I Love Lucy

Season 2 Episode 3

The Operetta

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 13, 1952 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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.

  • Allusions

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

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