Diamond rings. Most people wear them without much fuss. But on occasion they are lost, found, even swallowed. All of which makes them perfect fodder for sitcom plots, dating back to the earliest days of television. Check out the five examples below:
1. Here’s Lucy: Lucy Meets the Burtons (1970)
Perhaps the best-remembered episode here, this third-season opener guest starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. But the biggest attraction is the 69.42 ct. Taylor-Burton Diamond—probably the most famous item in Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary jewelry collection—which ends up stuck on Lucy’s finger after she tries it on (something “every red-blooded woman in America” would do, Lucy explains). Her hand then doubles as Taylor’s in front of the media. The complete episode is below; those who just want to see the ending, the show’s best bit, can watch here.
2. Dharma and Greg: This Diamond Ring (2002)
In this fifth-season entry, which guest stars Claudia Schiffer, Dharma loses her heirloom engagement ring on the roof, and takes the tar-covered rock to a jeweler for cleaning. But she soon discovers it isn’t a diamond at all, as her mother-in-law didn’t trust her with the real thing. The show includes a line that will brighten the hearts of JCK’s readers: “The sign says ‘jeweler’; that means I know diamonds. If it said ‘butcher,’ I’d know brisket.”
3.The Flintstones: The Engagement Ring (1960)
In this episode from the show’s early days—so early it doesn’t feature the familiar theme song—the modern stone-aged family is turned upside down when neighbor Barney Rubble buys a long-delayed engagement ring for his wife. “What a shiny rock,” Fred raves, in order to fulfill the show’s mandatory quota of “rock” mentions. But his plan to hide the sparkler—in a bowling ball(!)—goes awry when Wilma thinks the bling-stone is really for her, and Fred has to buy a new one at the world’s most fearsome jewelry store. Industry-friendly dialogue: “We are interested in a diamond ring.” “Who isn’t?”
4. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show: Gracie’s Engagement Ring (1952)
This funny episode begins with Allen in a panic that she has lost her diamond engagement ring—even though it has a gem so small that, when she first examined it, she “thought the diamond fell out.” Husband Burns finds it a few minutes later, but, he announces in fourth-wall-breaking-mode, he won’t give it back because the show has “17 minutes left.” But then the police show up, and the ring ends up re-lost, re-found, and then lost again.
5. Green Acres: The Engagement Ring (1970)
In this typically quirky installment of the classic rural sitcom, handyman Eb can’t afford an engagement ring, and his father-in-law-to-be won’t his accept his proposal without one. So he borrows one from Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), who, perhaps taking a page from sister Zsa Zsa, shows off her impressive diamond collection. She then lectures her husband about the significance of jewelry: “An engagement ring may not be important to you, but they are important to a girl.”
Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Willie’s Engagement (1948)
This episode from the golden age of radio features the Holy Trinity of diamond mishaps—a ring is stuck on a finger, flushed down a sink, and then swallowed. And it’s all still surprisingly funny, more than 60 years later.