I Love Rock
TV Episode of I Love Lucy
"I Love Lucy" was revolutionary when introducing new and controversial concepts to Middle Class America; "mixed marriage" between Lucy and Ricky, Lucy's pregnancy, laugh track of mostly Desi Arnaz laughing. In this rarely seen episode "I Love Rock" 1954, introduces Fred's love for his fellow man. Though not often depicted in 1950's television, the "I Love Lucy" producers and writers decided to "out" Fred Mertz's homosexuality. After it's initial airing, "I Love Rock" was quietly retired due to the nature of the subject. "I love Rock" gained notoriety after the deaths of Rock Hudson and Danny Kaye.
During one of the Ricardos' trips to Los Angeles Ricky gets to have lunch with leading men and movie stars "Rock Hudson" and "Danny Kaye" at the Brown Derby Restaurant. Not to be left out, Lucy, Ethel and Fred scheme to get themselves included, Lucy and Ethel because of the thrill of meeting famous people. Fred however has a different agenda. He has always felt different than most men and now he has this unusual attraction to Rock Hudson, not as a leading man or movie star but a love that cannot be named (1950's television ethics).
After Ricky, Lucy, Ethel and Fred meet the celebrities, the six decide to go up the California coast for a day's outing. Lucy and Ethel manage to ride with their favorite, Danny Kaye, while Ricky and Fred ride with Rock Hudson. During the road trip, the Rock Hudson threesome get hit by a mudslide, knocking the car over a cliff and trapping the men. Fearing their deaths Ricky starts confessing about all the things he should have done for Lucy and his friends. Not to be out done, Fred confesses about all the bad things he's done to Ethel and then in a moment of truth he tells Rock Hudson of his dying love for him and that he has never done what he has always longed for. Fred then grabs Rock and kisses him on the lips.
Just in time Danny, Lucy and Ethel show up with a tow truck to save the threesome.
The episode ends with Ricky saying, "Fred, you got some splainin to do."
Reaction to the Episode
Critics did not have much to say about the "I Love Rock" episode in their laissez faire approach to the private lives of Hollywood celebrities. Most reviews were tepid and did not mention Fred's confession. The viewing public also thought nothing of the episode until a young evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart, started haranguing the producers for publicizing a sin. For this reason, "I Love Rock" is rarely televised.