‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Did This to Prevent Injury During ‘The Handcuffs’ Episode

by Katie Maloney

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used one wild trick during one famous episode of I Love Lucy.

Every I Love Lucy fan knows that, during every episode of the show, Lucy was sure to get into trouble of some kind. And, of course, that was the case in the season two, episode four episode titled “The Handcuffs.” During the episode, Lucy attaches herself to Ricky using old handcuffs from Fred. What she doesn’t realize is that Fred doesn’t have the key to unlock them. So, Lucy and Ricky are stuck together for the rest of the night, and hilarity ensues. But filming just one scene of an episode can take hours, and being in handcuffs for an entire day can start to hurt. So, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used a special trick to protect their wrists from being rubbed too hard while filming.

If you pause the video during the I Love Lucy scene when Lucy and Ricky are trying to figure out how to undress, you can see that the couple is wearing ace bandages around their wrists so they don’t get hurt by the handcuffs. The scene is, by far, one of the funniest of the episodes. As Both Lucy and Ricky start to remove their jackets, they realize that neither of them is going to be able to fully remove their clothes before going to bed.

I Love Lucy – “The Handcuffs” clip (getting ready for bed) from Eden on Vimeo.

What Other Tricks Did Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz Use On I Love Lucy?

Undoubtedly, I Love Lucy is a hilarious show. Even decades after the show aired, the jokes still land today. And we’ve seen enough bloopers to know that it’s tough for actors to keep a straight face during serious movies let alone hilarious scenes. So, how did Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz keep from laughing during scenes? Arnaz had a special trick. To keep him from laughing, he bit the inside of his cheek hard to help keep a straight face.

But once he was off-camera, all bets were off. He allowed himself to laugh just as hard as the live studio audience watching the show play out. In fact, you can hear Arnaz laughing off-camera during a scene from the episode titled “Lucy Does A Commercial.” During the scene, Lucy is auditioning for her part in a Vitameatavegamin commercial. She hilariously recites her lines, “Are you tired, run-down, listless. Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle.” But as she tastes a spoonful of the product, she unexpectedly has to hide her disgust. The I Love Lucy audience bursts into laughter watching Lucy try to choke down the supplement. And if you listen carefully, you can hear Desi Arnaz laughing out loud along with them.

Hilarious scene from I Love Lucy