| Season 6, Episode 19 |
#172 in Series
|Air date:||March 11, 1957|
|Written by:|| Bob Carroll, Jr.|
|Directed by:||William Asher|
|Production code:||6-19 / 173|
|IMDB||Lucy Does the Tango|
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|"Lucy Raises Chickens"||"Ragtime Band"|
Lucy Does the Tango was the 172nd overall episode of I Love Lucy, also the 19th episode of season 6, the final season of the series. The episode was directed by William Asher, originally aired on CBS-TV March 11, 1957.
Lucy "boosts" egg production by buying several dozen eggs and pretending they are homegrown. But her plan to hide them in her blouse goes awry when Ricky asks her to help him rehearse a tango number. This resulted in one of the longest sustained audience laughter sequences in sitcoms.
There's trouble with the potential egg business. Since baby chicks can't lay eggs until they're six months old, the gang trades in the chicks for full-grown hens. But the hens aren't laying any eggs. Ricky and Fred are feuding, and the threat exists of the Mertzes having to go back to New York if the hens don't lay any eggs soon. So, to help things along until the hens start getting into action, Lucy and Ethel decide to buy a bunch of eggs and sneak them out to the hen house. Fred's out back, so they can't just take the eggs in the cartons. They decide instead to hide the eggs in their clothes. Just as the girls finish stuffing their clothes with eggs, Ricky comes home and wants to practice the tango routine he and Lucy are doing for the PTA. Lucy reluctantly agrees, and when Ricky slams Lucy against his chest at the end of the song, he is met with the messy surprise of broken eggs in Lucy's shirt. Fred hits Ethel's butt, which is filled with eggs, by knocking into her from the kitchen door.
When it looks like the hens will have to be given away, Little Ricky is sad. He thinks of the hens as pets. He and Bruce Ramsey decide to hide the chickens all over their houses, so they can't be given away. Ricky and Fred accuse one another of being chicken thieves when they discover the hidden chickens. Betty Ramsey ends the argument by telephoning and saying that the Ricardos' chickens are all over her house, too. Ricky and Fred make up, and then the unthinkable happens- the hens are laying a ton of eggs! The Mertzes can stay, after all!
- This episode contains the longest laugh in the show's history, at a total of 65 seconds. It occurs when Lucy gets the eggs smashed at the end of the tango. The laugh was so long that part of it had to be cut out.
- Lucy's disgusted and shocked reaction to the eggs breaking from the tango is genuine. To keep her and Vivian's reaction "real," the women never practiced with raw eggs. This is similar to how Lucy didn't practice with real grapes until filming time in episode #150.
- Fred and Ricky trade in the 500 baby chicks for 200 hens.
- Ricky and Fred aren't just arguing because the hens have only laid six eggs so far. Part of their feud is about Ricky wanting Fred to pay rent until the hens start laying eggs.
- The gang plans to sell the eggs for 60 cents a dozen.
- Bruce Ramsey suggests hiding the hens to Little Ricky, because, when the Ramseys' cat had kittens and Ralph wanted to sell the kittens, Bruce ended up hiding them as a way to keep them.
- We learn in this episode that Fred is an Irishman. While William Frawley was very proud of displaying his Irish heritage, Fred Mertz never is said to be of Irish stock until now.
- Lucille Ball ... as Lucy Ricardo
- Desi Arnaz ... as Ricky Ricardo
- Vivian Vance ... as Ethel Mertz
- William Frawley ... as Fred Mertz