Gracie for President

Gracie Allen is one of the funniest people I have ever heard. Together with her husband George Burns they seemed to amble through a mirthless world with optimism, a trust in human nature and a completely bewildered world view. In 1940 Gracie ran for president with the Depression still lingering and the Second World War on the horizon. Serious times.

If the world seems a bit too mirthless to you right now, as it does me, I offer this;

The Burns & Allen program from January 17, 1938 which includes a reference to Tacoma that will make you laugh if you catch it.

Then Gracie will explain the news. Believe me you need to understand it the way Gracie does if only for a moment of simple delight and enjoyable confusion.

And now a couple thoughts from Gracie before conventions begin, anger and politics take over and the media dive into a well paid for onslaught of commentary and analysis.

The Senate is the only show in the world where the cash customers have to sit in the balcony.

My mind works so fast. When I think of something I say it. Lots of times I say it even before I think of it.

I’m having my platform run up by a movie set designer, so it will be very impressive from the front, but not too permanent. 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.

All the other candidates are making speeches about how much they have done for their 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.


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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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