| Season 6, Episode 18 |
#171 in Series
|Air date:||March 4, 1957|
|Written by:|| Bob Carroll, Jr.|
|Directed by:||William Asher|
|Production code:||6-18 / 172|
|IMDB||Lucy Raises Chickens|
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|"Lucy Gets Chummy With the Neighbors"||"Lucy Does the Tango"|
Lucy Raises Chickens was the 171st overall episode of I Love Lucy, also the 18th episode of season 6, the final season of the series. The episode was directed by William Asher, originally aired on CBS-TV on March 4, 1957.
Lucy and Ricky decide to raise chickens to help make ends meet. Soon the house is overrun with a flock of baby chicks, on the day a fashion magazine photographer is due to visit.
Ricky can't believe how expensive living in the country is. Lucy suggests that they sell a product that you can only make out in the country, like eggs from chickens. Ricky likes the idea, because it could bring a profit, they could eat fresh eggs every morning for breakfast, and, if the plan doesn't work, they can eat the chickens for dinner. Ricky puts up an ad asking for an experienced chicken farmer.
To the Ricardos' surprise, good ol' Fred Mertz responds to the ad, having been raised on a farm in the Midwest, and Fred and Ethel wait outside the Ricardos' front door until they read Fred's letter! The Mertzes are so excited that they can finally live with the Ricardos again, and the plan is for the Mertzes to stay in the Ricardos' guest house for free, paying rent by taking care of the chickens. Of course, the Mertzes will still own their New York apartment building, but they only will need to be there once a month to collect the rent.
Lucy and Ethel are so excited to start raising chickens and selling eggs that they impulsively buy 500 baby chicks. Fred chides them on how stupid and foolish this decision was. Now, they have to turn the thermostat up to 90 degrees to prevent the baby chicks from "freezing their fuzz off." The gang stores the chicks in the den, but Little Ricky accidentally opens the door to the den and sets the chicks loose all over the house! Lucy pretends to be a mother chick to lure some of the missing chicks out from their hiding places.
- The way that the chicks were prevented from walking off the Ricardos' living room set was via a line of chicken wire put up at the edge of the set. In this episode, one can hear the chicks peeping off-stage long before we're ever supposed to know they exist!
- Eggs cost about 75 cents a dozen in 1957, so the Ricardos potentially could make good money from this business venture.
- Sadly, one of the baby chicks was accidentally crushed by one of the cameras.
- According to Ricky and Fred's agreement, Fred won't receive a salary for taking care of the chickens. Instead, he will receive free room and board, as well as a share of the egg profits.
- Before the chicken plan makes the Mertzes move out to Connecticut, we learn that they have visited the Ricardos every weekend since the move.
- We learn that the Ricardos' TV is now in the den of their new house.
- When Lucy explains her bill paying system that is quite similar to her system in episode #5, you can clearly see her firmly push the one bill down on the middle of the Lazy Susan so it would be the only bill to not fly off. The prop men had put a piece of tape on the middle of the Lazy Susan for Lucy to stick to the back of the bill.
- The Mertzes are having Mrs. Trumbull's sister move in and manage the apartment building while they're living in Connecticut. Why couldn't Mrs. Trumbull do it? After all, she managed the building during both the Hollywood and Europe trips!
- The writers remembered Lucy once doing an impression of the chickens she and Desi had at their old Chatsworth ranch, so that's where the inspiration for Lucy's mama chick impression came from.
- Lucille Ball ... as Lucy Ricardo
- Desi Arnaz ... as Ricky Ricardo
- Vivian Vance ... as Ethel Mertz
- William Frawley ... as Fred Mertz