sonny marcel

LUCY STOPS A MARRIAGE

S3;E16 ~ December 28, 1970

Directed by Jack Donohue ~ Written by Frank Gill Jr. and Vincent Bogart

Synopsis

Harry makes a business deal with an old high school flame (Jayne Meadows) to invest $100,000 in Carter’s Unique Employment Agency.  Lucy somehow thinks Harry is going to marry her instead, and goes to outrageous lengths to assure he doesn’t!

Regular Cast

Lucille Ball (Lucy Carter), Gale Gordon (Harrison Otis Carter), Lucie Arnaz (Kim Carter), Desi Arnaz Jr. (Craig Carter)

Guest Cast

Jayne Meadows (Laura Trenton) was the older sister of Audrey Meadows (“The Honeymooners”) who would play Lucy Barker’s sister on “Life With Lucy” (LWL S1;E8).  Between 1977 and 1995 Jayne was nominated for three prime time Emmy Awards. Meadows was a panelist on “I’ve Got a Secret” for three of Lucille Ball’s appearances on the quiz show. She was married to TV host Steve Allen. She died in 2015.  

The surname Trenton is the same as the capitol of New Jersey where infant Lucille Ball lived for a short time.

Marcel De la Brosse (Maurice, Maitre d’ at Chez Moi) was a French-born character actor who began his Hollywood career in 1931.  He acted in a 1959 installment of the “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” hosted by Desi Arnaz Sr. This is his final screen credit before retiring at age 68. He lived another 30 years and died in 2001.

The other diners at Chez Moi are played by uncredited background performers.

This is the final new episode of calendar year 1970. The show returns on January 4, 1971 marking 20 years of Lucille Ball on television.

This is the first of two episodes written by Frank Gill Jr. and Vincent Bogart. Gill died in July 1970, before this episode was first aired. Bogart had won a 1956 Emmy Award for his writing on “The Phil Silvers Show.”

This episode marks the last time Lucille Ball would do her famous “spider face” (“Ewwww!”). The term “spider face” was how the writers would describe Ball’s reaction based on a facial expression that originated when she played Little Miss Muffett in a JELL-O commercial.

“Here’s Lucy” has started to pepper the dialogue with hip words like “Groovy” and “Peace”.  Later, Lucy chides Craig for calling Laura Trenton “a beat up old chick.” 

After Harry seals the deal with Laura Trenton, he starts singing “I’m in the money.” The song “We’re in the Money” (aka “The Gold Diggers’ Song”) is from the 1933 film Gold Diggers of 1933  and was written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. It is now part of the stage musical 42nd Street. It was last heard in “Lucy and the Gold Rush” (S1;E13).  

Lucy says that Harry started a hope chest after getting an autographed photo of Marjorie Main.  Marjorie Main (1890-1975) was a comic character actor known for playing mothers, like Ma Kettle.  She was featured in The Long, Long Trailer (above) with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. in 1957.  

Harry finds an outdated suit that he says goes back to when Franklin Roosevelt said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” This quote is from Roosevelt’s first inaugural address.  That means Harry’s suit dates back to 1933 and is 37 years old! 

Telling Harry there’s a huge stain on the suit, Lucy says that seltzer takes out stains.  That is the cue for Lucy, Kim and Craig to douse Harry with seltzer water. Harry is all wet – again!

Having no clothes left, Harry puts on his old Army uniform. Lucy calls him Smokey the Bear.  Smokey Bear wasan advertising icon used from 1940 to warn against the dangers of forest fires.  The character usually wears a hat similar to the one Harry wears with his uniform. Smokey Bear was mentioned several times on “The Lucy Show.”  

Harry calls Kim and Craig Sonny & Cher. The married singing duo had numerous hit songs during the ‘60s and '70s.  In 1970, Sonny and Cher starred in their first television special, “The Nitty Gritty Hour,” a mixture of comedy skits and live music. They were first mentioned in the series opener, “Mod, Mod Lucy” (S1;E1).  Cher’s mother, fashion model Georgia Holt, had appeared on both “I Love Lucy” and “The Lucy Show.”  Cher and Lucy would appear on an Emmy-nominated special together in 1979.  

The title of this episode evokes the famous line spoken by Camille, Queen of the Gypsies, played by Lucy Ricardo in “The Operetta” (ILL S2;E5): “This wedding must never take place!”

Hearing Harry call the waiter Maurice is reminiscent of when Gale Gordon played Alvin Littlefield on “I Love Lucy,” owner of the Tropicana, whose Maitre ’d was also named Maurice (Maurice Marsac, above left).  

Lucy Carter peaking at Harry in the next booth is similar to when Lucy Ricardo peaked at William Holden in the adjacent booth at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

At the French restaurant, Craig says “Gracias” to the French Maitre d’. This sounds like an ad-lib line. Although Desi Jr. is being sarcastic, it is something that his father, Desi Arnaz Sr., might say as Ricky Ricardo without intentionally trying to be funny.  

“Lucy Stops a Marriage” rates 3 Paper Hearts out of 5

This episode isn’t hysterical, but it is (unlike some recent episodes) grounded in reality and the interplay between Gale Gordon and Lucille Ball is sharp and funny.