VIDEO: The Long, Long Trailer

Posted In: Product Review, Video

You watch The Long, Long Trailer for one reason. And that’s to see Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball together at the height of their 1950s popularity.

The premise is simple enough. Lucy and Desi are newlyweds. A surprisingly blonde (!) Lucy pressures the reluctant Desi into buying a travel trailer. They set off honeymooning throughout the American West…and comic hilarity ensues!

As much as I’d like to give this movie a favorable review, I’ve got to be honest. There isn’t really much of a story here. Nor is there much in the way of character development. RV ownership is painted in a rather negative light, with the trailer in question practically killing an innocent marriage. And then the movie just stops, as if they ran out of film.

But like everything nostalgic, this movie seems to somehow get better after you’ve finished watching it.

My favorite bits in this movie demonstrate that some things haven’t changed. Certain aspects of “trailer life” are just as challenging in 2007 as they were in 1954.

For example, I really enjoyed the scene in which Desi gets flustered while backing up the absurdly long trailer. This scene reminded me of a certain gas station in Banff. In desperate need of diesel fuel, I managed to squeeze our rig into a space apparently intended for miniature golf carts. It was an achievement of physics and geometry comparable to a Space Shuttle landing.

I also identified with Desi when, terrified, he tows his trailer across a treacherous one-lane mountain highway. Kristy and I lived a few of these fingernail-chomping moments ourselves during our summer journey. At one such point in British Columbia, Kristy said, “It felt like we were driving to our death.” Yippee!

But with regard to Desi and Lucy, I would’ve enjoyed seeing more positive moments along the way. If I were writing a sequel, I might focus less upon trailer mishaps, and more upon the persistent uncertainty of human relationships. That’s really the overriding issue of married life aboard an RV.

Sure, you’ll experience a few minor mechanical problems. But the real question — the real test — is whether you will truly enjoy spending that much time and that little space with another person.

An Airstream is essentially a one-room apartment on wheels. In a travel trailer, there’s no sneaking off to your own private corner of the house. And in certain boondocking campgrounds, there’s no radio or TV or electricity. You are always together, and the entertainment is up to YOU. Stripped of other distractions, how well will you get along with your spouse?

Kristy and I really enjoyed watching The Long, Long Trailer, and you probably will too. But take it with a grain of salt. We had a lot more fun than Desi and Lucy!

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