(CBS Primetime, 1950 - 1958; CBS Daytime reruns through the 1960s) [aka: "Burns and Allen"; One of the classic sitcoms of early TV -- in which Gracie Allen played a scatterbrained wife whose scrambled logic complicates the life of her husband George and their neighbors -- the Mortons; the role of Blanche Morton was played by Bea Benaderet; the role of TV announcer Harry Von Zell was played by real-life TV announcer Harry Von Zell; The TV series was an extension of the radio show; Their radio scripts evolved into a mixture of real life and fantasy since the characters on the series closely resembled the real world of George Burns and Gracie Allen; George and Gracie were indeed married and did live in Beverly Hills, which was also the location of the series; but Gracie played a character which more closely resembled the scatterbrained character in her stage act; (in real life their Beverly Hills neighbors and friends included Lucille Ball and Jack Benny); George Burns also established an unusual precedent for a sitcom by "breaking the fourth wall" in which he talked directly to the audience between acts to make humorous comments about Gracie and plot developments, while puffing on his ever-present cigar to punctuate his punch lines; When Gracie retired from show business in 1958, George attempted to do a solo show -- "The George Burns Show" without Gracie -- but it lasted only one season]
[This melody had been their signature tune for decades on radio; On television it was augmented by the use of new THEMEs that came from TV composers Mahlon Merrick and Alexander Laszlo (See below)] Composers: music by Louis A. Hirsch (ASCAP), and words by Otto A. Harbach (ASCAP) Original Publisher: Victoria Publishing Co. (ASCAP) 1999 Publisher: [now in Public Domain] Composition Date: 1920, on piano/vocal sheet music Copyright Date: Renewal Date: Recordings:
[aka: "George Burns Show Theme"; This was a kind of little "two-step" or "soft shoe" 2/4 theme which was heard over the end credits of the TV show after George turned to Gracie and said, "Say Goodnight, Gracie..."; Pattillo also credits Mahlon Merrick with a theme called "George Burns Show", but there is no such piece in the 1999 ASCAP or BMI repertoire credited to Merrick, or in the ASCAP Index (1978) The above title "Soft Shoe Dance" was the title of this piece as recycled in the MUTEL Music Service library, according to Paul Mandell, production music library expert and researcher; This THEME was used prior to the Carnation Company sponsorship in the 1952 - 1953 season when Alexander Laszlo's "Two-A-Day" THEME was used; It is sometimes heard in syndicated re-runs] Composers: Gene Le Grande (ASCAP/BMI) [pseudonym of Mahlon Legrand Merrick] Original Publisher: Palisades Music Pub. Co. (BMI) 1999 Publisher: Palisades Music Publishing Company (BMI), of Tampa, FL Copyright Date: Renewal Date: Recordings: 78rpm transcription in Capitol "Q" Series library: "Theme No. 650 (Bright)"
[aka: "Vaudeville Days"; Under the title "Vaudeville Days", this melody was used as part of an earlier Laszlo music package called "Guild-Universal Production Aids" distributed by the Armed Forces Radio Service in the 1940s; This 2/2 Fox Trot melody resembles the French song "Valentine", but is actually a specifically composed set of cues in Laszlo's "Structural Music" library for television use; It was verified by comparing an aircheck recording with composer's scores at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming at Laramie; The melody was usually found at the end of the show; but sometimes during the Carnation Sponsorship years, it was used also sometimes at the beginning, in place of "The Love Nest"; Related cues: "Two-a-Day--Introduction", Vol. 20, #490 "Two-a-Day--Theme", Vol. 20, #491 "Two-a-Day--Short-End", Vol. 20, #492 "Two-a-Day--Dome", Vol. 20, #493 "Two-a-Day Fanfares", Vol. 24, #600 "Two-a-Day Opening", Vol. 24, #601 "Two-a-Day To Show", Vol. 24, #602 "Two-a-Day Final Curtain", Vol. 24, #603 "Two-a-Day Two Bit", Vol. 24, #604 "Two-a-Day Commercial Bridge", Vol. 24, #605 "Two-a-Day End Credits", Vol. 24, #606 "Two-a-Day Short End", Vol. 24, #607 "Two-a-Day Hollywood End", Vol. 24, #608] Composer: Alexander Laszlo (ASCAP) Original Publisher: Guild Music, Inc. (ASCAP) 1999 Publisher: Regents of the University of California, o/b/o Alexander Publications, Inc. (ASCAP) Copyright Date: Vol. 20, Dec. 6, 1952; EP 67 189. Vol. 24, Dec. 30, 1953; EP 77 259. Renewal Date: Recordings:
[aka: "Abbott and Costello Main & End"; In late March, 2003 while watching a late-night episode of the "Burns & Allen Show" on TV-Land cable network, this researcher watched the introduction to a "Burns & Allen" episode in which George Burns and announcer Harry Von Zell discussed the fact the show was on a Summer Vacation, and introduced an earlier episode to be re-run; Not surprisingly, the opening THEME to this episode was Laszlo's "Two-A-Day" (aka: "Vaudeville Days") above; The big surprise came at the end -- when the THEME over the End Credits was the exact same melody as the THEME for the "Abbott & Costello TV Show" -- a THEME credited to Raoul Kraushaar, published by Gordon Music Co.; I verified it was the familiar and unmistakable melody with the timpani accents, but played at a slightly slower tempo than for the "Abbott and Costello TV Show"; How could such a thing happen? Why would two such well-known shows end up with the same THEME even for a short time? The answer is a bit murky: both Raoul Kraushaar who had a scoring service called "Omar Music", and David Gordon who owned publishing and music scoring companies "Marlen Music" and "Gordon Music" were in the business of re-cycling cues written for B-pictures in the new medium of television; The THEME in question was probably written by neither Kraushaar nor Gordon, but by someone like Irving Gertz or Dave Kahn or any number of other B-picture composers whose tracks were bought by Kraushaar and/or Gordon from the film studio; The THEME became part of the Gordon library, and had Kraushaar's name on it for "Abbott and Costello" cue sheets, and had Gordon's pseudonym ("Melvyn Lenard") on it for other uses; Until the original composer made an issue of it with ASCAP, such packagers would sometimes claim royalties which the composer would probably have been entitled to getting; Although the fact that the recorded track was purchased from the film studio muddied the issue a bit; The original right on the composition itself would possibly be negotiable; However, if the composer had worked for the studio on a "work for hire" basis, an argument could have been made that he transferred all rights to the studio to re-sell them if they desired; The confusion of these earlier times surrounding copyrights is one reason the copyright law was amended in 1976, which made it clear that even in cases of works for hire, a work could revert to the original composer after a certain time; So such confusion and abuses would not be so common...and in the meantime, this gives researchers like yours truly the opportunity to try and dig deeper and find out who really composed it...] Credited Composer: Melvyn Lenard Gordon (ASCAP) [pseudonym of publisher David Marvin Gordon] Original Publisher: Gordon Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) 2003 Publisher: Gordon Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) of Canoga Park, CA Copyright Date: Renewal Date: Recordings: