In episode 39 of “I Love Lucy,” the show’s red-headed heroine and her neighbor, Ethel, take jobs at a local chocolate factory. Lucy, claiming previous experience, is put to work as a chocolate dipper. (She ends up enrobing herself in the process.) Meanwhile, Ethel is asked to box chocolates. (She’s removed from said assignment for “pinching them to see what kind they were.”)
After both women fail miserably at their assigned tasks, they’re given a shot at the wrapping line (and told they’ll be fired if even one piece of candy gets past them). When they can’t keep up, Lucy and Ethel stuff their mouths, hats and blouses with chocolates, unbeknownst to the forewoman, who’s so impressed with their performance that she increases the line speed. The slapstick comedy sends the live studio audience into hysterics … and still makes me laugh out loud.
It was with this comedic setup in mind that I wrote a song for the annual benefit show at the Woman’s Club of Evanston (Ill.). My number - a parody of Devo’s 1980 hit, “Whip It” - stars Lucy alongside June Cleaver (played by yours truly) and Harriet Nelson, the latter two portraying picture-perfect ’50s housewives “whipping” up cakes for their families. Meanwhile, Lucy can’t get anything right as she attempts to “bake that batch” of chocolate chippers before Ricky arrives home. The cookies come out burnt, and Lucy ends up drunk.
Among the other numbers in this year’s show is one in which Mother Goose (dubbed a “Loosey-Goose Mother”) ruins the lives of Little Bo Peep, Jack and Jill, and Little Miss Muffet by remembering the one time the shepherdess lost her flock, maliciously pushing the aforementioned couple down a hill and sneaking up behind Muffet’s tuffet with a spider.
As writer and co-director of the “I Love Lucy”-based skit, “Half-Baked,” I was charged with a show tradition: purchasing gifts for cast members as tokens of thanks for their hard work. Luckily, I remembered having received just the thing at a recent All Candy Expo.
Perhaps best known for its old-fashioned fudge, hand-dipped caramel apples and gourmet truffles, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also produces Lucy’s Chocolate Factory brand products. The lineup includes Lucy’s Cashew Dippers, Lucy’s Almond Toffee, Lucy’s Truffle Hearts, Lucy’s Big Dipper and the assorted varieties of Lucy’s Milk Chocolate Bar I selected.
In addition, RMCF offers bottles of Lucy’s Vitamameatavegamin, based on an equally inspiring episode of the classic TV sitcom in which Lucy rehearses several takes of a commercial for the aptly named “health” product. “It’s so tasty,” she states, choking down spoonful after spoonful. “Just like candy.” (It’s also 23% alcohol. You can guess what happens to Lucy as a result …)
While placing my order online at www.rmcf.com, I contacted customer service for assistance. It was suggested that I visit a nearby retail location instead. RMCF operates franchises in several states, plus Canada, and has done so since 1982. (“WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD did you ever dream of owning your own candy store?” its Web site asks. “Why not follow your dreams by becoming a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchisee? We are looking for individuals with the right ingredients to follow our recipe for success.”)
Upon visiting two RMCF stores, I discovered that neither carried the product I sought. But another call to customer service resulted in the timely delivery of my chocolates … and free shipping! Many thanks to the folks at RMCF’s Durango, Colo., headquarters for fulfilling my needs.
Many thanks, too, for commemorating a comedic legend (and two of the best episodes of “I Love Lucy”), as stated online by Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz: “To put Lucy together with chocolate and create a lasting tribute to my parents and ‘I Love Lucy,’ their legendary television show, has been a dream of mine for over a decade. My brother, Desi, and I are confident that we have just found that in Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.”
Green with CandyConfections played more than one role in the Woman’s Club of Evanston’s annual benefit show. For a pre-intermission skit called “Concession Confessions” (during which the cast convinces the club’s president that the performance “is best while drinking booze”), I chose to dress as my favorite M&M’Scharacter: Ms. Green.
I don’t know that I did her good looks justice in my homemade green cloth costume, but I did try to channel the cheeky attitude of Ms. Green, whose profile at www.mms.com reveals a level of confidence befitting one of the most popular chocolate candies on the planet.
“I melt for no one,” Ms. Green asserts.
Under the heat of the bright stage lights, I wish I could say the same.