George Burns

Burns and Allen had several regulars on radio, including Toby Reed, Gale Gordon, Bea Benaderet, Gracie's real-life friend Mary "Bubbles Kelly, Ray Noble, singers Jimmy Cash and Tony Martin and actor/writer/director Elliott Lewis. The Sportsmen Quartet (appearing as The Swantet during the years the show was sponsored by Swan Soap) supplied songs and occasionally backed up Cash. Meredith Willson, Artie Shaw and announcers Bill Goodwin and Harry Von Zell, who were usually made a part of the evening's doings, often as additional comic foils for the duo. For a long time they continued their "flirtation act with Burns as Allen's most persistent suitor. Their real-life marriage was not written into the show until 1941, when Burns noticed that their ratings were slowly but steadily slipping. He realized that he and Gracie were too old for our jokes,and revised the format to include husband-and-wife characters in a situation-comedy setting. Burns's assessment was correct, and the Burns and Allen program went on to new heights.

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