Bonus Bucks – I Love Lucy season 3, originally aired March 8, 1954
Bonus Bucks is one of the iconic I Love Lucy episodes that turns into one of the Ricardos versus the Mertzes battles. It begins with Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) are trying to win a newspaper contest, matching the numbers on dollar bills to a number printed in the newspaper. Despite their best efforts, and Lucy’s list of all of the things that she hasn’t won – so it’s clearly her turn … None of their bills match. Once the girls leave, after having teased the girls about their contest, their husbands check their bills – and although Fred Mertz (William Frawley) doesn’t have a winning bill, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) does! And it’s his desire to give his wife the thrill of finding the bonus buck that causes all of the chaos that follows.
No good deed goes unpunished
Since Ricky wants Lucy to have the thrill of finding the winning bonus buck (worth 300 dollars), he puts it in her purse. The next morning, without checking her bills again, she pays a bill with the winning buck. Only to have Ethel receive the winning bill when she gets change from the same person that Lucy paid. Once Lucy realizes that Ethel has “her” bill, they start feuding over who has the rights to the bill, and end up ripping it in half while fighting over it. Since none of them trust each other, they decide to go to the newspaper office together, as soon as Ricky takes a shower. While in the shower, he puts ‘their’ half of the winning dollar bill in his pajamas shirt pocket. Lucy, however, grabs his ‘dirty’ laundry from the bathroom and off it goes to the laundry.
Too much starch
Once they realize what’s happened, the Ricardos dash off to the laundry service, where the employees won’t let them into the room where the laundry is being processed. So they quickly disguise themselves and get into the laundry room. While Ricky holds the workers at bay, Lucy finds the bill – only to be carried out of the room by a conveyor belt, where she has a close encounter with the starch vat, as you can see in the image here. The punchline comes at the end, when the Ricardos deduct their expenses from the winnings. Leaving only one dollar, which Lucy takes.
Bonus Bucks is a very funny episode of I Love Lucy, and is available on the I Love Lucy season 3 DVD collection.
Funny quotes from Bonus Bucks – I Love Lucy season 3
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): We should keep the bonus buck, possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): You’re right, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and I’m possessed, so I should keep it.
[after the bonus buck has been ripped in two]
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): We each have a very good case, I’ll tell you what to do. Let’s split it.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): We just did.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [after Lucy and Ethel tear the bonus buck] All right, Ethel, give me your half and I’ll paste them together. [holding out her hand]
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): No, you give me your half.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Why, Ethel Mertz! Don’t you trust me?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): No!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [shocked] What an awful thing to say!
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Well, you don’t trust me!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): That’s different! I know I can trust me!