My last post was published on the birthday (Jan. 20, 1896) of GEORGE BURNS. This post is being published on the birthday (Jan. 25, 1759) of ROBERT BURNS. The former lived to the ripe old age of 100, the latter to age 37; a punster might say (0f the disparity) that they Burns the candle at both ends (of course, I would never say such a thing).
Some of you no doubt remember George Burns as God in the 1977 hit film OH, GOD!, and as the Academy Award winning Best Supporting Actor in THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975), but we geezers best recall him as straight man to wife Gracie Allen in the comedy team of BURNS AND ALLEN. After she died in 1964, he immersed himself in work, remaining active for another three decades in TV, movies, and as author of ten books.
Here are Burns & Allen with Fred Astaire in two fun scenes from DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937):
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Many of you probably do not remember ROBERT BURNS (aka RABBIE BURNS). Even I, ancient as I am, do not recall him. But history tells us he was known as the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire (Scotland), and as a pioneer of the Romantic movement. Regarded as the National Poet of Scotland, in 2009 the Scottish public voted him the Greatest Scot, evidently as a belated promotion from Great Scot! Among his best known poems are “Auld Lang Syne,” “A Red, Red Rose” and “To A Mouse” (said to have been written when he accidently destroyed a mouse nest while plowing a field). I suspect the mouse would have preferred if Burns had restored the nest, but nonetheless, the poem was a mice gesture.
In closing, it might be nice to see what the Burns boys had to say in their own words (George’s quotes are in italics, followed by Robert’s in what I take to be post-Old English):
Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
Nice to be here? At my age, it’s nice to be anywhere. (Tell me about it!)
First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up, and finally, you forget to pull it down. (Don’t tell me about it.)
When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.
It takes only one drink to get me drunk. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the 13th or 14th.
Oh wad some power the giftie gie us / To see ourselves as others see us!
Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire.
An’ there began a lang digression / About the lords o’ the creation.
Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, / O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
The best laid plans o’ mice and men Gang aft a-gley.