Return from Europe - I Love Lucy - Lucille Ball and Mary Craft nursing their 'babies'
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Return Home from Europe – I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy – Return Home from Europe – season 5, originally aired May 14, 1956

Return Home from Europe is the final leg of the European Tour story arc on I Love Lucy.  As the group plans to go home to New York City, they receive mail that’s been forwarded by Lucy’s mother, Mrs. McGillicuddy, who’s been watching Little Ricky.  True to form, Mrs. McGillicuddy has forwarded an urgent telegram, inviting Ricky to perform at New York City’s famous Roxy theater.  Ricky quickly calls to make sure that the offer is still open, but now instead of taking a leisurely boat ride home, they have to take an expensive airplane flight home.  This means that Ricky is going to be watching expenses more than usual, and Lucy can’t afford to bring home a special souvenir to her mother – a 25-pound piece of cheese.  So the question then becomes, how to ‘smuggle’ the cheese aboard the plane flight?

On the plane

Return from Europe - I Love Lucy - Lucille Ball and Mary Craft nursing their 'babies'

Lucy’s creativity is up to the challenge, however.  She wraps the cheese up in a blanket and tries to pass it off as a baby.  This leads to a wonderful segment where she is seated next to Mary Jane Croft, who becomes a series regular in the next season, as well as on The Lucy Show.  Mary Jane has her own baby, and the contrast between how she takes care of her baby and how Lucy takes care of her ‘baby’ is very funny.  Until Lucy finds out that babies don’t travel for free on international flights.  Now the question is, how to dispose of the cheese?  After an aborted effort to eat it (with Ethel’s help), she comes up with a different idea … but Mary Jane is terrified now that Lucy’s ‘baby’ has disappeared!

This leads to a problem with the customs officials, who are trying to find out what happened.  At the same time, a newspaper reporter wants to take photographs of Ricky and his band, and their deadline is approaching.  But where did Lucy hide the cheese?  Ricky’s band provides the answer, in a very gooey fashion — a very funny ending to a funny episode.

Return Home from Europe is available as part of the I Love Lucy season 5 DVD collection.

Funny quotes from I Love Lucy – Return Home from Europe

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I am not the father of that cheese.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): What do they take on the plane for free?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Only the clothes you’re wearing.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Oh well, that’s no good. Very few people wear cheese.

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Complications, complications.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): What’s the matter?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): They charge ten percent of the regular fare for babies. That’s $30.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): How much will it cost of it’s a cheese?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): $50.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Well it’s cheaper to have the cheese be a baby than the baby be a cheese.

Evelyn (Mary Jane Kroft): Did you hear a piece of cheese burp?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Being married to you is not easy.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): No.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): But it sure is a lot of fun.

Trivia about I Love Lucy – Return Home from Europe

  • Guest star Mary Jane Croft loves this episode – she becomes a series regular starting in the next season as Ricky and Lucy’s neighbor in Connecticut, as well as co-starring in Lucille Ball’s future series, The Lucy Show
  • The basic plot idea, of ‘smuggling’ cheese on an airplane, came from an incident that writer Bob Carroll, Jr. experienced.  As he was going through customs, a man in front of him carried a 20lb. wheel of cheese. The customs officials cut the cheese into small pieces because he thought that the man was smuggling jewels.
  • This is writer-producer Jess Oppenheimer’s final episode. From now until the end of the series the I Love Lucy writers are Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Martin, Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf.

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