Celebrating the I Love Lucy Episode “The Tour”
Living in the the Los Angeles area movie star tours are part of the daily landscape. Whether it’s signs along Sunset Boulevard advertising maps of star homes or open air vans on Hollywood Blvd. soliciting passengers you can’t escape it. Personally, I always think “who would take one of these?” but that’s probably because I have little interest in modern celebrities. Push the clock back 60 years and I’d probably be all over them. Just like Lucy Ricardo in the I Love Lucy episode “The Tour” which I’m excited to highlight today as part of The Lucy & Desi Blogathon hosted by Love Letters to Old Hollywood.
“The Tour” which aired May 30th, 1955 is the season finale of I Love Lucy’s 4th season and is party of the hugely popular series of Hollywood episodes. It opens in Lucy and Ricky’s fabulous mid-century hotel room at the fictional Beverly Palms Hotel. Ricky is headed to lunch with Richard Widmark and, of course, Lucy wants to go.
Unfortunately, Lucy’s made quite a reputation for herself in Hollywood after run-ins with William Holden, Cornel Wilde and Robert Taylor (where’s that episode?) and Ricky refuses to let her come. Disappointed she and Ethel decided to drown their troubles in a Hollywood bus tour.
They board a Tanner Gray Line Motor Tour, which was an actual guided tour at the time. In fact, Gray Line still operates sightseeing tours to this day! Almost immediately, they get on the nerves of the tour guide played by character actor, Benny Rubin. After a sojourn through Downtown LA, Pacific Palisades and Holmby Hills they end up on Lexington Rd. in Beverly Hills right in front of Richard Widmark’s home. Determined to grab one of the grapefruits hanging over his fence Lucy and Ethel leave the bus which promptly pulls away happy to get rid of them.
Of course, things don’t go as planned and Lucy has a run in with Widmark’s St. Bernard who traps her in the yard. She decides to sneak through the house but, of course, gets stuck in the big game room.
Before she can escape Widmark and Ricky arrive and soon enough the gig is up.
The Hollywood episodes rank among my very favorites and “The Tour” does not disappoint Between the bus tour, Lucy’s sojourn over the fence and the adventures in the game room it’s filled with plenty of laughs. And Widmark is a game participant. Funny enough, when I was a kid I had no idea who he was and wondered why Lucy would go through all the trouble of getting an autographed grapefruit. Of course, now I totally get it. He was one of the king’s of noir! In addition he had an extensive career that lasted well into the 90’s and who could forget his performance in the amazing Pickup on South Street?
If I have any complaints about the episode it would be the big game room because I’m not a fan of hunting, especially for exotic animals. Funny enough, neither was Widmark. His hobby of hunting is completely fictional and instead he was an outspoken advocate for gun control! I suppose in the 1950’s he didn’t really have much say in the matter.
All in all “The Tour” is fun episode in the Hollywood series. As a SoCal native I love seeing an area I know so well as it was 60 years ago. Aside from that it’s just darn funny and serves as another example the comedic genius of Lucille Ball and Desi Armaz.