The Business Manager [I Love Lucy]

The Business Manager – I Love Lucy season 4, episode 100, originally aired October 4, 1954

A very funny stand-alone episode of I Love Lucy‘s fourth season, The Business Manager deals with Lucy’s inability to keep the household budget.  It begins with some very nice clowning around as Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball)  discovers that the electric company has shut off their power, as she’s begun making husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz) his breakfast.  So the waffle iron isn’t cooking but making a gooey mess, etc.  When Ricky tries to call the electric company, he finds that the phone has been turned off as well!

Introducing the business manager

The Business Manager - Lucille Ball with her business manager, Charles Lane, and Vivian Vance and William Frawley look on

Enough being enough, he hires a business manager, Mr. Wilcox (Charles Lane), who appeared on many classic movies and television programs as the crotchety tightwad.  A role that he plays to the hilt here, as he gives Lucy her monthly allowance, only to take it back piece by piece in order to pay the delinquent accounts, leaving Lucy with only five dollars to purchase groceries for the entire month.  Not to mention having her hair touched up!

Lucy’s pyramid scheme

Lucy and Ethel in the Ricardos kitchen, with the shelves overflowing with their "inventory" in The Business Manager

At first, Lucy is flummoxed, but only until the unsuspecting Mr. Lane sets her up with charge accounts at the various stores.  And Lucy launches a pyramid scheme, buying groceries for the other ladies in the building, keeping the cash that she’s paid and putting all of the groceries ‘on account’.

And Ricky, who’s already used up all of his monthly allowance, can’t figure out how she’s got money to spare!  He mistakenly thinks that an order that she’s written on a notepad for Mrs. Trumball is an indication that Lucy is playing the stock market … and Ricky decides to cash in on the ‘stock tip’ as well!  Lucy, of course, misunderstands Ricky’s references to ‘playing the market’, but it all ends for the best.  With the firing of the business manager.  A very funny episode that I recommend watching.  The Business Manager is available as part of the DVD of I Love Lucy season 4.

Funny quotes from The Business Manager – I Love Lucy

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [Going through her bills] Oh Ethel, my accounts are all messed up. These are 2nd and 3rd notices from every company in town. They’ve threatened to cut off everything but my oxygen supply

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Lucy!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): There’s nobody here but us deadbeats.

Business Manager (Charles Lane): There we are. Now, you can spend the rest any way you want.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): The rest? There’s just five dollars left.
Business Manager (Charles Lane): [Nodding in agreement] Five dollars.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): 5 dollars to have my hair dyed … done?  5 dollars to buy food and have my hair done?  Well, at least I have a choice – I can be a thin redhead or a fat brunette?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Where’d you get the money?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Please, I don’t discuss money anymore.  You’ll have to talk to my business manager.

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Lucy showed me a roll of bills that wide around.  Have you borrowed her any money?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Are you kidding?

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Can’t you get Ethel to tell you what’s going on?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): No, for once those big blabbery lips are sealed.

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): What if she is playing the stock market?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): We’d better get ready for another crash!

Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [Talking on the phone to the grocer] Oh, yes, I know we’re writing up quite a bill…’Four hundred and seventy-three dollars’? Oh, well, don’t worry about it, our business manager will take care of it at the end of the month. Yes, goodbye.

Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Lucy, I hate to be the one that wipes that smile off your face, but do you realize that at the end of the month you have got to pay that bill at the market?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Oh no I don’t; Mr. Hickox does. He’s the one that arranged the credit.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): But it’s your money.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): But it’s his responsibility. He’s the Business Manager, let him manage.

Trivia about The Business Manager – I Love Lucy

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