The Long, Long Trailer

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The Long, Long Trailer
The Long, Long Trailer poster.jpg
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Screenplay by Albert Hackett
Frances Goodrich
Based on The Long, Long Trailer
1951 novel 
by Clinton Twiss
Starring Lucille Ball
Desi Arnaz
Marjorie Main
Keenan Wynn
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography Robert Surtees
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • February 18, 1954 (1954-02-18)
Running time
96 min
Language English
Budget $1,534,000[1]
Box office $4,985,000[2]

The Long, Long Trailer is a 1954 Anscocolor movie based on a novel of the same name written by Clinton Twiss in 1951 about a couple who buy a new travel trailer home and spend a year traveling across the United States.[3]

The novel was made into a movie starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It also featured Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Bert Freed, Moroni Olsen, Gladys Hurlbut, Madge Blake, and Walter Baldwin. The picture was directed by Vincente Minnelli, working from a screenplay by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich.


Nicky Collini (Desi Arnaz) and his new bride Tacy (Lucille Ball) buy (despite Nicky's extreme reluctance and dire predictions) a large trailer home so that they can save money that would otherwise be spent on a house. They plan to travel around the USA to civil engineering projects on which Nicky is employed.

Nicky and Tacy must buy a more powerful car to tow the trailer, and the money spent starts to mount up. The honeymoon trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains rapidly becomes a catalogue of disasters. These include Tacy's attempts to cook dinner in a moving, rocking trailer, and later a cliffhanging ride on a narrow road through the mountains, with the trailer weighed down by many rock specimens and canned food she has collected.

After they arrive at the home of Tacy's aunt and uncle, with other relatives and neighbors who are gathered watching, Nicky accidentally backs the trailer into their hosts' carport, partly destroying it as well as a prized rose bush. Later, after turning on an old logging road, Nicky tries to level the trailer at night while stuck in the mud during a rainstorm.

Relations deteriorate between the couple, and finally Tacy storms off in a huff. But in the end, they are tearfully reunited.



The trailer used in the film is the 1953 36-foot Redman "New Moon" model, which sold for $5,345 at the time. The new car used to tow the trailer is a 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible with a 125 HP flathead V8 engine.

Opening scenes were shot on Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Stage 12, the same location that Arnaz played his first film scene in Bataan, eleven years before.[4]

The dangerous mountain highway featured is Whitney Portal Road, which leads up to Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The hairpin turn offers scenic views of the Owens Valley. During the scenes of Nicky and Tacy pulling their trailer in the mountains, their 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible is replaced with a larger but similar appearing 1953 Lincoln Capri convertible. The distinct Lincoln grille is clearly evident in a shot as the car rounds a curve. The more powerful Lincoln (which is equipped with a 205 HP V8 engine) was needed to pull the heavy New Moon trailer up and over the steep grades of the Sierra Nevada where the scenes were filmed. Other scenes were shot on the Pines to Palms Scenic Byway (State Route 74) in Palm Desert, California.[5]

The residence of Tacy's Aunt & Uncle (where the porch and rosebush are destroyed by the trailer) is the Meet Me In St. Louis "John Truett" house on the MGM Backlot, next door to the "Smith Family" house.

The closing credits thank the National Park Service for permission to film in Yosemite National Park. There is one memorable scene where the car and trailer emerge from a tunnel to a view of Yosemite Valley, complete with a panorama of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall. Later, there is a beautiful view of a full-flowing Yosemite Falls.


According to Turner Classic Movies' host, Robert Osborne, the studio was not sure if this film would be a success because it was thought people would not pay money to see Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a movie when they could watch the couple on television for free (I Love Lucy). Arnaz made a $25,000 bet with the studio that the movie would make more money than the current highest grossing comedy at that time (Father of the Bride, starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor and also directed by Vincente Minnelli). Arnaz won the bet.

According to MGM records the film earned $3,978,000 in the US and Canada and $1,007,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $1,517,000.[1]

DVD release[edit]

The Long, Long Trailer was released on DVD in 2006 by Warner Home Video[6] in Region 1 coding for the U.S. and Canada. It was released as a single disc and as a part of a 3-DVD set featuring two other Ball/Arnaz movies, Forever, Darling and Too Many Girls. The film was also released in Region 4 coding for Australia.

In popular culture[edit]

The film is referenced in the They Might Be Giants song "Everything Right Is Wrong Again" which contains the lyrics: Everything right is wrong again/Just like in The Long, Long Trailer/All the dishes got broken/The car kept driving/And nobody would stop to save her.


  1. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  3. ^ Variety film review; January 6, 1954, page 52.
  4. ^ Archerd, Armand, "Contrite Studio Welcomes Lucy And Desi Back With Full 'Red Carpet' Treatment", West Florida Daily Globe combined with The Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, Thursday 15 October 1953, Volume 40, Number 172, page 2.
  5. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2011). P.S. I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs. Horotio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 31. ISBN 978-1468098549. 
  6. ^ ISBN 978-1419827129 ISBN 141982712X OCLC 68656050

External links[edit]