Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Love Lucy - Return Home from Europe, 'Cheese Episode'

I Love Lucy

"Return Home from Europe"
(on the set May 14, 1956)

unused, made in 1997

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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, when 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?

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 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.  (You can see on the above postcard where she hid the cheese :)

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