George Burns and Bob Hope teamed up Sunday for a performance on stage for the first time - sort of.
Burns and Hope never were really together at their much-touted "Burns & Hope Together In Person For The First Time" concert at Madison Square Garden in New York except to take bows at the end of the 21/2-hour show.Those in the audience who were disappointed applauded with their feet, leaving in sizable numbers during the last 10 minutes.
The show was advertised by MCI Corp., a show business presenter, as "179 years of comedy," a play on the combined ages of America's senior comics. Actually, their combined careers add up to 147 years.
Burns and Hope did separate shows, sandwiching a guest appearance by singer Dionne Warwick. Hope, 86, came first and Burns, 93, came last, both receiving a standing ovation from an audience that nearly filled the 15,000-seat arena at $15 to $100-a-ticket. Ticket sales were officially reported as 13,000.
Hope was introduced as "a great American golfer" by emcee Ted Brown, a New York radio announcer, and Hope introduced Burns without actually staying on the stage to greet him by saying, "If there is ever a Mount Rushmore for comedians, this has got to be the first man on the mountain."
Burns, puffing his trademark cigar, soon took possession of a swivel chair for a leisurely hour of reminiscenses about his early career in vaudeville, his years of playing straightman to his wife, Gracie Allen, and his more recent vocation as an author of seven books and a film star who plays God.