"The Ballet"
Season 1, Episode 19
#19 in Series
The Ballet
Network: CBS-TV
Air date: February 18, 1952
Written by: Bob Carroll Jr.
Madelyn Davis
Jess Oppenheimer
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Production code: 1-19 / 019
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Breaking the Lease The Young Fans

The Ballet is the nineteenth episode of the first season of I Love Lucy, also the 19th episode of the series. The episode aired on February 19, 1952 and was directed by Marc Daniels.


Lucy performs an unexpected stint as a ballerina, then has a lesson in burlesque from a professional comic. Included is the classic routine "Slowly I Turned". Mary Wickes appears as the ballet teacher.


Lucy finds out Ricky needs both a ballet dancer and a burlesque comic for his new act. She first tries her hand at ballet, and while she shows clear talent in learning the ballet routine, she gets too tired and sore from getting her leg stuck in the barre and being forced by dance instructor Madame LeMond to plie 500 times.

So, she decides to hire a burlesque comic to teach her the other routine. The comic teaches her the routine "Slowly I Turn," and Lucy is battered with getting hit by a fake "rock," soaked with water from a seltzer bottle, and pied in the face whenever she says the name of the comic's ex-lover, Martha. Right after being pied, Ethel calls and tells Lucy that Ricky just hired a burlesque comic, so Lucy's torment was all for naught.

The night of the show, Ethel calls Lucy again. She tells Lucy that one of the performers is sick and can't make it. "You know the routine, right?" Ethel asks. Lucy thinks Ethel means "Slowly I Turn," when, in reality, Ethel is talking about the ballet routine. Lucy rushes down to the club in her burlesque costume and can't believe her eyes when she sees the ballet dancers from Madame LeMond's studio. Not to be denied her time in the spotlight, Lucy starts performing the ballet routine, until she realizes that the song Ricky is singing in the background is the ever appropriate song "Martha." She beats the dancers and squirts them with seltzer water, until the two male dancers carry her out at the end of the song. But Lucy managed to pick up her pie on the way out, and she hits Ricky squarely in the face the final time he sings "Martha." When Lucy goes home, Ricky gets even by dousing her with a bucket of water he hid above the front door.


  • Lucy has very obvious and noticeable bruises all over her arms and legs when she's in her petunia outfit. These bruises came from training hard for the ballet scenes all week.
  • Later in her career, Lucille Ball supported a rumor that the part where she got her leg stuck in the barre was really an ad-lib. It has since been discovered that this was no ad-lib. The whole scenario was fully described in the script.
  • Lucy had trouble keeping up the loose straps of her tutu at Madame LeMond's. The straps kept falling down, and Lucy had to keep pulling them up.
  • One of the flowered hair pieces Lucy is wearing during the ballet practice comes out during one of her twirls. She quickly fixes it.
  • Listen after the burlesque comic pies Lucy. You can hear Desi Arnaz laughing loudly and distinctively in the audience.
  • Too bad Ricky isn't at Madame LeMond's to watch Lucy rehearse. He would have been able to hear Madame LeMond say how much natural talent Lucy does indeed have.
  • This is the first time both Lucy and Desi ever receive a pie in the face.
  • Madame LeMond was named after Bob LeMond, the announcer on My Favorite Husband.

Exceprts from scene from "The Ballet"Edit

  • Fred: (about Lucy being a ballet petunia) She has got nice stems!
  • Ricky: What WAS the terrible accident on the street car, Fred?

Fred: Well, a man had his eye on a seat, and a woman sat on it! What a pip-er-roo! Remember now- you promised not to use it!

  • Ricky: That's one promise I will never break...
  • Lucy: Here I am with all this talent bottled up inside of me, and you're always sitting on the cork!
  • Burlesque comic: I never mention her name, because, when I do, everything turns black in front of me. That's why I never mention her name. But it's the same name as George Washington's wife.
  • Lucy: "Martha"?
  • Comic: Martha- that's it! Slowly I turn! Step by step, inch by inch, I crept up on the beast who ruined my life!
  • Lucy: You should have met me before you met M-... Oh! I almost said "Martha"! (gasps)
  • Lucy: (about pie) Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!
  • Comic: On the floor?
  • Lucy: No, let ME have it!
  • Comic: Okay! (pies Lucy in face)


Guest StarringEdit