"Lucy Fakes Illness"
Season 1, Episode 16
#16 in Series
Lucy Fakes Illness
Network: CBS-TV
Air date: January 28, 1952
Written by: Bob Carroll Jr.
Madelyn Davis
Jess Oppenheimer
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Production code: 1-16 / 016
Episode guide
IMDB Lucy Fakes Illness
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Lucy Fakes Illness is the sixteenth episode of the first season of I Love Lucy, also the 16th overall in the series. Directed by Marc Daniels, it first aired on CBS-TV on January 28, 1952.


Lucy fears that if Ricky keeps refusing to hire her as part of his night club act, she may just have a nervous breakdown. She suffers from the "three stages" of one-amnesia, delusions of being Tallulah Bankhead and regression to childish behavior. Ricky learns of the trick and quickly turns the tables by inviting a "doctor" to the house to examine Lucy.

Ricky is distraught by Lucy's unusual behavior until he finds out from Fred that Ethel revealed how Lucy is just faking. To get even, he hires an actor friend to play the part of a doctor, and he has his friend diagnose Lucy with a rare disease called the go-bloots. The last stage of this lethal disease makes one's skin turn green, so Ricky puts in a green light bulb in the lamp beside Lucy's bed while she's taking a nap.

When Lucy wakes up and discovers that she's green, she believes that she only has minutes to live. Ricky has his orchestra come in to play her a farewell dirge, but the band shakes the room with the peppy jazz number "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You" instead. Lucy can't believe that her husband is taking her impending death so well, and that's when Ricky reveals that the case of the go-bloots was all a hoax.

The episode ends when Lucy tells Ricky that, while she was "sick," he said she could be in the show. Ricky pretends to feign amnesia just like Lucy did, to avoid talking about the subject.


  • The go-bloots is a rare tropical disease that is carried into America on the hind legs of the boo-shoo bird.
  • The go-bloots can lead to a person needing to have part or all of their zorch removed via zorchectomy. But even if the doctors are able to save half of a person's zorch, the person will never be able to trummle again. Trummling is an involuntary internal process that much is unknown about.
  • If you turn green while having the go-bloots, you will be dead in 30 minutes.
  • The three complexes that Lucy adopts from the abnormal psychology book are acting like a famous actress (in Lucy's case, "Taloo," an imitation of Tallulah Bankhead), developing amnesia, and acting like a child.
  • Lucy fans will recognize the actor who plays phony Dr. Stevenson as also having played Eddie Grant in "Lucy Is Matchmaker."
  • One part of the episode that doesn't make sense is when Ethel comes in to find Lucy colored green. Ethel, of course, didn't know that Ricky secretly changed the lamp's bulb to a green one, but wouldn't Ethel have noticed that SHE was seeing everything colored in green, too?! You'd think that Ethel would either have figured out the trick from the sudden appearance of the green light, or at least think that she had caught the go-bloots, too.
  • This episode was rerun during season 2. The new "flashback" intro has Fred faking his "yearly case of lumbago" to get out of cleaning the furnace. Ethel knows Fred's faking, and she proves it by pretending to have tickets to a show that night. Fred, of course, wants to go to the show, so he suddenly "recovers" from his lumbago. Fred asks, "Are the seats good?" Ethel replies with, "They sure are- right in front of the furnace!" Ricky then chides Fred for faking, saying how nobody ever falls for "that phony sick routine." Ethel and Fred remind him when he fell for it with Lucy and her "psychological problems."
  • A good bit of the beginning scene of this episode, regarding Fred and Ethel showing Lucy the ad in Variety, was cut for syndication. The DVD restored the episode to its full length.


Guest StarringEdit

  • Hal March as Himself