Ricky’s Movie Offer – I Love Lucy – originally aired November 8, 1954
Ricky’s Movie Offer is the beginning of the trip to Hollywood story arc, which begins innocently enough. First, landlord Fred Mertz (William Frawley) installs a new burglar-proof lock in the apartment of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball). Since his wife Ethel has read about burglars conniving their way into apartments in order to rob them. No sooner has Fred finished than his wife, Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) opens the door, breaking the “burglar-proof” chain. While Fred goes to get something stronger, Ethel babysits Little Ricky while Lucy rushes out to a dental appointment.
Stranger at the door
While Lucy is out, the paranoid Ethel answers the door when a stranger, Ben Benjamin (Frank Nelson), comes calling. He claims to be a movie agent who has an appointment with Ricky Ricardo, but Ethel doesn’t believe him, and starts screaming just as Lucy returns home. Quick-thinking Lucy picks up a vase and breaks it over the man’s head. But before they can call the police, Lucy’s husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) calls to tell Lucy that he’s on his way home for a meeting with a Mr. Benjamin, a Hollywood agent who wants Ricky to audition for a new movie, Don Juan.
Lucy and Ethel realize the mistake that they’ve made, and decide to get out of it in a very funny scene. They clean up the mess, prop up Mr. Benjamin, and pretend that they’ve been talking with him the entire time. Mr. Benjamin’s reaction as he comes to is comedy gold, ending with his giving Ricky a copy of the script so that he can prepare for the audition later that week.
Preparing for the audition
Later on, Lucy tries to coach Ricky on how to read his lines, and Ricky shows Lucy how wrong she is … It’s a very funny scene that gives Desi Arnaz a chance to flex his comedy muscles. Soon, everyone in the apartment complex is wanting to ‘horn in’ on Ricky’s audition, including their elderly neighbor Mrs. Trumball pretending to return a cup of sugar while singing Sweet Mystery of Life.
Oddly enough, Lucy, Ethel and Fred are the last ones to jump on the bandwagon. The ending is very funny as Lucy imitates Marilyn Monroe, Fred dresses as a Spanish matador and Ethel as a senorita – along with Mrs. Trumball and the grocery delivery boy – in a protracted scene that builds up to the revelation that Ricky’s already done the audition at Mr. Benjamin’s apartment, and soon they’ll be on their way to Hollywood!
Funny quotes from Ricky’s Movie Offer – I Love Lucy season 4
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): [opens the door, breaking Fred’s newly-installed burglar-proof door chain]: What happened?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): You just broke through Fred’s burglar-proof chain.
Ethel Mertz [Vivian Vance]: Fred, can’t you ever do anything right?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): [mimicking] Fred, can’t you ever do anything right?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): You’re not supposed to come charging in there like a bull out of a chute!
Ethel Mertz [Vivian Vance]: If you’d have fixed it right, it wouldn’t have pulled out.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): With your weight, you could have come through that wall without a door!
Ethel Mertz [Vivian Vance]: Oh, keep quiet or I’ll sit on you.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Mr. Benjamin, that sounds very, very exciting. Is it gonna be Cinemascopy and Stereonophic?
Mr. Benjamin: I beg your pardon?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Is it gonna be Cinemascopy and Stereonophic?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Mr. Benjamin, I think he means Cinemascope and Stereophonic.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): That’s what I said!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): That’s what he said.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Would you leave me alone? I’ve been in show business a long time.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): It doesn’t make you an actor just because you’ve been shouting ‘Babalu’ and beating on a cowhide.
[Lucy is giving Ricky some acting tips.]
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): What do you want him to do?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): For one thing, I would like him to develop a distinctive way of speaking.
Fred & EthelÂ [in unison]: Ricky?
Pete, the grocery boy: But, Mrs. Ricardo, when I play the trumpet, I’m real gone.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [shooing Pete out of the apartment] Then go, man, go!
Ethel Mertz [Vivian Vance]: Fred, I think I look more like Marilyn Monroe than Lucy does.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): And I think I look more like Marilyn Monroe than Ethel does. What do you think?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): I think I look more like her than either one of you.
[Lucy enters the living room dressed as Marilyn Monroe]
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Hey, who are you supposed to be?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Guess.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Humphrey Bogart in a wig.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I thought we all agreed that you weren’t going to do anything to ruin Ricky’s chance.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Well, you’re ruining it.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): That’s different. I’m his wife. I have a right to ruin it!
Pete [to Lucy, dressed as Marilyn Monroe]: Who are you supposed to be?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Gorgeous George.
Trivia for Ricky’s Movie Offer – I Love Lucy season 4
- The character name Ben Benjamin was the actual name of Madelyn Pugh’s and Bob Caroll, Jr.’s agent.
- Music performed on this episode included Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, In a Little Spanish Town, and Habanera.
- This is Frank Nelson’s [Ben Benjamin] seventh guest appearance on the show.
- After Mr. Benjamin is knocked unconscious, Ethel combs his hair forward and uses the comb as a mustache to make him look like Oliver Hardy of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.