Did Gracie Allen Ever Actually Say “Goodnight, Gracie”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: At the end of the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Burns would say “Say Goodnight, Gracie” and Allen would follow with, “Goodnight, Gracie.”

George Burns and Gracie Allen met in 1922 and soon began a vaudeville act together. Their act quickly developed into the act that they would become famous for – Burns as the straight man playing to Allen’s ditzy “Dumb Dora” routine. They would marry in 1926.

After years on vaudeville and a number of appearances in the pictures, the pair transitioned to radio in the late 1930s, which is where they made the last refinement on their act during the 1940s. Up until that point, their marriage was not written into the act. Around 1940, they finally did and their radio show became more of a traditional sitcom.

That sitcom style continued to the medium of television, as the couple debuted their TV series The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show in 1950.

By the time Allen retired in 1958 (Allen had been fighting heart disease for years, which almost certainly was what led to her wishing to lighten her workload – the couple produced almost THREE HUNDRED episodes in the eight years they were on the air), the show was a massive commercial and critical hit.

People absolutely loved Gracie Allen’s personality.

However, perhaps the most popular part of the show is something that actually never happened on the show!!
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Did Empty Nest Spin-Off From the Golden Girls Without Using Characters From the Golden Girls?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Empty Nest was a spin-off without actually spinning off the lead characters.

Empty Nest, the sitcom starring Richard Mulligan as a recent widower dealing with both the death of his wife and his two adult daughters moving back home, is already notable as one of the few spin-off TV series to ever spin its own series off (which Empty Nest did with Nurses in 1991).

The show ran from October 1988 to April 1995. Paired with The Golden Girls, it was a mighty ratings one-two punch in the late 80s/early 90s for NBC (and Mulligan even took home an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy in 1989).

However, the show had a rather bizarre lineage from Golden Girls to Empty Nest. You see, the show was a spin-off of the Golden Girls without any of the lead characters actually ever appearing on an episode of The Golden Girls before the first episode of Empty Nest!

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Was Cheers a Fire Hazard?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Cheers was a fire hazard.

On November 28, 1942, the trendy Boston nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, caught fire with a packed crowd inside of over 1,000 people (the club’s capacity was 460).

The club had recently expanded with an attached lounge (the Melody Lounge). The club was decked up in a Casablanca theme, so there were paper and cloth decorations hanging from the ceiling and paper palm trees everywhere. Around 10:30 PM, a busboy went to replace a missing/blown out light bulb and dropped the replacement. He lit a match to find the bulb on the dark floor, found the bulb, blew out the match and replaced the bulb. However, the match managed to set a nearby paper palm tree on fire. That lit up and quickly spread to the ceiling where it set other decorations on fire – soon the fire was feeding off of oxygen and spread through the club.

Decades later, a re-opened fire investigation determined that it was actually methyl chloride that had leaked from a faulty refrigerator in the Melody Lounge that had led to the fire spreading so quickly.

In any event, while the fire itself was deadly, easily HUNDREDS of lives could have been saved had it not been for the construction of the bar. The main entrance was a lone revolving door. As you might imagine, a lone revolving door is quickly rendered useless by hundreds of people charging at it. Other sidedoors were actually bolted shut to keep patrons from skipping out on their bill. A stained-glass window was boarded over. And the few doors that WERE open were doors that opened IN to the building, and again, when a large group of people are charging towards a door, a door that opens IN to a building is effectively useless.

The tragedy was horrific, and actually stole some headlines from World War II.

The owner of the bar was later arrested and convicted on 19 charges of involuntary manslaughter (19 random victims were chosen to represent the dead as a whole).

So what does this gruesome turn of events have to do with Cheers, you ask?

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