Posts Tagged ‘Life and Career’

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Dinner Scene

July 22, 2009

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Life magazine photo of the family (and Jack Benny) at dinner in September 1958.

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Hawaiian Family Vacation

July 11, 2009

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From People Magazine

May 22, 2009

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“For 40 years my act consisted of one joke,” George Burns was fond of saying. “Then she died.” The woman in question, as anyone within earshot of a radio or television in the 1950s would know, was his wife, Gracie Allen–and the female side of a showbiz team whose ditzy banter in an era of idealized domesticity made it one of the most beloved and successful comedy acts in history.

Both onstage and off, as Burns himself was always the first to acknowledge, Gracie, the perfectly honed not-so-Dumb Dora to his long-suffering straight man, was more than half an act. “Next to Gracie, I was wonderful,” he wrote in an affectionate biography, 1988’s Gracie: A Love Story. “All I had to do was stand next to her and imagine some of the applause was for me.”

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The Burnses Observe Gracie’s Retirement (Life Magazine Cover)

April 26, 2009

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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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