Oil Wells – I Love Lucy season 3, originally aired February 15, 1954
Oil Wells begins with Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) trying to get breakfast, while his wife Lucy (Lucille Ball) is acting strange … even for Lucy. She keeps handing Ricky parts of his breakfast, while she keeps dashing out the back door, then saying phrases into the telephone. Fred Mertz (William Frawley) stops by, and explains to the perplexed Ricky. It turns out that a new tenant is moving into the apartment building, and Ethel and Lucy are snooping on them.
The new neighbors
The new neighbor, Mrs. Johnson, comes by to find her new landlady, Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), to get a spare key. While Fred is sent off to get the key, the girls grill their new neighbor. Mrs. Johnson reveals that her husband is in oil. And the Texan oil man walks in, looking for his wife. Mr. Johnson lets it slip that he has only a few shares of stock left in a new oil well that he’s drilling. But Fred and Ricky aren’t interested in investing with someone they don’t know … at first.
Too late to invest?
The next morning, Ricky comes in for breakfast having been out — getting a newspaper. Lucy starts pestering him about buying the oil stocks. But Ricky informs her that there are none left. How does he know? Because he actually went out to ask Mr. Johnson, who sold the last shares. And Fred comes in, dressed like a Texan, with Ethel joining a moment after. They’ve bought the last ten shares, and after some cajoling agree to sell five to the Ricardos, for $600.
Soon, they’re counting their chickens before they’re hatched, spending the money before the money comes in. Ricky tries to be the voice of reason — although a phone call reveals that he’s been talking to a car dealer. A friend of Fred comes in, looking for Mr. Johnson – a detective. The foursome are now afraid that they’ve been swindled. And they’re soon at each others’ throats verbally.
Planning a trap
The girls call a truce, and Lucy has a plan to record Mr. Johnson repeating his promises to them on tape. Of course, this is an old-time tape recorder, and Lucy has a cable hidden up her trouser leg, which leads to some comedy as she tries to move around the Johnson’s apartment. After being caught, Lucy demands her money or she goes to the police. Mr. Johnson complies, and gives them their money back, and Lucy returns the shares.
And the winner is …
That night at the Ricardos apartment, the four are congratulating themselves, when Fred’s detective friend comes by. He calls home, to reveal that he bought those shares of stock — five minutes before the gusher came in! Lucy tries to escape the apartment, but her angry friends block the exits, ending the episode.
Funny quotes from Oil Wells
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Don’t fight it. Nosiness is part of a woman’s charm, like hanging stockings in the bathroom, or nagging.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Let’s go up and give her the third degree … I mean, pay her a visit!
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): What’re you going to do, grill her?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Like a grilled cheese sandwich!
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): If he’s a millionaire, why’s he living in this dump?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Dump?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Yes! To a millionaire, this is a dump!
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): [pause] I accept that.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Lucy, with the money you save out of your account, we couldn’t afford enough oil for a salad!
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): That’s hitting a rich godmother below my money belt.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): My father always told me, don’t cross your bridges before they’re hatched.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): [the Ricardos and Mertzes have just bought shares in some oil wells] Y’know, I think I’m gonna like being a millionaire.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Millionaire. Millionaire. You know, I’ve said it so often, it doesn’t mean much anymore.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): You know somethin’… we might even get to be billionaires.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yeah, or even trillionaires.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Or even zillionaires.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Yeah, or even… what comes after zillionaires?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): The Income Tax Department.