A couple of years ago I invited my readers to Spend `An Evening With Groucho Marx', a little over an hour of songs and reminiscences which was recorded in 1972 when Groucho was 81 years of age.
Today, in that same tradition, we’ve the legendary George Burns in 1974 - at the age of 78 - doing a one man show at the Shubert Theater.
There’s an affectionate introduction by his best friend Jack Benny, but after that, it’s just pretty much just George and his musical accompaniment (and briefly guest pianist/composer Randy Newman).
Jack Benny, sadly, would die later that year from pancreatic cancer.
George, at an age when most entertainers are thinking about retirement, was on the verge of huge resurgence in popularity and his greatest show business success.
In 1975, just a year after this performance, Burns won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in The Sunshine Boys. He replaced an ailing Jack Benny, who was originally slated for the role.
He would follow that success up in 1977 with the hugely popular `Oh God!’ followed by eight more movies over the next 20 years.
But all of that success still lay before George when this show was taped. Here he tells stories of his life and career with Gracie in Vaudeville, sings obscure songs, and tells funny stories about his show business friends.
A more complete history of George Burns and Gracie Allen will wait for a later blog when I’ll feature their TV and radio careers.
For now, simply enjoy An Evening With George Burns.
There are a few blips in the audio recording, but the show is well worth listening to.