On this day in 1926, George Burns & Gracie Allen were married.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Monday, January 7, 2019
Burns and Allen were an American comedy duo. They performed together as a comedy team in vaudeville, films, radio, and television. The couple had great success in entertaining their fans for over four decades.
Burns and Allen met when they performed together at the Hill Street Theater in Newark, New Jersey in 1922.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
John F. Kennedy developed a theory of electromagnetism in 1802, paving the way for radio communication. All right, maybe he wasn't born until today in 1917, but this is a radio blog! He must've been some radio pioneer of something. Did he host a show with George Burns?
We all know Kennedy was one of the most noted presidents, uncommonly charismatic, controversial, and bold. Kennedy's speeches are some of the most memorable in American history: he was a quote machine.
The medium of radio carried to us the unveiling of the goal to place a man on the moon; the establishment of the Peace Corps; a word on the bussing controversy in Birmingham; and of course grave addresses on (and in) the Cuban Missile Crises. Over radio, Kennedy intoned "ich bin ein Berliner" and "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country."
JFK's strident, nearly staccato delivery and his New England accent made his voice unmistakable and iconoclastic. Of the many birthday salutes today, here's one from the world of radio, which was a big part of the JFK presidency.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Friday, October 17, 2014
A dancer as a child and actress and sex symbol as an adult, Rita Hayworth was born Margerita Carmen Cansino on this day in 1918.
Star of Gilda, Pal Joey, and Separate Tables, the stunning brunette was also once married to Orson Welles and romantically involved with Prince Aly Khan, Aga Khan's son.
But let's allow others to worry about her lovelife, her scandals and intrigues. We're here to celebrate her radio performances: there were many. She appeared on The Lux Radio Theatre, Gulf Screen Guild Theatre, The Pepsodent Show (hosted by Bob Hope), Suspense, and Command Performance. On these top-flight shows, she acted alongside Cary Grant, Cecil B. DeMille, George Burns, and Angela Lansbury.
Hayworth was dashing and sensual, and has been recognized by collective memory as one of the great film actresses of all time.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Radio's Lou Holtz was born on this day in 1893 in Beverly Hills. He started touring the Vaudeville circuit in his teens and became one of the genre's big stars. In the 20's, he developed one of his signature character, Sam Lapidus.
Not long after, he began making appearances on the top radio programs of the day, such as The Rudy Vallee Show and The Paul Whiteman Show. From there it was a chance to host his own show, The Lou Holtz Laugh Club. This was a little niblet of a show, just three minutes in length, but packed with comedic stories and jokes told by Lou himself and his guests.
After his retirement, Holtz was able to participate in a real-life laugh club by hanging out at L.A.'s Hillcrest Country Club with comedy legends like The Marx Brothers and George Burns. Meeting adjourned!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Perhaps not quite as funny as George Burns or Jim Jordan; not possessed of the voice of Orson Welles; maybe not as bracing a presence as Vincent Price. But then again, Jimmy Carter never tried to be a radio star. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of the poor, the working class, Americans in general and humankind across the globe. He was the 39th U.S. President, deep into the tradition of the weekly radio broadcast and a couple of decades before Twitter.
In March of 1977, Carter used the existing technology to try to anticipate the immediacy and open access of today's social media. He hosted a live radio program entitled "Ask President Carter," allowing everyday folks to ask him unscreened questions. More people seem to remember the Saturday Night Live parody starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.
Available recordings of Carter's speeches include remarks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, and issues involving importation of oil from the Middle East.
Friday, July 26, 2013
If the great comedian, George Burns, had a great love of his life...it was Gracie Allen. Miss Allen was born July 26, 1895 (at best guess as her birth records were lost in the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906) and through her illustrious career, she endeared herself to the hearts of millions of fans around the globe. She made her first appearance to the masses at the age of 3 when she performed with Eddie Cantor. As part of “The Four Colleens”, she and her sisters performed irish dances and eventually ended up on vaudeville with her older sister Bess. In 1922 she met a young comic vaudevillian named George Burns and teamed up...both on stage and in life. In their act, Gracie originally was the straight force of the duo, but as she was receiving the laughter for her less than “all there” approach to dialog. Gracie Allen became the focal point of the jocularity.
In reality, Miss Allen had a keen I.Q. and was very articulate. Their success on the stage carried the husband-wife team perfectly onto radio. By the 1930’s, their rapporte of wit and witticism became a huge portion of their popularity on the air waves. As the 40’s rolled around, their situational radio comedy program, “Burns and Allen”, blossomed into a generational approach to humor. Gracie and her “illogical logic” made each episode a delight and favorite with the listening public. She might make you scratch your head trying to figure out the explanation or phrase she gave to each quip or barb flung her way...yet she never fell down for lack of something to say. She and her husband played off a stunt that lasted most of the election year of 1940 when they ran for President and Vice-President under the Surprise Ticket. Gracie Allen received over 40,000 votes that November.
Over the years their program made it to television and film and they were a continual favorite among the american audience. In 1964, Gracie Allen lost her battle with heart disease. When George Burns uttered the infamous line, “Say goodnight Gracie”...she did for the last time.