The Adventures Of Superman and I Love Lucy

The Adventures Superman (1952-1957)
I Love Lucy (1951-1961)
Type: Non-Crossover

   You know those optical illusion drawings where if you look at it one way it looks like a vase but if you look at it another way it's two faces? Or the one where it can look like either a young lady or an old crone? Yeah, this is the crossover equivalent of those drawings. Look at it one way it's a crossover. Look at it the other way, it's not a crossover at all. It's the Schrödinger's Cat of crossover: simultaneously a true crossover and utterly not a crossover. But can't leave the cat in that box. I gotta open that box and call it one way or another. I gotta! I can't live with it being both at once, dancing on that razor's edge! I have to call it one or the other and I call this one… not a crossover! Sad but true.

   Here's the situation. I Love Lucy did an episode titled Lucy And Superman. The plot has Lucy throwing a birthday party for her son Little Ricky on the same day that her friend is throwing a birthday party for her son. Both kids had the same friends so it becomes a competition to see who can come up with the more spectacular party to attract the most kids. Each side keeps upping the ante on what the entertainment for their party will be until Lucy comes up with the ultimate trump card: she'll get Superman to show at Little Ricky's party! Lucy's husband Ricky is an entertainment big shot and so she figures he can probably snag Supes for the party. Only Ricky fails to get The Man Of Steel. In desperation Lucy dresses up in a half baked Superman outfit for the party and plans to sell that she really is Superman by going out on the ledge outside her apartment and making her entrance through the window. Only, go figure, things don't go according to plan. The bad news is Lucy ends up locked out and trapped on the ledge. The good news is Ricky ends up actually showing up with Superman! And once everyone realizes Lucy is trapped out on the ledge, Superman goes out on the ledge and rescues her. And there is much rejoicing (yayyy).

   Now the Superman in this episode is George Reeves who played Superman on the 50's series The Adventures Of Superman. To a whole generation of kids he WAS Superman. I'm guessing many of them believed in him like they believed in Santa. That being the case, the Lucy writers did some clever writing. See, it's possible that in the Lucy episode George Reeves is playing himself, George Reeves star of Superman. But it's also possible that he is supposed to actually be playing Superman. The writers handle things so that you can see it either way. Throughout the episode they only ever refer to George Reeves as Superman. So is he really Superman or just an actor so identified with his role that people just refer to him by his character name? He never does anything heroic beyond what George Reeves himself would be capable of. No flying or anything. A family could watch this episode and the adults would see him as the actor and the kids would see him as literally being Superman. Very clever but very annoying for figuring this out.

   As I've said, I fall on the side of George Reeves playing himself and thus their not being a true connection between I Love Lucy and The Adventures Of Superman. Why do I see it that way? Well really, it's quite simple: I'm not clinically insane. Practically speaking, the interpretation that he's George Reeves, star of Superman just makes more common sense. First off, Lucy thinks Ricky can get Superman for the party. Ricky is in entertainment, has showbiz connection. It makes sense that she would think Ricky could have the connections to connect with a TV star. It makes less sense that Ricky would have the connections to get in touch with an actual super hero let alone get him to come to his kid's party. And Lucy meeting up with a famous celebrity is 100% in keeping with the I Love Lucy Show. Tons of episodes are based on that premise, whereas the idea that Lucy's world would include a super powered alien jettisoned as a child from a dying planet… that just seems unlikely. It's just too weird.

   Now, if you're a child at heart and just want to believe a man in the Lucy-verse can fly, well more power to ya. But for me, having to make the call, I have to be a spoil sport and say I don't think so. At the very least it's vague and I don't do vague. For me to count a crossover I want pretty definite proof which this episode is lacking. I loves Lucy and I loves Superman but I just don't buy it.

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Even though this is a non-cross, still, why not buy some Lucy or Superman on DVD from Amazon and help support the site? Lucy Meets Superman can be found in season 6 of I Love Lucy. Main Page/ Email Me