OAD: June 2, 1952 - CBS Television Network
FILMED: Friday, April 25, 1952 - General Service Studios
PREMISE: Ricky, in an unusual moment of vanity, fears that he is losing his hair. Lucy hopes to cure him -- first by surrounding him by truly bald men, and, when that does not work, by putting him through some drastic "home remedy measures," using vibrators, mustard plasters, a plunger and a heat cap.
GUEST CAST: Milton Parsons (Mr. Thurlough)
This episode, as Jess Oppenheimer later described it, was a lesson in how not to do a Lucy show. First and foremost, it made Ricky the center of attention, with Lucy playing the concerned housewife. It even had Desi doing most of the slapstick, with Lucille merely reacting. "The best Lucy episodes always focused on Lucy and her problems or ideosyncracies," Jess later remarked. "If anyone was going to get goop spilled all over her, it had to be Lucy."
The show was also memorable for Oppenheimer because it did not 'work' the way it was originally filmed. In the original script, Lucy put Ricky through all the messy home remedies at the end of Act One... When those things failed to dissuade him, she hired the group of bald men to come over for a visit, only to have Ricky phone to say he would not be home until later. "Z-z-z-z-z-z." Fade out.
When Oppenheimer saw the finished show, he instinctively knew that the kitchen scene, with Ricky's scalp being pulverized by Lucy's home remedies, was the highpoint of the story -- so he, Bob Carroll and Madelyn Pugh quickly wrote a couple of new conversations (between Lucy and Ethel), and Dann Cahn re-edited the show to reverse the order of things.
In the photo above, Lucy, Desi, and Vivian Vance pose with Bill Frawley and the three bald guest-actors who appeared in this episode -- (Lucy's line: "I want this place looking like a sea of honeydew melons") -- plus the "follicly challenged" members of the I Love Lucy company. That's a slightly embarrassed Jess Oppenheimer standing in front of the door (extreme right).
Original material © 2005 Lucyfan Enterprises.
I Love Lucy is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used by permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.