Posts Tagged ‘Gracie’s Family’


Allen Family Circus

July 16, 2010

George: Well, Gracie, any news from home?

Gracie: Yes. I got a letter from my little niece, Jean.

George: What did she say?

Gracie: She didn’t say anything. She didn’t phone. It was a letter, and she wrote it.

George: I mean what did she write?

Gracie: It’s Spring again, and my family is putting on a backyard circus, just like we did when I was a kid.

George: Every Spring you kids used to put on your own circus?

Gracie: Yes. Of course, admission was free, but that was only for the people who could afford it.

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In There???

May 15, 2010

This is the script from George and Gracie’s first ever movie short… the entire script.  They were apparently tickled to collect such a large amount of money for something so short and sweet.  It was the first in a much more grand career in film.

George: Gracie, what are you looking for?

Gracie: The audience.

George: You see that camera, you see the little lens sticking out. Well, you look right into that and that’s where the audience is.

Gracie: Oh? All right.

George: Now, Gracie, if we can talk for nine minutes, they’ll pay us seventeen hundred dollars. Do you think you can do that?

Gracie: George, just ask me what my brother Harvey is doing.

Well, that started her, and she talked for nine minutes. In the middle of a joke I stopped her:

George: Gracie, our nine minutes are up, and we just made seventeen hundred dollars. Now wave goodbye to the audience.

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…And the Show Goes On…

April 12, 2010



Ladies and gentleman, thank you very much, and it’s very exciting for us to play here in London. We’d love to do a little more, but we’re not prepared.


I am.

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Dance Gimmick

December 10, 2009

Our act ended with a typical boy-girl song, which led into the both of us dancing together. During this dance we used a gimmick which I think I originated. It’s been used many times over the years–in fact, it’s still being used and it still works. Gracie and I would dance together, and four times during the number I would stop the music–we would tell a joke–and then continue dancing. It went like this:

[George and Gracie go into a dance]

George: Stop!

[music stops]

Gracie, how is your cousin?

Gracie: You mean the one who died?

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A Full Family Life for Mrs. Burns

May 25, 2009

From Life Magazine, September 22, 1958

Gracie and grandchildren
Gracie spends a contented day at her Beverly Hills home.  Lori, 4, and Lissa, 2, are Sandra’s daughters.  Here Gracie twists a curl into place on Lissa before joining a card game.

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The Act That Made Them a Team

April 29, 2009

This is said to be one of the first acts that George and Gracie performed. At the time, they were only an acting team. George says in his book, Gracie: A Love Story, that he asked her several times to marry him, allegedly to “share expenses.”

Though they married early in their career they did not play a married couple. It was not until much later, during their run in radio, that their marriage was announced. The show went on the same, no staged marriage ceremony, but simply an announcement was made and the scripts were changed to read that George and Gracie were a married couple.

In this act we read one of many famous “brother Willy” sketches. Gracie often talked about her brother and his antics, which are amplified by her own unique point of view. Gracie’s fictional family was much like her fictional self, which adds to the hillarity of her innocence. Gracie played her character so well that people would often think that Gracie was the same way in real life!


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Amazing Gracie

April 24, 2009

She was a matchless comic artist who was smart
enough to become the dumbest woman in show-business history.

by Maynard Good Stoddard

“I lie a lot,” confesses the author of five bestsellers previous to Gracie: A Love Story. “But when I write about Gracie, I don’t have to lie,” he says. “The truth is unbelievable enough.”

George Burns is of course referring to Graice Allen, his wife and partner, a matchless comic artist smart enough to become the dumbest woman in show-business history.

sedugracieOnly Gracie would make ice cubes with hot water so they would be ready if the water heater broke. Who else would cut her vacuum cord in half to save electricity? Or suggest, “Horses must be deaf because you see so few of them at concerts”? Or plead with her audience, “If I say the right thing, please excuse me”?

To the millions of Burns and Allen vaudeville, radio, TV, and movie fans, saying the wrong thing was the right thing. And at saying the wrong thing, Gracie was an expert.

Burns records how Gracie, getting her permit to drive a car, went up against bureaucracy in the person of Mr. Harkness of the motor vehicle bureau.

“Mrs. Burns,” he said, “I’ve been going over your test. Never in the 16 years I’ve been here have I seen anything like it.”

“Thank you,” Gracie responded proudly.

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