CTVA US Comedy - "Life with Luigi" (CBS )(1952-53) J. Carrol Naish, Vito Scotti

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The Classic TV Archive - US Comedy Series
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Life with Luigi (1952)
Episode Guide compiled by The Classic TV Archive
with contributions by: Robert Leszczak, Tom Alger [Updated Oct 2017]
references:
TV Guide / Library of Congress (telnet://locis.loc.gov)
Internet Movie Database (http://us.imdb.com)
UCLA Film and Television Archive
Writers Guild of America (wga)

---------------
LIFE WITH LUIGI (season 1 title 1952)
THE NEW LIFE WITH LUIGI (season 2 title 1953)
---------------
Production Company (not known) for
CBS (Mondays 9:30pm ET)(season 1 - 1952)
CBS (Thursdays - time slot not known)(season 2 - 1953)
Produced by Mac Benoff, Cy Howard, Calvin Kuhl, Norman Tokar
Directed by Mac Benoff
Based on the radio series of the same name on the CBS radio network (21-Sep-58 to 03-Mar-53)

US Comedy series 1952; 1953   ? eps x 30 min
22Sep52-29Dec52; 9Apr53-4Jun53

Starring: (1952)
J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1 (1952)
 
Premise:
Problems of an Italian antique dealer in Chicago.

 ############### Life with Luigi ##############
################ season 1 1952 ###############
##############################################
CBS (Mondays 9:30pm ET)(22Sep52-29Dec52)
Starring: (1952)
J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1 (1952)
Alan Reed as Pasquale #1 (1952)
Jody Gilbert as Rosa #1 (1952)
Mary Shipp as Miss Spaulding (recurring)
Note:
Every episode of the J. Carrol Naish version begins and ends with Luigi writing a letter to his mama in Italy. [RL]

1.01 [--] Life with Luigi: CITIZENSHIP (temporary title) [verified -RL]
22Sep1952 CBS Mon. 9:30pm Eastern
Produced by Mac Benoff
Directed by Ralph Levy
Written by Lou Derman and Mac Benoff
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Guest cast
Joe Forte ......... Horowitz
Ken Peters ........ Olson
Porter Hall
Pierre Watkins
Hal March
Kay Wiley … store customer
Jan Arvan
Synopsis 1:
Pasquale tries to sabotage Luigi's chance at U.S. citizenship by mailing a bribe to the judge. [TA]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi is about to take his citizenship test, but Pasquale thinks Luigi may need a bit of help, so he mails
a bribe in Luigi's name to the judge. His attempt to help backfires, and Luigi is almost deported. [RL]
Synopsis 3:
Luigi applies for citizenship papers as he makes his first appearance on video at 9:30 on Channel 2 -
in "Life with Luigi." J. Carroll Naish continues his role as Luigi.
Others in the cast are Alan Reed as Pasquale; Jody Gilbert, Rosa; Mary Shipp, Luigi's night school
teacher; and Sig Human, Ken Peters and Joe Forte. [Long Beach Press Telegram /TA]
Synopsis 4:
On this opening show, Luigi takes out his first citizenship papers and it's a great day for him and
his viewers, too.[Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 5:
Excerpts from newspaper review:
"The first installment revolved around Luigi's getting his first citizenship papers. Three of the
characters were his classmates in a citizenship class, each of them so horribly picturesque they made me faintly ill.
"This stanza ended in a courtroom where it looked for a moment as if Luigi would not only be denied
citizenship but might, through the machinations of Pasquale, land in jail.
"His three picturesque classmates showed up, spouting broken English, everyone talked at once and had
a good cry and the scene ended with a pledge of allegiance to
the flag, a bit of sentimentality which drove me to the kitchen in search of strong waters."
[John Crosby's "Radio and Television" column, Portsmouth (Ohio) Times, 30Sep52]
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNpxg76BYn8

1.02 [--] Life with Luigi: LIFE INSURANCE POLICY (temporary title)
29Sep1952 CBS Mon
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
CIGAR SICK — Luigi (played by J. Carroll Naish) takes out a $50,000 life insurance policy with the
"Rosa Finance Co." In hopes of marrying off his plump daughter, Rosa, persistent Pasquale arranges
the insurance. Luigi tries to fail the examination and this leads to cigar sickness.
[Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi is invited to have a cigar and an insurance policy and another hilarious adventure of the little
Italian emigrant gets under way on Life With Luigi. [San Mateo Times, 6Oct1952 - delayed local broadcast /TA]

1.03 [--] Life with Luigi: DATE WITH AN AMERICAN GIRL (temporary title)
06Oct1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Guest cast:
Jeanne Cagney
Synopsis:
LUIGI'S DATE— For the first time. Luigi, the Italian immigrant, has a date with an American girl during
his "Life With Luigi" on KNXT (2) at 9:30 p. m. starring J. Carroll Naish. The American girl will be
played by Jeanne Cagney. [Long Beach Independent /TA]

1.04 [--] Life with Luigi: COUGH SYRUP (temporary title)
13Oct1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
ALL THE WAY—Luigi, as played by J. Carroll Naish, believes a drug store clerk who tells him that a cough
syrup will cure him or he can get "double his money back." This leads the little Italian immigrant through
a series of conversations from the clerk clear to the president of the cough medicine company. [Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi disrupts the operation of a cough syrup factory. [San Mateo Times, 20Oct1952 delayed local broadcast /TA]

1.05 [--] Life with Luigi: PASQUALE INSULTS LUIGI (temporary title)
20Oct1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
Luigi is prompted by friends to stand up to Pasquale's insults. They iron out their troubles before the
half hour is up. [Long Beach Press Telegram /TA]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi has a tiff with Pasquale, who has insulted him. A stronger friendship than before is the result
in a surprising climax on Life With Luigi. [San Mateo Times, 27Oct1952 delayed local broadcast /TA]

1.06 [--] Life with Luigi: POLITICAL ENTHUSIAST (temporary title)
27Oct1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
Alarmed at a lack at interest in the approaching election, Luigi gets busy on his show tonight at 9:30 on KNXT (2).
[Long Beach Press Telegram /TA]

1.07 [--] Life with Luigi: THE VIOLIN (temporary title)
03Nov1952 CBS Mon
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
FIDDLER - Luigi, the poor immigrant (J. Carroll Naish) helps a young musician get a violin during "Life With Luigi."
[Long Beach Independent /TA]

1.08 [--] Life with Luigi: BLOCK PARTY (temporary title)
10Nov1952 CBS Mon
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
BIG PARTY — Luigi discovers that the street upon which his antique shop is located is 50 years old so (he)
decides to throw a block party in order that everyone will know everyone. [Long Beach Independent /TA]

1.09 [--] Life with Luigi: LUIGI VS. THE GAS COMPANY (temporary title)
17Nov1952 CBS Mon
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
The old policy, "Take it to the top man," works for Luigi when he is shunted about the gas company with an
over-sized bill. He makes his way to the president of the company before the matter is settled. [Long Beach Independent /TA]

1.10 [--] Life with Luigi: LUIGI VS. THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (temporary title)
24Nov1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
Luigi (J. Carrol Naish) plants himself (in) a tree and refuses to come down until the electric company promises
to leave the tree doomed for destruction. [Long Beach Press Telegram /TA]
Synopsis 2:
MORE UTILITIES — Luigi saves a tree in his yard from being chopped down by the electric company by planting
himself in the tree until the power company gives up and re-routes the lines.
Show is on KNXT (2) at 9:30 p. m. starring J. Carroll Naish. Last week he was the nemesis of the gas company.
[Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 3:
Luigi turns nature lover on "Life with Luigi" on KPIX at 8:30pm [San Mateo Times, delayed 1Dec52 broadcast]

1.11 [--] Life with Luigi: LUIGI'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS (temporary title)
1Dec1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis 1:
Luigi's Christmas gifts get mixed up in wrapping on the "Life With Luigi" show on channel 2 at 9:30.
[Long Beach Press Telegram /TA]
Synopsis 2:
RED TAPE—Luigi lets Rosa wrap his mother's Christmas gift, which is damaged by the post office,
and later discovered it was Pasquale's gift that was wrapped by mistake. [Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 3:
Luigi lets Rosa wrap his mother's Christmas present on "Life With Luigi" on KRON-TV at 8 o'clock.
[San Mateo Times, delayed 22Sep52 broadcast]

1.12 [--] Life with Luigi: THE PHONE BOOTH (temporary title) [verified -RL]
8Dec1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee
Show's announcer is John Milton Kennedy
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis 1:
To increase business and traffic in his antiques shop, Luigi Basco puts in a pay phone booth.
He also shares his shop with a plastic salesman named Joe Price, who earns the friendship of
Pasquale when he whistles at Pasquale's obese daughter, Rosa - and almost takes over the entire store. [RL]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi has a phone booth installed in his antique shop and
winds up with troubles on his wires. [Long Beach Independent /TA]
Synopsis 3:
Luigi has a telephone booth installed in his antique shop and through his innocent hospitality finds
that a traveling salesman has moved in and is using the phone booth as an office.
[San Mateo Times, delayed 15Dec1952 broadcast /TA]
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvgsY7knBRo

1.13 [--] Life with Luigi: A VISIT FROM SANTA CLAUS (temporary title)
15Dec1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
No Santa Claus? - Of course there is and Luigi sets out
to prove it to a bunch of underprivileged kids in his neighborhood. Aided by Pasquale and Rose,
the latter as Santa Claus, the Christmas party is a howling success.
[Long Beach Independent /TA]

1.14 [--] Life with Luigi:
22Dec1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis not available.
Note:
This might be the stock market episode described in the Feb. 20, 1953 article below (in the "Newspaper Articles" section).

1.15 [--] Life with Luigi: SCOUTMASTER LUIGI (temporary title)
29Dec1952 CBS Mon.
Starring: J. Carrol Naish as Luigi Basco #1
Synopsis:
LUIGI SCOUTS — Becoming a Scoutmaster as part of his desire to be a good American citizen (an idea for many of us),
Luigi takes his troop on a hike, leaving one lad behind. His worries about the Boy Scout handling the store
prove unfounded on "Life with Luigi."
[Long Beach Independent /TA]

Note:
Even though the show had great ratings, and was one of CBS' top shows of the year, the show was pulled because
of pressure and complaints from Italian-Americans over their portrayal on the show. The show was re-worked,
but never had the same charm and the NEW, more ethnic-friendly version failed. [RL]

Note:
The "Life with Luigi" RADIO series, meanwhile, continued through March 3, 1953.
According to newspaper reports, J. Carrol Naish quit the radio series so he could concentrate on his movie career.
Excerpt from Hedda Hopper's newspaper column (Mar. 19, 1953):
"Carrol (J. Carrol Naish) tells me that after five years of "Life with Luigi" on radio he will not return
to the show unless the sponsors let him tape it. "He's had to turn down numerous picture offers because
he couldn't go on long, location trips. When he goes back on TV, it'll be strictly for character parts.
"Cy Howard, creator of "Luigi," says the show will be back on television as soon as it's reorganized with
a possible change of cast."

############### Life with Luigi ##############
############# End of Season 1 ################
##############################################
 The New Life with Luigi  (season 2 title -1953)
Starring:
Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2 (1953)

########### The New Life with Luigi ##########
############ Newspaper Articles ##############
##############################################

[--] newspaper article:
Denton Journal, Denton, Maryland
Friday, February 20, 1953
"DEAR MAMA MIA"
Every television addict is familiar with the weekly show "Life With Luigi" starring J. Carroll Naish.
In one episode Luigi, the Italian immigrant lad who now runs an antique shop in his adopted country,
reached the conclusion that he should buy "a little piece of America" in the form of a share of common stock.
His description of the purchase in a mythical letter to his mother is a gem of homely economics, telling in
a few simple words about all there is to tell of the principle of American corporate enterprise.
"Dear Mama Mia," says Luigi, "I'm got twenty dollars free and clear, tax free. And I'm going to use this
money to buy a little piece of America.
I'm going to invest in the stock market. In case you don't know what means the stock market...
I'll explain: It's like you and everybody in the village own the same chicken. You can't eat it—you just own it.
"Now if the chicken lays an egg, that's a small dividend. If it lays six eggs, that's a big dividend.
If it don't lay any eggs at all, you better take a good look at the chicken maybe it's a rooster."
There are millions of "Luigies" in this country. They count on the chicken continuing to lay eggs.
If it doesn't—well, pretty soon there is no chicken. And that is the way it is with industries that keep
this country going. They either earn some dividends for Luigi and his thrifty brethren who have invested
hard-earned savings in them or pretty soon
there will be no production—and no sources of tax revenue.
This is why the soap boxers who decry profits and the profit motive, whether they realize it or not, are
calling for an end of the entire American system of enterprise and representative government.

[--] Long Beach Independent article (Saturday, April 4, 1953, Long Beach, California):
"Life With Luigi" is returning to CBS and KNXT on Sunday, April 12, with a new, younger Luigi starred.
The original "Luigi" was J. Carroll Naish, but critics of the program complained that he looked too elderly to be
a naive Italian immigrant working his way up the ranks in America. The new Luigi is Vito Scotti, a younger edition.

[--] Erskine Johnson's “In Hollywood” column, Friday, May 1, 1953:
"The CBS-TV eye is gleaming over 21-year-old Vito Scotti's new characterization of an old favorite, Luigi,
on "Life With Luigi." Scotti, an Italian actor with minor stage and move bit role experience, replaced Irishman
J. Carrol Naish and his first performance in the role was summed up by CBS' Harry Ackerman, who told me:
"Luigi finally is what he's supposed to be—a sensitive Italian and not a push-cart peddler."
Scotti's confessing that the role came very easily. "I've lived with a feminine Luigi for a long time—my mother."

 
 ########### The New Life with Luigi ##########
############### season 2 1953 ################
##############################################
CBS (Thursdays - 8pm Eastern)(9Apr53-4Jun53)
Starring: (1953)
Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2 (1953)
Thomas Gomez as Pasquale #2 (1953)
Muriel Landers as Rosa #2 (1953)
Mary Shipp as Miss Spaulding (recurring)
Note:
The cast is different, but the characters remain the same. [RL]
Mary Shipp returns as Luigi's night school teacher Miss Spaulding. [TA]
Note:
In the Eastern and Central time zones, "The New Life with Luigi" was broadcast live, Thursdays at 8pm ET.
In Los Angeles, the series was seen, via kinescope, Sundays at 8pm (later changed to 8:30pm).

2.01 [16] The New Life with Luigi: LUIGI AT THE POST OFFICE (temporary title)
09Apr1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
12Apr1953 Los Angeles KNXT, ch. 2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis 1:
"Luigi" is an Italian instead of an Irishman as "Life With Luigi" returns to KNXT (2) at 8 p. m.
replacing the Jimmy Wakely Show. The new star of the comedy series is Vito Scotti, San Francisco-born Italian actor
who takes over the leading role from J. Carroll Naish, an Irishman.
Tonight's episode finds Luigi wrapping a double boiler to send to his "Mama Mia" in Italy, and deals with his
adventures at the Post Office as his wrappings fall apart.
[Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram /TA]
Synopsis 2:
Luigi will be depicted happily engaged in sending a double boiler as a birthday gift to his Mama Mia in Italy on
tonight's returning show - so says CBS-TV - and having an exciting time at the postoffice when his package is smashed.
Newspaper Review:
"As for the first show, itself, well, it was pretty bad, the laughter of the studio audience notwithstanding.
In fact, it was one of the weakest major scripts I've seen in at least a day or so and the tired old devices employed
around "Luigi's" visit to the Post Office to send his "Mama Mia" a double-boiler for her birthday didn't help a bit."
[Excerpt from John Lester's "Radio and Television" column, 15Apr53]

2.02 [17] The New Life with Luigi:
16Apr1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
19Apr1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis not available.

2.03 [18] The New Life with Luigi:
23Apr1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
26Apr1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis not available.

2.04 [19] The New Life with Luigi: GOLD DIGGER (temporary title)
30Apr1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
03May1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis:
Pasquale falls for a gold digger and is saved on "Life With Luigi" at 8 p. m. on KNXT (2). [Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram /TA]

2.05 [20] The New Life with Luigi: INSURANCE CONFUSION (temporary title)
07May1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
10May1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis:
Insurance baffles Luigi during "Life With Luigi" on KNXT (2) at 8 p. m. [Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram /TA]

2.06 [21] The New Life with Luigi:
14May1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
17May1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis not available.

2.07 [22] The New Life with Luigi: probably THE DANCE
21May1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
24May1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8:30pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis:
Luigi makes an effort to establish his credit at a department store during "Life With Luigl" on KNXT (2) at 8:30 p. m. (NEW TIME) [Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram /TA]

--Probably the same episode as above:
[--] The New Life with Luigi: THE DANCE (temporary title) [verified -RL]
possibly 21May1953 CBS (Eastern & Central zones)
Written by Lou Derman
Directed by John Claar
Produced by Norman Tokar
Musical Direction by Lud Sluskin
Art Direction by Robert T. Lee
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
with:
Muriel Landers ........ Rosa #2 (recurring)
Thomas Gomez .......... Pasquale #2 (recurring)
Mary Shipp ............ Miss Spaulding (recurring)
Guest Cast:
Frank Cady … Mr. Whitley (or Whitney) (credit manager)
Herb Vigran … Joe Healy (store detective)
Eve McVeagh … Miss Birch (saleslady)
Synopsis:
Luigi is invited to a dance, and he wants to go so that he'll get to dance with his teacher, Miss Spaulding (Mary Shipp)
on whom he has a crush. However, Pasquale's obese daughter, Rosa wants Luigi to ask HER to the dance. Either way, Luigi
has a problem. He needs a new suit for the dance, but has no money to pay for it and he totally refuses to open a credit
account (something his mama would frown upon). [RL]
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJeDVCYxH1s

2.08 [23] The New Life with Luigi:
28May1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
31May1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8:30pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis not available.

2.09 [24] The New Life with Luigi: (series finale)
04June1953 CBS (Eastern & Central time zones)
07June1953 Los Angeles KNXT-2, Sun. 8:30pm
Starring: Vito Scotti as Luigi Basco #2
Synopsis not available.

########### The New Life with Luigi ##########
################## the end #################
##############################################
 
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