By Ken Foote

(CBS11) – Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a friend of Ricky and Lucy Ricardo AND Fred and Ethel Mertz? I would!!!

One of their greatest episodes is from Season 4 (1954-1955) called “First Stop.” Produced by Desi Arnaz and Jess Oppenheimer and written by Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll, Jr., the two couples have been on the road from New York City en route to Hollywood for Ricky’s Hollywood film debut in “Don Juan.” It is getting dark while driving and they decide to stop for the night at an old rickety motel in Ohio run by a man named George Skinner, played by character actor Olin Howland.

Howland got his start in musicals at the turn of the century and later was featured in silent movies, but his theatre training earned him numerous character actor roles in over 200 movies, such as “Angel & The Badman” (1947) and “The Spirit of St. Louis” (1957). He was also known for his work in mysteries and dramas, as well as horror movies such as “The Blob.” He was cast in five episodes of “The Real McCoys” starring Walter Brennan 1958 and 1959 that aired on ABC Television.

When the Ricardos and Mertzs get to the motel, they are starving and want to have dinner, but when asked what they wanted to eat and place their orders, Mr. Skinner is out of everything but one item: a cheese sandwich! They finally decide to call it a night and they end up having to share an old cabin located right off the railroad tracks. And every time the train came by, the cabin would shake! Obviously, nobody got any sleep! When they try to leave early, they find that Mr Skinner has “booby trapped” their car and they set off the alarm. But they find that their steering wheel is missing! Ethel asks Mr. Skinner “what made you think we would leave early?” Mr. Skinner, “Well everybody does.” Finally they get their steering wheel back….but for the cost of $16!

“First Stop” premiered on the CBS Television Network on January 17, 1955.

Enjoy the laughs!