Episode Commentary The Burns and Allen Show "Ronnie Meets Sabrina" (S6E3) - 1955 I admit I'm a pretty old dude, yet this series barely registers in my TV consciousness since I was only 1 years old when it began in 1950 on ABC. Still, the theme song resounds in my memory from years of having been lulled to sleepy time while my parents guffawed loudly at George and Gracie's antics. So I recently recorded a few episodes off MeTV just to jog a gray cell or two. Announcer Harry Von Zell is literally being buttered up like a piece of toast over lunch with aspiring and conniving actress Sabrina Doyle (Paula Hill), who's looking for an "in" to show biz. Also showing up is Ronnie Burns, George and Gracie's real-life son, who was obviously being groomed by them and the studio into a Ricky Nelson-type idol. (Displaying about as much acting talent as road gravel, Ronnie quickly retired to raising horses on a ranch in Doofusville, AZ.) In the meantime, Sabrina takes a shine to him. Harry Von Zell; Ronnie Burns; Judi Meredith, Paula Hill Cut to Gracie having bought a load of sandwiches for Ronnie's college acting class, causing George to grumble about their cost. This simple act becomes the centerpiece of the entire plot. Appearing as TV stars within their own TV show, we're to believe George Burns could give a rat's patootie over the cost of a few sandwiches. Of course, Gracie justifies the cost with her patented upside-down logic that defies human comprehension. An interesting aspect of the show had George often breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the camera, ever present cigar in hand. Apparently it was felt necessary for him to occasionally recap the events for the audience's sake, as if the scripts were too complex for us to follow. It did, however afford us the opportunity to see the comedian's masterful timing and phrasing. George Burns was among the best there ever was. "As a kid growing up, no one ever taught me about the opposite sex. By the time I was 16, I figured out girls were one ones dancing backwards." Rumor gets around that Harry Von Zell had lunch with a girl half his age--with all that entails. Gracie and her neighbor Blanche (Bea Benaderet) chatter like magpies over what they consider to be a scandalous situation. Harry was just hoping to help Sabrina into show biz through his association with George Burns. It doesn't work, so Sabrina sets her sights on Ronnie to help wedge her slinky self into stardom. As a result, Ronnie must pass up a date with girlfriend Velma (Judi Meredith) and an exciting night of a bongo drum session to be with Sabrina. Filth and deprivation was sure to ensue. Such was stuff of comedy scrips in the 50's. Notes: Ronnie Burns, the adopted son of George and Gracie Allen, didn't make his appearance in the TV show until 1955 and already a young man, thus forcing a rather tepid explanation as to why he was never mentioned by the family before. "He was away at school" was the best they could come up with. It was necessary to inject a bit of youth into the aging cast in hopes of sustaining ratings. Unfortunately, the Ricky Nelson effect didn't take hold here, and the series faded away by 1958. George Burns, unfazed, continued a huge career until age 100.