The Million-Dollar Idea


The Million-Dollar Idea

I Love Lucy

Having spent her allowance until June 12, 1978, Lucy is determined to come up with a "million-dollar idea." She decides to market Aunt Martha's Old-fashioned Salad Dressing by advertising on a three-hour, morning TV show hosted by Dickie Davis that is carried on Charlie Applyby's TV station.

For the commercial, Ethel poses as Mary Margaret McMertz, a home economist who invites "an unbiased opinion from an average housewife picked at random from our audience." The 'average housewife' is Lucy, of course, posing as Isabella Klump, who raves about the dressing so convincingly, she elicits twenty-three immediate orders.

Lucy and Ethel set up their salad dressing plant in the Ricardo kitchen and proceed to fill the first orders (forty cents a jar, three cents of which goes to Caroline Appleby as commission) until Ricky informs them, after a little figuring, that they are losing money on each jar.

He demands that they fill the existing orders "and get out of business" just as Fred drags in a huge mail sack filled with more orders. To "unsell" the product, the girls go back on TV. This time Lucy is scruffy Lucille McGillicuddy, who feigns food poisoning, exclaiming, "Look like Aunt Martha had too many old-fashioneds!"

But viewers love the "comedy" and the gals rack up a total of 1,153 orders, which they finally fill by purchasing brand-name dressing and pasting an Aunt Martha label on the jars.

Special Notes: A very popular radio personality of the 1940s was Mary Margaret McBride, who had her own program on which she chatted with her audience and interviewed celebrities.

Bloopers: At the end when Lucy and Ethel have their shopping carts loaded up with salad dressing they forgot one thing, the stairs! It would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get the loaded up shopping carts down the stairs of their apartment building, especially while wearing roller skates.

Episode #79
Season #3 (1953-54)

Aired: January 11, 1954
Filmed: November 28, 1953
Rating: 62.7/83

William Asher (Director),
Jess Oppenheimer (Producer),
Bob Carroll Jr. (Writer),
Madelyn Davis Pugh (Writer)

Supporting Cast:
Frank Nelson (Dickie Davis)