15 November 2019

Published November 13, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Hop right up and Click the Frog

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


             Papa belted out prayers with off-key passion. A few small congregations who couldn’t afford real cantors hired him as a ba’al tefillah.

            Shabbos mornings, Natty Birnbaum stood close to him and sang. He’d bask in Papa’s approving smile. It was the only time he ever saw it. 

            When Natty was seven Papa passed away while reading prayers.

            Nearly 100 years later, Birnbaum, better known as George Burns, remembered with a wry smile, “After he sang in one little synagogue, the following synagogue, instead of hiring him, they kept it closed during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” 

            Natty never forgave God.


Wanna know more? Got 10 minutes? To watch the video CLICK HERE 

90 comments on “15 November 2019

    • Dear CE

      Natty was a seven-year-old child when it happened. I think as he aged toward his 100th birthday, he’d stopped holding a grudge against God. In fact he portrayed Him in blockbuster movie in the 1970’s. Thanks for coming by.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Wait, you mean he isn’t God? I clearly remember when John Denver’s music wasn’t selling so well and he had to take a job at a grocery store and met George/God and.., well, they made documentary about it and all 😉 He did have a wonderful, super long career. A very funny man.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Penny,

      I’ve always been a huge fan of old movies. I think a lot of it comes from my dad who used to tell me all about vaudeville and the big band era. I don’t remember not having a television set so I cut my teeth on the old black and white shows. And I’ve always loved biographies, whether books or bio pics. 😉 Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • What a lovely and a wee bit humorous tribute to George! An icon, indeed. His humor was clean, and funny, not like today’s comedians. Love watching the old B/w show he did with his wife. Yes, it still plays… middle of the night, but hey when one doesn’t sleep one finds gems on tv.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bear,

      I’ve caught of few of those old Burns and Allen shows. She was another fascinating individual who created an unforgettable character. Because she never broke character in public I couldn’t find a single recording of what her voice really sounded like. Glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you. 😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • I remember George, and Gracie as well. They were both very funny. There are very few comedians around who were as funny, yet very clean. Guess you had to be there. Lol. Good story and history lesson. As usual, you educate us with your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Who doesn’t love George Burns? I’m surprised he’s not known across the pond as well! “Say G’night, Gracie” will always be!
    Loved watching the video, too. Can’t believe he’s been gone so long. Wherever does time go?

    Shalom and lotsa love and laughter,


    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      Growing up I couldn’t remember the time there wasn’t a George Burns. As far as his being known across the pond, I’d never heard of Morcombe and Wise until the Beatles Anthology came out. 😉 I love the way George reinvented himself after Gracie passed away. Thanks as always for the support and comments.

      Shalom and lotsa bad jokes and hugs,



    • Dear Bagel Boy,

      Gracie was the main attraction but it was actually George who wrote her lines in the beginning. I think They did make a good team and he was the driving force behind it.

      Yes, nothing goes with a bagel like cream cheese and lox. Anything else is sacrilege.


      Hazel Brunhild W(T)F


  • I must say, I’m a little disappointed in this one, Rochelle. You had the perfect opportunity to use George Burns and Kermit as The Frog picture.

    This was interesting, as always. George Burns was before my time, but I think I’ve seen Oh God! I love old movies. His father’s death may have been a “blessing in disguise.” If his father hadn’t died when he was a small child, Nattie may not have gone to work at age 6 or 7 where he started singing with friends and subsequently broken into showbusiness. For better (which is hard to imagine) or worse, his life would have been drastically different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nobbin,

      So enamored was young Natty with show business I’m not sure if his father had lived if would’ve made much difference. And with all of the children in the family, Natty would’ve gone to work at a young age. At any rate, the world is a better place because Natty Birnbaum grew up to be God. 😉 Thank you.

      You’re right, I sorely missed my opportunity to use Kermit and George. What was I thinking? Or not thinking as it were.




    • Dear Ted,

      He was indeed one of a kind. The synagogue is on NY’s Lower East Side on Rivington and has been made into artists’ studios.

      I’ve thought about drawing a few of my own frogs, which I haven’t ruled out, but there are some great ones out there.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.




    • Na’ama Y’karah,

      It’s easy to hold a grudge against God, isn’t it? I’ve been angry with Him more than once. And you know all too well how deep those childhood wounds go. I think later in his life, George was able to let go and he did make a sweet deity, didn’t he? Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

      • I think people need someone/something to blame, and God is an expected target for that – as people see God as responsible for both good and not-so-good that takes place. To many, there’s an idealized parent in a God, where ‘good deeds’ supposedly lead to approval and ‘bad deeds’ would lead to punishment … and so when one faces difficult times, one feels punished and can get angry at the injustice of being ‘punished’ or seeing innocents ‘punished’ with challenges they ought not to have to face. And yet, there these difficulties are … So frustration and need to have something to look up to and believe it, can lead to being angry at God (or the representation of God one was taught/shown as a child). As for childhood wounds, yes, they certainly go deep. Very deep, and sometimes with lifelong threads. As for George, he sure did! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • I remember George Burns from when I was a kid – the glasses and the cigar! – though I guess I missed him at his height. He was quite a raconteur, I believe. Such a touching story you tell, of him losing his faith at such a young age. I can see the logic as a small child, witnessing such a dreadful thing. I love his original name – Natty Birnbaum – so much more interesting than George Burns. But as I think we’ve discussed before, it was a sign of the times that those in the entertainment industry shook off their own, perhaps more ‘ethnic’ names. As always, beautifully told Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      George Burns went through several stage names before settling on that one. Burns and his wife Gracie were household names through the 1940’s and 50’s. Interestingly, in private, she called him Natty. I’ve read that his ability as a raconteur was to sweeten and add humor the truth of his life. After Gracie’s death he did reinvent himself and most of will remember him as God. 😉 Thank you for your lovely comments.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Querida Rochelle,
    I used to enjoy George and Gracie interact on stage. It turns out she was quite bright even though she played his dimwit side-kick. Success at comedy any way you can get it. Super good info … thanks for the memories.
    Have a GREAT weekend, mi amiga.
    Abrazos y carino,
    Isadora 😎
    PS: how’s your cousin?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      I read that Gracie never broke character in public, but her voice was actually an octave lower in real life. She was in no way a dimwit. Glad you enjoyed my story, too. 😀

      Shalom y Abrazos.


      Kent is doing well. I’ll tell him you asked about him. That will make him smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I enjoyed the story and the comments were informative too! I think for those of us who believe in God, we go through our ups and downs with him. And that’s okay. The name George Burns rings a faint memory. I might have heard it referenced somewhere. Nice to know who he is now.


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