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The Burns and Allen Show - Book Salesman

episode 1.1
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show - Book Salesman

USA 1950
produced by
Ralph Levy for CBS
directed by Ralph Levy
starring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bill Goodwin, the Skylarks, Henry Jones, Bea Benaderet, Hal March
written by Paul Henning, Sid Dorfman, Harvey Helm, William Burns, musical director: Leith Stevens

Burns and Allen Show, Burns & Allen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A book salesman (Henry Jones) innocently knocks on Gracie's (Gracie Allen) door to sell her an encyclopedia, but not only does he sell her no books, he also gets his hat ruined by overambitious naive Gracie.

Later, Gracie and her neighbour/friend Blanche (Bea Benaderet) want to go to the moives, while their husbands George (George Burns) and Harry (Hal March) want to go to a fight - which their wives would never approve of. So the boys make up a card game to catch the girls off-guard - but in all her naivity, Gracie calls their bluff.


The Burns and Allen Show had been on radio for an amazing number of years when it made the jump to the small screen back in 1950. One has to remember, in 1950, the sitcom - now television staple - was something totally new to the small screen, and The Burns and Allen Show was one of the first series to adopt the format ... and in that respect, it's amazing with how much insight the genre was treated early on. For example, at the beginning George Burns humourously explains his straight man-routine, pretty much giving away his whole function in the show in a few phrases (and remember, this was the first ever TV-episode of the series). Later, he and announcer Bill Goodwin poke fun at their sponsor Carnation Evaporated Milk, while the lack of the fourth wall (the wall to the studio audience) is pretty much a running gag throughout the show.

Apart from all this, the episode is pretty funny, too, carried by good oneliners and compact lead performances that easily make one forget the show's somewhat feeble storyline.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD