Tag Archives: Gracie Allen

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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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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4 November: Burns & Allen learn their lesson

The flirt routines got old; their real life marriage helps prove their radio rescue . . . (Photo: NBC.)

The flirt routines got old; their real life marriage makes their radio rescue . . . (Photo: NBC.)

By the end of the 1940-41 season, George Burns and Gracie Allen have a serious problem on their hands. The longtime boy-girl core of their routines may have made them stars when they took them from vaudeville to radio, but they now seem as refreshing as a year-old beer.

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