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.
The year is 1944. World War II still shows no signs of turning (D-Day won’t happen until June); Wendell Willkie has crashed and burned in the Republican primaries, though he was the nominee in 1940; and Alan Ladd is rising to stardom after playing a hitman, alongside femme fatale Veronica Lake, in films like This Gun For Hire.
Gracie Allen disapproves.
This episode is…very drenched in 1940’s gender roles (take a shot every time someone complains about women drivers), but a lot of the jokes come from the characters deliberately playing up and/or subverting the stereotypes put on them. Plus the usual cute gags and fun moments.
In this direct sequel to Gracie Takes Up Crime Solving, Gracie believes there’s a hit out on George…and tracks down the real Rudy and Trudy for help. Because actors are always just like the caricatured versions of themselves they play on-air, right?
The year is 1947. The Adventures of the Thin Man is a major hit on the radio; Stepin Fetchit is still a household name, though the actor has backed away from his movie career out of frustration with the racism in the industry; and Gracie Allen is thinking about changing genres.
As a devoted fan of The Tall Man, our heroine ventures down into “the underworld” — posing as hardened criminal Gracie Catraz. She’s accompanied by Meredith Wilson (a guy so modest, he once accidentally bumped into a woman and thought “the honorable thing to do” was to marry her), doing his best to be her “moll.”
In a rare case of continuity, this adventure gets a sequel in next week’s episode, Kill The Rat.
The year is 1948. Ballpoint pens are invented but not common, because they cost the modern equivalent of $170 each; “How” being mistaken for “Indian language” is, unfortunately, still considered witty; and Gracie is trying to do something special for George’s birthday.
This is one of my favorite episodes when it comes to the George/Gracie relationship. For once George gets the wrong end of the stick; Gracie gets it too, but a different wrong end (it’s a complicated stick); they both end up thinking the other one is in danger, and are immediately ready to go to the mat for each other.