Dizzy Dames

George Burns and Gracie Allen

George Burns and Gracie Allen, the ultimate dizzy dame

“I’m so dizzy, my head is spinnin’
Like a whirlpool, it never ends
And it’s you, COVID, makin’ it spin
You’re makin’ me dizzy”

2022 Revised lyrics  Dizzy 1930 George Burns and Gracie Allen song

As a long-time feminist, I’m loathed to admit this, but lately but I’m one dizzy dame.

Even with my COVID brain fog, no one would dare call me a dumb blonde.

But the lingering effects of Long COVID have left me feeling unsteady, lightheaded, and at times just plain dizzy.

So, Dizzy Dame, it is.

I began wondering, was a dizzy dame different than a ditzy one? How about a Dumb Dora?

These way-past-their-prime descriptive terms are rarely bantered about anymore, other than by someone like me who from the age of 16 still has a penchant for addressing friends as “dollface,” or “Sister” (less feminist sisterhood more hardboiled Phillip Marlow.)

There was a time when these sorts of pejorative terms for women were acceptable and standard fare for comics and gags. Along with describing one’s mother-in-law as a battle axe, a dizzy dame was guaranteed to elicit plenty of guffaws from an audience.

Screwballs in Skirts

"Dizzy Dames"

“Dizzy Dames” issue May-June 1953 Featured Moronics, Knothead Nancy, and Screwball Sal

It’s not surprising that in the early 1950s there was a series of comic books entitled “Dizzy Dames” which had nothing to do with a neurological problem and everything to do with being a scatterbrained woman.

The all-female cast was chock full of one cliché after another- the dumb blonde, the Ditz, and a brainless beauty appropriately called “Moronica.”

Other characters included “Screwball Sal,” “Daffy Dotty,” “Knothead Nancy” and “Miss Nit-Wit of 1953.”

"Dizzy Dames" Jan. 1953 comic book

“Dizzy Dames” Jan. 1953 Featuring characters Looney Lucy, Moronica, Daffy Damsels, Miss Nit-Wit of 1953


"Dizzy Dames" September 1952

“Dizzy Dames” September 1952 Featuring Broadway Babes, Knothead Nellie, and Moronica


"Dizzy Dames" issue July 1953 comic book

“Dizzy Dames” issue July 1953 Characters featured Moronica, Screwball Sal, Knothead Nancy Battie Beatrice


"Dizzy Dames" March-April 1953 comic books

“Dizzy Dames” March-April 1953 Featuring Daffy Dotty, Moronica, Screwball Sal

The anthology about empty-headed gals getting into zany high jinks  carried the tagline “Screwballs in Skirts.” The plots were predictable- husband hunting women falsely accusing men of wronging them in some way.

The man, natch, had done nothing wrong!

It’s always the broad’s fault.

The ditzy dame has merely misunderstood a perfectly rational man and is flying off the handle with her overwrought lady emotions while doubling down on how terrible the man has been.

“Dizzy Dames” Comic Book panel

Often other men get involved getting angry at the first guy, but eventually, the police show up, or on rare occasions, a rational woman comes along to make it clear that if the man didn’t hit you, he did nothing wrong.

“Dizzy Dame”s Comic Book panel

The stories were equal parts laughable and cringeworthy, and reflective of the sensibilities of what passed for humor at the time.

George Burns and Gracie Allen

George Burns and Gracie Allen

But there is one comedic Dizzy Dame, I would be happy to be associated with- the late great Gracie Allen.

Gracie Allen whose illogical logic was her charm put her own indelible stamp on the dizzy dame.

Feminists may dislike the dizzy dame stereotype but Gracie made it into an art form. For more than 3 decades she was the loveable better half of George Burns and together they performed in vaudeville, movies, radio, and their own TV show.

Like the racist caricature of Jacks Benny’s manservant Rochester, Allen’s scatterbrained wife “Good night Gracie might be hard to watch now. But the fact is she had comedic chops as a performer and was always Burnes equal.

They gained their first fame on the vaudeville circuit with an act called “Dizzy.” and made their first Commercial recording in 1930 on a visit to London England

Burns: You’re dizzy.
Allen: I’m glad I’m dizzy. Boys like dizzy girls, and I like boys.
Burns: I’m glad you’re glad you’re dizzy.
Allen: I’m glad you’re glad I’m glad, etc.


Gracie Allen and George Burns played themselves for eight years on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and during the 35 years, the duo performed together in vaudeville, motion pictures, and radio.

But the real Gracie Allen was a far cry from the zany woman we saw who shortened the electric cords on her lamps to save electricity and who drove her car with the emergency brake on so if she ran into an emergency she would be ready for it.

Contrary to popular conception, Gracie Allen’s character was not stupid, dumb, dizzy, or airheaded. She was intelligent and insightful. This epiphany occasionally occurred to others. In the words of Harry Morton, a character on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, “I have come to the conclusion that addlepated as she is, Gracie is the smart one in the family!”

Through her illogical logic, she might disarm a  mansplainer without you even realizing it.

Gracie Allen demonstrated the capacity to take what others said and see it from another point of view. If we say something and don’t realize that it can be interpreted in two ways, that’s a limitation in us.

Gracie had no such limits.

Blanche Morton: But she’s 20 years younger than he is!

Gracie: So what? They’re crazy about each other! They’re as much in love as Napoleon and Cleopatra!

Blanche: Napoleon and Cleopatra? They were at least 2,000 years apart!

Gracie: You see? If it worked for them, why should only 20 years matter to Harry and Vivian?

The ability to see things differently is a gift possessed by brilliant minds.

Gracie was dizzy…like a fox!

She was no Moronica!

And I may be a dizzy dame, but I’m no Screwball Sal!




  1. Sally here is one I remember. The Honeymooners, Alice and Ralph “Bang you’re going to the Moon” Wouldn’t be acceptable today. https://youtu.be/98qw86DsdZ0


  2. tripichick

    i saw three concerts last year with 20000 bare-faced plague rats. Since I mask and keep my distance never a sniffle. most normies have trouble accepting that we’re impotent when our bodies malf, especially if one lacks cushy bougie benefits.


  3. tripichick

    jeepers, that was offensive.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: