The George Burns and Gracie Allen Collection
DVD | Box Set
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This fabulous five-DVD collection brings you the very best of George Burns and Gracie Allen from their classic 50s TV sitcom, The Burns & Allen Show. Say gnight, Gracie!
You'll love the daffy antics of Gracie and the endless patience of straight man George as they get mixed up in one hilarious situation after another.
And you'll also see Hollywood Couples: George Burns and Gracie Allen - an affectionate look at this dynamic duo, featuring rare clips and photos.
It's all here in The Burns and Allen Collection. Say g'night, Gracie!
Disc One FIRST SHOW - In this rare, very first episode of the Burns and Allen Show from 1950, George explains the premise of their TV series and the dynamics of his rapport with Gracie. Veteran character actor Henry Jones guest stars as an encyclopedia salesman.
GRACIE'S TAX RETURN - The tax assessor pays the Burns household a visit and becomes confused by Gracie's loopy logic. Guest star is Bob Sweeney, who would soon co-star in Our Miss Brooks.
Disc Two SPEECH WRITER - George keeps getting interrupted while he's trying to write an important speech and Gracie tries to enroll some rambunctious children in a private school.
GRACIE'S CHECKING ACCOUNT - A frustrated bank officer drops by the house to try and straighten out Gracie's wacky bookkeeping methods and Gracie gets a traffic ticket.
Disc Three GRACIE'S WEDDING PLANS - Gracie agrees to throw a wedding for the daughter of a friend - right in the Burns home - and George has to contend with a fussy French caterer.
TEEN VISIT - The Burns' banker lets his teenage daughter stay with George and Gracie for the weekend. Burns and Allen get a chance to show off some fancy footwork at the end.
Disc Four SWAMI - Gracie decides to divorce George after misinterpreting a fortune teller's prediction. Walter Woolf King, who played the villain in the Marx Brothers classic A Night At The Opera, is Gracie's attorney.
BEVERLY HILLS SOCIETY - Gracie misuses the rent money for The Beverly Hills Uplift Society, so the ladies hold their meeting in the Burns home.
Disc Five HOLLYWOOD COUPLES: GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN - A fascinating documentary focusing on the lives of George and Gracie onscreen and especially off. Rare clips and photos tell their story, including a look at Burns and Allen's lives before they met, as well as Burns' phenomenally successful solo career after his beloved Gracie's untimely death.
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Picture quality is typical for very old black and white TV. They put an identification "bug" in the corner of the screen just like you see when you watch something on TV.
My main complaint is they used 5 dvd's to hold just 5 hours of B&W programming (8 half hour shows, and a 1 hour documentary) They could have fit this on one or two DVD's and put it in a double sided DVD package so it would take up less space on the shelf.
The "George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" aired for eight seasons from 1950 to 1958. All eight episodes, however, are drawn from seasons one and two. A total of 52 episodes were filmed during the first two seasons (they aired only every other week those two years), so you are only getting a fraction of those episodes on this collection. During the first two seasons, the shows were filmed live on kinescope. These first two seasons are in the public domain; consequently, nothing has been done to restore these episodes. The sound quality is good, but the picture quality is no better than what I remember TV shows looking like on my parents' old black-and-white set when I was a kid. Bottom line, the picture quality is okay but certainly not great. [Note: A mild complaint of mine is that there is a product logo that is in the bottom right-hand corner throughout all eight episodes.]
In addition to Burns and Allen, the only regular characters on the show were the couple who lived next door. The wife was played by Bea Benaderet, who appeared in all 292 episodes and went on to appear in "The Beverly Hillbillies" and star in the spin-off series "Petticoat Junction." The husband was played by three different actors during the first two seasons and there would be a fourth before the series ended.
Here are the eight episodes included on this disc with their original broadcast date. I also put the actual episode title in quotation marks and the title used in this collection in parentheses. Running times vary between about 27 and a half minutes to 29 minutes per episode. Also, the program was sponsored by Carnation evaporated milk. These ads are worked into the program throughout the show--including some of the jokes. (Gracie ponders how they milk a carnation.)
"The Kleebob Card Game" (First Show) Season 1, episode 1, Oct. 12, 1950
"The Property Tax Assessor" (Gracie's Tax Return) Season 1, episode 3, Nov. 9, 1950
"The Speech Writer" (Speech Writer) Season 2, episode 18, May 22, 1952
"Gracie's Checking Account" (Gracie's Checking Account) Season 1, episode 5, Dec 7, 1950
"Gracie Gives a Wedding" (Gracie's Wedding Plans) Season 1, episode 26, Sep. 13, 1951
"Teenage Girl Spends the Weekend" (Teen Visit) Season 1, episode 16, April 26, 1951
"Divorce Attorney" (Swami) Season 2, episode 19, June 5, 1952
"The Beverly Hills Uplift Society" (Beverly Hills Society) Season 2, episode 2, Oct. 11, 1951
"Hollywood Couples: George Burns and Gracie Allen" (running time - 50 minutes, 2000) - This documentary tells the story of Burns and Allen from their early lives through their careers in vaudeville, radio, film, and television as well as Burns resurgence in popularity following his wife's untimely death in 1964. The makers of this film could have learned a thing or two from A&E's excellent "Biography" series, but it is an informative if not particularly well done documentary.
Bottom line, I ended up paying a couple bucks per episode when I got this. Is that a bit overpriced? Yeah, maybe it is, but I more than got my money's worth from the enjoyment I got out of watching them.
Most recent customer reviews
Laughed my head off. Gracie is great