"Lucy Hunts Uranium" & It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Don't have time to sit through the hilarious three hour "comedy to end all comedies" called It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)? Then take a gander at a shorter, yet strikingly similar story - "Lucy Hunts Uranium" an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour originally aired on January 3, 1958 for CBS.

Ricky and Lucy Ricardo (Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) are in Las Vegas for Ricky's musical show.

With their neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz (William Frawley and Vivian Vance) and guest star Fred MacMurray as himself, the quintet stumbles upon uranium in the Nevada desert. There's a rush to the claim's office for cash.

In the feature-length, all-star movie Mad World (Originally titled "So Many Thieves," then "Something a Little Less Serious"), a dying gangster tells passers-by where he hid stolen money. The group of strangers (including Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney and Jonathan Winters) must decide what to do next.

In each story there is

The preliminary discussion of percentage shares of the potential cash.

A car chase through the desert

A convertible getting stuck.
1947 Ford Super De Luxe Convertible Club Coupe [79A]

A meetup at a gas station.


No one ends up in the vehicle in which he/she started.

And general slapstick malarkey

"I Love Lucy" veteran writers Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Martin, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf penned the "Uranium" script.

Writer William Rose and his wife/co-writer Tania Price Rose wrote the Mad World script. Rose, known for writing screenplays in both the U.S. and the U.K., originally set the script in Scotland. The Mad World comedy chase might have been inspired by a story for which he is credited in Genevieve (1953), a plot which involves two people racing against each other.

Both scripts take human motivations -like greed- and dial it up to wacky proportions.  They are each an hilarious tribute to comedy on film.

File:Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Trailer16.jpg

Further Resources


  1. I know both of those, and never put it together as you have! Good catch! (I love Jimmy Durante, don't you?)

    1. I have only just watched this episode. It came to me when that skinflint Fred started saying he wouldn't get as much as anyone else, sounding a lot like Jonathan Winters in Mad World.

      Then when MacMurray's car gets stuck, I could hear Phil Silvers saying "This is no place for a convertible!"

      Love Durante. Too bad he doesn't get more time in the film. One of my favorites of his movies is Two Sisters from Boston, since he's both comical and tender as Kathryn Grayson's best friend.

  2. A great comparison of these two classics! I've seen both many many times and love them equally but never noticed how many similarities there were between them.

    1. I wonder what it would have been like set in Scotland, as it was originally planned. That would have been interesting.

  3. How come lucy wasn't in amd mad world?

  4. That's a very good question. I wish I knew the answer.

    Lucille Ball was still famous when this movie was made, she's a comedian, she as a TV and movie star, all of her fans would have bought movie tickets... It makes sense from every direction.

    There might have been a scheduling conflict.

    She was in the middle of her successful sitcom THE LUCY SHOW when this movie was filmed. Maybe that's it.

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Java/ Deborah


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"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email: java-rush@hotmail.com


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