PERFORMERS: GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN

F10558by PETER TATCHELL (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #12, #13 and #14, 1995)

In his 100 years, George Burns had an extraordinary career. . . or several careers, to be more precise. He appeared in vaudeville, movies, radio shows, television series and specials, and one-man shows. Along the way he released recordings of comedy and songs on 78rpm discs, LPs and CDs and wrote a number of books, culminating in his centenary on January 20 1996.

The love of his life was Gracie Allen, but it could be ar­gued that he also had an equally strong and enduring infatuation for the world of show business. From his early days trying to make it as a vaudeville headliner he witnessed the many phases of the entertainment medium as it progressed from live theatre to the motion picture, from radio to television, from cylinder recordings to compact disc, and the introduction of video and the laser disc. He performed on all of them and by all accounts enjoyed every minute of it.

For his first sixty years he was content to be straight man to his charmingly crazy wife Gracie, and his clever business acumen guided them through four decades of success, producing one of the best-loved television sitcoms of all time.

Out of the public eye he was well known to his show busi­ness colleagues as a gifted storyteller who would entertain them at parties and roasts. It was only when Gracie decided to retire in 1958 that this side of his talent came to the fore, and for the next forty years he delighted audiences with a never ending stream of jokes and anecdotes.

George grew up in the famed melting pot of New York’s lower east side where he was born Nathan Birnbaum, the ninth of twelve children. His father died when Nate was seven and he formed a singing act with three other youngsters to earn a few pennies by passing the hat after each performance.

As the years rolled by, he tried his hand at all manner of entertaining . . . singing, dancing, telling jokes, appearing with animals, as a single or part of a double act. Anything to stay in front of an audience.

In 1922 lie decided to work up a boy-girl act and by an amazing stroke of good fortune met a pretty Irish-American called Gracie Allen. After years of ups and downs George was soon headed for the big time. The original idea had Gracie as the feed with George delivering the jokes, but it didn’t take long to notice who the audience were laughing at, and Burns quickly reversed the roles. He also decided that he wanted Burns and Allen to be partners in private life as well as on stage, and the couple were married soon after.

The 1920s was a high water mark in the history of show business, and George and Gracie were conquering the vaude­ville circuits across America with routines like Dizzy and Lambchops and amassing an impressive collection of plaudits. Eventually they made it to the Palace Theatre on Broadway (for the first of several engagements) and crossed the Atlantic to appear in London with similar success.

Audiences everywhere warmed to Gracie’s inspired zani­ness and with the coming of the talkies the duo went before the movie cameras to recreate their best routines in a series of shorts. A year later (in 1930) they issued their first 78rpm record, made during one of their visits to the British Isles.

As the Roaring Twenties dissipated into the Great Depres­sion, radio became a major entertainment medium. Burns and Allen were supporting Eddie Cantor and George Jessel in a record-breaking show at the Palace when Eddie suggested Gracie appear on one of his weekly broadcasts, with Cantor taking over George’s role of delivering the straight lines. The programme (on November 151931) was a great success and three months later Burns and Allen were signed to star in a weekly spot on the Guy Lombardo series. They appeared for nearly two and a half years without a break, before coming back with their own series (which commenced with another unbroken thirty month run). A clever promotional stunt at the time had Gracie searching for a supposedly lost brother, and she made a number of unbilled walk-ons interrupting numer­ous other network broadcasts before the joke was ended.

George and Gracie were also proving popular on the big screen. Following their series of one-reelers, Paramount used Burns and Allen as comic relief in many of their full-length features throughout the 1930s, and they became part of a stock company of players that included Bing Crosby, W.C.Fields, Jack Benny, Martha Raye and Bob Hope. In 1937, they supported Fred Astaire at R.K.O. and even performed a creditable dance routine with the legendary performer. Just before the war, Gracie also made a couple of solo film appearances.

Despite being happily married in real life (with two adopted children), on radio and in the movies Burns and Allen contin­ued to play a guy and his dotty girlfriend. By the early 1940s though, George thought the time had come to update things, and with the start of their new radio series in October 1941 the pair suddenly became husband and wife and settled down to a more domestic situation.

As the decade progressed, the programme built up a stable of supporting players with whom Gracie could interact . . . the befuddled postman, the egotistical announcer and the perplexed next-door neighbours, Blanche and Harry Morton. It was a format that would succeed brilliantly in a visual medium as well.

The end of 1950 was a turning point for American televi­sion. It was finally able to overtake radio as the leading player in the home entertainment market, and could offer big money to entice name performers to switch mediums. Within a two-month period, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante and Burns and Allen all appeared coast to coast for the first time on the major networks.

George decided they would appear live on C.B.S. on a fortnightly basis in a continuation of their successful radio sitcom format. Supporting players Bill Goodwin, Bea Benaderet and Hal March all made the move with them, along with a sizeable number of their radio fans who had invested in a TV set.

The first programme opened with George talking directly to the audience from the edge of the stage, before stepping into the storyline with Gracie and the rest of the cast. It was a clever device he would use in every episode of the show’s run, and set the series apart from the scores of other 1950s sitcoms.

As on radio, the plots revolved around some simple misunderstanding that would lead Gracie and the Mortons off on a farcical chain of events until George usually managed to sort things out by the programme’s end.

As with most other network offerings of the time, these early editions emanated from New York (though the setting was supposed to be George and Gracie’s west coast home). From the seventh episode, production moved to C.B.S. in Hollywood.

About the only hiccough for the show during that first season (which actually ran without a break for two years) was the coming and going of several cast members, whose success resulted in there being offered starring roles in other ventures. Bill Goodwin stayed for the first year before heading off for hosting roles and George replaced him with another of radio’s “golden voices” Harry Von Zell (who had been a regular on Eddie Cantor’s series for most of the 1940s, and had actually replaced Goodwin for six months on the Burns & Allen season of early 1945).

The character of Harry Morton, however, was to suffer a veritable musical chairs of players with Hal March leaving after only seven editions, to be replaced by John Brown for a further ten, before he was caught up in the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. Well-known movie actor Fred Clark took over the part at the end of May 1951 and stayed with the series for over two years (including the earliest editions in the syndication package).

After two years (without a break) of producing live half-hours every fortnight, it was decided to film the show in advance, for screening on a weekly basis. Thus from October 1952 on, The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show ap­peared in regular 40-episode seasons for the next six years (until the end of its run).

Like most other sitcoms, the show didn’t rely on weekly guest-stars, but concentrated on the activities of the regular ensemble of characters. However, George’s lifelong friend Jack Benny did make several appearances over the years (twice in the live editions, and again in the pre-filmed episodes). In later seasons Benny’s wife Mary Livingstone, actors George Jessel, Ronald Reagan, Francis X. Bushman and Bob Cummings, and director King Vidor all paid visits to George and Gracie as well.

By mid-1953,Fred Clark decided to vacate the role of Harry Morton (yet again) and Larry Keating was signed to replace him. Keating would stay with the role for seven years (and into the spin-off George Burns Show after Gracie re­tired). Otherwise, the show continued on without change through the ‘Golden Years Of Television’ having established itself as a weekly favourite for millions of fans.

Episode #189 (of May 16 1955) saw a welcome addition to the format. At the conclusion of that week’s story, George and Gracie appeared for an encore to present one of their old vaudeville double act routines. This “afterpiece” chat about one of Gracie’s family members was so well-received it became a regular feature from then on, and one of the highlights of each programme.

At the start of the next season it was decided the cast would relocate from sunny California and spend some time in a hotel in New York. And by the second week in the Big Apple, George and Gracie welcomed a new cast member . . . their real life son Ronnie, who played himself.

Both Ronnie and his sister Sandy had appeared in bit parts in a couple of earlier episodes, but this latter arrival elevated him to a major participant in each story. And for the next three seasons many of the plots centred on the younger Burns’ circle of friends and his scholastic pursuits. (A regular in many of these later editions was a college pal with a broad Texan accent, played by Robert Easton, who later became one of Hollywood’s leading dialect coaches).

Despite the continued success of the show, Gracie was tiring of learning lines, costume fittings and rehearsals week after week and having a half-hour television programme occu­pying most of her life. After four decades of performing she wanted a rest and following several years of agreeing to “just one more season”, by 1958 her decision had been made. Episode #291 would be her last, and she would retire from show business.

George was disappointed, but he understood how his wife felt. Gracie’s health was also becoming a factor as she was beginning to suffer from heart problems which would dog her later years. The team of Burns and Allen was no more . . . and for the first time since the early 1920s George Burns had to work up a new act.

Little did anyone realize that the next phase of the Burns career would span four decades with his popularity enduring long after the retirement of his legendary wife. To be fair, the first decade or so relied heavily on earlier triumphs, but by the mid-1970s George Burns was delighting a whole new generation of fans who’d never seen him work with Gracie.

As his first solo effort George arranged for the team from their highly-successful weekly show to continue on in a spinoff series. It was not a success . . . the pivotal role was missing, and within weeks the format was revamped. Instead of a traditional sitcom (with the occasional guest star) live variety shows were hastily substituted to retain viewers. By the end of the season, The George Burns Show was cancelled and its star was forced to retreat to live performances at Las Vegas and the occasional television special. Behind the scenes, his production company was responsible for several projects, among them the hit series Mister Ed.

In the early sixties he teamed with Broadway star Carol Channing in a continuation of the double act format, before eventually deciding to perform on his own, regaling audiences with fanciful anecdotes from his colourful past.

By 1964 George prepared to return to television in a weekly sitcom centred around the antics of a slightly dotty housewife. The lead role in Wendy And Me went to ex-Hawaiian Eye star Connie Stevens, with Burns appearing as the owner of the apartment block where she lived with her airline pilot husband. In the tradition of his earlier show, George would also step out of the plot and talk directly to the viewing audience.

Just weeks before the show’s September premiere, tragedy struck . . . Gracie Allen died. Her health had been failing but she had managed to visit the set to the delight of the produc­tion team and had been in the audience at Las Vegas where Burns and Stevens had been trying out some repartee. George was devastated but the old “show must go on” adage was put to the test and Wendy And Me appeared as scheduled.

Unfortunately (despite having a certain charm, and some likeable characters) it was all too reminiscent of the earlier programme, and indeed several scripts from the predecessor were reworked along the way. It survived just one season.

George was back to hosting roles in shows like Hollywood Palace and The Kraft Music Hall, but his television career was on a downward spiral. By the early 1970s he was working less and less, when out of the blue he was signed to return to the movies after a thirty-seven year break.

Neil Simon had written a play called The Sunshine Boys and it was decided Burns and best friend Jack Benny would be ideal in the lead roles of two over-the-hill vaudevillians. The pair had been buddies for over fifty years and Jack had only recently made an appearance to introduce George’s stage show.

With filming about to begin, fate stepped in and Burns (by then in his late seventies) needed urgent heart surgery. Walter Matthau was signed to replace him, before the production suf­fered a second more devastating blow . . . Jack Benny was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and given weeks to live.

His death at the end of 1974 was a tragic loss for George personally, but the resultant delays with filming meant he was now well enough to rejoin the production (this time in Benny’s role). His performance in the picture gained enormous public and critical acclaim, and eventually an Oscar for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards.

George Burns at age 80 was back in the big time. Offers for more motion pictures were negotiated, television networks quickly signed him for specials and even his vocal talents (which had been the butt of many jokes over the years) were sought after by record producers.

In 1977 he played the title role in the movie Oh, God! and his personification of the Almighty resulted in more accolades, and two sequels. There appeared to be no slowing down of the Burns’ career throughout the 1980s as he continued to appear in films and TV specials.

In his 90th year he was offered another challenge . . . to host a series of one-off comedy playlets for television under the title George Burns Comedy Week. Despite being cancelled mid-season, it boasted an impressive line up of talent (one episode was directed by Steve Martin).

George’s tenth decade continued on with more specials and records until he suffered an unfortunate bathtub fall and was hospitalised for surgery. It was the start of his decline and though he was seen at the naming of George Burns Road and Gracie Allen Boulevard (standing at the corner of “Burns and Allen”), his performing days were over.

For a quarter of a century he’d joked about giving a centenary concert but, just when the unbelievable seemed possible, ill health and the aging process finally robbed him of his quest to repay the adulation of several generations of adoring fans. Celebrations for the long-awaited January 20th birthday were subdued when it was realised he would not be well enough to leave his sick bed.

Twomonths later the old trouper took his final curtain call. It was an anticlimactic end to a remarkably successful career in just about every field of show business but as his long-timemanager Irving Fein noted “he often said he knew entrances and exits … last Saturday he knew it was time to go”.

It was a drizzly day in March when the team of Burns and Allen were at last reunited as he joined his beloved Gracie at Forest Lawn Cemetery and an era of show business came to a close.

In fact, George’s last professional appearance was in late 1995 when be agreed to say one line in a television commercial to promote the centenary of Australian Rules football on the other side of the globe. Surrounded by chorus girls he remarked “A game as old as me . . . I’d like to see that!”. At the suggestion of his manager (who sensed George might not survive until the campaign launch six months later) he secretly filmed another take . . . “A game that’s lasted longer than me. I’d like to see that!”

And with one last laugh from beyond the grave, George Burns left the stage and entered the history books.

 

FILMS

George and Gracie first starred in a series of 1-reel shorts …

Burns And Allen In Lambchops (1929 Warner Bros.)

Fit To Be Tied (1930 Paramount)

Pulling A Bone (1930 Paramount)

The Antique Shop (1931 Paramount)

Once Over, Light (1931 Paramount)

One Hundred Per Cent Service (1931 Paramount)

Oh My Operation (1932 Paramount)

The Babbling Brook (1932 Paramount)

Patents Pending (1932 Paramount)

Your Hat (1932 Paramount)

Let’s Dance (1933 Paramount)

Walking The Baby (1933 Paramount)

George and Gracie later appeared in a number of 1930s Hol­lywood features …

The Big Broadcast (1932 Paramount) 80 minutes

International House (1933 Paramount) 70 minutes

College Humor (1933 Paramount) 80 minutes

Six Of A Kind (1934 Paramount) 65 minutes

We’re Not Dressing (1934 Paramount) 74 minutes

Many Happy Returns (1934 Paramount) 66 minutes

Love In Bloom (1935 Paramount) 77 minutes

Here Comes Cookie (1935 Paramount) 65 minutes

The Big Broadcast Of 1936 (1935 Paramount) 97 minutes

The Big Broadcast Of 1937 (1936 Paramount) 102 minutes

College Holiday (1936 Paramount) 87 minutes

A Damsel In Distress (1937 R.K.O.) 101 minutes

College Swing (1938 Paramount) 86 minutes

Honolulu (1939 M.G.M .) 83 minutes

George and Gracie also appeared in several personality shorts …

Hollywood On Parade #2 (1932 Paramount)

Hollywood On Parade #12 (1933 Paramount)

Hollywood Grows Up (1954 Columbia)

Hollywood Fathers (1954 Columbia)

Gracie appeared (without George) in three other features …

The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939 Paramount) 74 minutes

Mr. And Mrs. North (1941 M.G.M.) 67 minutes

Two Girls And A Sailor (1944 M.G.M.) 124 minutes

DVD releases

Here Comes Cookie/Six Of A Kind/Love In Bloom
Universal DVD 22654 (2002)

College Humor/We’re Not Dressing (part of a Bing Crosby set)
Universal DVD (2010)

RADIO

The Guy Lombardo Show

Series #1: CBS Mondays February 15 to May 16 1932 and Wednesdays May 25 1932 to May 17 1933
(sponsored by Robert Burns Panatelas)
no known recordings

Series #2: CBS Wednesdays May 24 1933 to June 13 1934 (not Oct 4)
(sponsored by White Owl Cigars)
no known recordings

The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show

Series #1 (titled The Adventures Of Gracie): CBS Wednesdays September 19 1934 to September 25 1935
(sponsored by White Owl Cigars)
with Ferde Grofe’s Orchestra
recording of Sep 26 is with collectors

Series #2 (titled The Adventures Of Gracie): CBS Wednesdays October 2 1935 to September 23 1936
(sponsored by Campbell Soup)
with Milton Watson’s Orchestra (later replaced by Jacques Renard, Eddie Duchin and finally Henry King)
recording of Jan 15 is with collectors

Series #3: CBS Wednesdays September 30 1936 to March 24 1937 (26 editions)
(sponsored by Campbell Soup)
with Tony Martin (from Nov 25),Ken Niles and Henry King’s Orchestra
Nov 4, Nov, 25, Dec 2 to 23 and Jan 6 to 20 are with collectors

Series #4: CBS Mondays April 12 1937 to August 1 1938 (69 editions)
(sponsored by Grape Nuts)
with Dick Foran (replaced mid-season by Tony Martin and Frank Parker), Ronald Drake (replace mid-season by John Conte) and Ray Noble’s Orchestra (later Jan Garber and fi­nally Glen Gray)
* George and Gracie had a break for four weeks in October 1937 and stars such as Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor filled in.
Jan 10 and 17 are with collectors

Series #5: CBS Fridays September 30 1938 to June 23 1939 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Chesterfield Cigarettes)
with Frank Parker, Paul Douglas and Ray Noble’s Orchestra
Oct 7 is with collectors

Series #6: CBS Wednesdays October 4 1939 to June 26 1940 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Hind’s Honey And Almond Cream)
with Frank Parker, Truman Bradley & Ray Noble’s Orchestra
Jan 17 and 24, Feb 28 to Mar 13, Mar 27 to Apr 24, May 8 to 29, Jun 12 and Jun 26 are with collectors

Series #7: NBC Mondays July 1 1940 to March 24 1941 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Spam)
with Senor Lee, John Hiestand (replaced mid-season by Jimmy Wallington) and Artie Shaw’s Orchestra
Jul 8, Jul 29 to Dec 23, Jan 13 to 27, Feb 10 to 24 and Mar 24 are with collectors

Series #8: NBC Tuesdays October 7 1941 to June 30 1942 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Swan Soap)
with Jimmy Cash, Bill Goodwin & Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra
Oct 7, Oct 21, Nov 4, Nov 18 to Dec 2, Dec 16 and Dec 23 are with collectors

Series #9: NBC Tuesdays October 6 1942 to June 29 1943 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Swan Soap)
with Jimmy Cash, Elvia Allman, Lawrence Nash, Bill Goodwin and Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra
Oct 6 to Jan 5, Jan 19 to Mar 9, Mar 23 to Apr 20 and Jun 8 are with collectors

Series #10: NBC Tuesdays August 31 1943 to June 13 1944 (not Jan 11)(41 editions)
(sponsored by Swan Soap)
with Jimmy Cash, Elvia Allman, Lawrence Nash, Mel Blanc, Hans Conreid, Bill Goodwin and Felix Mills’ Orchestra
Aug 31 to Dec 28, Jan 18 to Mar 7, Mar 21 and 28, Apr 18, May 16, Jun 6 and Jun 13 are with collectors

Series #11 : CBS Tuesdays August 15 to December 26 1944 (not Nov 7)
and Mondays January 1 to June 25 1945 (not Apr 16)(44 editions)
(sponsored by Swan Soap)
with Jimmy Cash, Sara Allgood, Bill Goodwin (replaced mid-season by Harry Von Zell) and Felix Mills’ Orchestra
Aug 29, Sep 19 to Oct 17, Oct 31, Nov 14 and 21, Dec 5, Jan 15 to 29, Jun 18 and 25 are with collectors

Series #12 (titled Maxwell House Coffee Time): NBC Thurs­days September 20 1945 to May 30 1946 (37 editions)
(sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee)
with Bill Goodwin and Meredith Willson’s Orchestra
Sep 20 to Oct 4, Oct 18 to Nov 8, Nov 22 and 29, Jan 3 to 24, Feb 7, Feb 21, Mar 14, Apr 4 and 11, Apr 25 to May 9 and May 30 are with collectors

Series #13 (titled Maxwell House Coffee Time): NBC Thurs­days September 5 1946 to May 29 1947 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee)
with Mel Blanc, Bill Goodwin and Meredith Willson’s Orchestra
Sep 12 to Oct 3, Oct 17 to Nov 14, Dec 12, Dec 26, Feb 13 to Mar 13, Mar 27, May 8 to 29 are with collectors

Series #14 (titled Maxwell House Coffee Time): NBC Thurs­days September 4 1947 to June 10 1948 (41 editions)
(sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee)
with Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Hans Conreid, Gale Gordon, Bill Goodwin, Toby Reed and Meredith Wilison’s Orchestra
Sep 25, Nov 20 to Dec 4, Dec 18 and 25, Jan 8 to 22, Feb 5 to 26, Mar 25 and Apr 15 to May 27 are with collectors

Series #15(titled Maxwell House Coffee Time): NBC Thurs­days September 30 1948 to June 23 1949 (39 editions)
(sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee)
with Bill Goodwin, Toby Reed and Henry Lubin’s Orchestra
Sep 30, Oct 7, Nov 11 to 25, Dec 30, Jan 6, Jan 20 and 27, Feb 10 to Apr 7, Apr 21 to Jun 2, Jun 16 and 23 are with collectors

Series #16: CBS Wednesdays September 21 1949 to May 17 1950 (35editions)
(sponsored by Amident Toothpaste)
with Horace McNear, Hal March, Bea Benaderet, Bill Goodwin and Henry Lubin’s Orchestra
Sep 28, Jan 11, Jan 25 to Feb 22 and Mar 29 are with collectors

Burns & Allen also appeared on a number of AFRS broadcasts …

Command Performance
#10 (April 23 1942)
#51 (February 13 1943)
#63 (Gracie only, April 24 1943)
#158 (January 18 1945)
#249 (late 1946)
#334 (George only, summer 1948)

Mail Call
#4 (September 3 1942)
#18 (December 30 1942)
#52 (August 19 1943)
#65 (November 17 1943)
#106 (August 23 1944)
#124 (December 20 1944)
#137 (March 21 1945)
#193 (spring 1946)
#257 (July 30 1947)

G.I. Journal
#83 (February 23 1945)

 

RECORDS

George and Gracie made two studio recordings …

Dizzy (parts 1 and 2)
(British) Columbia 78rpm DB 286 (October 3 1930)

George Burns And Gracie Allen (parts 1 and 2)
(U.S.) Columbia 78rpm 2780-D (June 9 1933)

The following releases feature material taken from radio …

George Burns And Gracie Allen
Top Ten 4x78rpm set (1947)
featuring the following eight sides …
What Every Young Bride Should Know (parts 1 and 2)
What Every Old Husband Should Know (parts 1 and 2)
The French Long Underwear Maker (parts 1 and 2)
Sugar Throat Sings Again
Gracie Discovers A Movie Star

George Burns And Gracie Allen
Mark 56LP #614
shows of February 24 and January 20 1949 (with Cesar Romero)

George Burns And Gracie Allen 1937
Mark 56 LP #735
shows of October 7 1938 and December 23 1936

George Burns And Gracie Allen 1940s
Memorabilia LP MLP-722
show of December 4 1947 (with Bing Crosby)

Burns And Allen – Greatest Original Radio Broadcasts
M.F. Distribution 3LP MF 215
shows of February 15 1944
March 21 1944
April 4 1946
May 8 1947
May 6 1948
May 20 1948

Burns And Allen – Their Greatest Radio Shows
Murray Hill 3LP #898047
shows of December 4 1947 (with Bing Crosby)
October 10 1944
November 18 1941
January 20 1949
plus TV show soundtrack of June 8 1953
and the final two Top Ten 78s

The Great Radio Comedians
Murray Hill 5LP #93 1699
includes the show of November 8 1945 (with George Jessel)

Burns And Allen
Nostalgia Lane LP NLR-1002
shows of November 1 and 8 1945 (with George Jessel)

The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show
Radiola LP MR-1028, CD CDMR 1028
show of November 18 1941
plus a selection of “afterpiece” vaudeville routines taken from their 1950s TV series

The New Burns And Allen Show
Radiola LP MR-1142
shows of October 21 1941
December 16 1941

The Best Of Burns & Allen
Metacom/Listener’s Choice/Golden Age Radio CD 903 (1994)
The Restaurant
Vaudeville Days
George Is Depressed
Income Taxes
Gracie’s Relatives
Younger Clothes For George
The Postman
Gracie’s Relatives
The Executive Secretary

Best Of Radio Comedy – Fibber McGee & Molly + Burns & Allen
Laserlight CD 12 690 (1995)
Gracie Wants George To Become A Doctor
George Is A Frustrated Singer
A Letter From Gracie’s Sister

Radio’s Greatest Comedians – George Burns And Gracie Allen
J.C. Entertainment CD 8009 (1997)
Gracie Wants George To Become A Doctor
The Happy Postman
Jack Benny Pays For Lunch
George Is A Frustrated Singer
Gracie Gets A Letter From Her Sister
Gracie Becomes A Business Executive

The Golden Age Of Comedy – George Burns & Gracie Allen
Castle/Pulse CD PLSCD 443 (2000)
George Goes To Trial
Jack & George Gypsies
Gracie Writes A Play
Gracie’s Problem With Salesmen

Old-Time Radio Blockbusters – Burns & Allen
Radio Spirits CD 7701 (1001)
shows of April 13 1943 (with Claudette Colbert)
November 2 1943 (with Jack Benny)

The Best Of Old Time Radio Starring Burns And Allen
Radio Spirits 6CD 40002 (2002)
shows of February 22 1944 (with Cecil B. de Mille)
April 13 1943 (with Claudette Colbert)
May 19 1949 (with Mickey Rooney)
January 25 1950 (with Ronald Reagan)
Plus Lux Radio Theatre: Dulcy (March 29 1937)
Lux Radio Theatre: Are Husbands Necessary? (February 15 1943)
The Jack Benny Program (March 7 1943)
The Jack Benny Program (January 20 1952)
The Eddie Cantor Show (September 26 1946)
Al Jolson’s Kraft Music Hall (November 4 1948)

Burns and Allen
Radio Spirits CD 27342 (2002)
shows of January 8 1948 (with Jack Benny)
January 6 1949 (with Gregory Peck)

Radio Stars Of America – Burns & Allen
Living Era CD AJA 5592 (2005)
Gracie Works In A Department Store
Talking About Gracie’s Family
Beating The High Cost Of Living
Auctioning Brian Aherne’s Underwear
Playing Poker With The Boys

Gracie Allen for President
Radio Spirits 7CD set 44032 (2008)
Features 12 episodes of The Burns & Allen Show:
February 28 to May 29 1940 (except March 20 and May 1)
plus The Jack Benny Program of March 3 1940
and Fibber McGee & Molly of March 5 1940

Beverly Hills Uplift Society
Radio Spirits 4CD set 4432
October 20 1942
November 10 1942
January 5 1943
March 23 1943
January 22 1945
January 10 1946
January 17 1946
May 22 1947

Home Fires
Radio Spirits 4CD set 44692
April 3 to May 15 1947
September 18 1947

 

TELEVISION

The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show

Series 1: CBS October 12 1950 to September 251952 (52 live fortnightly editions, with an extra edition on Dec 28 1950)
with Bea Benaderet, Hal March (replaced by John Brown, replaced by Fred Clark), Bill Goodwin (replaced by Harry Von Zell)
* no official titles were allotted
1/1  Oct 12
George organizes a card game called Kleebob to decide whether the Burns and Mortons go to the fights or the movies
1/2  Oct 26
Inspired by a visit to the museum, Gracie decides to become a painter
1/3  Nov 9
Gracie tries to hide a dented fender
1/4  Nov 23
Blanche believes Harry has hired a pretty young secretary
1/5  Dec 7
Gracie’s method of writing cheques leads to a visit to the bank manager
1/6  Dec 21
Gracie buys a Christmas tree and reminisces about festive seasons as a child
1/7  Dec 28
George and Harry aren’t keen on having dancing lessons
1/8  Jan 4 1951 (John Brown replaces Hal March)
Jack Benny is a guest at Gracie’s party
1/9  Jan 18
George arranges for a phony doctor to advise against a visit to humid Palm Springs
1/10  Feb 1
When Gracie finds a lost dog it drives George crazy
1/11  Feb 15
Blanche moves in with Gracie to get even with Harry for hiding money from her
1/12  Mar 1
Gracie is proving a problem for an income-tax man
1/13  Mar 15
Gracie wants the Mortons to go to the Vanderlips’ party
1/14  Mar 29
Gracie is a witness against a notorious gangster
1/15  Apr 12
George is ill but get-well food can’t seem to reach him
1/16  Apr 26
Gracie tries to help Emily Vanderlip with her homework
1/17  May 10
George’s singing threatens Harry’s real-estate deal
1/18  May 24 (Fred Clark replaces John Brown)
Gracie is looking forward to the Vanderlips’ costume party
1/19  Jun 7
Gracie’s old school chum has become an unwanted guest
1/20  Jun  21
Harry prefers fishing to visiting Blanche’s mother
1/21  Jul 5
George wants the Burns to get a break from the Mortons
1/22  Jul 19
Residents have started a petition to stop a gangster mov­ing into the neighbourhood
1/23  Aug 2
George and Harry rebel at the health food their wives insist on serving them
1/24  Aug 16 (Harry Von Zell joins the cast)
George regrets allowing a woman with three children to park her trailer in the backyard
1/25  Aug 30 (Bill Goodwin’s final appearance)
Gracie learns she can make lots of savings by buying things wholesale
1/26  Sep 13
Gracie stages a wedding in the Burns home
1/27  Sep 27
Gracie visits a psychiatrist on behalf of Blanche
1/28  Oct 11
The Uplifters Society relocates to the Burns home
1/29  Oct 25
George has extra tickets to the football game
1/30  Nov 8
Gracie’s plans for George’s birthday party create havoc
1/31  Nov 22
Gracie thinks Harry’s business partner has married a horse
1/32  Dec 6
The girls want new dresses for the Uplifters concert
1/33  Dec 20
Gracie tells a Christmas story to house guests
1/34  Jan 3 1952
George wants Gracie to get rid of her storeroom for home-canned food items
1/35  Jan 17
Blanche wants to be elected president of the Uplifters
1/36  Jan 31
George and Harry aren’t looking forward to an evening with the Vanderlips
1/37  Feb 14
Gracie tries to keep George from finding out about the car’s dented fender
1/38  Feb 28
Blanche wants to go to Palm Springs with George and Gracie
1/39  Mar 13
George tries to teach Gracie a lesson for losing her engagement ring
1/40  Mar 27
Gracie tries to fix Harry Von Zell up with a gold-digger
1/41  Apr 10
George and Gracie recall their vaudeville career for a movie producer
1/42  Apr 24
George and guest Jack Benny feud over a stolen joke
1/43  May 8
Gracie connives to get George out of the house while she redecorates
1/44  May 22
George is being driven crazy when the kids in the trailer make a return visit
1/45  Jun 5
A phony swami predicts Gracie will marry again
1/46  Jun 19
George and Harry Von Zell are conned by promoters of a musical
1/47  Jul 3
Gracie thinks George is hiring a gorgeous woman and hires a detective to check up on things
1/48  Jul 17
Gracie arranges for George to be signed up by a recording company
1/49  Jul 31
George pretends he needs money so Gracie rents out the spare room
1/50  Aug 14
Gracie is conned into buying a stolen horse
1/51  Aug 28
Gracie thinks George needs glasses
1/52  Sep 25
Gracie and Blanche arrange a trip to Las Vegas to have the houses redecorated without their husbands finding out

Series 2: CBS October 9 1952 to March 26 1953, March 30 to June 1, June 18, and July 27 to August 17 1953 (40 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Fred Clark and Harry Von Zell
* no official titles were allotted, but repeats in syndication have the following identification …
2/1 Wardrobe Woman Wins Free Trip To Hawaii
2/2 Gracie Giving Party For Atomic Scientist
2/3 George Sneezing Gracie Thinks He’s Insane
2/4 Gracie Buying Boat For George
2/5 Gracie Having George’s Portrait Painted
2/6 Gracie And Blanche Hire Two Gigolos To Take Them Out
2/7 Sampter Clayton Ballet Selling Tickets
2/8 Skating Pearsons Come To Visit
2/9 Gracie Selling Swamp So Harry Will Buy TV Set
2/10 Silky Thompson Gracie Writes My Life With George Burns
2/11 Gracie Thinks George Is Going To Commit Suicide
2/12 Von Zell Dates Married Woman Jealous Husband
2/13 Uncle Clyde comes To Visit Renting Room
2/14 Gracie Thinks Harry Morton Is In Love With Her
2/15 Gracie Trying To Keep Mortons From Moving Away
2/16 Gracie Thinks She’s Not Married To George
2/17 Tax Refund
2/18 Cigarette Girl Georgie Jessel Teddy Bear
2/19 Gracie On Train Murder
2/20 Blanche Wants New Car Gracie Gets Von Zell A Wife
2/21 Gracie Gives A Swamp Party
2/22 George And Gracie Hear A Burglar Up All Night
2/23 Gracie Buying A Ranch For George
2/24 Gracie Gets George In The Army
2/25 Gracie Reports Car Stolen
2/26 Gracie Pretends To Be College Boy‘s Mother
2/27 Misunderstanding Over Buying Mountain Cabin
2/28 Blanche Secretly Buys A Fur Stole
2/29 Gracie Takes Spanish Lessons
2/30 Gracie And Cleaning Woman Vanderlips
2/31 Von Zell’s Girlfriend Between Trains
2/32 George Lectures At UCLA
2/33 Gracie And Harry Morton Missing Persons Bureau
2/34 Surprise Party For Mortons Sanatorium Routine
2/35 Perry And Pete Gracie’s Cousins Sneak Thieves
2/36 Gracie Doing A Picture Without George
2/37 Gracie Trying To Get George To Go On Trip East
2/38 Gracie Sees A Hold-Up Johnny Velvet (with Ronald Reagan)
2/39 Gracie And George Locked Out Of Their Home
2/40 Gracie At Department Store

Series 3: CBS October 5 1953 to May 10 1954 and July 5 to August 23 1954 (40 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating and Harry Von Zell
* no official titles were allotted, but repeats in syndication have the following identification …
3/1 Morton Buys Iron Deer Gracie Thinks George Needs Glasses
3/2 Gracie Helps Morton Get CPA Account
3/3 Gracie Gets A Jury Summons
3/4 George Teaches Gracie Not To Be Careless
3/5 George And Harry Morton Mad At Each Other
3/6 Gracie Getting A Business Manager Roger
3/7 Raccoon Coat Story
3/8 Gracie Thinks Harry Von Zell Is Broke
3/9 Going To San Francisco
3/10 Gracie Trades Home For Mountain Cabin
3/11 George And Gracie Going To Rose Marie Premiere
3/12 Jane (Wardrobe Woman) And Her Problem
3/13 Gracie’s Anniversary Present
3/14 Uncle Harvey – Invention
3/15 George Reading Play To Be Done In London
3/16 Gracie Helps Mechanic With Girlfriend
3/17 Gracie Discovers George’s Secret Weakness
3/18 Gracie Has To Sell George’s Car By Five O’clock
3/19 Gracie Wins A Television Set
3/20 No Fan Mail For George
3/21 George And Gracie Going To Opera “Carmen”
3/22 Harry Morton Is Missing
3/23 Gracie Goes To Psychiatrist For Blanche’s Dream
3/24 Gracie’s Old Boyfriend, Dan Conroy, Comes To Town
3/25 Gracie Tries To Get George In College
3/26 Columbia Pictures Doing Burns And Allen Story
3/27 An Elephant Sits On Gracie’s Fender
3/28 George Gets Black Eye From Open Door
3/29 Dolores Dc Marco, George’s Ex-Vaudeville Partner
3/30 Vanderlip Buys Black Negligee For His Wife
3/31 Gracie And George Have A Mystery Anniversary
3/32 George Resting For Insurance Examination
3/33 Harry Morton Has Only One Week To Live
3/34 Gracie Buys Old Movies To Sell To Television
3/35 Emily Vanderlip’s Elopement
3/36 Gracie Runs For City Council
3/37 Burnses And Mortons Choosing Movie To Attend
3/38 Gracie Buys A Toaster Wholesale
3/39 Mortons Exchange Houses With The Gibsons From New York
3/40 George Teaches Gracie Not To Start Rumours

Series 4: CBS October 4 1954 to July 4 1955 (40 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating and Harry Von Zell
* no official titles were allotted, but repeats in syndication have the following identification …
4/1 George Invites Critics To Watch First Show Of Season
4/2 Gracie Goes On The Do-It-Yourself Show
4/3 Gracie Gives Wedding In Payment Of A Favour
4/4 Gracie Gives A Baby Shower For Virginia Beasely
4/5 Auto License Bureau George Becomes An Author
4/6 George Trying To Keep Doctor’s Appointment
4/7 Gracie Thinks She And George Moving To New York
4/8 Shoplifter And The Missing Ruby Clip
4/9 Gracie Saves Blanche’s Marriage
4/10 Burnses And Mortons Going To Hear Antonelli Concert
4/11 George Gets Call From Unknown Visitor About Him
4/12 Harry Morton – Alumni Banquet
4/13 Gracie Thinks Bob Cummings is in Love With Her
4/14 George’s Mother-In-Law Trouble
4/15 George And The Glendale Eagle Publicity Stunt
4/16 No Seats For Friar’s Club Dinner
4/17 Blanche And Clara Bagley Leave Their Husbands
4/18 Gracie Gets A Valet For George
4/19 Vanderlip Leaves His Parakeet With George
4/20 Blanche’s Brother, Roger The Moocher, Visits
4/21 George And The Missing Five Dollars, And Missing Baby Pictures
4/22 Gracie Becomes A Portrait Artist After Museum Visit
4/23 George And The Fourteen Carat Gold Trombone
4/24 The Romance Of Harry Morton And Countess Braganni
4/25 The Mistaken Marriage Of Emily Vanderlip And Roger
4/26 Gracie Adopts Great Dane Dog
4/27 Gracie Tries To Select George’s Next Wife
4/28 Gracie Gets A Ticket Fixed By The Judge
4/29 Gracie Hires A Safe Cracker For Her Wall Safe
4/30 Gracie Consults Doctor Kirby’s Problem Clinic
4/31 Gracie Wants The House Painted
4/32 Gracie Plays Talent Scout For Imitator
4/33 Gracie And George Try For A Day At The Beach
4/34 The Uranium Caper
4/35 Blanche And Brother Roger Move In With The Burnses
4/36 Gracie Believes George Has A Criminal Record
4/37 Gracie Gets An Extension Visa For Jeannette Duval
4/38 Gracie Tries To Cure Roger Of Amnesia
4/39 Lucille Vanderlip Gives A Barbecue Party
4/40 Burnses And Mortons Going To Hawaii

Series 5: CBS October 3 1955 to June 18 1956 (38 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating, Harry Von Zell and (from 5/2) Ronnie Burns
from now on, the scripts had titles …
5/1 The Burnses And Mortons Go To New York
On the train trip to New York, Harry Von Zell tries to drum up a publicity photograph with an atomic scientist
5/2 Ronnie Arrives
Ronnie arrives in New York to become a dramatic actor
5/3 Ronnie Meets Sabrina
To help him play a role, Ronnie dates an older woman, who turns out to be a con artist
5/4 Changing Names
Gracie adopts a new name so she won’t hinder Ronnie’s acting career
5/5 Harry Morton’s Cocktail Party
Blanche has to pretend to be the Morton’s maid to avoid embarrassing Harry in front of an important dinner guest
5/6 The Musical Version
George and Gracie perform song and dance routines from the golden days of vaudeville
5/7 Ronnie Moves To The Village
Ronnie decides to share an apartment with a student friend and his artist father
5/8 Gracie Helps Lola
Gracie fills in for a waitress and has to serve the dean of Ronnie’s school
5/9 Anniversary Party
Gracie tries to sort out the Boardman’s marital problems
5/10 George Becomes A Dictator
George arranges for Ronnie to appear on the Jackie Gleason show but he’d rather be in a serious drama that night
5/11 Ronnie’s Elopement
Gracie thinks Ronnie is about to run off to Connecticut and get married
5/12 Company For Christmas
Gracie tries to create a vacancy at the hotel, which is fully booked over the holiday season
5/13 Gracie Pawns Her Ring
Gracie raises a thousand dollars to finance a play written by Ronnie’s friend
5/14 Appearances Are Deceiving
The puritanical father of a female student thinks Ronnie is having an affair with his daughter
5/15 Let’s Dance
Gracie helps to sell tickets to Ronnie’s school dance
5/16 George Goes Skiing
George is talked into being more fatherly to Ronnie by going on a snow trip
5/17 Ronnie Gets An Agent (with guest Jack Benny)
Show business acts disrupt Gracie’s dinner party for the parents of Ronnie’s girlfriend
5/18 Politeness Never Pays
Gracie engages a gigolo to make George jealous
5/19 Alice Gets Married
Harry Von Zell thinks he is being pursued by an old flame so Gracie tells everyone he’s married
5/20 George Needs Glasses
Gracie thinks George’s eyesight is failing
5/21 The Indian Potentate
Gracie is intent on getting a look at a reclusive maharajah
5/22 The Ladies Club
Harry Morton tries to keep Gracie from joining an exclusive women’s club
5/23 Cyrano De Bergerac
George tries to help Ronnie study the part of Cyrano
5/24 The Stolen Plants
Gracie thinks she’ll be arrested for taking some plant bulbs from Central Park
5/25 The English Playwright
Gracie pretends to be a poor widow so Ronnie will get a part in a play
5/26 A Weekend On Long Island
Ronnie wants to have a party at the apartment and Gracie promises she’ll arrange for George to be away
5/27 The Newlyweds
George tries to stop Gracie from finding out that Emily Vanderlip has secretly married
5/28 Night Of Vaudeville
Gracie organises a show for Ronnie’s drama school
5/29 Burlesk
Ronnie and a friend audition for a job at a burlesque theatre run by an old friend of George’s
5/30 The Right People
Gracie thinks Ronnie is about to marry the daughter of snobbish socialite
5/31 The Magic Act
Gracie thinks George is planning to work solo in a movie and becomes a magician’s assistant so he won’t be deserting her
5/32 The Paris Creation
Gracie organizes a trip to France to have her dress redesigned
5/33 Back From Paris
Gracie wants to open a dress shop full of Parisian creations
5/34 The 24 Dresses
Gracie sells her own clothes to finance her shop
5/35 Ronnie is Lovesick
Gracie thinks Ronnie is about to run off and join the French Foreign Legion
5/36 The Night Out
Gracie thinks George has been out on a date at the Stork Club
5/37 Questions And Answers
Blanche wants Gracie to join a literary club but first she has to pass a test
5/38 The Triple Surprise Party
Several parties have been planned for George and Gracie’s apartment

Series 6: CBS September 17 1956 to July 1 1957 (42 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating, Harry Von Zell and Ronnie Burns
6/1 Mrs Sohmers Needs A Psychologist
Gracie fills in for Blanche at the Psychologist’s
6/2 The Switchboard Operators
Blanche and Gracie take over the hotel switchboard to intercept a call Harry is expecting
6/3 Return To California
Ronnie has filled the empty Beverly Hills homes with his col­lege friends so there is no room for his parents or the Mortons
6/4 The Shakespearean Paper
Gracie tries to improve Ronnie’s essay
6/5 The Woman In The Car
Gracie borrows the Morton’s car and gets a ticket
6/6 The Interview (with guest Francis X. Bushman)
A T. V. Guide reporter tries to write an article about George and Gracie’s home life
6/7 The Initiation
Ronnie has to say and do the opposite of what would be ex­pected
6/8 Ronnie’s Bashful
Ronnie agrees not to go to the college dance while his girlfriend is out of town
6/9 The Big Stamp Robbery
Gracie uses one of Harry’s rare stamps to mail a letter
6/10 George’s Gray Suit
Gracie sends George’s favourite suit to Blanche’s brother
6/11 Von Zell’s Raises
George gives Harry Von Zell a raise because he thinks he’s getting married
6/12 The Refrigerator Salesman
George decides to help Ronnie make some commission on his holiday job by buying some of his electrical goods
6/13 The Girl Behind The Perfume Counter
Gracie thinks Ronnie has fallen in love with an older woman
6/14 Ronnie Quits College Because His Father Goes Broke
Gracie tells Ronnie that George has gone broke because he didn’t have an education
6/15 Christmas In Jail
Gracie switches pearl necklaces, landing George behind bars
6/16 The Costume Party
George inadvertently ejects the Vanderlips from Gracie’s dinner party
6/17 Gracie And The Bullfighter
Gracie thinks Ronnie has become interested in bullfighting
6/18 The Ugly Duckling
Gracie helps transform a plain-Jane into a ravishing beauty
6/19 The Aptitude Test
Gracie believes George must be in the wrong profession and arranges for a psychologist to examine him
6/20 Going To Palm Springs
Gracie wants George to see Ronnie doesn’t get pestered by girls during his rest holiday
6/21 The Matrimonial Bureau
Under the impression Ronnie must marry by the age of twenty-one, Gracie tries to arrange a prospective bride for him
6/22 The Fortune Teller
A gypsy predicts George will come into a fortune
6/23 Fighting For Happiness
Gracie tries to provoke a fight with George to enhance their marriage
6/24 The Termites
Gracie wants to get George out of the house so she can have the bedroom redecorated
6/25 The $15, 000 Error
Gracie thinks the redecorating has cost $15,000 and she tries to mortgage the house
6/26 The Ring
Gracie loans her engagement ring to Ronnie so he can propose to his girlfriend
6/27 The Plumber’s Friend (with guest Mary Livingstone)
Gracie agrees to let the plumber’s four beautiful daughters stay in the house while he’s out of town
6/28 Going To Houston
Ronnie tries to help a classmate stay on at college
6/29 The Stray Dog
Gracie minds a lost dog in her Houston hotel room
6/30 Ronnie Gets A Movie Role
Harry Von Zell has to cover for Ronnie who has an early morning call at the film studio
6/31 The Plumber’s Union
Gracie places an advert in the personals column to help Mr. Jantzen get a wife
6/32 Harry’s Homecoming
Harry Morton pretends to be an amorous Frenchman to put a spark back into his marriage
6/33 The Publicity Romance
Ronnie has to pretend to fall for his Italian starlet co-star
6/34 The Texan Lady Macbeth
The sister of Ronnie’s classmate wants to become an actress
6/35 Ronnie’s Boat
George doesn’t like Ronnie spending his movie pay on a boat
6/36 A Trip To Tahiti
The arrival of the Jantzen sisters causes Ronnie and Ralph to reconsider their planned cruise
6/37 The Home Graduation
Gracie sets up a fake graduation ceremony to please Brian McAfee’s father
6/38 Blanche’s Mother Arrives
Gracie lets Blanche’s mother stay at her home to avoid trouble with Harry
6/39 A Marital Mixup (with guest Robert Cummings)
Gracie is trying to help the plumber get a wife, but the lady mistakes Harry Von Zell for the prospective groom
6/40 The Wading Pool At Acapulco
George tries to stop Ronnie getting a job as lifeguard at an Acapulcan hotel pool
6/41 A Pain In The Back
Gracie and Blanche try to get their husbands to go camping
6/42 Ronnie’s Twenty-One
A French exchange student says that Ronnie has agreed to marry her so she can stay in the country

Series 7: CBS September 30 1957 to June 23 1958 and Sep­tember 8 and 15 1958 (39 editions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating, Harry Von Zell and Ronnie Burns
7/1 The General
Gracie tries to stop an Army general from finding out his son has married
7/2 Too Much Pot Roast
Gracie thinks filling the house with beautiful women will cure Ronnie of his flirtations
7/3 The Texan Italian
Gracie transforms Bonnie Sue McAfee into an Italian to help her acting career
7/4 An English Tea
Gracie tries to impress the upper-class mother of Ronnie’s latest girlfriend
7/5 September And May
Gracie thinks the plumber is going out with a younger woman
7/6 The Star Maker
Brian McAfee asks Gracie to help him pass his exams
7/7 The African Hunter
Guests at Gracie’s dinner party include a big game hunter and a witch doctor
7/8 One Little Fight
Ronnie and Ralph are feuding over a girl
7/9 With Or Without Glasses
Gracie tries to convince one of Ronnie’s college pals to go back to wearing his glasses
7/10 A Box Of Cigars
Gracie thinks up a novel way of helping Ronnie campaign for his choice for homecoming queen
7/11 Misery Loves Company
Gracie tries to help Ronnie’s friend Ralph get over a lost love
7/12 A Hole in The Carpet
When Gracie trips in a store, the claims adjuster is in for a rough time
7/13 How To Wrap A Mink
Gracie and Blanche are under the impression they’re getting mink coats for Christmas
7/14 Invitation To The Party
The Mortons have apparently been invited to a swank party
7/15 The Stolen Car
When Ronnie gets a job as reporter on the college newspaper, Gracie stages a scoop for him
7/16 Ronnie Finds A Friend An Apartment
Gracie thinks Ronnie has become a father
7/17 McAfee And The Manicurist
Confusion reigns when everyone tries to convince the rich Texan to stop seeing the hotel manicurist
7/18 Too Many Fathers
Gracie poses as the mother of one of Ronnie’s college pals to impress her parents
7/19 The Accident
Ronnie falls for the young driver of a car involved in a minor accident with Harry Morton
7/20 The Japanese Texan
Bonnie Sue is hoping to be cast as a Japanese girl in a movie
7/21 Hypnotizing Gracie
A hypnotist succeeds in transforming Gracie into the smartest woman in the world, and no one can snap her out of it
7/22 Gracie Is Brilliant
Gracie starts winning all the quiz shows and George is re­duced to doing all the household chores
7/23 Ronnie’s Fan Club
A fourteen-year-old girl has a crush on Ronnie
7/24 Frozen Passion
George is producing a movie and everyone wants to be in it
7/25 High Blood Pressure
Gracie wants George to take the plumber’s physical for an insurance policy
7/26 Softening The Professor
Gracie tries to matchmake for one of Ronnie’s college profes­sors, unaware the man is newly married
7/27 The Publicity Marriage
Gracie tries to convince Ronnie’s fourteen-year-old admirer he’s married to Bonnie Sue
7/28 Blanche Gets A Jury Notice
Harry Morton is delighted when he hears Blanche will be re­quired for jury duty
7/29 Gracie And The Jury
Gracie accidentally gives a fake note to Blanche while on the jury of a counterfeiting case
7/30 Ronnie Makes A Record
Gracie thinks George is disappointed when Ronnie gets a record deal instead of him
7/31 Ronnie’s Royalty Check
Gracie thinks Ronnie has spent his record royalty on a dress for a gold-digger
7/32 A Visit From Charles Vidor (with guest Charles Vidor)
Gracie tries to get a movie director to cast Bonnie Sue
7/33 Ronnie Goes Into The Army
Gracie tries to prevent Ronnie being sent to Alaska for his army service
7/34 Locked Out
George can’t take a call from a visiting B.B.C. man because everyone is locked out of their homes
7/35 A Week In New York
Ronnie plans on having a big party while his parents are away
7/36 The June Wedding
George and Gracie let newlyweds honeymoon in their house as the hotel has mixed up their reservations
7/37 Summer School
Ronnie plans to vacation at Big Bear Lake but George insists he attend summer school to make up his grades
7/38 The Grammar School Dance
Ronnie has to cancel his date to take his young fan to a prom
7/39 The Exchange Student
Ronnie is worried Bonnie Sue will leave him for a handsome French exchange student

VIDEOS

TV Classics – Volume 5: Comedy
MPI Home Video MP 1317 (NTSC)
features the premiere edition of October 12 1950

The Burns And Allen Show – Volume 1
RCA/Columbia (NTSC)
features editions of December 11 1952 and January 22 1953

Burns And Allen (1950)
release details unknown (NTSC)
features editions of October 12 1950 and December 7 1950 (?)

George Burns And Gracie Allen Show (1951)
release details unknown (NTSC)
features edition of December 20 1951

Burns And Allen (1951)
release details unknown (NTSC)
features editions of April 26 and October 11 1951

Burns And Allen Gracie Gives A Wedding
release details unknown (NTSC)
features editions of September 13 and August 2 1951

DVDs

The George Burns & Gracie Allen Collection
Passport 5-disc DVD 5591/2/3/4/5
1/1  October 12 1950  The First Show
1/3  November 9 1950  The Dented Fender
1/44  May 22 1952  Speech Writer
1/5  December 7 1950  Gracie’s Checking Account
1/26  September 13 1951  Gracie’s Wedding Plans
1/16  April 26 1951  Teen Visit
1/45   June 18 1952  Swami
1/28  October 11 1951  Beverly Hills Society
(set also includes 1-hour documentary: Hollywood Couples)

TV Classics – volume 7: The Burns & Allen Show + Blondie
NHE/Reel Values/RPH DVD 53-RPH-1649. 2002
1/1  October 12 1950  The First Show
1/3  November 9 1950  The Dented Fender
1/5  December 7 1950  Gracie’s Checking Account

The Burns & Allen Show
Critics’ Choice DVD CCD 1060
1/1  October 12 1950  Book Salesman (aka The First Show)
1/26  September 13 1951  Gracie Gives A Wedding
1/30  November 8 1951  Surprise Birthday Party
1/45  June 5 1952  The Fortune Teller

The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show – volume 1
Miracle/Movie Ventures DVD
1/4  November 23 1950  Harry Morton’s New Secretary

1/5  December 7 1950  Gracie’s Checking Account

1/16  April 26 1951  Teen Visit

1/28  October 11 1951  Beverley Hills Society
 

TV Favorites Megapack: 100 Episodes
TreeLine Films 26831 07002. 2003
1/1  October 12 1950  The First Show
1/3  November 9 1950  The Dented Fender
1/4  November 23 1950  Harry Morton’s New Secretary
1/12  March 1 1951  Gracie’s Tax Return
1/28  October 11 1951  Beverly Hills Society
1/16  April 26 1951  Teen Visit

 

AUDIO RECORDINGS

Burns And Allen – Their Greatest Radio Shows
Murray Hill 3LP #898047
includes soundtrack of the TV show of June 8 1953 (actually a repeat of the December 11 1952 show)

The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show
Radiola LP MR-1028
includes afterpiece routines from shows of
June 3 1957
November 251957
January 20 1958
February 10 1958
April 8 1957
January 14 1957

BOOKS

Say Goodnight, Gracie! – The Story Of Burns And Allen
by Cheryl Blythe and Susan Sackett
(E.P. Dutton, New York 1986)

George Burns And Gracie Allen – A Bio-Bibliography
By Cynthia Clements and Sandra Weber
(Greenwood Publishing)

 

GEORGE BURNS SOLO CAREER

 

TELEVISION

The George Burns Show
NBC October 21 1958 to April 14 1959 (not Nov 4)(25 edi­tions)
with Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating, Harry Von Zell and Ronnie Burns
1  George And The Private Eye (with Jack Benny and Robert Cummings)
2  Jack Benny Comes Over (with Jack Benny)
3  The French Revue
4  A Walk On For George (with William Goetz)
5 The 18 Year Old Novelist
6  Tony Martin Visits (with Tony Martin)
7  George’s Eviction
8  Eddie Fisher Guests (live show)
9  A Wife For Christmas
10  Dale Robertson Guests (live show)
11  George Signs Carol Channing (with Carol Channing)
12  Anna Maria Alberghetti Guests (live show)
13  George On Juke Box Jury (with Peter Potter)
14  Rosemary Clooney Guests (live show)
15  Carol Channing Guests (live show)
16  Xavier Cugat And Abbe Lane Guest (live show)
17  Howard Duff Guests (live show)
18  Ronnie Takes An Apartment (with Jill Corey)
19  Jimmie Rodgers Moves In With Ronnie (with Jimmy Rodgers)
20  The Landlord’s Daughter
21  The Contract To Sing
22  George’s Trial
23  Breaking Up The Team
24  The Monster Trend
25 George Invests In A Record Company

George Burns in The Big Time
NBC November 17 1959 (60 min)
with Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Bobby Darin, The Kingston Trio

General Electric Theatre: Platinum On The Rocks
CBS November 29 1959(30m)

The George Burns Special
NBC June 7 1960 (60 min) colour
With Jack Benny, Betty Grable, Polly Bergenand Bobby Darin

The Hollywood Palace
ABC March 28 1964
with Patti Page, Carl Reiner And Mel Brooks, Sergio Franchi

Wendy And Me
ABC September 14 1964 to May 17 1965 (not Jan 4 or May 3) (34 episodes)
with Connie Stevens, Ron Harper, James Callahan and J. Pat O’Malley
1  (pilot)
Wendy’s Anniversary For?
3  Swing Low, Sweet Harriet
4  Secret Wedding
5 George Burns While Rome Fiddles
6 Jeff, The Senior Citizen
7  It Takes Two To Tangle
8  Wendy’s Private Eye
9  Room At The Bottom
10  Danny, The Married Bachelor
11  Wendy, The Waitress
12  Belle Of The Malt Shop
13  East Is East, And West Is Wendy
14  Four Of A Kind
15  Woman In The Gray Flannel Suit
16  Five Minutes To Show Time
17  A Bouquet For Mr. Bundy
18  The Wendy Mob
19  Who’s In The Guest Room Tonight?
20  Wendy Sails In The Sunset
21  Tea Leaves For Two
22  Happiness Is A Thing Called Misery
23  Jeff Takes A Turn For The Nurse
24  How Not To Succeed In Stealing
25 Wendy Gives Uncle The Brush
26  Tacos, Enchiladas And Wendy
27  Wendy Is Stranger Than Fiction
28  Let’s Go Where The Wild Geisha Goes
29  You Can Fight City Hall
30  Wendy Lends A Helping Voice
31  Wendy’s Instant Intellect
32  Danny’s Double Life
33  The $5000 Chair
34  Call Me Or I’ll Call You

The Hollywood Palace
ABC February 13 1965 (60 min)
with Connie Stevens, Wayne Newton

The Hollywood Palace
ABC May 15 1965 (60 min)
with Jack Jones, Mary Costa, Carl Reiner And Mel Brooks

The Hollywood Palace
ABC March 18 1967 (60 min)
with Lainie Kazan, The King Family

The Kraft Music Hall
NBC October 11 1967 (60 min)
with Dick Cavett, Nancy Ames

The George Burns Special
CBS December 1 1976 (60 min)
with Madeline Kahn, Walter Matthau, Johnny Carson, Chita Rivera

George Burns One Man Show
CBS November 23 1977 (60 min)
with Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Ann-Margret, The Captain And Tennile, Gladys Knight And The Pips

George Burns’ 100th Birthday
CBS January 22 1979 (60 min)
with Goldie Hawn, Andy Gibb, James Stewart, Milton Berle, George Jessel, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Don Rickles

George Burns In Nashville
NBC November 13 1980 (60 min)
with Loretta Lynn, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Larry Gatlin And The Gatlin Brothers Band, Ben Smathers And His Stoney Mountain Cloggers

John Denver And George Burns
ABC March 30 1981 (60 min)
with John Denver

George Burns Early, Early, Early Christmas Show
NBC November 16 1981 (60 min)
with Bob Hope, Ann-Margret, Hans Conreid, The Hawkins Family, The Playboy Playmates

George Burns And Other Sex Symbols
NBC November 8 1982 (60 min)
with John Schneider, Linda Evans, Bernadette Peters

George Burns Celebrates 80 Years In Show Business
NBC September 19 1983 (90 min)
with Ann-Margret, Milton Berle, Johnny Carson, Carol Channing, Phyllis Diller, John Forsythe, Billy Graham, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, Don Rickles

George Burns In Concert
HBO January 22 1984 (60 min)

How To Live To Be 100
NBC September 17 1984 (60 min)
with Bob Hope, Catherine Bach, Diahann Carroll, Arte Johnson

George Burns Comedy Week
CBS September 18 to December 25 1985(not Nov 20 or Dec 18)(13 editions)
1  The Dynamite Girl (with Catherine O’Hara and Tim Matheson)
2  Home For Dinner (with Eugene Levy and Greg Morris)
3  Death Benefit (with Robert Klein and Joe Piscopo)
4  The Smiths (with Martin Mull and Tess Harper)
5 The Couch (with Harvey Korman, Valerie Perrine, Carrie Fisher and Bronson Pinchot)
*directed by Steve Martin
6  Disaster At Buzz Creek (with Don Rickles and Don Knotts)
7 The Assignment (with Elliot Gould and Telly Savalas)
8  Dream, Dream, Dream (with Patrick Duffy and Geena Davis)
9  title unknown (with Bronson Pinchot, Candy Clark and Dave Thomas)
10  The Honeybunnies (with Howard Hesseman and Laraine Newman)
11  The Funniest Guy In The World (with Paul Reiser, Jack Gilford and Victoria Tennant)
12  Christmas Carol II: The Sequel (with James Whitmore, Paul Benedict and Roddy McDowell)
13  The Borrowing (with Peter Bonerz and Michael McKean)

George Burns 90th Birthday
CBS January 17 1986 (60 min)
with Diahann Carroll, Billy Crystal, Walter Matthau, John Denver, John Forsyth, Ann-Margret and 20 cameo greetings

George Burns 95th Birthday Party
CBS February 1 1991 (60 min)

 

MOVIES

George appeared (without Gracie) in the following productions …

The Solid Gold Cadillac(1959 Paramount)
George provides the narration for this Judy Holliday comedy

The Sunshine Boys(1975 M.G.M.)

Oh, God!(1977 Warner Bros.)

The Comedy Company(1978 M.G.M. telemovie)

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band(1978 Universal)

Movie Movie(1978 Warner Bros.)
George provides the opening narration

Going In Style(1979 Warner Bros.)

Just You And Me, Kid (1979 Columbia)

Oh, God! Book 2(1980 Warner Bros.) 

Two Of A Kind(1982 telemovie) 

Oh, God! You Devil(1984 Warner Bros.) 

18 Again(1988 New World Pictures) 

Radioland Murders(1994 Universal)

 

DISCOGRAPHY

George Burns Sings
Colpix EP 129 (1959), Nixa EP nep 44000
Don’t Take Me Home
La Vie En Rose
Red Rose Rag
Some Of These Days

George Burns Sings
Buddah LP BDS 5025(1972), BDS 5127 (titled A Musical Trip With George Burns)
In The Beginning
With A Little Help From My Friends
Mr. Bojangles
King Of The Road + 59th Street Bridge Song + I Kissed Her On The Back Porch + Satisfaction
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Your Mother Should Know + I’ll Buy The Ring
It All Depends On You + You Made Me Love You
1941
Grizzley Bear
Old Folks
The Sunshine’s On My Street

An Evening With George Burns
Pride 2LP 0001 1 (1974), D.J.M. LP DJLMD 8004, Dove CD (edited version)
with an introduction by Jack Benny
Red Rose Rag
(When The Evening Sun Is Sinking) To Make Sweet Georgia Mine
Pack Up Your Sins
My Gal Is A High Born Lady
Grizzly Bear
I’m Going To Take The Train Back Home
Sweetheart Number One, Two . . .
(Johnny Warner) Where Did You Get That Girl
Yankee Doodle Blues
Monkey Rag
It All Depends On You
You Made Me Love You
Don’t Take Me Home
*** album also features vocals by The Sylvers Family and The Mike Curb Congregation

I Wish I Was Eighteen Again
Mercury LP SRM1-5025 (1980)
The Arizona Whiz
Old Bones
The Baby Song
The Only Way To Go
Forgive Her A Little (And Love Her A Lot)
I Wish I Was Eighteen Again
Old Dogs, Children And Watermelon Wine
A Real Good Cigar
One Of The Mysteries Of Life
Nickels And Dimes

George Burns In Nashville
Mercury LP SRM1-6001 (1980)
Here’s To The Man In The Moon
Just Send Me One
It’s Good To See You Smiling Again
Inflatable Dream
Jody And The Kid
Using Things And Loving People
Willie, Won’t You Sing A Song With Me
Ain’t Misbehavin’
The Good Old, Bad Old Days
Here’s To My Friends

Young At Heart
Mercury LP SRM1-4061 (1982)
Young At Heart
Kids
Frog Kissin’
The Old Fashioned Way
You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
As Time Goes By
Hearts (Are For When You Want To Love Someone)
What­ever Happened To Randolph Scott
Everybody Needs A Rainbow
Waitin’ For The Sun To Shine

As Time Goes By
Curb CD D2-77544 (1992)
I Know What It Is To Be Young (But You Don’t Know What It Is To Be Old)(duet with Bobby Vinton)
As Time Goes By (duet with Vinton)
Young At Heart (duet with Vinton)
Gracie
The Good Old, Bad Old Days
The Only Way To Go
*** disc also features four solo vocals by Bobby Vinton

A Century Of George Burns – 100 Years Of Entertainment
Polygram 4CD IAD 133 (1995) with booklet
also released as …
I Wish I Was Eighteen Again – All-Time Greatest Hits
Polygram 4CD 113015240 2 (1995)
reissues the tracks from the Mercury LPs:
I Wish I Was Eighteen Again
George Burns In Nashville
Young At Heart
plus a selection of Burns & Allen radio broadcasts:
May 22 1947
January 18 1950
May 12 1950
March 10 1949
April 28 1949
October 9 1949

Young At Heart
Mercury CD 31453 24782 (1996)
I Wish I Was Eighteen Again
Ain’t Misbehavin’
The Good Old, Bad Old Days
Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott?
You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
Old Bones
Kids
The Old Fashioned Way
The Only Way To Go
Here’s To My Friends
As Time Goes By
Young At Heart

Buddy Lester’s Their Favorite Jokes (2001)
Laugh.com CD LGH 1099
features a contribution from George

George also narrated a series of discs featuring performances by comedy greats

The Golden Age Of Comedy
Longines 5LP set LS 210A (SYS 5277 – 5281)

The Kings Of Comedy
Longines LP SYS 5282

 

BOOKS

I Love Her, That’s Why! – The Burns & Allen Story
by George Burns (with Cynthia Hobart Lindsay)
(Simon & Schuster, New York 1955/W.H. Allen, London 1956)
includes the script of the TV show of February 21 1955

Living It Up
by George Burns
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1976 and W.H. Allen, London 1977)

Third Time Around
by GeorgeBurns
(published by G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1980)

How To Live To Be 100 – Or More
by GeorgeBurns
(published by G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1983)

Dr. Burns’ Prescription For Happiness
by George Burns
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1984)

Dear George
by George Burns 
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1985)

Gracie – A Love Story
by GeorgeBurns
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1988)

All My Best Friends
by George Burns (and David Fisher)
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1989)

Wisdom Of The 90s
by George Burns (and Hal Goldman)
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1991)

100 Years, 100 Stories
by George Burns
(published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1996)

Also of interest …

George Burns The First 100 Years
(magazine published by Biograph Communications, New York, 1996)

George Burns
(magazine published by LFP, Beverly Hills, 1996)

 

DVDs

George Burns Live in Concert
Somerville House DVD DV 2429
contains the 1984 HBO 1-hour special (recorded in Canada)

The TV Specials Collection
SRO 4-DVD set D 4138
contains nine TV specials from the 1970s and 1980s:
George Burns Special (1976), George Burns One-Man Show, George Burns 100th Birthday Party, George Burns in Nashville, George Burns Early Early Early Christmas Show, George Burns and Other Sex Symbols, George Burns Celebrates 80 Years in Show Business, George Burns How to Live to be 100 Special, George Burns 90th Birthday Party

 

RECORDING

100 Years, 100 Stories
Uproar CD UP 3793-2 (1999)
John Byner reads stories from George’s last book
also included are excerpts from Burns & Allen broadcasts

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