Flashback Friday: Watch Gracie Allen’s Uke Star Turn in the 1939 Film ‘Honolulu’

Some of you folks may be familiar with actress and comedian Gracie Allen (c. 1902-1964), who was perhaps best known as the comic partner of her better-known husband George Burns in their long-running Burns and Allen duo, which began in 1922 and continued for decades. (She also did plenty of great work sans George!) In this musical number from the 1939 film Honolulu (which is worth catching in its entirety sometime), Gracie serenades us with the title tune and then is joined by her friend in the film, 1930s dance icon Eleanor Powell, for a spry and ultimately frenetic tap version of the same song.

And this gives us the opportunity to tell you about the new Spring 2020 issue of Ukulele, which features a very cool story by Sandor Nagyszalanczy called “Ukuleles on Screen,” which traces appearances of the little four-string in film and on TV from the days of silent movies to the present. We’ll be featuring more ukes-in-film clips in the coming weeks, too! —Blair Jackson