Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS Come to a Party with Burns and Allen plump dieting day by dieting day. "Sleeping.'" Barbara tells him with the beatific look usual with new parents. |DA CANTOR and she go into a I serious conversation on teething, colic and feedings. Ida Cantor is a dear. Every one loves her. There, in front of you. lads and las- sies, are Bing Crosby and Dixie Lee, the beauteous cinema belle. Cunning, isn't she? She and Bing are married and happy. "I'm not going back to Hollywood until Bing goes if I never make an- other picture," she is saying. "Say, Crooner, have you started the great American novel ?" Colonel Lemuel Stoopnagle—who is Chase Taylor by the name his parents gave him — calls to Bing Crosby. "Crooner" is what Bing's friends call him. They do it to kid him. Great kid- ders, all of them. "Not yet," laughs Bing, "but I will when I get time. Maybe some day dur- ing my lunch hour." Now it conies out. Bing Crosby wants to be a writer. What do you know about that! Clang! Clang! It's the knocker on the entrance door. The newcomers en- ter. Gee, but she's easy on the eyes. Her brown three-piece traveling suit is a sartorial gem. He's not bad looking, either. Look out, Gracie! You're wrecking the jig-saw puzzle. Half of it's on the floor. But Gracie doesn't care—what's a jig-saw puzzle? "Jane—darling !" Gracie's arms clasp the vision in brown. She's just tickled pink. "When did you get into town?" "A few hours ago,"" the lady ad- dressed as Jane answers, returning Gracie's enthusiastic greeting. The Goodman Aces—that is, "The (.Continued from page 9) Easy Aces," are in from Chicago. It's a joyous reunion. Pals are the Aces and the "Home Folks," even though George Burns, Jack Benny and Goodman Ace each thinks his wife is the brightest dimwit on the air. But why go into that? Gracie moves from group to group. She talks with them, laughs with them. She offers them candy, salted nuts and cigarettes. She sees to it that every one is amused. She spies one idle group. There, near the piano. Harpo Marx with Al Boasberg, Harry Cohn and Eugene Conrad, gag writers and script men, in case you don't know. All friends of George and Gracie. "How about a game of contract?" Gracie suggests. "Great!" a chorus of four voices re- plies with vigor. "Nat, dear," Nat is Gracie's pet name for George, "will you set up the card table, please? Harpo would like some bridge." For that matter, Harpo would always like some bridge. "Sure will, Googie," that's George's pet name for her. UARPO MARX plays a grand game. He's afraid of no expert—not even Culbertson. Where are the other Marx brothers? Harpo does not say. He probably doesn't know. The bridge game starts. Gracie looks around. Quite a mob, isn't it ? She expected only a few— certainly not so many as this. But that does not stump her. Not in the least. She heads for the kitchen and holds a conference with her maid. The Frig- idaire is despoiled of its contents. Three baked chickens—a pound of fresh mush- rooms, four bunches of celery, green peppers. Just right for chicken a la king. It's Gracie's favorite dish for midnight supper and she always has the ingredients on hand. A smoked tongue, home cooked. A box of Camembert and one of Gruyere cheese. These she ar- ranges on a table. Quickly, she makes a selection from rows of canned goods on the pantry shelves. Ripe olives, sweet mixed pickles, sphaghetti in glass jars, a large jar of Russian caviar for appetizers, a box of crisp potato chips. Last, but not least, a delicious baked chocolate layer cake. The maid is left to do her utmost. Gracie goes back at the jig-saw puzzle. Everybody's happy, as Ted Lewis would say. She's free to amuse herself in her way just as her guests are enjoying themselves in theirs. There's no feeling that you must do this or must do that, just because you're in someone else's house. That's what makes a Burns-Allen party a thing of joy. You do as you please. Talk if you're in the mood. Sit silent as a Sphinx if you're not. Play bridge or talk style or do a jig-saw. You may even do a song or dance or a stunt of some sort if the notion strikes you. The notion has struck George Burns and Jack Benny. It often does at a party. They're harking back to their old vaudeville days. Now isn't that a grand break for us? They are doing an old-fashioned song and dance act. How they step. How they gesture. George is reversing things. He takes the role Gracie acts on the air. He's the comic and Jack Benny does the straight man. George sings, "She's Only A Bird in A Gilded Cage." Jack does a jig. Gracie's laugh leads all the rest. The identical Allen laugh that floats through the ozone to a million American homes. Gracie's one wife who laughs at her husband's jokes. There's wifely devo- tion for you. No, she won't pull a joke or a wise crack. Not a chance. She never does at home. It's George who is the fireside cut-up, and how Gracie enjoys it. She keeps her clowning for the radio and the talkies. And therein we think she's very wise. "Food," announces Gracie. "Come and get it!" It comes in, chicken a la king, on a steaming platter. The spaghetti, too, and all the appetizing appetizers charm- ingly and tastefully arranged. Come, let's show our tact. Midnight supper is a regular meal with radio stars. We mustn't intrude any longer. "Good night, Gracie. Good night, George. We're leaving." Back down the hallway to the bronzed elevator doors. Down to the silent, night-swathed streets. Going home we can look back at the skyscraper we've left and see the gleaming windows on the thirty-sixth floor. Burns and Allen windows, those. They'll be bright all night tonight. It's always that way when they throw their famous parties. 38