Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! Last week, I featured a rare program that boasted a guest appearance by George Burns and Gracie Allen, and this week I thought I’d continue the affiliation by offering — for subscribers who comment below to alert me of their private, non-commercial interest — access to three complete and unedited episodes of their classic ’50s sitcom: The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show (1950-1958, CBS).
Although 238 of this series’ 239 filmed episodes are currently available on YouTube, most of those copies come from cable syndication, where several minutes of footage are missing. The only place to view COMPLETE installments of filmed Burns & Allen would be on the hard-to-find Columbia House VHS tapes of the early 1990s. A few of these tapes have also been transferred and uploaded to YouTube in recent years, but only a few… So, I’m happy to report now that I have just acquired all 15 volumes put out by Columbia House, featuring 45 total episodes from the third and fourth seasons (the first two filmed), and as I digitize them myself, I want to share with you… the first three entries from Season Four, or 1953-1954 — the year that I think, collectively, is the strongest from the pre-Ronnie (and “magic TV”) era.
All three of these excursions were highlighted or honorably mentioned here — “Morton Buys Iron Deer; Gracie Thinks George Needs Glasses,” “Gracie Helps Morton Get CPA Account,” and “Gracie Gets A Jury Summons” — and with all of their original sponsored elements (from Carnation and/or B.F. Goodrich), it’s a real treat to finally see these shows as they would have first aired in October 1953. As an excerpt, below is a quick scene that’s currently not available in the syndicated version of “Gracie Gets A Jury Summons,” followed by one of its authentic October 19, 1953 commercial breaks. Enjoy!
Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned for Musical Theatre Monday!