Gracie Ends Act with GeorgeMay 4, 2009
From Life Magazine, September 22, 1958
It sounds like just another one of those wild schemes out of Gracie Allen’s unfathomable fancy. But she really is breaking up the act and her appearance on next week’s Burns and Allen Show (Sept. 22, 1958 CBS-TV, 8 p.m. EDT) will be her last. Into retirement with Gracie will go the purest modern image of the indomitable Dumb Dora, the chucklehead wife whose unerring knack for being wrong manages to make logic rearrange itself so that her most adddlebrained antic seems momentarily sensible. To millions of husbands she was the exasperating essence of all wives as she cut the hedge with George’s electric razor and sewed shirt buttons on his shirttails so nobody would notice if he lost them. But to her profession, she was a matchless comic artist, the girl who got most of the laughs for the longest-running comedy team in the U.S.
Gracie started on stage at 3 as a dancing colleen in an Irish vaudeville act, teamed up with Burns in 1922 and married him four years later. Now at 53, after 36 years as George’s giddy wife in vaudeville, radio and TV, she wants to try a real-life wife’s role. George will go on with the show himself, next month on NBC-TV, while Gracie devotes herself to leisure, domesticity and their grandchildren. But George has not altogether written Gracie off as a partner. “Maybe after six months one of the kids will spill a glass of milk on her,” he says hopefully. “Then maybe she’ll retire from the kids too.”