Gracie Allen

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I'll bet you say that to all the girls!

Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen (26 July 1895 [year uncertain] – 27 August 1964) was an American comedian, actress, singer, dancer; and the comedic partner and wife of George Burns.

Quotes[edit]

I was so surprised at being born that I didn't speak for a year and a half.
Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
  • You're the only boy who ever made me cry, and I decided that if you could make me cry, I must really love you.
    • Accepting a proposal of marriage from George Burns in December 1925, after a long period of reluctance, and dismissal of his overtures, as quoted in Gracie : A Love Story (1988) by George Burns, p. 17
  • I'll bet you say that to all the girls!
    • Gracie's typical reply in her comedic routines to a slight or insult she has mistaken for a compliment, as quoted in A Pictorial History of Vaudeville (1961) by Bernard Sobel, p. 130; also often quoted in slightly extended form as "Oh, George, I bet you say that to all the girls!"
  • I think there's so much good in the worst of us, and so many of the worst of us get the best of us, that the rest of us aren't even worth talking about.
    • As quoted in Say Good Night, Gracie! : The Story of Burns & Allen (1986) by Cheryl Blythe and Susan Sackett, p. 48
  • I was so surprised at being born that I didn't speak for a year and a half.
    • As quoted in Gracie : A Love Story (1988) by George Burns, p. 17
  • I read a book twice as fast as anybody else. First, I read the beginning, and then I read the ending, and then I start in the middle and read toward whatever end I like best.
    • As quoted in Funny Ladies : The Best Humor from America's Funniest Women (2001) by Bill Adler, p. 51
  • Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
    • Last letter to George Burns, as quoted in Two Minutes for God : Quick Fixes for the Spirit (2007) by Peter B. Panagore, p. 73; this was later used in a slogan for the United Church of Christ: "Never place a period where God has placed a comma. God Is Still Speaking."
  • George: Gracie, those are beautiful flowers. Where did they come from?
    Gracie: Don't you remember, George? You said that if I went to visit Clara Bagley in the hospital I should be sure to take her flowers. So, when she wasn't looking, I did.
    • Comedic routine, quoted in American Radio Networks : A History (2009) by Jim Cox, p. 144

How to Become President (1940)[edit]

Who am I to talk? That’s a fair question, and one which deserves a better answer than I can give you.

[[File:Burns and Allen 1953.JPG|thumb|right|George Burns — that’s Mister Allen — was saying the other day that to be President of the United States you also have to have brains, integrity, [[ability] and intelligence, but I think he was just trying to talk me into it.]]

Now, I don’t pretend to know all the answers. I’m just a plain, ordinary, everyday genius who loves her fellow-man whenever possible.
Try to understand me. Nothing is impossible.
Everybody is just as good as anybody else, even though they aren’t quite so smart.
Let’s all pull together and make these United States the grandest place in this whole country.
Cultivate friendships. If you don’t have time to cultivate all of them, plow under every fifth one and collect your bonus.
Social Progress is not one of my goals. This country is not a social climber, and besides, the Treasury knows too many people already, if you know what I mean.
  • Who am I to talk? That’s a fair question, and one which deserves a better answer than I can give you. … Come to think of it, who are you? Whoever you are, I sympathize with you. I sympathize with everybody; that’s what I get for being a candidate myself. Let them call us nonentities. Who cares? A nonenitiy can be just as famous as anybody else if enough people know about him.
    But let’s leave personalities out of this and just talk about me.
    • Ch. 1 : Government jobs pay big money
  • One of the greatest problems today is about the people who would rather be right than be President. I have a solution for that. You can be Left and President: that way you can eat your cake and halve it too. Or you can stay in the middle of the road and get run over.
    • Ch. 1 : Government jobs pay big money
  • As we walk hand in hand through the pathways of knowledge, remember that I am giving you freely and without stint the full accumulation of my two months’ experience as a candidate. I have on file a complete record of everything I’ve said and done. Ever since I threw my hat in the ring I have had myself shadowed, and the results were very entertaining. The things that go on in those back rooms, you wouldn’t believe.
    So now we begin our journey together. If you follow these instructions carefully, you will find that every step of your progress, like the path that climbs up and up from the sheltered valley, offers you an ever-wider and more facinating vista, until at last you come out upon the summit of the wrong hill.
    • Ch. 1 : Government jobs pay big money
  • Presidents are made, not born. That’s a good thing to remember. It’s silly to think that Presidents are born, because very few people are 35 years old at birth, and those who are won’t admit it. So if you’re only 16 don’t be discouraged, because it’s only a phase and there’s nothing wrong with you that you won’t outgrow.
    • Ch. 2 : Others make good, why not you?
  • Of course, it goes without saying that every candidate must be progressive, fearless, vigorous, and liberal; invincible in victory and invisible in defeat, awake to the needs of the people whether they know what they know what they need or not. You should also come from a good family, because while breeding isn’t everything, it is said to be lots of fun. George Burns — that’s Mister Allen — was saying the other day that to be President of the United States you also have to have brains, integrity, ability and intelligence, but I think he was just trying to talk me into it.
    • Ch. 2 : Others make good, why not you?
  • All the other candidates are making speeches about how much they have done for this country, which is ridiculous. I haven’t done anything yet, and I think it’s just common sense to send me to Washington and make me do my share.
    • Ch. 2 : Others make good, why not you?
  • Every politician must be able to keep both feet on the fence with his ear to the ground.
    • Ch. 2 : Others make good, why not you?
  • Now, I don’t pretend to know all the answers. I’m just a plain, ordinary, everyday genius who loves her fellow-man whenever possible. But let me tell you that women are getting very tired of running a poor second to the Forgotten Man, and with all the practice we’ve had around the house the time is ripe for a woman to sweep the country. I’ll make a prediction with my eyes open: that a woman can and will be elected if she is qualified and gets enough votes.
    • Ch. 3 : Why a woman president? Well, why?
  • You remember me. I’m Gracie Allen. I’m the candidate who forgot to take off her hat before she threw it in the ring.
    Furthermore, I’m the only candidate who got the idea of running myself. All the others had to have somebody else think it up for them, or anyway they say the only reason they’re running is because their many friends kept after them and after them until they finally gave in.
    • Ch. 4 : How to attract attention and be drafted
  • Try to understand me. Nothing is impossible.
    • Ch. 4 : How to attract attention and be drafted
  • I fully realize that every promise I make, the Republicans will double and the Democrats will redouble. They think this will make me vulnerable, but they don’t know I have some tricks up my sleeve, along with a box of raisins to munch on while I’m waiting for the returns to come in.
    • Ch. 5 : Issues and how to pick them
  • A keyhole speech is very simple, especially mine. First it states the issues. An issue is just a difference of opinion, which is why we put erasers on horse races. And as I always say, as long as we have issues, we can’t have everything. Second, the speech goes on to attack the present administration and show how it has ruined the country. Then it goes on to attack the other candidates and show how they’ll keep it ruined, and generally builds up a warm and friendly atmosphere.
    • Ch. 5 : Issues and how to pick them
  • Today millions of people are living who will never do it again. Millions are being born for the first time–and millions are doing nothing because it’s the best offer they’ve had this week. … It is for these people and many others that the Surprise Party is conceived and desecrated, founded upon the principle that everybody is just as good as anybody else, even though they aren’t quite so smart.
    • Ch. 5 : Issues and how to pick them
  • Let’s all pull together and make these United States the grandest place in this whole country. I see a vision. A glorious vision. A united people, marching forward shoulder to shoulder, giving their all for the common good, working while I whistle.
    • Ch. 5 : Issues and how to pick them
  • As a well-known great man would have said if he had thought of it, “Don’t go around offending people just because it can be done sitting down.
    • Ch. 6 : How not to offend anybody
  • Cultivate friendships. If you don’t have time to cultivate all of them, plow under every fifth one and collect your bonus.
    • Ch. 6 : How not to offend anybody
  • When you learn to make everybody happy, you will possess the golden secret of how to milk the contented voters. But do it in such a way that they won’t think you want them to vote for you just because you need the money.
    They need the money, and besides, they can think up other reasons if they try.
    • Ch. 6 : How not to offend anybody
  • The masses demand a fighting President, and that means you’ve got to offend somebody, because the way I see it, a strong offense is the best attack.
    So what can you offend?
    That’s an easy one. Offend the other candidates, because they’ll be too busy talking to hear you, and besides, they might not vote for you anyway.
    • Ch. 6 : How not to offend anybody
  • A platform is something a candidate stands for and the voters fall for.
    • Ch. 7 : Buying a good used platform
  • I’m having my platform run up by a movie set designer, so it will be very impressive from the front, but not too premanent. After all, there’s no sense putting a lot of time and thought into something you’ll have no use for after you’re elected.
    • Ch. 7 : Buying a good used platform
  • This country needs room to grow and expand. In all my own newspapers I read frightful tales of the shameful atrocities being perpetrated on our Democratic minorities in Maine and Vermont. My patience is almost at an end, and if provoked much further I will place both countries under American protection, even if I have to send in my tourists to start trouble so I’ll have to send in a force to restore order.
    • Ch. 7 : Buying a good used platform
  • Social Progress is not one of my goals. This country is not a social climber, and besides, the Treasury knows too many people already, if you know what I mean.
    So vote early and often. Don’t wait until Election Day. I may have found other work by then. Do it now!
    • Ch. 7 : Buying a good used platform


Disputed[edit]

  • Goodnight, Gracie.
    • It's commonly believed that at the end of stage shows Allen would reply to George Burns line "Say goodnight, Gracie", with "Goodnight, Gracie". Recordings from the time do not have her using this reply.

Quotes about Allen[edit]

  • Gracie gets her laughs — we hope — because we often think the way Gracie talks, but we pride ourselves that we never talk the way Gracie thinks.
    • George Burns, as quoted in Say Good Night, Gracie! : The Story of Burns & Allen (1986) by Cheryl Blythe and Susan Sackett, p. 18
  • Although they had equal billing, this married couple headlined a show that was wholly dependent on the skewed behavior of one of its stars, Gracie Allen. It took a big man, George Burns, to recognize that his wife was the laugh-getter, and to yield to her as the quintessential straight-man.
    • Jim Cox, in American Radio Networks : A History (2009), p. 144

External links[edit]

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