Burns & Allen transcript: Hotel Room Shortage (1944-11-21)

The year is 1944. There’s a war on, and George Burns and Gracie Allen are doing shows for the Armed Forces Radio Service. In this one, Gracie schemes her way into a hotel room while every place in New York is booked up, and has dreams (or are they?) where George switches place with the guest star, romantic leading-man Franchot Tone.

Listen to the episode on YouTube, download the audio from this bundle on the Internet Archive, and read the transcript below.

Gracie: Well, hello! Come right in. Oh, George, we’ve got company…and they’re all in uniform!

Bill: This is Bill Goodwin, inviting all you servicemen and women to enjoy another pleasant visit with George Burns and Gracie Allen, our tenor Jimmy Cash and Felix Mills and his Orchestra. And now meet the people who live in the Burns house – George and Gracie.

Well, George and Gracie have just arrived in New York on their bond tour, and we find them now waiting for a cab at Grand Central Station.

Gracie: Oh, my, it’s grand to be in New York again. Wonderful, wonderful New York. No wonder they call it the City of Brotherly Love.

George: You’re thinking of Philadelphia.

Gracie: Oh. No wonder they call it the Eternal City.

George: That’s Rome.

Gracie: The Windy City?

George: Chicago.

Gracie: The Motor City.

George: Detroit.

Gracie: Wonderful, wonderful New York! No wonder they call it New York City.

George: Now you’re playing it safe. I was born here, you know?

Gracie: You were, dear?

George: Sure. I was born over on the east side. Pitt Street.

Gracie: Pitt Street.

George: 1842.

Gracie: 1842. What month?

George: 1842 Pitt Street.

Gracie: Oh.

George: I couldn’t have been born in 1842.

Gracie: Oh, well, of course not.

George: That’s before Lincoln became president. All right, come on, let’s grab a cab and find a place to stay. You know, Gracie, I’d feel safer if you’d let me wire ahead for hotel reservations.

Gracie: Oh, don’t be such a worrier, George. We would have no trouble finding a place to stay in New York. And I know they have plenty of room in Brooklyn.

George: Come on, Gracie, let’s get a room.

[jaunty scene change music]

Bill: Well, it’s now five hours and seventy six hotels later, and George and Gracie are still looking.

George: But, clerk, the man ahead of us got a room.

Clark: He had a reservation.

George: You see, Gracie, we should have wired for one yesterday.

Clark: Yesterday? When he made his, people were only smoking their cigarettes halfway down!

Bill: Well, hiya, Burnses.

Gracie: Oh, hello, Bill.

George: Oh, hello, Goodwin. You know where we can get a hotel room?

Bill: Are you kidding? George, you won’t find a room in this town if you live to be a hundred…which gives you about two months to look around.

George: Hahaha, funny man. How did you get a room here?

Bill: Well, I didn’t, George. I’m staying with an aunt, I’m just here to see an old pal of mine, Franchot Tone.

Gracie: Franchot Tone, the movie star?

Bill: Yeah.

Gracie: Does he stay here?

Bill: Yes, we were out together last night. Went dancing at Roseland!

Gracie: Well, Bill, isn’t he a little tall for you to dance with?

Bill: Gracie, we had dates.

Gracie: Ohhhh. Bill, what thought of a fellow is Franchot Tone?

Bill: Oh, he’s suave, sophisticated, handsome, and a devil with the women. He’s cute, they simply can’t resist him.

Gracie: In other words, he’s George’s type.

George: What?

Gracie: I get awfully silly sometimes, don’t I?

George: All right, all right. Hey, Bill.

Bill: Yes.?

George: There’s Tone getting off the elevator right now.

Gracie: Where? Oh, yes! Say, he is fascinating. That man-of-the-world type that women like.

George: Yes, huh?

Gracie: Yes. And look at those young firms bags under his eyes.

Bill: Hey, look, he’s got a suitcase with him, it looks like he’s checking out.

George: Well, grab his room for us.

Bill: Well, you wait here, kids, I’ll talk to him. Hey, Franchot, where are you going?

Franchot: Oh, hello, Bill.

Bill: Franch, you’re checking out?

Franchot: Oh, just going to Chicago for a couple of days. And say, Bill, where did those girls come from that we were out with last night?

Bill: Oh, you mean Ingrid and Greta?

Franchot: Yeah. Ingrid and Greta Buglemeyer.

Bill: Very, very high class girls, Franchot. I had plenty of trouble getting them. They only glide with celebrities, and that left one of us in a pretty embarrassing spot.

Franchot: Well, so long, Bill, I got to run.

Bill: Oh, wait, Franchot, how about a couple of friends of mine using your room while you’re gone?

Franchot: Gee, I’m sorry, I’ve already loaned it to a fellow. I’ll see you later, Bill.

Bill: Okay, so long, Franchot.

Gracie: Well, how about it, Bill, did you get Franchot Tone’s room for us?

Bill: Well, no, Gracie, a friend of his has already moved in. It’s too bad too, it’s one of the nicest rooms in the hotel. 516.

Gracie: 516, huh? Well, thanks for trying, Bill. I’ll see you later.

Bill: Bye, Gracie.

Gracie: George, get our bags and bring them up to room 516.

George: Have we … Have we got it?

Gracie: We’ll have it!

[jaunty scene change music]

Gracie: Is this the room Franchot Tone just left?

Friend: Yes.

Gracie: Well, I’m a nurse from the Board of Health. Take off your clothes.

Friend: What?

Gracie: We have to burn them, this room is contaminated. Mr. Tone just collapsed in the lobby with a very contagious disease.

Friend: What disease?

Gracie: Ah…what disease?

Friend: Yeah.

Gracie: Double brizola of the throat.

Friend: Brizola? And you think I might get it?

Gracie: You may already have it. Take out your tongue.

Friend: Aaaah.

Gracie: Now turn it over.

Friend: I can’t.

Gracie: Brizola!

Friend: Look, lady, I never heard of brizola.

George: Well, here I am, Gracie, is this the room?

Gracie: Yes! Yes, put everything inside.

George: Okay, I’ll put the stuff in this bedroom.

Friend: Who’s that?

Gracie: That? Well, he’s the only living man who ever recovered from Brizola.

Friend: Holy smoke, does it leave you looking like that?

Gracie: Yes.

Friend: I’m getting out of here!

George: Who’s that?

Gracie: That? [giggling] The only living man who ever recovered from brizola.

[musical interlude: Jimmy Cash, “Where Are You”]

Gracie: Oh, George, isn’t this thrilling? We’re going to spend the night in Franchot Tone’s apartment.

George: Stop moaning around and help me finish unpacking. Here, stick those handkerchiefs in the dresser drawer.

Gracie: All right. [drawer opening] Oh, my goodness, Mr. Tone left some things behind. [giggling]

George: That’s funny.

Gracie: He wears pink ones.

George: Come on, honey. I’m tired. I want to get to bed.

Gracie: Well, I’m almost ready for bed, dear. Are my cosmetics in the bed?

George: I don’t know, unpack it, you’ll find out.

Gracie: Oh, let’s see now, cold cream, vanishing cream, cleansing cream, night cream, chin strap and girdle. George, where’d you put my stuff?

George: It’s in the other bag I guess.

Gracie: Oh, gee, Franchot Tone’s apartment.

George: Oh, come on. Come to bed, Gracie.

Gracie: All right, dear. Did you notice those leather-bound books on the nightstand beside the bed?

George: No.

Gracie: Oh, I’ll bet it’s a book of poems that Franchot Tone reads every night before he drops off. I’ll read one.

George: Okay, read it and let’s go to sleep.

Gracie: Oh, no, here’s one that’s starts, Gertie, Plaza 5-9979. But, George, that doesn’t rhyme, does it?

George: Gracie, if you don’t stop snooping around and talking so much about Franchot Tone you’ll dream about him tonight.

Gracie: Oh, why should dream about Franchot Tone when I married to George Burns? Believe me you’ve got plenty that he hasn’t got!

George: Okay, go to sleep.

Gracie: I can’t now, I’ll be awake all night trying to think what it is.

George: Okay, turn out the light and go to sleep.

Gracie: Yes, dear. [click] Imagine, me dreaming about Franchot Tone. Oh, a silly idea. The only man I could ever dream about is my husband George Tone. I mean, Franchot Burns. Ohhh, good night, dear.

[dreamy transition music]

Franchot: Ah, good morning, my darling wife! Is breakfast ready?

Gracie: Well … Yes, yes, it is, George.

Franchot: Why are you staring at me, Gracie?

Gracie: Well, you look so cute this morning.

Franchot: I do?

Gracie: Well, yes, in fact better than you did when I married you!

Franchot: Well, here’s a nice big kiss for you, darling. [smooch]

Gracie: Do that again, George.

Franchot: All right. [smooch]

Gracie: You are George, aren’t you?

Franchot: Of course, precious! To prove it here’s another great big kiss. [smooch]

Gracie: George, do you have any identification on you?

Franchot: Why, what’s come over you, Gracie? You’ve never been this way before.

Gracie: Well, neither have you!

Franchot: Well, I’ll have to be running the office, sweetheart. Give me a big hug.

Gracie: Oh, George, don’t squeeze me so tight! George, oh, you’re so strong!

[dream-ending transition noise]

Gracie: George! George, George!

George: Huh, huh, what’s the matter, Gracie?

Gracie: Oh, George, I just had a dream! Turn on the light, I want to look at you.

George: Okay. [click] Huh?

Gracie: Turn it off, dear.

George: Go back to sleep, Gracie.

Gracie: Oh, now that’s funny, I could have sworn that George looked like Franchot Tone. Oh, I guess I’m just over tired.

[dreamy transition music]

Franchot: Yoo, hoo! Gracie. I’m home.

Gracie: Oh, George, you’re early tonight. Dinner isn’t ready!

Franchot: Oh, that’s all right, baby. By the way, you know that new hat you’ve been wanting?

Gracie: Yes?

Franchot: I bought it for you today. And that reminds me, here’s the check for last week’s radio program. You keep it all!

Gracie: Me? Keep it all?

Franchot: Sure. And here’s a kiss to seal the bargain. [smooch] Oh, why do you look so puzzled?

Gracie: I still think something new has been added.

Franchot: Well, aren’t you happy?

Gracie: Happy? I’m delirious! [giggling]

[dream-ending transition noise]

George: Gracie? Gracie, Gracie!

Gracie: Huh?

George: Please tell me why you’re sitting up in bed laughing in the middle of the night?

Gracie: Oh, I’m sorry, dear. It’s that dream again. I keep having dreams in which you look like Franchot Tone, it’s terrible.

George: It is, huh?

Gracie: Yeah, they’re so short.

George: Go to sleep, dear.

Gracie: Oh, yes, dear.

[dreamy transition music]

Franchot: Well, Gracie, I’ve got a surprise for you.

Gracie: You have, George?

Franchot: Yeah, Franchot Tone is on his way over here.

Gracie: Oh, but George, he’s a terrible wolf.

Franchot: Are you kidding? Franchot Tone a wolf? Well, he’s almost as old as I am.

Gracie: But I tell you, dear. He’s a handsome, sophisticated wolf.

Franchot: Ha, in his condition he couldn’t catch Little Red Riding Hood.


Gracie: Well, I’ll get it, George.

George (as Franchot): Mrs. Burns? I’m Franchot Tone.

Gracie: You? You’re the handsome, sophisticated wolf?

George: I am.

Gracie: You must have spent the night in the trap.

George: Come here, baby. How would you like to get in pictures?

Gracie: Mr. Tone!

George: Just call me, Franchy. C’mere, baby.

Gracie: Oh, please, please. I’m happily married to George Burns.

George: George Burns, that broken-down excuse for a man? Come here, baby.

Gracie: No, no!

Franchot (as George): Franchot Tone, what are you doing with my wife?

George: Just saying hello, Hollywood style.

Franchot: Get out of my house, you cad, get out! [door slam] I should have known better than to leave you alone with a wolf.

Gracie: Oh, George, what a horrible experience that was. He made advances!

Franchot: Well, don’t even talk about it, darling. I’ll take you in my arms and hug your fears away.

Gracie: Oh, George.

Franchot: You’re so sweet!

Gracie: Oh, George!

Franchot: So beautiful.

Gracie: Oh, George!

Franchot: So precious!

[dream-ending transition noise]

Gracie: Oh, George. Oh, George, oh, George!

George: Huh, huh, what’s the matter?

Gracie: Oh. George. [audience loves it] I was dreaming about Franchot Tone again.

George: I told you, you shouldn’t have eaten that lobster at Lindy’s.

Gracie: Do you think that’s what’s making me dream about Franchot Tone, the lobster?

George: Sure. Now go to sleep.

Gracie: George?

George: What?

Gracie: Do you think Lindy’s would deliver at this time of night?

George: Oh, good night.

[musical interlude, Felix Mills & Orchestra, “The Girlfriend”; then Jimmy Cash, “I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night.]

George: Gracie, you’ve hardly touched your breakfast.

Gracie: Oh, I can’t eat, I’m worried. Imagine, dreaming all night about Franchot Tone.

George: Wel, it’s nothing to worry about, it’s very simple – you sleep in Franchot Tone’s bed so you dreamed about him.

Gracie: Well, that doesn’t explain it!

George: Why not?

Gracie: Well, I slept in a Murphy bed, but I didn’t dream about George Murphy.

George: That’s silly.

Gracie: I took a nap on a Morris chair, but I didn’t dream about Chester Morris.

George: All right, all right.

Gracie: And I once slept in front of a stove, but I didn’t dream about Gabriel Heatter.

George: Just forget it, dear.

Gracie: I’m worried! It’s embarrassing for a married woman to have this happen to her.

George: It was just a dream.

Gracie: But I don’t want to dream about men, I just want to dream about you.

George: Thanks, dear.


Gracie: Come in. [door opening] Oh, hello, Bill.

Bill: Gracie! Say how did you manage to get Franchot Tone’s apartment?

Gracie: Oh, I managed it, Bill, but I’m … I’m almost sorry I did.

Bill: Why?

Gracie: Well, I dream all night long that George is Franchot Tone.

Bill: Well, you don’t have to stay here during the day.

George: Ah, yes, funny, Billy.

Gracie: Bill, I won’t get any symphathy from you, I can see that.

Bill: Ah, sure you will, Gracie. I know how upsetting dreams can be. Gosh, I dreamed last night that Lana Turner, Paulette Goddard, and Betty Grable came to my hotel room and grabbed me and just started to kiss me and kiss me and kiss me. It was horrible!

Gracie: Aww, Bill, you’re not a bit worried about my dreams. I guess there’s only way for me … one way for me to stop dreaming about Franchot Tone.

George: What’s that?

Gracie: Well, I’ll have to stay awake.

George: Well, okay, Bill and I will go down and get you some black coffee.

Gracie: All right, dear. [door closing noise] I’m just going to sit down here and concentrate on staying awake. Why should I dream about Franchot Tone anyway? True, Franchot Tone’s got broad shoulders, but so has George got broad … well … True, Franchot Tone’s got a big chest, but so is George got … Oh, maybe I should start at the other end. Anyway, I won’t dream about him anymore, because I won’t go to sleep!

Franchot: Well, hello?

Gracie: Well, what do you know, I did go to sleep.

Franchot: I beg your pardon?

Gracie: You got back sooner than I expected, darling.

Franchot: Well, I didn’t go to Chicago yet… Darling? Did you call me darling?

Gracie: Well, do you know of any reason why I shouldn’t call you darling?

Franchot: Well, that’s what bothers me. There’s probably every reason why you should.

Gracie: I should say so. I’m your wife!

Franchot: My what?

Gracie: Your wife!

Franchot: You mean you and I got married?

Gracie: Oh, certainly.

Franchot: Ooooh, I knew I shouldn’t have had that second martini last night. Look, honey, which one of the Buglemeyers are you?

Gracie: Buglemeyer?

Franchot: Yeah, start the annulment proceeding.

Gracie: You will not, not after I’ve been married to you for ten years.

Franchot: Te-ten years?

Gracie: Well, really, dear, you need not to act so surprised.

Franchot: Do you mind if I ask you a rather personal question?

Gracie: Oh, of course not, what is it?

Franchot: Do we have any children?

Gracie: Oh, well, now this is getting pretty silly even for a dream. I wish I knew what’s come over you, George.

Franchot: George? My name isn’t George, it’s Franchot! Franchot Tone.

Gracie: Oh, don’t be ridiculous.

Franchot: Yeah, but it is! I’m Franchot Tone.

Gracie: Look, you think you’re Franchot Tone, and I think you’re Franchot Tone, but you happen to be George Burns. And as soon as I wake up you’ll get your old face back.

Franchot: Look, lady, I’m a little confused.

George: Well, Gracie, I got the co– Oh.

Gracie: Oh, come in, we were just talking about you, Franchot.

George: Franchot? No, Gracie, I’m George. He’s Franchot.

Franchot: Look, mister, can you tell me what’s going on here?

George: Oh, sure, it’s very simple Mr. Tone. You see, when my wife falls asleep she dreams that you’re me and I’m you. But when she’s awake I’m me and you’re you. But right now she thinks she’s asleep so I’m you and you’re me. But actually you’re you and I’m me.

Franchot: Which one of the Buglemeyers did you marry last night?

George: I know it sounds … It sounds confusing, but all we have to do is convince her that she’s awake.

Franchot: You’re awake, lady! Honest, you are! Wide awake.

Gracie: Really? Would you pinch me to make sure?

Franchot: Well, of course. There you are.

Gracie: Well, gee, you pinched kind of cute.

Franchot: I do, huh?

Gracie: Uh-huh, it’s obvious that you’re not my husband.

George: Of course, he isn’t your husband, Gracie. Doesn’t it come back to you now? You sent me out for black coffee to keep you awake, and here it is.

Gracie: Oh, yes, I remember now. When I’m awake you’re my husband.

George: That’s right.

Gracie: And when I’m asleep, you’re my husband.

Franchot: That’s right.

Gracie: George?

George: What?

Gracie: You drink the coffee.

[jaunty musical interlude]

Bill: Now here’s George and Gracie.

George: Well, Gracie, next week we’ll be selling bonds in Philadelphia, and the guest star will be one of the world’s greatest pianists.

Gracie: Oh, George, you shouldn’t think of me as a guest!

George: …not you, Gracie. José Iturbi. You’re … You’re hardly in his class.

Gracie: Well, according to Sir Albert Coates, the great conductor, I’m better than Iturbi!

George: Coates thinks you’re better?

Gracie: Well, certainly, we both play with Mr. Coates and when I finished he kissed me, and he didn’t—

George (cutting in): But he didn’t kiss José Iturbi, I know.

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