Lucy Goes to the Brown Derby...
Star-stuck Lucy Ricardo arrives in Hollywood and cannot wait to meet all of her favorite performers. Ricky has to "check in" at the studio, so Lucy and the Mertzes decide to have lunch at the Brown Derby -- "a watering hole" for Hollywood's finest. No sooner do they arrive than Lucy makes a fool of herself gawking at actor William Holden. When he decides to turn the tables and stare at her, she gets so flustered she rushes out of the restaurant, causing a waiter to dump a pie onto the hapless actor.
Later that afternoon, Ricky runs into Holden at the studio -- and innocently invites him home to meet his wife. Lucy, of course, does not want Holden to recognize her -- so she disguises herself with glasses and a putty-nose.
"L.A. at Last," episode #114 of I Love Lucy, was filmed 49 years ago this week, on Thursday, December 2, 1954. It aired on CBS two months later, on Monday, February 7, 1955. Appearing with William Holden in this episode were Lucy's longtime friend Eve Arden (portraying herself) and character actor Harry Bartel. The studio secretary was played by Dani Sue Nolan, then married to Lucy director Bill Asher.
"L.A. at Last" won immediate raves from critics and viewers alike, and is now considered one of the series' "classics." Writer Bob Carroll remembers it for yet another reason -- it is one of the few shows that ran so long (because of audience laughs) that one of Bob's favorite scenes had to be cut: after Ricky tells Lucy in their Hollywood bedroom that he has brought William Holden home to meet her, we were supposed to see a panicked Lucy trying out various disguises from Ricky's make-up case... The following photo is all that remains of that long-lost footage...
Even before the show aired, Desi Arnaz knew he had another winner on his hands -- and scheduled a special press screening of the show at the real-life Brown Derby. Restaurant owners Bob and Sally Cobb co-hosted the event:
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