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Gracie: A Love Story Hardcover – November 14, 1988


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (November 14, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399133844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399133848
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 92-year-old Burns here tells a true-love story of the life he shared with his wife, who died in 1964. The author (ne Nathan Birnbaum) was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn when he met Grace Allen, who was raised in an Irish-Catholic family in San Francisco. Both were struggling vaudevillians when they married in 1928, but as "Burns and Allen," they gradually advanced into the big time. Describing their professional and personal life together, Burns fills the book with infectious humor, although one feels his loss. Clearly he wants readers to know Grace, an intelligent and endearing woman far different from "Gracie," whose exquisitely timed "illogic-logic" quips made her world famous. The memoir's great appeal is further strengthened by accounts of early vaudeville and anecdotes about Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Fred Astaire, the Lunts and other friends. It should be a bestseller.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Burns opens this book with "For forty years my act consisted of one joke. And then she died." This is a tribute to Gracie Allen, Burns's wife and partner, and the story of their life together, from vaudeville through early radio and television. Reading this entertaining account is just like listening to Burns talk. In fact, he signals jokes by telling the reader, "Now I'm puffing on my cigar." Burns gives a good behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and their famous friends, such as Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan. But what primarily emerges is a sensitive profile of Allen, who was a tough, clever, workhorse of a comedian, despite her "Dumb Dora" role, and a generous spirit. Recommended for public libraries. Barbara Carroll, M.L.S., Eau Claire, Wis.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The jokes are still funny today, and the book is a quick and very entertaining read.
Kona
I highly recommend this book as it is funny, sweet, and what love is really about. goodnight gracie.
Charlotte Hawkins
Do yourself a favor and read this book, get it at the library or buy it or kindle it, but read it.
LN. Lawrence

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on April 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
George Burns published this wonderful tribute to his wife when he was ninety-two years old, still head over heels in love with his dear Gracie, who died thirty years earlier. This book is a memoir of their personal and professional life together starting as the toast of vaudeville, continuing with their radio show for seventeen years, and later, situation comedy stars on television. Both George and Gracie started appearing on stage as children, and they teamed up in 1923, earning five dollars a week, doing four shows a day. At first, Gracie was the straight man and George said the punch lines, but they soon learned it was better the other way around. Gracie played the ditzy girlfriend and wife for thirty-five years and, as George said, he just stood next to her. He never stopped being amazed at her talent, beauty, and intelligence, and he loved her more with each passing day. The book ends with her death, from heart disease in 1958, and one is left with a lovely and intimate picture of their marriage.
Burns wrote the book as if he were talking with a dear friend, and there is a vaudeville joke in nearly every paragraph. The jokes are still funny today, and the book is a quick and very entertaining read. There is a lot of behind the scenes chatter about their famous Hollywood friends, especially Jack Benny, but it is first and foremost a tribute to Gracie and the love they shared for so many years. I heartily recommend this book, especially to those who enjoyed the Burns and Allen TV show in the fifties. It will bring back a lot of happy memories.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scott R Stout on September 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rarely do I ever laugh out loud while reading - Geogrge made me.
Rarely do I ever get teary eyed while reading - George made me.
I've always enjoyed the work of Burns & Allen and always planned on reading this book - when I finally did I was gald that I did. I don't need to get into the historical account of thier carrer or what a wonderful, natural talent Gracie was - I'll leave that to George. But George's "comic valentine" to/about Gracie is a wonderful, heartwarming read. You can hear George reading the words to you (actually you really can if you have the audiocasette version - I'm puffing on my cigar) with his dry wit and great delivery.
If you admire Gracie or George you'll enjoy this read.
Next up.... ALL MY BEST FREINDS by George.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Price on July 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book singlehandedly turned a 13 hour plane flight into a pleasant 5 minute jaunt. For that, I will always be greatful.
The books is the story of their life told through a massive collection of jokes that just never stop coming. You don't get an intimate portrait of Gracie and sometimes it is hard to tell when he is "puffing on the cigar" or not. But you do get a VERY funny and interesting look at the life of two celebrities and most importantly you get a candid and touching glimpse into George's love of Gracie. I can't believe he carried such a flame over 20 years after her death. We all should be so lucky to be so much in love.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MARK J GARCIA on June 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Lamb Chops...What do lamb chops have to do with this story, well everything! Lamb Chops is the vaudeville routine that brought fame to this comedic duo in the late 1920's. I have the link to a You Tube movie short that was filmed in 1929 for this popular routine here. ( [...] ) In this clip and others that I've seen with Burns and Allen, I think Gracie is the reason that they had so much success. She was so natural in her role as the "ditzy dame". She was good if not one of the best funnymen to a straightman role. This book takes the reader back to the waning days of vaudeville and the beginnings of film, radio and television as the new media for bringing entertainment to its audiances. George Burns takes us back down memory lane with a personnal love story that lasted nearly 40 years. His memories include many places and friends that I as a reader enjoyed visiting. I don't read love stories usually, but this love story is one that I enjoyed and won't soon forget.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott MacGillivray VINE VOICE on August 29, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
The audio version of "Gracie" is unlike most audiobooks in that it isn't a literal recording of the text. Rather than simply reading his book, George Burns relates the same material as anecdotes. The result is funny and charming, and Burns's spontaneity lends the book unusual intimacy: George is talking privately to YOU. There are occasional time-outs for Burns & Allen performing their radio routines. Two mild drawbacks: Burns-on-tape doesn't tell the same stories with as much depth as Burns-in-print, and the tape editor has seen fit to interrupt Burns with occasional musical effects. But the subject overcomes the presentation, and if you've read "Gracie," you'll still want Burns's "alternate take" of the story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on April 11, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I glanced at the reviews here to see if my opinion of this book was just a fluke, but they pretty much bear me out. I didn't expect this book to be nearly as good as it is. On second thought, though, it's not that surprising. This pair was magic and it was seen in everything they touched, the prime and lasting example being the without parallel Burns and Allen Show.

Burns and Allen successfully weathered many storms, making the transition from Vaudeville and stand-up comedy to radio and later to television. The earliest TV shows are the only ones available on DVD, but in later seasons they really hit their stride. In this hilarious and ground- breaking show, George would turn on the TV in the den to see what Gracie was doing, and regularly chat with viewers about events in progress. Gracie would walk in the wrong side of the set and regale viewers (or listeners) with non-stop comedic patter, malapropisms and surrealistic humour (ala Ernie Kovaks) with George as the straightman and pinnacle of style puffing his ever-present cigar.

Even as an octagenarian he could still act (Oh God, You Devil) but as a nonogenarian (92) he could still write. This marvelous memoir is not only the most delightful reading I've had in a long time, but makes me all the more want the Burns and Allen show on DVD. This book was a bestseller in hardback, but is now unaccountably out of print. Yet many readers would love this book, and would enjoy making the acquaintance of the remarkable Gracie Allen.
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