Mai Tai in Pop Culture will be a recurring segment here on the Ultimate Mai Tai blog. For this edition we are focusing on the Season 1 episode of Here’s Lucy called “Lucy and the Ex-Con.”
In this episode, Lucy (Lucille Ball) meets a reformed ex-con named Rocky (Wally Cox) who is wrongly accused of stealing diamonds from a safe. Lucy and Rocky go undercover as old ladies to find a way into the office of a South Seas themed bar to find the safe and prove someone else stole the diamonds.
When Lucy realizes that patrons who have too much to drink are led into the bar’s office to sleep it off, she comes up with a plan to pretend to get drunk on Mai Tais. “Might I have a Mai Tai,” Lucy cleverly asks, and is then informed that the Mai Tai “packs a punch” and is made with seven kinds of rum.
Lucy needs to stay sober, so smartly pours her drinks into a bowl of popcorn. Meanwhile, Rocky is drinking Mai Tai after Mai Tai for real. In order to demonstrate that the Mai Tais are having the desired effect, Lucy hula dances to “Sweet Leilani” and the “Hawaiian War Chant.”
“Lucy and the Ex-Con” is actually pretty funny, with some good physical humor by both Ball and Cox. It is also an interesting time capsule of the cultural awareness of Mai Tais in the late 1960s.
More info about this episode is available on the Papermoon Loves Lucy Tumblr.