Thursday, December 21, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 21: Burns and Allen Present Gracie's Christmas Carol (1936)

In all my years of showcasing Old Time Radio on my blog, I have never featured two of the most well known actors to grace the airwaves.  Or should I say Gracie the airways.  Fixing that right now with a show from the Burns and Allen Show back in 1936.  The stars are George Burns and Gracie Allen - two of the most famous names on radio and two of the biggest stars during the Golden Age of Radio.  If you have Sirius XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). It is particularly good this week with all Christmas themed programs.  Or you can see my previous OTR Christmas entries (or drop to the bottom of this message).

240/365/970 (February 6, 2011) – Pam's Grandma's Polish Chicken Soup

Pam's Grandma's Polish Chicken Soup - WAY Better than Campbell's

New York born George Burns was a struggling vaudeville comedian when teamed up with a San Francisco born Gracie Allen back in the twenties.  They would start off their career with Gracie being the straight man to George - but realized that they should flip their roles.  When Gracie became the one who got all the laughs, Burns and Allen became a pair of stars!  That stardom placed them on radio in the mid-1930s where they worked through the early 1950s on both CBS and NBC Programs.  Over the years, their program was sponsored by a number of products including White Owl cigars, Cambell's Tomato Juice, Campbell's Soup Presents, Grape Nuts cereal, Chesterfield cigarettes, Hormel and Spam, and maybe their most well known product connection - Maxwell House Coffee.  But today - we go back to one of their earliest episodes when they were sponsored by Campbell's Soup.

During their episode on December 23, 1936, they start with a discussion between Gracie and George about getting ready for the holidays.  When Ken Niles asked Gracie if she is ready for Christmas - she answered: "My Christmas shopping sure its all done - just for buying the presents."  They proceeded to talk about the good sense that comes from buying your gifts after the holidays - then you can buy exactly what they don't have.  I guess it does take the mystery out of the experience.  The program does start with a commercial by announcer Ken Niles for Campbell's Chicken Soup (mine is better)!

One of the fun sketches they do is Gracie's Christmas Carol.  According to the Digital Deli, this is the second year they showcased Gracie's Christmas Carol on the program, but the episode from 1935 does not exist.  On this episode, George plays Scrooge - and the three ghosts are Announcer Ken Niles (Christmas Past), Conductor Henry King (Christmas Present) and Tony Martin (Christmas Future).  They do have a lot of fun at the expense of other radio stars of the time including Jack Benny, Fred Allen and Al Jolson.  The music is supplied by Henry King and his Orchestra and Gracie Sings "I Love You From Coast to Coast." These are fun old programs - and this one is one of the earliest ones I ever featured on my blog.  I hope you enjoy this and my series as it winds down on Christmas (or maybe the day after).

The Burns and Allen Show - December 23, 1936

          Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2017) & Other Links

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) 

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

          25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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