| Season 1, Episode 1 |
#1 in Series
|Air date:||October 15, 1951|
|Written by:|| Bob Carroll Jr.|
|Directed by:||Marc Daniels|
|Production code:||1-1 / 002|
|IMDB||The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub|
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|Unaired Pilot||Be a Pal|
The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub is the first episode and the official pilot episode for I Love Lucy. Directed by Marc Daniels, it first aired on CBS-TV on October 15, 1951.
The Ricardos and the Mertzes agree to celebrate the Mertzes' wedding anniversary together. The girls decide on The Copacabana. The men opt for the prize fights. An old friend helps the girls play a trick on their husbands, but the men see through the ruse and turn the tables.
It is the Mertzes' wedding anniversary, and the men fight against the women about how they should celebrate. The women want to go to the Copacabana for dancing; the men want to go see the fights. Lucy lies and says that she and Ethel have dates to take them to the Copa. After she tries calling all of her old boyfriends (and finding out that they're all married), she calls Ginny Jones at the Starlight Roof to get dates. Ricky and Fred also call Ginny to get dates so they can keep an eye on their wives. Lucy finds out from Ginny that Ricky and Fred just called for dates, so she has Ginny make the boys' dates be her and Ethel. So, Lucy and Ethel dress up as hillbillies and shock Ricky and Fred. But Ricky and Fred find out it's really their wives in disguise when Lucy somehow knows where the Ricardos' cigarettes are located. So, the end result? The wives' cover is blown, and they have to be dragged to the fights for Ethel's anniversary.
- We learn that Fred and Ethel have been married for 18 years. (Even though their marriage length will be changed to 25 years in the following season, the original script for this episode has them married for 24 years, so the 18 years here is really the error, not next season's 25 years.)
- As hillbillies, Lucy is named "Euncie," and Ethel is named "Ma." To hide their identities, Ricky calls himself "Sam," and Fred calls himself "Elmer."
- This episode was broadcast as the first episode, instead of "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her," which was the original first (filmed) episode. It was thought that "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub" was more entertaining, due to the hillbilly scene. The switch in broadcast order was not due to technical difficulties. The night the episode aired, all of the cast and crew met at Lucy and Desi's Chatworth ranch to watch together. Everyone was really nervous about how the show would come off, but they were somewhat relieved when Vivian Vance's then-husband, Phil Ober, laughed at every joke. He was the only one laughing, but that was understandable, considering that everyone else had already heard the jokes a million times before during rehearsal and filming.
- When Lucy whispers the names of "dates" into Ethel's ear, she really whispers the names "Little Boy Blue" and "Peter Cottontail."
- Since it IS both Fred and Ethel's anniversary, why don't they go to BOTH the Copa and to the fights? Or go to the fights or the Copa on their anniversary and go to the other place the NEXT night? Wouldn't that be the fairest way to divide the evening's activities? But Fred ends up winning out, and Ethel and Lucy are forced to be dragged along to the fights in their evening gowns.
- During Lucy's maternity leave, this episode was rerun with a new "flashback" opening. Ricky and Fred are watching "the fights" on TV. Ethel changes the channel to a program she wants to watch, and by the time Ricky and Fred get rid of Ethel, they've missed the end of the boxing match. Ricky says he'll go to the fights in person next time, but Fred reminds him of how Lucy and Ethel hate going there, telling the story of the Mertzes' anniversary.
- The line "Ever since we said, 'I do,' there are so many things we don't" is considered by producer Jess Oppenheimer to be the funniest single line in the whole entire series.
- Out of Lucy's old address book, we learn some of her old boyfriends' names: George Anderson, Howard Thompson, Paul Wagner, and Sam Zabioni.
- Ricky doesn't have his little black book anymore, because Lucy told him that he had to burn it as part of the American wedding tradition.
- The end scene at the fights was filmed after the audience went home, so the actors could sit in the audience bleachers.
- Ethel: (hands Lucy a dish to wash) Here, you missed something on this one.
- Lucy: That's a design.
- Ethel: It IS?
- Lucy: Sure! Can't you see? Flowers against a background of... gravy...
- Lucy: Ever since we said, "I do," there are so many things we don't...
- Fred: (to Ricky) I'd like you to join me in the commemoration of an 18-year-old tragedy.
- Fred: (about Ricky's fear of the women having dates) Yeah, with all that champagne, even Ethel might look good!
- Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo
- Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo
- Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz
- William Frawley as Fred Mertz
- Johnny Jacobs as Announcer