The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Artist: George Burns and Gracie Allen
Title: The George Burns and Grace Allen Show
Format: Television
Genre: Comedy
License: Public Domain in the United States
Attribution: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, 1950, Public Domain in the United States
Download Link: Public Domain Collection on The Internet Archive . Many other episodes also available on the Internet Archive. It is likely that many episodes of this show are not in the public domain, but most of the earliest ones appear to be.

George and Gracie got their start on the vaudeville stage, where they met performing in separate acts, and were eventually married. They ran a radio show all through the 30s and 40s, before eventually making the transition to television. Their TV show was a live, bi-weekly affair, sponsored aggressively by Carnation Evaporated Milk. It’s adorable.

By the time the first episode aired in 1950, they had been performing together for nearly 30 years. Often performing daily, or at least weekly, and always live. Here you see two masters of the stage at the peak of their powers, literally inventing the modern sitcom before your eyes.

Watch closely, you will learn something.

Since the show was a live broadcast, the only remaining copies are kinescopes. The kinescope process can produce very watchable footage, but it will only ever be as good as the television from which it was filmed, and then it will be limited by the quality of the telecine transfer used to convert it back to video. Many episodes of the George Burns and Gracie Allen show, especially the earliest Public Domain Episodes, are only available in fairly low quality transfers, from fairly rough kinescropes. If it feels like you’re watching a low contrast VHS, you might be!

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