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Film / Lambchops

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Lambchops is a 1929 short film directed by Murray Roth, starring a startlingly young George Burns and Gracie Allen.

It is an eight-minute short featuring George and Gracie performing one of their comedy routines. In the short, Gracie, famous for being The Ditz, tries to convince George that she isn't ditzy at all. However, her odd answers to his questions greatly undermine that assertion.

Lambchops was filmed using the experimental Vitaphone sound-on-disc audio recording procedure. This process, in which a film's audio track was recorded onto a phonograph record, was eventually abandoned in favor of the technique that involved printing an optical audio track on the film—a "soundtrack".

No relation to Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. Compare The Beau Brummels, a similar short film from the same era that recorded a vaudeville routine.

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Tropes:

  • The Artifact: Wonder why the short takes place in a fancy living room for seemingly no reason? They were filling in at the last second for an act that was originally going to use the set. Rather than strike the set, they asked Burns & Allen to fill in. They were well known in vaudeville as a "disappointment act"- an act that was always ready to go on in case someone cancelled at the last moment.
  • The Ditz: Gracie insists that she isn't a ditz. And actually, given all her Mathematician's Answers, she may be right, and may be closer to Cloudcuckoolander.
  • No Fourth Wall: Happened due to Real Life Writes the Plot, as George Burns arrived for the shoot sans toupee. When Burns saw the set design—fancy drawing-room—he decided to have himself and Gracie seek out the camera and address it, thus explaining why he had his hat on. This would later become a hallmark of their TV sitcom, The Burns and Allen Show.
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  • Mathematician's Answer: The main gag, as Gracie is a past master at these.
    George: What did you take up in school?
    Gracie: Anything that wasn't nailed down.
  • Straight Man: As was typical of their act, George plays the straight man while ditzy Gracie gets the laughs.
  • Take Our Word for It: Gracie wants to tell a story, but apparently her stories tend to be dirty. She insists that this one is clean, but George says she has to whisper it into his ear first. She does so, giggling all the while. George makes a face and then ends the movie.
  • Title Drop: One of Gracie's bizarre answers provides a title drop.
    George: Could you eat two big lamb chops alone?
    Gracie: Alone, oh not alone. With potatoes I could.
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