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(CBS11) – This Christmas evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., CBS will rebroadcast the I Love Lucy Christmas Special and two colorized Dick Van Dyke Show episodes. As a former TV syndicator told me years ago, “funny is funny.” So true.

Years ago I was asked at a meeting of Leadership Fort Worth, “If you had your choice who would you like to have as your neighbors?” Me being the TV geek of the group, I responded “The Ricardos & The Mertzes” but I would add Rob and Laura Petrie, too. That response got some strange looks, mainly due to a generational gap of people in the audience! But in the history of filmed entertainment on TV, it gets no better than I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke.

This triggered a memory for me of an I Love Lucy episode called, “Lucy and Ethel Buy The Same Dress” which debuted on October 19, 1953 on CBS. In this episode, Lucy and Ethel have a chance to appear on local New York TV through the efforts of the manager’s wife, Carolyn Appleby (Doris Singleton). In the course of preparing for their musical gig, the girls (unbeknownst to each other) buy the identical gown. While they agreed that one of them should change, when it came to showtime, they both wore the same gown! Needless to say, they were both mad at each other and at points during the song, they began to rip each other’s dress apart until Ricky and Fred step in and separate them as the show concludes.

The I Love Lucy show was known for presenting musical numbers, especially by Desi Arnaz and his orchestra. Vivian Vance and William Frawley also sang. Lucille Ball actually had a decent voice in real life but Lucy Ricardo couldn’t sing worth a hoot! In this episode, the girls perform “Friendship,” written in 1939 by Cole Porter. It starts off like this:

“If you’re ever in a jam, here I am.
If you’re ever in a mess, S.O.S.
If you’re so happy, you land in jail. I’m your bail.
It’s friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship.
When other friendships are soon forgot, ours will still be hot.
Da da da da da da dig dig dig.”

Below is a version performed by Red Skelton and Lucille Ball in the 1943 MGM movie “Du Barry Was A Lady” (Ball’s voice was dubbed by Martha Mears):

Happy Holidays everyone!!

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