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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 27, 2012/ 5 Iyar, 5772

George Burns and Gracie Allen, a class act, return to TV

By Greg Crosby



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tribune Broadcasting has introduced a relatively new cable station in selective American cities called Antenna TV. I think it's new; anyway I've only been aware of it for a few months. The channel specializes in broadcasting old television shows such as Leave it to Beaver, McHale's Navy, Adam-12, Three's Company, and Dennis the Menace - in other words, the usual stuff that has been rerun for decades on local stations across the country.

However, (and this is a big however) there is one particular show that they run late at night that makes everything else they broadcast look like just so much pap in comparison - The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. This is classic television in the truest sense, and more than that, it is comedy that was both classic and way ahead of it's time. Sophisticated stuff that has not become dated one bit in over 60 years.

George and Gracie started out as a double act in vaudeville; George the straight man and Gracie the dizzy dame, the act became more sophisticated on radio and in the movies, but once they hit television they were at their best, in my opinion. The show originally ran on CBS from October 1950 to September 1958 and went into reruns there after. It was in rerun that I first watched the show as a kid, and even then, I loved it.

In the show George and Gracie played themselves. Even the sets were designed to look like their real-life residence, often using an establishing shot of their actual house in Beverly Hills. The show's announcer, Harry Van Zell played himself as did their son Ronnie. They spoke of real friends of theirs, real places they would frequent, such as Chasen's and Romanov's, and the Friar's Club. All this contributed to the believably of the show

George broke through what is called "the fourth wall" in the show, turning to talk to us, the audience at home, about whatever was going on in the show's story. It worked beautifully as a device and it also gave Burns the opportunity to do a monologue each week. As far as I know Burns and Allen were the first to do this on TV, and I don't even think it has been done since. Frankly, I don't know if anyone could pull it off today the way Burns and Allen were able to.

Gracie was wonderful. Her character was the basis of the entire show of course and all the plots came out of her crazy convoluted logic. She was much more than what we would call today, ditsy. In her own way she actually made sense once you followed her cockeyed reasoning. She was also adorable. George always said that he learned early on that he couldn't berate her, push her around, or come on too strong with her in the act because the audience wouldn't stand for it - they absolutely loved her.

One other thing about Gracie - she never stepped out of character. She was always the "performance Gracie" and to my knowledge she never even did an interview when she wasn't doing her dizzy dame routine. Few performers have been as protective of their public persona as was she. Harpo Marx comes to mind as one other example. To this day, no one outside of the immediate family and friends can tell you what his voice sounded like.

During the course of the eight-year run, the TV show had remarkable consistency in its cast and crew. The episodes were produced and directed by Frederick de Cordova (who would go on to direct most episodes of NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"). In addition to cast members Harry Von Zell, Bea Benadaret (a terrific comedienne in her own right, who made the transition from the radio show), and Larry Keating -- -- the writing staff consisted of Sid Dorfman, Harvey Helm, Keith Fowler, and William Burns (George's brother). The Associate Producer was Al Simon, the Director of Photography was Philip Tannura, A.S.C., and the Editor was Larry Heath.

For all of us past the age of 60 who remember The Burns and Allen Show it is a rare treat to have them back into our lives once more. For anyone who has never seen the show, I can only say you must watch it to appreciate what true comedy is all about. No vulgarity, no double entendre, no low class humor. As a matter of fact, "class act" is a perfect way to describe George Burns and Gracie Allen. TiVo or DVR it and sit back and prepare yourself for situation comedy as you've never seen before.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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