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The Audition – I Love Lucy season 1

The Audition - I Love Lucy season 1, episode 06, originally aired 11/19/1951

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

In many ways, The Audition is a classic episode of I Love Lucy.  the episode begins with Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) preparing for his audition for a television show that night at his club—which he doesn’t want his wife Lucy (Lucille Ball) to know about, since he knows how she will pester him to let her be part of the show.  As part of his plot to keep her busy during the day, he sends her to deliver the wills that he has had written up to a lawyer.  While she is doing that, Ricky is rehearsing at the club, wanting everything to be perfect.  However, a professional clown named “Boffo” injures himself during the rehearsal (in a very funny bit, where the bicycle he rides around the stage has the brakes lock up and he goes flying through a table) and Ricky has his friend Fred Mertz (William Frawley) take him to the Ricardo’s apartment to rest before the performance.

Lucy comes home, only to find a strange man (in hobo clown make up) sleeping in her living room.  After a moment of misunderstanding, Boffo explains what happened, as well as spilling the beans about the TV audition that night.  While demonstrating what happened, Boffo does the same thing, this time crashing through Lucy and Desi’s kitchen door.  Unable to perform, he suggests that Lucy take his place.  That night, Desi performs his signature song “Babalu” with lots of energy, and then is about to close the show early since Boffo hasn’t shown up.  However, Lucy shows up in clown character as “The Professor” who’s looking for “Risky Riskero”, wanting to audition her cello playing.  She uses a wonderful comic prop cello, in one of her funniest performances ever.  This entire segment is a riot, and the entire episode is highly recommended.

This is a partial re-make of the I Love Lucy pilot, using the special props and routines prepared by Pepito the Spanish Clown

The Audition is available as part of the season 1 I Love Lucy DVD collection, as well as on I Love Lucy – the complete series.

Quotes from “The Audition” - I Love Lucy season 1

Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I want a wife who’s just a wife. Now, all you have to do is clean the house for me, bring me my slippers when I come home at night, cook for me, and be the mama for my children.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): You don’t own slippers.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): That’s okay, you do the other stuff.


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): George Burns uses his wife on the show. Why don’t you?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): I’d love to. Do you think she would leave George?


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Wouldn’t you like to have a beautiful, talented redhead with you on stage?
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Sure—do you know one?


Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Wills. Now that’s a happy thought.
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz): Listen, if my show’s not a success tonight I’m going to need them.


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [finding out about their wills] Then you lied to me when we were married. You’re really older than I think.


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [reason for why she can’t take the wills downtown] That’s impossible. I have an appointment to have my hair dyed—washed.


Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [finding out Ricky has her will, too.] What are you trying to do, shove me ahead of you in line?


Trivia from The Audition - I Love Lucy season 1

  • This is the first time that Desi Arnaz played “Babalu” his signature musical number, on the show.
  • The TV scouts are played by Jess Openheimer, producer and writer of I Love Lucy, and Harry Ackerman, a CBS vice president.
  • Much of the actual audition is a recreation of the act that Lucy and Desi performed touring the country to convince CBS executives that people would watch the show.
  • The cello prop was designed by Pepito the Spanish Clown, an old friend of Desi Arnaz.
  • One of the few episodes where Vivian Vance‘s character Ethel Mertz does not appear.

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