Sixty-five years ago, on October 15, 1951, one of the greatest comedies in the history of television premiered – “I Love Lucy.” The CBS show starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley aired until May 6, 1957 and was the most-watched show in America for four seasons.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best episodes from the iconic sitcom that can still be seen today.
In “Job Switching,” better known as the chocolate factory episode, Lucy and her best friend Ethel, played by Vivian Vance, try to prove that a job is easier than housework, so the couples “switch.” As the conveyor belt speeds up at the factory, however, mayhem ensues and the women resort to stuffing candy in their mouths and blouses. The guys fare no better with housekeeping, burning clothes and turning the apartment into a general disaster zone.
Every “I Love Lucy” fan knows this episode from season one. Lucy’s desire to star in a TV commercial, despite Ricky saying no, gets her in a hilarious situation when she goes on set anyway and ends up in a sponsor’s commercial for the fictional Vitameatavegamin health tonic. Things go awry because the tonic is 23% alcohol and Lucy, of course, gets drunk.
"Lucy Is Enceinte"
Lucy finds out she is pregnant, but Ricky is too busy for her to tell him. She finally goes to his nightclub, anonymously requests he sing “We’re having a baby,” and he happily finds out who the song is about in a sweet moment.
"Lucy Wants New Furniture"
Lucy splurges on new furniture without discussing it with Ricky. She is forced to pay for the items out of her allowance so she resorts to saving money by making her own clothes (cutting out part of the living room carpet in the process) and dying her hair for herself. The plan, as usual, goes south.
During Lucy and Ricky’s road trip to California with best friends Fred and Ethel Mertz, the foursome make a pit stop at George Skinner’s cafe near Cincinnati that only offers old cheese sandwiches. In search of better prospects, they get duped by a fake sign that leads them right back to the same cafe and an awful cabin for the night. Skinner steals their steering wheel to prevent them from escaping without paying for their lousy accommodations.
It doesn’t get any funnier than when Lucy impersonates Harpo, of the Marx Brothers, and meets the real comedian. Lucy promises nearsighted Carolyn Appleby she’ll meet some Hollywood celebrities. To fulfill the boast she dresses up as a few such as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper as well as Harpo Marx. The real Harpo shows up for a great mirror scene.
"Lucy's Italian Movie"
Lucy was always trying to make it as a star, so she jumps at the offer in Rome from an Italian producer to audition for a role in a film called “Bitter Grapes.” Thinking literally, Lucy takes a job in a vineyard stomping grapes and gets into a fight in the grape vat. She soaks up a new grape skin color and loses out on the film role.
"Ricky Has Labor Pains"
Feeling deprived of attention during Lucy’s pregnancy, Ricky develops his own set of symptoms. His wife and best friends try to alleviate his symptoms with a “daddy shower.”
"Lucy Tells the Truth"
Ricky and the Mertzes bet Lucy $100 she can’t avoid telling a lie for 24 hours.
In yet another attempt at stardom, Lucy lies that she can speak Italian and inadvertently volunteers to have knives thrown at her when she tries out for a role on Ricky’s show.
"Ricky Thinks He's Getting Bald"
Ricky gets anxious about his receding hairline so Lucy attempts scalp treatments. The picture says it all.