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Burns & Allen Transcript: Married, but Single (1942-10-06) May 25, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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The year is 1942. Harry James and his Orchestra’s “One Dozen Roses” is a number-one hit; you need your own maps to follow the developments of WWII because all the news is on radio; and Burns and Allen just got back from a USO tour.

While settling in at home, Gracie realizes she misses their pre-marriage courtship, and urges George to help her re-enact their first date. As far as she’s concerned, it goes perfectly.

Download the episode here, and read the transcript below.

(Pretty sure these lines aren’t right, but they’re unfamiliar expressions in low-quality audio and I can’t parse them: “you’re sitting there sober”, “Get this one for a boff,”, “Magnan’s window.” Any corrections welcome.)

(Bill’s date introduces herself as “Marion” – last name I’m not sure of, something like “freebye” – and is later referred to as Nancy. Not sure if that’s a script gaffe, or if Bill honestly forgot.)


And now to the Burns house, where we find George and Gracie.

George Burns: Well, Gracie, isn’t it nice to be back home again?

Gracie Allen: Oh, yes, everybody’s been so sweet to us. Wasn’t that a wonderful homecoming party our neighbors gave us last night?

George: Say, that was quite a party.

Gracie: Yes. I love those games we played. Wasn’t it a riot when they blindfolded me and I tried to pin the tail on the donkey?

George: Yes, yes.

Gracie: Oh, that reminds me, dear, would you like another cushion under you?


George: Ah…no thanks, I heal pretty fast.

Gracie: And wasn’t it fun when we took turns acting out famous events in history? They never did guess ours.

George: No, they didn’t, at that.

Gracie: It was easy, too! The purchase of Manhattan Island from the Indians. I just stood there and you gave me 24 dollars.

George: That’s right.

Gracie: I can’t understand why everybody thought it was Moses getting water out of a rock.


George: Well, neither can I.

Gracie: Are you sure you don’t want another cushion, dear?

George: Well, what for?

Gracie: Well, you’re sitting there sober.

George: I always sit that way.

Gracie: I would’ve enjoyed the party last night more if you hadn’t been so mean to me, though.

George: I was mean to you? Hm.

Gracie: Remember when they wanted me to make a little speech because I was the guest of honor?

George: Yeah?

Gracie: And I asked you to hold my plate of chicken salad and my cup of coffee?

George: Well, I held them, didn’t I?

Gracie: Well, yeah, but when I finished my speech you were the only one who didn’t applaud.

George: [mock contrition] Gee, I’m a dog.

Gracie: You never treated that me before we were married. You used to be the sweetest, the most thoughtful man in the world. Every ten minutes you told me how beautiful I was.

George: Well, don’t I still do that?

Gracie: No. And you don’t realize that a woman loves to be told she’s beautiful. Even women who aren’t beautiful love to be told they are. Although there, of course, I’m only guessing.

George: From now on I’ll tell you you’re beautiful.

Gracie: Well, I should hope so. My goodness, it isn’t as if I’m asking you to lie to me.

George: Of course not, of course not.

Gracie: Now you were cute when you courted me, though. You were so charming, and so handsome…[sigh] ‘Course, that was a long time ago.

George: [deadpan] Naturally, naturally, yes.

Gracie: George?

George: Yes?

Gracie: Do you remember our first date?

George: Uh-huh.

Gracie: I was so excited! I was hoping you’d bring me flowers, because Mama had such a lovely remembrance of her first date with Papa. He brought her flowers, and she saved every one. She pressed them between the pages of a book.

George: She did, huh.

Gracie: Uh-huh. You brought me chocolates, remember?

George: Mmhmm.

Gracie: I’d love to see them today. [pause] I wish I could get that book open.


George: Gee, that box of chocolates certainly brings back memories. We’d just started keeping company then. I was in vaudeville, playing Altoona. Right after the show I’d rush back to New York to keep a date with you. I’d tell you all the jokes in the show, and you’d laugh and laugh.

Gracie: Yeah…you said I was a lot different from the people in Altoona.

George: Well, I didn’t bring them any chocolates. – Hey, every time I came to see you, that tall fellow would always be sitting there. What was his name?

Gracie: Oh, that was Joe Spencer! Your rival.

George: Nyaaah. Joe Spencer, what a rival. Floppy ears, big buck teeth, and no chin.

Gracie: Yeah…for the longest time I didn’t know which one of you to marry. Remember how shy and backward Joe was? He was so bashful!

George: Mmhmm.

Gracie: He’s married now, and got six children.

George: Yeah, bashful, bashful, yeah.

Gracie: Aww, were you crazy about me in those days! Remember, every time we went to a restaurant, you’d take your spoon and write ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, Gracie Allen, I love you’ in the mashed potatoes?

George: Well, you got bigger helpings in those days.

Gracie: Ah, dear, we had so much fun when you used to take me out on dates. But now, how do you treat me? Just like I was married to you.

George: But we are married! A preacher conducted a legal ceremony and pronounced us man and wife.

Gracie: Well, he certainly killed a beautiful friendship.

George: [sarcastic] Yeah, we were buddies.

Gracie: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if

George: Playmates, we were, yes.

Gracie: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if

George: You were my very dear friend.

Gracie: Yes. Yes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all married couples could recapture the thrill of their courtship?

George: Well, it certainly would.

Gracie: Well, we can.

George: How?

Gracie: Ask me for a date!

George: Gracie, that’s silly.

Gracie: Aw, please, George. After all, when you asked me to do something nice for you once, I married you, didn’t I?


George: Gracie, married people don’t ask for dates.

Gracie: [somberly] Well, you’re very mean, George.

George: [starting to feel like a heel] Well – ah –

Gracie: I just a–sked you for a simple little thing. Not like I’m asking for a mink coat, or something like that…

George: Okay, okay, okay! I’ll ask you for a date.

Gracie: [perking up] Oh, all right! Just like you used to, huh?

George: Okay. [clears throat] Honey, what’re you doing tonight?

Gracie: I’m busy.


George: You’re, ah, you’re busy?

Gracie: Sure! I’m popular!

George: [exasperated] Well, I’m glad. Then you’re going out with somebody else, and let’s forget

Gracie: No, George, you didn’t do it right! No! You have to go out and come in again, like you’re coming from Altoona, like you did, you know, full of jokes and everything.

George: Look, Gracie, I’m

Gracie: Ohhh, now, George Burns, please!

George: All right, all right, I’ll do it. At least that Joe Spencer with the buck teeth won’t be sitting here.

Gracie: Ohohoho, still jealous, eh? Well, anyway, dear, count to fifty before you come in. I wanna primp a little bit.

George: All right. [going outside, door shuts behind him] I wonder if other husbands have to do things like this. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven…

Bill Goodwin: Hullo, George.

George: Hello, Bill. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…

Bill: You goin’ out?

George: No, I’m coming back…sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen…from Altoona. Twenty, twenty-one…

Bill: George, have you gone crazy?

George: No, twenty-two, twenty-three, y’see, I’m not married to Gracie, I’m her boyfriend. Twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six…

Bill: Oh, well, that clears it up completely.

George: …twenty-seven, twenty-eight, I thought you’d catch on, go right in. Twenty-nine, thirty…

Bill: George.

George: What?

Bill: Nuts to you, thirty-one, thirty-two.

[laughter, door shuts behind him]

George: Hmmph. Wise guy. Thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six…oh, well, forty-nine, fifty, let ‘er sue me. [door opening noise]

Gracie: Well, look who it is! George Burns!

George: Well, here I am! Back from Altoona! Full of jokes and full of pep!

Gracie: Come on in! And just look who’s sitting on the sofa!

George: I know, it’s Bill Goodwin.

Gracie: No, no, it’s Joe Spencer!

George: Ohh, no.

Bill: Say, what’s going on? Gracie told me I’m supposed to be Joe Spencer, but who’s he?

George: Well, Joe Spencer and I used to be rivals for Gracie’s hand. I guess you know who lost.

Bill: Yeah. Gracie.

[audience loves it]

George: [dry] Very comical. A scream, that.

Gracie: Well, c’mon, George. Ask me for a date.

George: Oh, all right. [clears throat] How ’bout a date, baby?

Gracie: Well…Joe was here first, weren’t you, Joe. …Weren’t you, Joe?

Bill: Oh, yeah, that’s me, the rival. [affected voice] Gracie! Don’t go out with that broken-down comedian!

George: [genuinely offended] Broken-down comedian?! Why, I killed ’em in Altoona! They held me over for a second day!


George: Gracie, go out with me and we’ll have a million laughs. Get this one: Do you know how to make a Venetian blind?

Bill: Yeah, stick your finger in his eye.

George: [sarcastic] Oho, he’s so funny.

Bill: Gracie, go out with me and I’ll come over every night and help you wash the dishes! [launches into Swan Soap patter]

George: Gracie, go out with me and you’ll get a laugh a minute. Get this one. Do you know what fellow in the army wears the biggest hat?

Bill: The fellow with the biggest head.

George: The feyes.

Bill: Gracie, go out with me and…[more Swan patter]

George: Look, Gracie, I know a million gags. Get this one for a boff. Did you hear the one about the absent-minded professor who got into his car

Bill: stepped on his wife, and kissed the starter goodbye!

George: [exasperated, over audience laughter] He’s a scream, he’s a scream!

Bill: [Swan etc etc] Whaddaya say, Gracie? Is it a date?

George: Gracie, I’m not gonna keep this up all night. Are you going out with me or aren’t you?

Gracie: Ooh, well, it’s hard to decide. Let me see…eeny, meeny, miny, moe…I think I’ll go out with Mo.

Bill: Mo?! Well, that’s enough for Joe. Think I better blow.

George: Don’t forget to shut the do’.

Bill: Sho’!

George: Oh, go, go! [door sound] Gracie! What was that Mo?

Gracie: Oh, nothing, I just made that up to get rid of Joe.

George: Oho, I see.

Gracie: Well, anyway, George, now you and I can go out together.

George: Yeah, that’ll be swell.

Gracie: Ooh, George, this is gonna be so much fun! It’ll be just like it used to be.

George: Mmhmm.

Gracie: We’ll go to a movie, and then we’ll go to a restaurant, and then go dancing, and then…

George: Just like it used to be!

Gracie: …oh, I almost forgot, here’s the money.

George: Just like it used to be, yeah.


[Song break from Jimmy Cash, Paul Whiteman, and the orchestra]


Gracie: Oh, George, this is gonna be so wonderful! We’re actually going to have a date, and we won’t let on we’re married at all.

George: All right, we won’t tell anybody we’re married.

Gracie: No.

George: Now go upstairs and get dressed.

Gracie: Ooh, I feel so young, I feel just like I’m seventeen!

George: Heh, Gracie, you look like you’re seventeen. …And I feel like I’m nineteen. How do I look?

Gracie: …Well, I’m going up to get dressed.

George: [to himself] All right, so I look like I’m twenty.


Gracie: [singing to herself] Give me one dozen roses / Put my heart in beside them…

Herman: [quacking along] Quack wack wack wack waaack wack…

Gracie: …and send them to the one I love! [Herman keeps quacking, they trail off into laughter.] Well, if it isn’t Herman, my darling little duckie!


Gracie: Now, don’t bother Mama, Herman, she has to powder her nose.

Herman: Wak wak?

Gracie: Would you like to have Mama put some powder on your nose?

Herman: [discontented grumbling]

Gracie: Aww, you’ll love it! Hold still. Hold still now!…There’s a good ducky.

Herman: Achoo!

Gracie: [chuckling] Well, most of it stayed on. Now, settle down, sweetheart, Mama’s going out on a date tonight.

Herman: Wak wak waak?

Gracie: What’s a date? Well, that’s what people go out on when they’re courting. It’s lots of fun.

Herman: Wak waak wak wak?

Gracie: Well, of course ducks can have dates! Some night you’ll have a date with a pretty little girl duck, and you’ll sit on her front porch for hours and hours…

Herman: [audibly bashful] Oooh.

Gracie: …and then you’ll reach over and hold her wing…

Herman: Oh-h-h-hh.

Gracie: …and she’ll put her head on your shoulder, and you’ll snuggle up real close…and kiss her!

Herman: Oh-h-h-hh!

Gracie: …and then…then you’ll tell her good night and go home!

Herman: …Waaak?!

Gracie: You, you’ll say good night and go home!

Herman: [ducky crying]

Gracie: Aww, honestly, Herman, there are times when I worry about you!

George: [calling up stairs] Gracie, aren’t you ready yet?

Gracie: [calling] Coming, dear! Good night, Herman.

[walking down stairs]

Gracie: All right! How do I look?

George: Swell! But, ah, the seam in your stocking is crooked.

Gracie: Ah-ah, George, you mustn’t look at my ankles! We’re not married, you know!

George: A’right, we’re not married. Let’s go. [walking outside] All right, where do you wanna go?

Gracie: Oh, that’s your problem. Mama always told me that when I had a date with a man, I should let him make all the decisions.

George: I see.

Gracie: She told me that I should do the same thing when I had a date with you.

George: …Fine, all right. Let’s go bowling.

Gracie: Uh-uh. We’ll go to a movie.

George: [deadpan] The man makes all the decisions.

Gracie: Yes.

Neighbor: Oh, yoohoo! Gracie!

Gracie: Oh, it’s Mrs. Fowler. Hello, Frances!

Neighbor: Ooh, darling, I have the most amazing thing to tell you about Clara Bagley you ever heard in your life! You’ll die, you’ll absolutely perish!

Gracie: Mm. You know George, don’t you, Frances?

Neighbor: [flat] Oh, yes, I’ve met your husband. [gushing again] Now, you know I’m the last one in the world to talk about anybody, Gracie, but

Gracie: Oh, George isn’t my husband. We’re not married, you know.

Neighbor: but Clara Bagley’s brother-in-law was in town last week, and without a…doubt…he…you’re not married?!

George: Now, wait a minute, Mrs. Fowler, see, you don’t understand…

Neighbor: I think I’m beginning to.

Gracie: You see, we’re waiting for George to become of age.

Neighbor: For heaven’s sake, what age are you waiting for him to become?!

George: You see, we’re only pretending…

Neighbor: Pretending? All these years?

Gracie: We’re in no hurry! You know what I always say, rush in without fear and fools will tread on you, angel.


George: [dry] That’s what she always said. Look, ah, Mrs. Fowler, this was all Gracie’s idea.

Neighbor: That’s right, blame the woman, you cad! Goodbye!

George: Cad? Now you’ve done it. Now that whole club of yours, they’ll be going around saying we’re not married!

Gracie: Feh, I never believe anything they say anyway.

George: Well, okay, come on, let’s go to the movies.

Gracie: All right, dear.

George: What do you wanna do? Wanna take a bus, or wanna walk?

Gracie: Oh, I’m your date, George, that’s your problem. Oh, taxi! Taxi!

[taxi sound effect]

George: [muttering to himself] Fine, fine, taxi. What an idea this was.

Taxi Driver: Where to, folks?

Gracie: Oh, yes, the Paramount theater, please! Get in, dear.

[door closing sound]

George: …of all the silly things…

Gracie: Well, we’re off! Isn’t this thrilling, George?

George: Yeah, yeah.

Gracie: George…?

George: Yes?

Gracie: Don’t sit so far away. C’mon, let’s cuddle.

George: Gracie, let’s not be silly.

Gracie: Aw, darling, you don’t think young couples ride in taxis just to go places, do you?


George: No, I suppose not.

Gracie: Well, you can hold my hand if you like.

George: [dry] Gee, thanks, kid.

Gracie: [laughing] Ooh, don’t squeeze it too hard! Remember, I hardly know you.

George: All right, here’s your hand back.

Gracie: Aw, I didn’t want you to do that! George…would you like to kiss me?

George: Oh, now, Gracie, please, this is…

Gracie: Well, I think if you wanted to, I’d let you. [giggling]

Taxi Driver: Say, Mac, you know somethin’?

George: What, driver?

Taxi Driver: I’ve been in this racket seventeen years and this is the first time I’ve ever seen the man put up the battle.


George: You mind your own business and just keep driving! Darn this silly idea, anyway.

Gracie: George, I think it’s wonderful! [giggles] I feel so unmarried.

George: Believe me, you act it, too.

Gracie: Oooh stop the car, stop the car!

George: What’s the matter, what happened?

Gracie: Look at that beautiful dress in Magnan’s window! [silence] Georgie…

George: Ohh, no. I can’t buy it for you. You’re only my date, and we’re not married, you know.

Gracie: Georgie…

George: What?

Gracie: How about a ten-minute furlough?

George: Ohh no.


[Song break #2]


George and Gracie, still reliving their courtship days, have left the movie theater and are strolling toward an ice cream parlor. Just as they did on their first date together.

Gracie: George, when we go in, will you order the same thing tonight you ordered on our first date? My, what a thrill I got when you said to the man, ‘one vanilla soda with two straws, please.’

George: [embarrassed] Oh, I couldn’t order a thing like that now, Gracie. It would embarrass me to death.

Gracie: Aw, you’ve got to! Everything must be exactly the same.

George: Aw, but Gracie…

Gracie: Awww, please, George…

George: Oh, all right. Come on.

Ice Cream Man: Hi folks, sit down here.

George: Thanks.

Ice Cream Man: [chuckling] Very funny thing, heh heh, two of those silly high school kids were just sitting there, heh heh heh, what d’you think they ordered? One soda with two straws! Ahahaha! Did you ever hear of anything sillier?

George: [flat] Heh heh heh.

Ice Cream Man: The whole time they were in here I was trying to guess whether it was love or the fifteen cents. [laughing] Well, what would you folks like?

[long pause]

George: …Who, us?

Ice Cream Man: Sure!

Gracie: Well, tell ‘im what we’d like, George!

Ice Cream Man: Yeah, whadda you want?

George: Um…bring us a vanilla soda and two straws.


Ice Cream Man: Well, anyhow, with you, bud, I don’t have to do any guessing.

George: Just get the soda, ‘bud’, and never mind the conversation.

Ice Cream Man: Okay. That was vanilla, wasn’t it?

George: Yeah, vanilla, vanilla.

Ice Cream Man: Oh, you know, we serve a scoop of ice cream in our soda.

George: So what?

Ice Cream Man: So would you like two spoons, or will you wrestle her for that?


George: Why, for two cents I’d jump over that counter and

Gracie: Aww, George. Remember, this is our first date. This is a wonderful idea of mine, isn’t it?

George: [bone-dry] Sensational.

[bell rings, door opens]

Bill: No, honestly, I wouldn’t tell you that if I didn’t mean it!

Gracie: Oh, George, look who just came in!

Bill: Hello George, hello Gracie.

Gracie: Hello.

George: C’mon, sit down.

Ice Cream Man: Hey, bud, are these people friends of yours?

George: Well, what if they are?

Ice Cream Man: Just a minute, I’ll get you two more straws.

George: Oh, go, go!

Bill: George, Gracie, I, ah…I want you to meet my fiancee. [pause] What did you say your name was, dear?


Date: Marion Freebye!

Gracie: Fiancee? Why, Joe Spencer, I’m ashamed of you!

Date: Joe Spencer? Oh, you must be mistaken.

Gracie: Oh, no, I’m not! I know him! I know his wife, and I know his six children!

Date: His WIFE and his six CHILDREN?

Bill: Well, now, wait a minute, honey, I can explain

Date: Never mind explainiang! Joe Spencer, huh? Why, this wolf here told me he was Bill Goodwin from the Swan show!

Bill: Well, I am, honey, honest! [Swan patter, part 2] Would I know that if I’m not Bill Goodwin?

Gracie: [sensibly] Well, I know that, and I’m not Bill Goodwin.

[They’re selling a Swan-brand encyclopedia, complete with eight pages of maps…specifically designed to use while you’re listening to the news, to help you track what’s going on during WWII.]

Ice Cream Man: Hey, bud, how can you get this book?

Bill: [gives directions]

Ice Cream Man: Can anybody get one?

Bill: Sure!

Gracie: Can your wife and six children get one?

Bill: Oh, sure they can, all they have to my wife?? Now wait a minute, look, Nancy, let’s leave it to George Burns, he’ll tell you I’m Bill Goodwin!

George: Now, I’d rather not get mixed up in this, Joe.

Bill: Joe?!

Date: Don’t you ever speak to me again! [door slam]

Bill: Now look what you’ve done!

George: Aww, Bill, there are plenty of girls.

Bill: Not like Nancy, George! She’s different! She’s the only girl I’ve met who isn’t a riveter!

[audience lovees it]

Bill: Nancy, Nancy, Nancy…! [trailing off, door slam]

Ice Cream Man: That’ll be fifteen cents for the soda, bud.

George: Well, there you are.

Ice Cream Man: Hmm…fifteen cents out of fifteen cents…

George: Come on, Gracie, let’s get out of here. Where would you like to go?

Gracie: Well, that’s your problem, dear. You work it out any way you like, so long as we both go for a walk in the park.

George: The park? The park is a mile long.

Gracie: [wheedling] But it’s so romantic.

George: It’s after eleven!

Gracie: But there’s a full moon.

George: I’m too tired.

Ice Cream Man: Look, Daddy, you mind the fountain, I’ll take her.

George: Oh, shut up.

[scene change, crickets and nature sounds]

George: Gracie, Gracie, we’ve been walking through this park for hours.

Gracie: Shhh. Here come a boy and girl, with their arms around each other. Isn’t that sweet?

Boy: [high drama] Emily…Emily…! Emily, the time has come when I must speak. I know I’m not worthy of you, and believe me, I know I’m less than the dirt beneath your feet, but I can no longer remain silent! Tell me, Emily I must know will you marry me? Will you, Emily?

Gracie: Aww, wasn’t that a beautiful proposal, George?

[audience applause]

Gracie: You know, it reminds me of the way you proposed to me.

George: [genuine awe] Did I say it like that?

Gracie: Well, certainly! Oh, you would change one or two words, but it was the same beautiful thought!

George: Really?

Gracie: Uh-huh! You took one of my little hands in yours, and you looked into my eyes, and you said, ‘Gracie, we’ve been in vaudeville now for two years, and it’s tough to be paying for separate hotel rooms. Let’s get married.’

George: [weary] Yeah, I was irresistible in those days. Let’s sit down on this park bench, my feet are killing me.

Gracie: All right. [pause] George…you know what?

George: What?

Gracie: You haven’t kissed me all evening.

George: Well…um…

Gracie: You know, it was on a park bench just like this that you first kissed me.

George: Was it?

Gracie: Don’t you remember how it happened?

George: No…not exactly.

Gracie: Well, I’ll show you. You had your arm around me…well, go ahead, put it around…

George: Okay.

Gracie: And then you asked me for a kiss, and I said no. [warmly] And then you stole a kiss anyway. Well, go ahead, steal one.

[kiss sound]

Gracie: And then…

[punching sound]

George: Ahh, you almost broke my jaw!

Gracie: [delighted] Remember now?

George: Yeahhhh, it all comes back to me. Let’s go home! I’ve had enough of this!

[sleepy scene change music]

George: Gee, I’m tried.

Gracie: Well, home at last.

George: Uh-huh.

Gracie: It’s been a most enjoyable evening, Mr. Burns. Or may I call you George?

George: Call me George, call me Sam, call me anything, let’s go in the house, I’m tired.

[door opening sound]

Gracie: Well…good night.

George: Good night?!

Gracie: Ohhh, no, you can’t come in! It’s after twelve!

George: But Gracie, I live here!

Gracie: Are you forgetting, dear? This is just a date.

George: Where am I gonna sleep?

Gracie: You made the date, George, that’s your problem. G’night!

[laughter, final ad, closing credits]


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