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YESTERDAY, COMEDIENNE GRACIE ALLEN hoofed it admirably with Fred Astaire in A Lady in Distress. Today in Part 2 Gracie dreams of being a Princess, most appropriately on November 20, 1947. Here are tidbits of the event, taken directly from a radio script offered by Generic Radio Workshop.

A Royal Wedding. Earlier that day, at 11:30 GMT, Princess Elizabeth of England married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey.

Image from AP.

Wikipedia reports that “The groom was born a Greek and Danish prince; he stopped using these foreign titles on his adoption of British nationality four months before the announcement of their marriage and was made Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich on the morning of the wedding.”

A Radio Episode’s Dream and Poker Game. That same evening, on this side of the Atlantic, the “George Burns and Gracie Allen” radio show celebrated the royal event. Early on in the episode, Gracie and George discuss the Royal Wedding. (Script entries in Italics.)

George Burns and Gracie Allen, radio stars.

GRACIE: George, don’t you wish we had been in England for Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding?

GEORGE: Yeah, that must have been quite a sight.

GRACIE: Oh, I was just reading here in the paper about their wedding cake. It weighed five hundred pounds.

GEORGE: Five hundred pounds?

GRACIE: Mm hm.

GEORGE: That’s almost as heavy as the first biscuits you made. …

GRACIE: Aw, you were pretty sentimental about my biscuits at the time, George. You even kept one and had it bronzed like a baby shoe. …

GEORGE: I didn’t have it bronzed; that’s the way you baked it. …

A Consort? Then Gracie asks about Philip’s new status:

Gracie: If she becomes queen someday, will Philip be the king?

GEORGE: No. He’ll be the consort.

GRACIE: Her consort?


GRACIE: What’s that?

GEORGE: Well, a consort just stays in the background and lets his wife do most of the work.

GRACIE: Oh, gee, all these years I’ve had a consort and didn’t know it! …

GEORGE: (DRY) Thanks, Queenie. …

Marriage Protocol. Gracie is discussing the Royal Wedding with family friend (and shill for sponsor Maxwell House Coffee), Bill Goodwin:

Bill Goodwin, 1910-1958, American radio announcer and recurring character on “George Burns and Gracie Allen.”

GRACIE: Bill, I want George to stay home tonight and listen to the wedding. I want to turn the lights down low and pretend that he’s my Prince Charming.

BILL: Oh, believe me, Gracie — no lights can be turned that low. …

And later, the three of them discuss the wedding:

GRACIE: (AGREES) Mm hm. But, Bill, it’ll be a thrilling ceremony to listen to. Mr. Mountbatten will give the princess the ring and she’ll give him the two dollars for the license and then they’ll–

BILL: Uh, Gracie?


BILL: She’ll give him two dollars for the license?

GRACIE: Yeah. Well, isn’t that part of every wedding ceremony?



A Pre-Music Man Poker Pal. Gracie’s thought of a warm cozy evening with a Royal rebroadcast degenerates into her retiring early and George having a poker game with his cronies. A pause here about one of the participants, Meredith Willson.

Meredith Willson, 1902-1984.

Born in Mason City, Iowa, Willson was American flutist, composer, conductor, musical arranger, bandleader, playwright, and writer. He is perhaps best known for writing the book, music, and lyrics for the 1957 hit Broadway musical The Music Man and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” (1951).

Back in 1947, Willson was a regular on the Burns/Allen radio show, listed on the script as “the allegedly dumb bandleader from Iowa.” An example of this:

GEORGE: All set for the poker game tonight, Meredith?

MEREDITH: You bet I am, George. I’ve been reading up on the game till I’ve become an expert.

GEORGE: Well, good, good.

MEREDITH: Which type of poker will we play — auction or contract? …

And later, in the midst of play:

BILL: Well, uh, I’ll bet two.

GEORGE: Mr. Judson?

JUDSON: I call.

GEORGE: Dr. Miller?

MILLER: I call.

GEORGE: Meredith?

MEREDITH: I bid two no-trump. …

MILLER: (PATIENTLY) Meredith, once again, let us explain. This is not bridge; it’s poker.

GEORGE: Yeah. I raise you, Bill.

BILL: I drop.

JUDSON: I’m out.

MILLER: And I raise you, Mr. Burns.

GEORGE: How ’bout you, Meredith?

MEREDITH: Oh, I guess I’d better drop, too. I got four kings but they’re all in different suits. …

Not surprising, later in the evening:

GEORGE: Yeah. By the way, who’s the big winner so far?

MILLER: (BEAT, SADLY) Meredith. ...

Gracie’s Dream. At one point, George goes to see if Gracie got off to sleep ok.


GRACIE: (TALKS IN HER SLEEP) Oh, isn’t he wonderful, mother? So brave, so strong, so handsome.

GEORGE: (TO HIMSELF, IMPRESSED) What a sweet kid. Talkin’ about me in her sleep.

GRACIE: (TALKS IN HER SLEEP) Kiss me again. I love you, Lieutenant. …

GEORGE: (TO HIMSELF, WORRIED) Lieutenant? Holy– Gracie – Gracie’s in love with another man! I’ve lost her!

A Commercial Sneaks In. George returns to the poker game a rattled husband:

GEORGE: I’ve lost the dearest thing in life.

BILL: (REALIZES, HORRIFIED) George! You don’t mean–?

GEORGE: Yes, Bill.

BILL: How do you like that? He’s lost his Maxwell House Coffee!

Meredith’s Response. Willson returns to the game:

MEREDITH: (ENTERS) I’m sorry I had to drop out of the poker game for a minute, fellas. What’s all the excitement?

JUDSON: Mr. Burns just lost his wife!

MEREDITH: Really? Who won her? …

All in good zany fun. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023

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