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Mertz and Kurtz

Mertz and Kurtz—I Love Lucy season 4, episode 102, originally aired October 11, 1954

In a unusual episode that’s centered on Fred and Ethel Mertz, Fred’s old vaudeville partner, Barney Kurtz, is coming to pay a visit as part of his current tour.  Fred Mertz (William Frawley) feels insecure, since Barney has stayed in show business and is returning from a tour of Europe, where he’s had a command performance before royalty — whereas Fred’s only a landlord.  Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) is borrowing various items from Lucy to impress Barney, and comes upon the idea of having Lucy pretend to be the Mertzes’ maid during the meal.  Lucy originally balks, but finally complies, only to act more as a dinner guest during the meal.  Fred and Barney do some of their old vaudeville routines, until Ricky shows up unexpectedly, and lets the cat out of the bag that Lucy isn’t their maid.  Barney confesses that he, too, has been ‘exaggerating’ his accomplishments — he hasn’t returned from a European tour—he’s a cook at a diner!

Mertz and Kurtz - I Love Lucy - By the Beautiful SeasBut now Barney’s grandson is coming to see his grandfather perform, and will see him as a fraud—unless, of course, Ricky can put them in the show, which of course he does.  One of the strengths of the I Love Lucy show is the basic set up of Ricky performing at the club, and Fred and Ethel being retired vaudeville performers — it then becomes a natural, flowing part of the episode when musical numbers break out, such as Fred and Barney performing “Oh by Jingo” at the dinner, or Fred, Barney, Lucy and Ethel performing “On the Boardwalk of Atlantic City” at the club.  A very nice episode, especially if you enjoy old-time musical numbers.

Mertz and Kurtz is available as part of the I Love Lucy season 4 DVD collection.

Funny quotes from Mertz and Kurtz—I Love Lucy

Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Now let’s see, what else can I borrow that looks better than what I’ve got?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): How about Ricky?
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Now that’s a thought.


Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Would they mind?  Would a small boy mind going to the circus?

Trivia about Mertz and Kurtz — I Love Lucy

  • At dinner, Ethel talks about an actress by the name of Venus Jones. This was the name of Vivian Vance’s real-life sister.
  • Fred’s old vaudeville partner is named Barney Kurtz in this episode. Yet in episode #19, ”The Ballet,” Fred said his name was Ted Kurtz.

Songs performed in Mertz and Kurtz—I Love Lucy

 

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