sample chapter and Gracie Allen
July 24, 2015
The Tor/Forge blog has posted the first chapter of KITTY SAVES THE WORLD. The countdown to release goes on! We’re getting closer…
So, Turner Classic Movies was showing George Burns and Gracie Allen movies last night. I watched some, because I had never watched Burns and Allen. I grew up with wry old George Burns, the wizened wise man with the cigar. I knew about Burns and Allen, and whenever there was some kind of retrospective of George there’d be a bit about the first half of his career — and usually only still pictures of him and his wife and show biz partner. Maybe a clip from the TV show, a one-liner from a comedy routine.
So nobody actually told me Gracie Allen was a phenomenally hysterical comic genius. Oh my goodness you guys.
There she is, the only comic in a room full of straight men, cheerfully handing them all golf balls out of her purse because Reasons. It’s not really her jokes that are funny — it’s how she plays the dumb chick with so much glee. (“I heard of vice but I never knew they had a president for it!”) Her character is constantly, enthusiastically oblivious, but you realize pretty quickly it’s her world, and everyone else has just stumbled into it, much to their horror.
I can also see the lineage of oblivious women comic personae, from her to Lucille Ball to Carol Burnett to Gilda Radner to Sarah Silverman, whose bit in The Aristocrats is gut-busting, best one in the bunch, in large part because she plays it with this wide-eyed innocence, like how Gracie Allen moves through her films.
Burns in these old movies is an angry, edgy Burns that I hardly recognize. Burns with Gracie was different than Burns without her, and I start crying when I think of how hard it must have been for him to go on for thirty years alone.
Also, they danced: