Too Many Crooks – I Love Lucy season 3, episode 75, originally aired November 30, 1953
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) is woken in the middle of the night by Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), other tenants in the building and a police officer. One of the tenants has by robbed by the mysterious “Madame X”, a female robber. The next morning, Fred Mertz (William Frawley), Ethel, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) are talking over the newspapers’ account of the robbery spree, and talk soon turns to Fred’s upcoming birthday. After the Mertzes leave, Ricky suggests having his tailor make a custom suit for Fred’s birthday, but how to get the measurements? While the Mertzes are out purchasing new locks for the apartments, Lucy sneaks into their apartment and borrows one of Fred’s old suits, carrying it to the Ricardos apartment. However, Mrs. Trumball sees her, and now suspects Lucy of being Madame X!
Mrs. Trumball shares her suspicions with gossip-monger Ethel who decides to prove the innocence – or guilt – of her good friend Lucy. That night Fred and Ethel spy on Lucy from the fire escape, but Fred cuts out early. But he leaves his coat and hat for Ethel to wear and keep warm. Lucy sees her, and now suspects Ethel of being Madame X! Later, Ricky and Lucy invite the Mertzes down, and try to get Ethel’s fingerprints on a silver cigarette case — while the Mertzes plan the same thing. A very funny scene follows with each couple trying to get the others’ fingerprints, while avoiding leaving their own. When that fails, she leaves the false impression with Ethel that she’ll be out later that night, so Lucy can lie in wait.
Sure enough, later that night, Madame X breaks into the Ricardos’ apartment, where Lucy bravely disarms and captures ‘Ethel’, until the real Ethel walks in to see what all the noise is about. At that point, Madame X recovers her gun and escapes, while Lucy and Ethel explain to each other. Then Ricky rushes in, exclaiming that he’s captured ‘Ethel’ — until he sees Ethel standing in the apartment, and Madame X escapes again (the entire scene is very funny), only to have the other tenants and police officer rush in and capture Madame X.
Too Many Crooks is available as part of the Season 3 I Love Lucy DVD collection.
Funny quotes from Too Many Crooks – I Love Lucy
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): I didn’t know you had a birthday coming up! When is it, Fred?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): A week from Thursday.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): And how old will you be?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): [to Ricky] Did you hear about the big burglary we had last night?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): Come on, Fred, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. How old will you be?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Tell you what, I’ll tell you how old I am when you tell me how old to are.
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [to Ricky] Did you hear about the big burglary we had last night?
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Don’t hang around here too long.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): I won’t, just long enough to clear the name of my good friend Madame X … I mean Lucy!
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): If we could get Lucy to choke you, we could get her fingerprints on your neck.
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): Say, that’s a good idea!
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): I like it!
Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance): I don’t mean the choking part!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): [to Ethel] Why, you don’t need to reduce. If anything, I’d say you were underweight.
Fred Mertz (William Frawley): Have you been to an oculist lately?
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball): This isn’t the life for you! If you need money, I’ll pay you back what I owe you!