced to the series.


133 Homecoming    First Aired: November 7, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Elvia Allman, Elizabeth Patterson

Lucy is jealous of all the attention lavished on Ricky, until finally even she starts to believe her husband's press.


134 The Ricardos Are Interviewed    First Aired: November 14, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: John Gallaudet, Elliot Reid

Fred and Ethel are offended when Ricky's agent suggests that he find an apartment more befitting his celebrity status.

Latter-day viewers of Lucy reruns are unlikely to recognize the live interview show that hosts the tearful reconciliation of the Ricardos and the Mertzes as a parody of Edward R. Murrow's ground-breaking Person to Person.


135 Lucy Goes to a Rodeo    First Aired: November 28, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Dub Taylor, John Gallaudet, Doyle O'Dell

Ricky gets roped into performing in a rodeo show with Lucy and the Mertzes.


136 Nursery School    First Aired: December 5, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Olan E. Soule, Howard Hoffman, Iva Shepard

The Ricardos argue over modern child-rearing methods when Lucy refuses to let Little Ricky attend nursery school.


137 Ricky's European Booking    First Aired: December 12, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Harry Antrim, Barney Phillips, Dorothea Wolbert

After Ricky offers Fred a job on his band's European tour, Ethel and Lucy stage an illegal charity raffle to raise money for their own passage.


138 The Passports    First Aired: December 19, 1955
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Sheila Bromley, Robert Forrest, Sam Hearn

When her passport application gets bogged down in red tape, Lucy decides to stow away in a steamer trunk all the way to Europe.


139 Staten Island Ferry    First Aired: January 2, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Charles Lane, Stanley Farrar

Lucy tries to cure Fred of his chronic seasickness by spending the day with him on the Staten Island Ferry.


140 Bon Voyage    First Aired: January 16, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Kathryn Card, Elizabeth Patterson, Tyler McVey, Jack Albertson

Ricky and the Mertzes are ready to set sail when Lucy misses the boat.

Jack Albertson plays the helicopter dispatcher who gets Lucy to her ship on time. The veteran supporting player became an unlikely sitcom star when he was cast opposite comic Freddie Prinze in the 1974 NBC series Chico and the Man.


141 Second Honeymoon    First Aired: January 23, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Tyler McVey, Harvey Grant, Virginia Barbour, Louis A. Nicoletti

Neptune plays Cupid when the sea air rekindles a romantic spark in the Mertzes, and Lucy's jealous of the ardor.

The Mertzes cooing like lovebirds was a rare sight indeed. Frawley's offscreen dislike for his TV wife was long a well-kept secret, but in The "I Love Lucy" Book, Bart Andrews reveals that the two actors couldn't stand each other. Frawley referred to his co-star as an "old sack of doorknobs," and Vivian Vance was convinced that the sixty-four-year-old actor would've been more appropriately cast as her father than her husband. The offscreen animosity certainly never harmed their performances--in fact, it may have accounted for their utter believability as a couple who've been married for twenty-five years.


142 Lucy Meets the Queen    First Aired: January 30, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Sam Edwards, Robert Shafter, Nancy Kulp

Lucy works her way into Ricky's routine at the London Palladium in order to gain an audience with the queen.


143 The Fox Hunt    First Aired: February 6, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Walter Kingsford, Hilary Brooke, Trevor Ward

Lucy's plans for a pleasant weekend in the country are dashed when she becomes a reluctant participant in a fox hunt.


144 Lucy Goes to Scotland    First Aired: February 20, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Larry Orenstein, John Gustafson, Norma Zimmer

Ricky, Fred, and Ethel each assume mythic roles when Lucy dreams of visiting her ancestral stomping grounds in Scotland.


145 Paris at Last    First Aired: February 27, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Lawrence Dobkin, Shepard Menken, Fritz Feld, Maurice Marsac

Lucy inflicts more havoc on the streets of Paris than Marie Antoinette, and almost meets the same fate when she makes an unscheduled stop at the Bastille.


146 Lucy Meets Charles Boyer    First Aired: March 5, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Charles Boyer, Jack Chefe

Lucy and Ethel spot Charles Boyer at a sidewalk café, and before long he finds himself mixed up in the usual shenanigans.


147 Lucy Gets a Paris Gown    First Aired: March 19, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Star: John Bliefer

Lucy and Ethel threaten a hunger strike to extort Paris designer gowns from their practical husbands.


148 Lucy in the Swiss Alps    First Aired: March 26, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Star: Torben Meyer

Lucy, the Alps, avalanche.

An irresistible exchange occurs when the foursome, facing almost certain death in an avalanche, confess their darkest secrets: Fred has been quietly bilking the Ricardos on their monthly rent, while Ethel admits she'd been secretly returning it each month. When it's Ricky's turn to bare his soul, he defers, insisting, "I'm no fool . . . we might be saved!"


149 Lucy Gets Homesick in Italy    First Aired: April 9, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Vincent Padula, Bart Bradley, Kathryn Card

Lucy, homesick for Little Ricky, throws the toddler a long-distance birthday party with an Italian shoeshine boy as his stand-in.

Perhaps nowhere in the Lucy chronicles is her patented crying jag used to better effect than here, when she repeatedly breaks down at the mere thought of her baby so many miles away on his birthday.

Crocodile tears were an effective tool in Lucy's bag of tricks, though she probably didn't realize she was creating a monster--the blubbering sitcom wife became a self-perpetuating TV convention that stubbornly hung on for decades to come. The bit was used to good effect by Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show and by Marlo Thomas on That Girl in the 1960s, and also--with less effective results--by Sally Struthers on All in the Family.


150 Lucy's Italian Movie    First Aired: April 16, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Franco Corsaro, Saverio Lo Medico, Ernesto Molinari, Teresa Tirelli

When Lucy is unexpectedly cast in an Italian epic, her character research leads her to the grape-stomping vat of an old-fashioned vineyard.

This memorable later episode demonstrates how Lucy could transform the broad slapstick of a fight in a giant vat of grapes into a hilarious bit of comic choreography.


151 Lucy's Bicycle Trip    First Aired: April 23, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Mario Siletti, Francis Ravel

The Ricardos and Mertzes bicycle all the way to the French border before Lucy realizes she's misplaced her passport.


152 Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo    First Aired: May 7, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: John Mylong, Gordon Clark, Jacques Villon

Lucy inadvertently wins a small fortune at Monte Carlo, even though Ricky has forbidden her to enter the gaming casino.


153 Return Home From Europe    First Aired: May 14, 1956
Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
Director:James V. Kern
Guest Stars: Mary Jane Croft, Mildred Law, Frank Nelson, Ray Kellogg

Bound for home at last, Lucy attempts to smuggle a twenty-five-pound hunk of Italian cheese aboard the plane to avoid excess baggage fees.

This would be the last episode written and produced by Jess Oppenheimer, who left the series at the end of the fifth year for an executive post at NBC. In his long tenure as Lucy's head writer, producer, and co-creator, Oppenheimer's contribution had been enormous--a factor that would become obvious as the show moved into a final uneven season without the unifying vision of the man who had steered the Ricardos' fate for the past five years.


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