Q: In I Love Lucy, Episode 114, Lucy, Ethel and Fred — having just arrived in Hollywood — head right for the Brown Derby, where they spot William Holden sitting across the room. Before the episode is over, Lucy manages to hit him with a custard pie. Is this authentic? Was custard pie available at the Brown Derby?
—Your friend, Snakdogg
A: The 1959 menus of both the Brown Derby in Hollywood and the Brown Derby in Beverly Hills list black bottom pie, caramel custard and the famous grapefruit cake, but not custard pie. And the 1949 edition of the Brown Derby Cookbook includes (in addition to a recipe for the restaurant’s chiffon cake, which was hailed as “the first new cake idea in a hundred years”) a $10,000 Apple Pie and a Lemon Souffle Pie — but again, no custard pie.
If you or I were to have a pie thrown in our face at the Brown Derby in 1954, the year of the episode’s filming, it would undoubtedly have been the renowned Bavarian Cream Pie, a gelatin-thickened whipped-cream concoction that would undoubtedly have bounced off our foreheads rather than landed with a resounding splat. But if you were William Holden, I imagine you could have gotten any kind of pie you wished. Especially if you were having an intimate supper with Eve Arden.
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