The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (sitcom)

    (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]

Main Theme: "The Love Nest, from the 1920 George M. Cohen musical comedy production 'Mary'"

    [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]

     Copyright Date: Apr. 9, 1920; E 478 219.
     Renewal   Date: Apr. 9, 1947; R  17 159.


Closing Theme 2 (1950 - 1952): "Soft Shoe Dance"

    [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:

          78rpm transcription in Capitol "Q" Series library:
         "Theme No. 650 (Bright)"

Theme 3 (1952 - 1958): Two-a-Day..., from the "Structural Music" library, Volumes 20 and 24

    [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 

     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)

    [as "Structural Music" Vol. 20]:
     Copyright Date: Dec. 6, 1952; EP 67 189.
    [as "Structural Music" Vol. 24]:     
     Copyright Date: Dec. 30, 1953; EP 77 259.

     Renewal   Date:


Summer Rerun Close Theme 4: "from Burns and Allen Cues"

    [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:


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