Lucille Ball played the world’s worst camp cook in ‘The Lucy Show’

Lucille Ball making a mess of things on the assembly line of a candy factory is an iconic moment in television history, but a lesser known run-in with food preparation in her career came 12 years later while playing a fill-in cook at a summer camp.

The camp kitchen disaster came in the third season of her post-I Love Lucy sitcom The Lucy Show, where she plays widow Lucille Carmichael.


In the episode, “Lucy, the Camp Cook,” she goes to visit camp on visitors day only to discover that the cooks had quit and she and best friend Vivian volunteer to take their place. While they know very little about cooking for a large group of boys, they take the job because they are short on cash and want their boys to be able to stay at camp another two weeks.

Just as she did at the candy factory when she played Lucy Ricardo, Lucy makes an absolute mess of the camp kitchen, destroying 200 eggs in one fell swoop, dropping heavy pans all over the kitchen and busting a huge hole in the floor with a really heavy pot.


The camp is never referred to by name and most of the episode takes place inside the kitchen but there is also a scene in the boys’ cabin (they call themselves the Rat Finks) when Lucy and Viv first arrive. The director, Mr. Slater (Harvey Korman), sings what sounds like “Hail to thee, Camp Awakee” but wears a ball hat with a letter T on it.

The episode is available to watch online on MeTV.


Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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