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Here’s your friendly reminder that mayonnaise is just spicy milk jello

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January 13, 1951

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“The Cuckoo Clock Conspiracy” (aka ”The Cuckoo Clock”) is episode #114 of the radio series MY FAVORITE HUSBAND broadcast on January 13, 1951.

This was the 16th episode of the third season of MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. There were 31 new episodes, with the season ending on March 31, 1951.  

Synopsis ~ Liz bought George’s Christmas present, a cuckoo clock, with a rubber check, and now she needs to figure out a way to make good on it so the store owner won’t repossess the clock.

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Parts of this script concerning the cuckoo clock where later used in “The Kleptomaniac” (ILL S1;E27), filmed on March 7, 1952, and first aired on April 14, 1952. 

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“My Favorite Husband” was based on the novels Mr. and Mrs. Cugat, the Record of a Happy Marriage (1940) and Outside Eden (1945) by Isabel Scott Rorick, which had previously been adapted into the film Are Husbands Necessary? (1942). “My Favorite Husband” was first broadcast as a one-time special on July 5, 1948. Lucille Ball and Lee Bowman played the characters of Liz and George Cugat, and a positive response to this broadcast convinced CBS to launch “My Favorite Husband” as a series. Bowman was not available Richard Denning was cast as George. On January 7, 1949, confusion with bandleader Xavier Cugat prompted a name change to Cooper. On this same episode Jell-O became its sponsor. A total of 124 episodes of the program aired from July 23, 1948 through March 31, 1951. After about ten episodes had been written, writers Fox and Davenport departed and three new writers took over – Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh, and head writer/producer Jess Oppenheimer. In March 1949 Gale Gordon took over the existing role of George’s boss, Rudolph Atterbury, and Bea Benaderet was added as his wife, Iris. CBS brought “My Favorite Husband” to television in 1953, starring Joan Caulfield and Barry Nelson as Liz and George Cooper. The television version ran two-and-a-half seasons, from September 1953 through December 1955, running concurrently with “I Love Lucy.” It was produced live at CBS Television City for most of its run, until switching to film for a truncated third season filmed (ironically) at Desilu and recasting Liz Cooper with Vanessa Brown.

MAIN CAST

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Lucille Ball (Liz Cooper) was born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. She began her screen career in 1933 and was known in Hollywood as ‘Queen of the B’s’ due to her many appearances in ‘B’ movies. With Richard Denning, she starred in a radio program titled “My Favorite Husband” which eventually led to the creation of “I Love Lucy,” a television situation comedy in which she co-starred with her real-life husband, Latin bandleader Desi Arnaz. The program was phenomenally successful, allowing the couple to purchase what was once RKO Studios, re-naming it Desilu. When the show ended in 1960 (in an hour-long format known as “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour”) so did Lucy and Desi’s marriage. In 1962, hoping to keep Desilu financially solvent, Lucy returned to the sitcom format with “The Lucy Show,” which lasted six seasons. She followed that with a similar sitcom “Here’s Lucy” co-starring with her real-life children, Lucie and Desi Jr., as well as Gale Gordon, who had joined the cast of “The Lucy Show” during season two. Before her death in 1989, Lucy made one more attempt at a sitcom with “Life With Lucy,” also with Gordon.

Richard Denning (George Cooper) was born Louis Albert Heindrich Denninger Jr., in Poughkeepsie, New York. When he was 18 months old, his family moved to Los Angeles. Plans called for him to take over his father’s garment manufacturing business, but he developed an interest in acting. Denning enlisted in the US Navy during World War II. He is best known for his  roles in various science fiction and horror films of the 1950s. Although he teamed with Lucille Ball on radio in “My Favorite Husband,” the two never acted together on screen. While “I Love Lucy” was on the air, he was seen on another CBS TV series, “Mr. & Mrs. North.” From 1968 to 1980 he played the Governor on “Hawaii 5-0″, his final role. He died in 1998 at age 84.

Bea Benadaret (Iris Atterbury) was considered the front-runner to be cast as Ethel Mertz but when “I Love Lucy” was ready to start production she was already playing a similar role on TV’s “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show” so Vivian Vance was cast instead. On “I Love Lucy” she was cast as Lucy Ricardo’s spinster neighbor, Miss Lewis, in “Lucy Plays Cupid” (ILL S1;E15) in early 1952. Later, she was a success in her own show, “Petticoat Junction” as Shady Rest Hotel proprietress Kate Bradley. She starred in the series until her death in 1968.

Ruth Perrott (Katie, the Maid) was also later seen on “I Love Lucy.” She first played Mrs. Pomerantz, a member of the surprise investigating committee for the Society Matrons League in “Pioneer Women” (ILL S1;E25), as one of the member of the Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League in “Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress” (ILL S3;E3), and also played a nurse when “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” (ILL S2;E16). She died in 1996 at the age of 96.

Bob LeMond (Announcer) also served as the announcer for the pilot episode of “I Love Lucy”. When the long-lost pilot was finally discovered in 1990, a few moments of the opening narration were damaged and lost, so LeMond – fifty years later – recreated the narration for the CBS special and subsequent DVD release.

Gale Gordon (Rudolph Atterbury) does not appear in this episode, but his character is mentioned. 

GUEST CAST

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Hans Conried (Mr. Haskell, the Jeweler) first co-starred with Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942). He then appeared on “I Love Lucy” as used furniture man Dan Jenkins in “Redecorating” (ILL S2;E8) and later that same season as Percy Livermore in “Lucy Hires an English Tutor” (ILL S2;E13) – both in 1952. The following year he began an association with Disney by voicing Captain Hook in Peter Pan. On “The Lucy Show” he played Professor Gitterman in “Lucy’s Barbershop Quartet” (TLS S1;E19) and in “Lucy Plays Cleopatra” (TLS S2;E1). He was probably best known as Uncle Tonoose on “Make Room for Daddy” starring Danny Thomas, which was filmed on the Desilu lot. He joined Thomas on a season 6 episode of “Here’s Lucy” in 1973.

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GeGe Pearson (Mrs. Haskell, the Jeweler’s Wife / Miss Russell, George’s Secretary) did two other episodes of “My Favorite Husband.” She will play a New York City tourist in “Lucy Visits Grauman’s” (ILL S5;E1) in 1955. She did the episode with her husband, Hal Gerard. The two actors were married in real-life. In 1956 the couple returned to CBS to appear in the same episode of “Damon Runyon Theatre.” She is perhaps best remembered as the voice of Crusader Rabbit. The couple died just a year apart in 1975 and 1976.

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June Foray (Marie, the Beautician) was born June Lucille Forer in 1917 and was best known as the voice of such animated characters as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale, Cindy Lou Who, Witch Hazel in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, Granny in the Tweety Bird cartoons, and many, many others. She provided the bark of Fred the dog on Season 6 of “I Love Lucy.” 

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Ken Christy (Police Officer) later played the detective investigating the new tenants in “Oil Wells” (S3;E18) and will play the dock agent who directs Lucy to the helicopter that lowers her onto the deck of the S.S. Constitution in “Bon Voyage” (S5;E13). Christy was also featured on the TV series “Meet Corliss Archer” on CBS.

THE EPISODE

ANNOUNCER: “As we look in on the Cooper’s, it’s morning. George is at breakfast. Liz is in the kitchen talking to Katie the Maid.” 

Liz compliments Katie with the goal of getting a loan of $14.95. She explains that she bought George a cuckoo clock for Christmas using a check with no money in the account. To prevent George from finding out, Liz wrote the check on an account at another bank - one where she hasn’t got an account - and could face jail. 


In the dining room, Liz cuddles up to George with the same compliments she used on Katie! They smooch. George realizes that Liz is buttering him up for money. Liz directly asks George for a loan of $15 but banker George reminds her that borrowing money is a slippery slope into debt. 


LIZ: “Look, Dale Carnegie, I need the money.” 

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Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was the developer of courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. He was the author of the best-sellers How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), as well as several other books.

George reminds Liz that she made a New Year’s resolution to pay him $25 if she went over budget, so in giving her the loan, she would actually owe him $40!  Liz tells him to forget the whole deal - she will find the money elsewhere. 

At the beauty salon, Liz asks beautician Marie (Gege Pearson) where to find Iris Atterbury. Iris is having a mud pack which cracks upon hearing Liz wants a loan. She was just getting ready to ask Liz for a loan, too. It seems that Rudolph and George stated the new year on an economy wave. 

LIZ: “I guess it’s in the air. Darn those Russians, anyway.” 

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In 1950 and well into early 1951, the US Government committed to what was known as an ‘economy wave’ in order to save money that might be used for civil defense and bolstering European strength during the cold war with Russia. This economy wave extended to all facets of American business, including Hollywood, so it would have been a topic familiar to the writers of “My Favorite Husband” in early January 1951. 

Liz explains her dilemma to Iris, who suggests she phone the jeweler and ask him to hold the check a few days. Liz thinks it is worth a try and calls Mr. Haskell (Hans Conried), who declines to hold the check a moment longer. Liz turns on the tears. Mrs. Haskell (Gege Pearson) gets on the line - she’s unsympathetic to tears. Liz and Iris rush off to get the clock out of George’s office before it is repossessed! 

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Wilbur Hatch’s play-off music is “As Time Goes By” written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became famous when it was featured in the 1942 Warner Brothers film Casablanca performed by Dooley Wilson as Sam (”Play it again, Sam.”) The song was likely chosen to tie-in with the episode’s clock theme. 

End of Part One

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Announcer Bob LeMond does a live commercial, giving a recipe for a quick dessert using Jell-O.  

Part Two

ANNOUNCER: “As we look in on the Coopers once again, Liz is speeding to George’s office to make off with the cuckoo clock before Mr. Haskell, the jeweler, arrives to repossess it. Meanwhile, George Cooper in his office is just going out to lunch.”

George asks his secretary, Miss Russell (Gege Pearson), to wind the cuckoo clock while he is out.  After George leaves, she tries, but overwinds it. She takes it to Haskell’s to be fixed while George is out to lunch. 

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Liz and Iris arrive and can’t find George, Miss Russell, or the cuckoo clock. They assume that Mr. Haskell has gotten there first and repossessed the clock!  They head towards Mr. Haskell’s Jewelry Shop.  

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There they see the clock in the window!  Mr. Haskell explains that the clock in the window isn’t hers, but one just like it. He is a nervous wreck, thanks to a busy Christmas season. Liz still thinks that the window clock is hers, but Mr. Haskell insists it isn’t and won’t give it to her unless she pays for it. She and Iris leave in a huff. 

Outside they scheme to get what they think is their clock back. Liz will divert Mr. Haskell while Iris sneaks the clock out of the store. Iris is scared, but reluctantly agrees.  A whistle will be the signal that Mr. Haskell isn’t looking. 

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Liz tells him she is shopping for Mr. Atterbury, who wants to buy his wife a present. Deciding on a diamond, a clueless Liz guesses that she wants 200 carats!  When Mr. Haskell whistles at the high carat-count, Iris mistakes it for the signal and tries to come in!  Liz blocks the door!  When Haskell goes to the back room for a diamond, Liz suddenly realizes she doesn’t known how to whistle, so calls to the back room asking him to repeat it for her!  Iris gets in and out just as…

MR. HASKELL (returning to the shop): “Would you like me to whistle a chorus of “Come to the Stable, Mabel”?  
LIZ: “No, thanks!  Well, I’ll be running along now!  Bye!” 

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Liz dashes out of the shop and hides the cuckoo clock under her coat!  

At the bank, Liz is greeted by Miss Russell, who tells her George isn’t back from lunch yet. They are shocked to discover that the cuckoo clock is back on the wall. They realize they have stolen Mr. Haskell’s new clock and must return it before he notices it is gone.   

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They arrive at the Haskell’s and find a Policeman (Ken Christy) there. Liz quickly hides the clock under her coat, but it continually ‘cuckoos’ loudly in the presence of the officer!  Just as she’s about to be arrested for theft, Liz settles the matter by writing Mr. Haskell a post-dated check for January 20th - 1953! 

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Lucille Ball could not have known it at the time, but one day earlier, on January 19, 1953, she gave birth to her son, Desi Jr. and on the same evening, Lucy Ricardo gave birth to Little Ricky.  On January 20, 1953, headlines like the one above dominated the nation’s newspapers. 

End of Episode!

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Bob LeMond does another live Jell-O commercial and reminds listeners to look for their ads in leading January magazines. 

[Oops! While announcing the episode’s credits, Bob LeMond mistakenly says “Hans Conried played by Mr. Haskell” instead of the other way around. There is background laughter by the other cast members and LeMond starts to laugh a bit while finishing his announcements.]

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ANNOUNCER: “Be sure to watch for Lucille Ball as a would-be cosmetics dealer in her latest picture ‘The Fuller Brush Girl’.”

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sometimes i watch those snapchat cooking channels bc i’m bored and ohhhhhh. the horrors they’ve inflicted upon me. just saw a video where they made a vanilla sheet cake, poked a bunch of holes in it, poured JELLO. UNSET JELLO. into the holes. there were like 5 different flavors of jello too 😭 then they put cool whip on top of it and gel frosting on top of that

they called it a 70s cake but as i was writing this i was like ‘hmm. my mom’s a boomer who has some real hot takes on “cake purity” i feel like if this had happened during her teens i would’ve heard about it WAAAAY sooner than this lemme google this’ AND as it turns out these people just can’t fucking read. there IS a ‘jello cake’ recipe from the seventies in which u use jello as flavoring for strawberry cake and strawberry cake alone, but like. that’s a normal cake u just put the jello powder in the batter. which is gross don’t get me wrong but like. YOU TOOK THAT. AND MADE IT WORSE!!!! why. why did you pour jello soup into your cake. this is ruining my fucking life

+photo confirmation so no one can call me a liar. you WISH i was a liar

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my bodydy feels likkke jellooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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Champagne Jello Cups

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Champagne Jello Cups

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Layered Jell-O Mousse Cake

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