by Jerry Paris ~ Written by Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis
film star Richard Burton sneaks out of his hotel disguised as
a plumber, Lucy unsuspectingly recruits him to fix the office sink.
When Elizabeth Taylor’s famous diamond ring falls out of the pocket
of his overalls, Lucy dares to try it on – and it gets stuck on her
finger! With just minutes until a big press party, Lucy comes up
with a plan.
Arnaz Jr. (Craig
Carter) and Lucie
Carter) do not appear in this episode.
a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She
began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, and was one
of the most popular stars of classical
the 1950s. She continued her career successfully into the 1960s, and
remained a well known public figure for the rest of her life.
Throughout her life, Taylor’s personal affairs were subject to
constant media attention. She was married eight times to seven men,
marrying Richard Burton twice. She died in 2011.
(Himself) was born
Walter Jenkins Jr.
in Wales in 1924. He was noted for his mellifluous baritone voice
and established himself as a formidable Shakespearean
the 1950s. He gave a memorable
performance of Hamlet
1964 and was called the natural successor to Olivier by critic Kenneth
was nominated for an Academy
times, but never won. In 1960 he appeared on Broadway as King Arthur
(at the same time as Lucille Ball was starring in Wildcat)
and won a Tony
Best Actor. In the 1960s, Burton was one of the top box office stars
one of the highest-paid actors in the world, receiving $1 million or
more per film. Burton remains closely associated in the public
consciousness with his second (and third) wife, actress Elizabeth
The couple’s turbulent relationship was rarely out of the news. He
died in 1984.
(Sam The Plumber) makes
the first of three appearances on the series after having been seen
on two episodes of “The Lucy Show.”
has his name boldly printed on his tool box, the front of his
overalls, and on the back. Just in case anyone mistakes him for
(Mr. Williams, Hotel Manager) was the younger son of the famous actor
and playwright Emlyn
the brother of the novelist Alan
As a child, he was befriended by the Richard
Burton and in
later years, he became Burton’s personal assistant, adviser and
Burton requested that Williams be cast in the episode.
was Lucille Ball’s cousin-in-law. This is
just one of her over two dozen appearances on “Here’s Lucy” as
well as appearing in Ball’s two 1975 TV movies “Lucy Gets Lucky”
(with Dean Martin) and “Three for Two” (with Jackie Gleason). She
was seen in half a dozen episodes of “The Lucy Show.”
(Fan, uncredited) makes his only series appearance. He was also an
uncredited extra in the Elizabeth Taylor film Rhapsody
Members of the Hollywood Press all play themselves and are named in
the final credits (in order of appearance):
was married to Lucille Ball’s cousin Cleo, who was the show’s
producer. He wrote for the Los Angeles Times.
was named in 1968 by The Los Angeles Times as a successor to gossip legend and “I Love Lucy” guest star Hedda
Hopper, who died in 1966.
as a writer for the Associated Press, then spent almost 20 years with
the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.
was a United
Press International (UPI) Hollywood correspondent and columnist for
Members of the Press who are credited, but are not identified or speak dialogue:
for Daily Variety magazine since 1953 before retiring his “Just
for Variety” column in 2005.
was a well-known Hollywood
gossip columnist who studied journalism at USC.
was the one-time president of the Hollywood Women’s Press Club.
question-and-answer column “Ask Dick Kleiner” about
Hollywood celebrities appeared in hundreds of newspapers across the
a sports and television columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner and
later the combined Herald Examiner newspapers.
uncredited) makes the first of his six appearances on the series.
(Bellhop, uncredited) appeared
with Lucille Ball in the 1934 film Kid
Eddie Cantor. He was also an uncredited extra in the 1947 Elizabeth
Taylor film Cynthia.
This is the second of his three episodes of “Here’s Lucy.”
fans, press, and hotel staff are played by uncredited extras.
this episode kicked off the third season, it was filmed much later
and moved up as the season premiere.
this episode a special title
was created for the Burtons, including having their names announced
by Roy Rowan. This sequence replaced the one usually given to Lucie
Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., who do not appear in this episode. For the
first and only time, Lucille Ball filmed an introduction to the
episode that also promoted the many upcoming celebrity guest stars.
is the first episode to be directed by Jerry
who was also an actor. He played Jerry Helper on “The Dick Van
Dyke Show” and also wrote 84 episodes, one of which one him an Emmy
in 1964. Paris was hired specifically for this episode. As a
condition of employment, he was given a six episode deal. Because he
and Lucille Ball clashed in style, only one more episode ever came to
pass “Lucy and the Drum Contest” (S3;E4) which was actually
filmed before this one. Paris also requested dialogue coach Bobby
be hired with the same deal. The coach ended up intimidated by
Burton and directing Ball instead, something Lucy did not tolerate
well. He, too, was let go.
episode marks the return of original “I Love Lucy” and “The
Lucy Show” writers Bob
Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis.
They were given very short notice to write the script but finished
it in a little more than a week. This is the first time they’ve
written for Lucille Ball since 1964. They would pen 28 more episodes
of “Here’s Lucy” as well as the ill-fated series “Life with
Lucy” in 1986.
not featured in the episode, Lucie Arnaz announced her engagement to
Phil Vandervoort during the show’s Monday table read. The two were married in 1971.
thirty minute documentary film “Lucy Meets the Burtons: A Comedic
Gem” was included on DVD release of “Here’s Lucy” season 3. It
includes interviews with Lucie Arnaz, Carole Cook, and behind the
show’s plot was built around the real-life publicity achieved when
Richard Burton bought his wife Elizabeth Taylor a 68 carat Cartier
diamond ring worth over a million dollars.
Property Master Ken Westcott created two replica rings for the medium
and long shots which were crafted from chandelier crystals. Although
he wanted to keep one after the shoot, Ball took one and Taylor took
Luclle Ball first met Elizabeth Taylor in an arranged ‘set visit’ during the shooting of 1953′s The Long, Long Trailer.
Ball and Gary Morton met the Burtons at a Los Angeles party given by
the English ambassador. After a few drinks, Richard Burton said that
he wanted to work with Lucy. The next morning he regretted it and had
his agent call to retract the offer. When asked to keep his promise,
however, he and Taylor agreed.
Burton had immense respect for Lucille Ball’s talent, the two had vastly
different working styles. Ball was unhappy that he continually
underplayed his lines. On more than one occasion she barked at him
up, Richard! Speak up!”
Burton muttered “If
she says that one more time, it’s back to the hotel for both of us”
(meaning him and Taylor).
Lucille Ball’s long-time hairstylist Irma Kusely heard that Elizabeth
Taylor was to be a guest she bragged about knowing the star. Lucie
Arnaz thought she was fibbing until Taylor’s first visit to the set.
When Taylor spotted Kusely across the soundstage she shouted at the
top of her voice
Taylor naturally brought her own hairstylist, Sidney Guilaroff, to
their four days of work on “Here’s Lucy,” the Burtons were each
paid $2,500 plus amenities:
private air transportation
separate trailers (each kitted out with luxury
items from their rider list)
separate bungalows at the Beverly Hills
separate security guards
At one point Burton admired a
sweater that Producer Gary Morton was wearing, so Morton told him
where to find it and to stop by and charge it to Lucille Ball
Productions. Burton bought one in every color – 16 sweaters!
Taylor’s elaborate trailer came with a list of her preferred
champagne and chocolates. The trailer was originally built for
Barbra Streisand when she filmed On
A Clear Day You Can See Forever
(1970) at Paramount. For some reason, no one was allowed to mention
the name ‘Barbra
Streisand’ in front of Elizabeth Taylor!
members of the Hollywood Press in bit roles assured that the episode
received amazing publicity, including the above cover of TV Guide. It ultimately
became CBS’s highest rated show on the air for the 1971-72 television
season. It was also the best remembered episode of the entire
Ball’s protege and friend Carole Cook recalls tickets for the filming
were at a premium and the audience was filled with celebrities,
politicians and Hollywood big-wigs.
The hotel manager tells
Richard Burton that the Burtons have replaced Lawrence Welk and
Liberace on the bus tour of the movie stars homes. Burton says that
almost makes up for losing the Oscar. The sympathetic studio audience
must agree because they burst into applause at the line. WelkandLiberace
guest starred as themselves on season two episodes of “Here’s Lucy.” Burton
could be referring to any one of seven nominations he lost, but the
most recent would have been for Anne
of A Thousand Days
in 1969. A bus tour of the movie stars homes was featured in “The
Tour” (ILL S4;E30).
hotel manager tells Burton that the back door is mobbed by the
Elizabeth Taylor Fan Club – Glendale Chapter. Membership to the
club requires seeing National
Velvet 10 times! National Velvet (1945) was made when Taylor was just twelve years old.
makes the common error of thinking Sam the Plumber (Burton) is
English. He stridently corrects her: “Certainly
not! I’m a Welshman!” Burton
even speaks a little untranslated Welsh.
Burton (as Sam) asks Lucy if she wants to hear some Shakespeare, he
does a soliloquy from Richard
pays Sam / Burton $23.50 for fixing the leak in the sink, taking
fifty cents off for the time he took to recite Shakespeare!
brags to Burton that he starred in his college theatre production of
– as Cleopatra! In a previous episode, Harry admitted he went to
an all-boys school and also played Juliet in Romeo
On “The Lucy Show” Lucy Carmichael played Cleopatra in a
community theatre production of Anthony and Cleopatra. Harry played
Ceaser in a musical revue in “Lucy and the Generation Gap”
Harry leaves the office to find Burton a cab, he dramatically
cab! A cab! My kingdom for a cab!”
and exits with a flourish. When her returns he paraphrases Hamlet:
“Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard,
your cab awaits!”
portion of the episode’s ending with Elizabeth Taylor saying “Good
in a voice reminiscent of Arte Johnson’s German soldier character on
& Martin’s Laugh-In” was
cut for broadcast but is included on the DVD extras.
after “Here’s Lucy” finished filming, Lucille Ball and Gary Morton
would go to Matteo’s for supper. But after this episode, a lavish
wrap party catered by Chasen’s was held in an adjoining studio.
his later years, Richard Burton did not remember this episode kindly.
He characterized Lucille Ball as a manipulative, controlling bitch.
both Lucy Ricardo and Lucy Carmichael were both star-struck, Richard
Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s names were both mentioned frequently on
previous “Lucy” sitcoms. In “A Date for Lucy” (S1;E19) Lucy
Carter and Mary Jane fantasize about dating Richard
except that Elizabeth
approve. Burton was also mentioned in another dating-themed
the Matchmaker” (S1;E12).
gag of Lucy placing her arm through a curtain was first used in “The
Handcuffs” (ILL S2;E4) when Ricky has to perform on a television
show while still handcuffed to Lucy! The gag was repeated on an
“Lucy the Music Lover” (TLS S1;E8) where Lucy Carmichael has to
bow a violin for a virtuoso violinist with a wounded hand. All
three episodes were written by Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis.
Lucy is trying to act nonchalant in the office with Richard Burton
staring at her the moment is very similar to when Lucy Ricardo
discovered that William Holden was staring at her eat at the Brown
Derby in “Hollywood at Last!” (ILL S4;E16).
problems were also the cause for a celebrity cameo (or two) in “Lucy
and the Plumber” (TLS S3;E2). In that case, the stars in coveralls
were Jack Benny and Bob Hope.
jokes that he got the ring out of a Cracker Jack Barrel. On “I
Love Lucy” Ethel Mertz often joked that her wedding ring came out
of a box of Cracker Jack.
was a favorite joke of writers Carroll and Davis.
Game Face! When Elizabeth Taylor makes her first entrance (nearly 20 minutes into the show), she can’t help but grin when she is greeted by applause, hoots, and whistles from the studio audience. It is worth remembering that Taylor was not used to stage work like Burton and had little experience with live audiences in a dramatic context.
Security Continuity! When
the closeup of the diamond is shown, one can tell that the background
is different from the medium shot. That is because the show’s
insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of showing the diamond at the
studio just in case it were lost or stolen, so a another shot had to
be done at a different, more secure location.
season three, the Unique Employment Agency has been redecorated: new
wallpaper, new chairs, a new lamp, painted railings, there is even a
bathroom where a closet used to be! Lucy has finally upgraded to an
electric typewriter! Gone are the tribal masks and spears that
previously decorated the wall behind Lucy’s desk. The little shelf
in the vestibule with the model clipper ship is also gone. The office
finally looks more like an employment agency and less like an
“Lucy and the Burtons” rates 5 Paper Hearts out of 5
no mystery why this episode is so popular. It combines two of
Hollywood’s biggest stars, two of Lucy’s best gags, two of Lucy’s
finest writers, one red-hot sitcom director, and the biggest bling in
La La Land!
The four walls of a room momentarily holding the ugliness of the world at bay enough to drink until the dawn the warmth of a body pressed against my own a few moments of living wedged in between the drudgery of mere existence there is nothing else to ask for the sound of her breathing is all I need of poetry I offer no explanation no definition for this last moment in time I like the feeling of my hand upon her belly and that is enough.