Tag Archives: George Burns

28 February: Politics as unusual

Well, why not? (Photo: CBS.)

Well, why not? (Photo: CBS.)

One of old-time radio’s greatest comic stunts might have been inspired by politics on the surface, but it also drew inspiration from its protagonists’ ratings drop . . . and proved only to be a short-term fix in the end. Which, come to think of it, is just about what most political fixes prove to be, no?

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26 December: Jumpin’ Jack’s flash

 

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny's long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny’s long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Saying farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932 isn’t exactly easy for Jack Benny, no matter how gracious he is about it publicly. But considering how frequently shows changed networks previously, and often as not at their sponsors’ behest, Benny’s pending jump is a very big deal, indeed.

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6 December: Two moves for Jack Benny

1936 was a very good year for J. Benny, and 1937 wouldn't be half bad, either. (Photo: NBC.)

1936 was a very good year for J. Benny, and 1937 wouldn’t be half bad, either. (Photo: NBC.)

Jack Benny in 1935-36 is a man in transition. Long based in New York, Benny finds himself getting enough film offers from Hollywood that he figures a move to California is about the only way to satisfy that demand while continuing his increasingly popular radio show.

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28 August: Gracie says her saddest goodnight

Although they had equal billing, this married couple headlined a show that was wholly dependent on the skewed behavior of one of its stars, Gracie Allen. It took a big man, George Burns, to recognize that his wife was the laugh-getter, and to yield to her as the quintessential straight-man.

Jim Cox, in American Radio Networks: A History (2009).

 

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3 April: George and Gracie’s hop

Burns & Allen, day, time, network, and sponsor hoppers. (Photo: CBS.)

Burns & Allen, day, time, network, and sponsor hoppers. (Photo: CBS.)

By 1939-40, George Burns and Gracie Allen are among old-time radio’s most frequent time and sponsor changers: this season shows the couple with their fifth such change in eight radio seasons, working at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night on CBS for Hind’s Honey & Almond Hand Cream.

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