I Love Lucy

Season 2 Episode 3

The Operetta

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 13, 1952 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
58 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Lucy's women's club wants to stage an operetta, but they're completely broke. (Lucy, the treasurer, seems to have spent it all to pay her own bills.) Thus, Lucy and Ethel write and star in the musical, but when their postdated check bounces for the costumes and scenery, the rental company repossesses everything in midperformance.moreless

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  • The Operetta - A Laugh Riot

    "The Operetta" is my favorite I Love Lucy episode. It is a laugh riot. I've watched it over and over. It has many interesting extras, such as Desi singing a romantic song beautifully, and Vivian Vance playing a beautiful princess and singing beautifully, and Lucy plays a hilarious snaggle-toothed old witch. And the end is too, too much! You'll about die laughing! The comic timing is superb and the bit players are very funny, too. Don't miss this, and pass this episode on to younger people who have never seen I Love Lucy before! I love it! I love it!moreless
  • Lucy has spent the budget of the theatre group's budget covering holes in her household budget, she post dates check to costume rental company and writes her own "operetta" with hysterically funny lyrics. In mid show the rental company reposess the propsmoreless

    Personally, I loved this episode. Lucy post dates the check and then writes her own operetta whose songs are hillarious. Lucy once again plays a snaggle tooth character, the tone deaf "queen of the gypsies". At the end the company that rented the theatre group the props come back and take all the costumes and props mid-performance.

    Even as a child, I always wondered why the collection people took the props in the middle of the show, practically guaranteeing that they would not get paid. Why didn't they ask for all the box office money instead, or wait until the show was over. By taking the cstumes/props in the middle of the show, they guaranteed that the audiance would ask for their money back and the group wouldn't be able to pay the bill.

    Of course it works out funnier that way, as Ricki gets de-pantsed onstage!moreless
  • My personal favorite of all the episodes.

    This may be the best written episode of the whole series. The Lucy writers were no slouches, but they really outdid themselves with this musical. Unlike a few episodes, nothing seems contrived here. This is exactly the kind of opera that Lucy would write and the climax is a scream with just a minimal of set up needed. The songs are so outrageous and cleaverly written that they're funny all by themselves. Then, add the fact that the show is tailored to the talents of each of the cast members, and it's a classic. Fred gets to croak out a tune about the "Inn on the River Out", Ricky is suave, Lucy gives one of her funniest performances (a lisping, toothless witch is money in the bank)--and Ethel really shines. Who knew she could hit those notes?moreless
  • Lucy Episode

    When Lucy club has no money to produce a play they do it them selves and when the check is written with a post date the club finds them self in ruins because the rental company has come for the stuff the can not pay for which is every thing for the set to the costumes and the do it mid show over all a great and funny episode of I love Lucy and the last seen made me laugh so hard I was crying this is a great fun episode to watch again and again my rating is 9.4. endmoreless
  • Ethel and Lucy create their own play.

    At the last meeting the girls plans to have an operetta.However Lucy is treasury suppose to know how much they have left in the treasury.She claim she wrote and check and left it there.Than Lucy and Ethel starts planning to do their own play.As Ricky practice,Ethel points out that Lucy is singing few bad notes during the songs.But she decided that the cast will sing whenever Lucy opens her mouth.During the play whenever Lucy opens her mouth the other sings.Also it is learned that the check was bouced so everything was being removed.But it was funny when everyone start to sing when Lucy start to sing.I was laughing my head off this.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • At the end of this episode, the rental company repossesses all the costumes and scenery in mid-performance, thus creating total chaos. When they are trying to rip off Ricky's pants, a woman runs across the stage screaming. You can clearly see her standing in the wings, waiting for her cue, while they are taking away Ricky's costume.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Lucy: Well, we could save the royalty fees--that's $100--if we write the operetta ourselves. And then all we--
      Ethel: Wait a minute. 'We' could save the royalty fees. Who is 'we'?
      Lucy: 'We' is Ethel Romberg and Lucy Frimmel. That's who 'we' is.

    • Ethel: Oh, my goodness! You are in a spot. What are you gonna do?
      Lucy: Well, I was gonna pay back the treasury with my household money, but Ricky doesn't give it to me 'til the first of the month.
      Ethel: And you need the money on the 25th.
      Lucy: Gee, I'm worried. You know how fat I look in stripes.
      Ethel: Why don't you ask Ricky to advance you the money?
      Lucy: Oh, I thought of that. I don't look good in black and blue either.

    • Lucy: Well, about a year and a half ago, Ricky wanted to go over my household account and I was $10 short.
      Ethel: So?
      Lucy: Well, I borrowed $10 from the club treasury so that my household account would balance.
      Ethel: Well, $10! My goodness.
      Lucy: Well, you don't understand, Ethel. That was only the beginning. From then on, I borrowed from the household account so that the treasury account would balance, and I borrowed from the treasury so the household account would balance, and on and on, and back and forth like a tennis game and somewhere along the line, I lost the ball.
      Ethel: What do you mean?
      Lucy: Now there's no money in either account!

    • Ethel: Who are you?
      Lucy: (as Gypsy) Who am I? Come closer and I'll tell you who I am.

    • Lucy: Go away. This is not your cue!

    • Lucy: (singing) I gave him a check
      Woman: (singing) It bounced! Booouunced. Boooouuuunnced!
      Lucy : (stunned) It came back?!?

  • NOTES (8)

    • As stated, this is director Marc Daniels' final episode. According to Daniels, it was due to a pay dispute. Some have also said that there was tension between Daniels and Lucy. Daniels would return to Desilu a year later to direct the first season of the Joan Davis/Jim Backus sitcom, I Married Joan. Daniels would go on to be one of the busiest directors in television in the Sixties, doing much of his work at Desilu filmed and/or produced series like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and even Hogan's Heroes.

    • This is the last episode that Marc Daniels directs. It's also his favorite.

    • The lyrics for the operetta songs were written by the show's writers; Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Pugh. Eliot Daniel wrote the music.

    • During the Operetta all the singing is done live except for Desi Arnaz's "Prince Lancelot" number because he couldn't sing and do the choreography at the same time.

    • Lucy would send out autographed pictures to fans in the costume from this episode.

    • Music performed on this episode included "We're the Pleasant Girls", "Lily of the Valley", "I am the Queen of the Gypsies", and "We are the Troops of the King".

    • According to Newsweek (1/19/53), "The Operetta" was the first episode of her parents' show that little Lucie Arnaz was allowed to stay up and watch.

    • The play Lucy writes is called "The Pleasant Peasant" and is 17 acts long! Ethel plays the lead, "Lily of the Valley." Ricky plays the prince. And Lucy? Lucy plays Carmilla, Queen of the Gypsies.


    • Lucy refers to Ethel as Ethel Romberg. This reference is probably to American composer Sigmund Romberg who was best known for his operettas.