Wednesday, November 21, 2018

My Thanksgiving Tradition

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving already. 

We all have our own cherished Thanksgiving traditions. Enjoying Grandma’s famous stuffing recipe (which oddly tastes a lot like Stove Top Red Box), the game of touch football on the lawn (they still talk about the year Uncle Ed’s stitches came loose), weird cousin Marla’s holiday decorations (festive paper turkeys with hatchets), everyone bringing their favorite dish, renewing the argument over whether cousin Marla should be hospitalized, etc. My fondest tradition was watching THE HONEYMOONERS marathon on one of the local LA channels. The last few years it’s been discontinued but thanks to DVD’s, I now own all 39 classic episodes and can gleefully watch them again for the nine millionth time.  I assume Netflix or one of them also offers the show for streaming.

Produced in 1955 for one season only, THE HONEYMOONERS remains my favorite all-time sitcom. I don’t think there’s ever been a more inspired cast than Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and Audrey Meadows. And Joyce Randolph was okay too.  Joyce, by the way, is still with us!

I wonder what people in their 20’s would think of the show. Would it seem too retro? Would the black-and-white cause a disconnect? Would the comedy still hold up? I’d like to think it would. I’d like to think any generation would marvel at Art Carney demonstrating a golf swing, or Jackie Gleason learning to mambo.  Happily, when I taught a course at USC a few years ago the class seemed amused.  (Of course the course was Physics so sure they were happy to screen a TV show.) 

If you’ve never seen THE HONEYMOONERS, or haven’t in a long time, I invite you to get the DVD collection or go on Netflix or Hulu and have your own Thanksgiving marathon. But JUST the classic 39 episodes. The collected sketches from Gleason’s variety show or the “lost episodes” don’t hold up. But those 39, for my money, are sitcom perfection. I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Some of my favorite episodes are:

The Golfer
Better Living Through TV (the one I showed to my Physics class)
Oh, my Aching Back
The $99,000 Answer
Young at Heart
Unconventional Behavior
Hello, Mom

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY! 

UPDATE:  For my weekend post I will respond to this notion of whether I think THE HONEYMOONERS should now be considered offense due to our changing sensibilities.  

63 comments :

Fred Vogel said...

Honestly, I never liked the show. I thought the Ralph Kramden character was a complete asshole who treated his wife like shit. Happy Thanksgiving.

ELS said...

Perhaps another point of consideration is the Honeymooners startling similarity to the Flintstones (to be polite.) Surely the difference between live action and animation is huge... but the early Flintstones seemed to try to reach a similarity to the Honeymooners.

Of course, I don't know when the latest Flintstones cartoon was aired, so no one may make the association any more simply because they're aware of neither property... but for those who know of both, I wonder how much appreciation of one would increase enjoyment of the other.

Janet Ybarra said...

Rather than have me repeat for the upteenth time that I think young people might be bothered by Ralph Kramden's trademark "To the moon, Alice," sounding closely a bit like domestic violence, I'd actually like to know Ken's opinion since I believe he would be sensitive to the subject.

Other than that, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Arthur said...

While I was growing up our local TV station, WPIX, was showing The Honeymooners in syndication virtually every night so I became very well versed in all the episodes. Favorite episodes were “The $99,000 Answer”, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “A Woman’s Work is Never Done” (which includes my favorite Honeymooner’s moment when Ralph and Ed try to move the dresser, very much a nod to Laurel & Hardy). Anything written by Marvin Marx and Walter Stone was always guaranteed to be a great episode, and of course, Leonard Stern whose resume also included The Steve Allen Show and Get Smart.

The best part of buying them when they eventually came out on DVD was discovering all the “bonus” footage that was cut out of the syndicated versions that I had never seen before. Prior to that I always wondered why Joyce Randolph came out for the curtain call at the end of the Christmas episode when she was never in the show.

While I’m in my fifties, my daughter is 3 years old so will be curious how she will react to The Honeymooners when I begin showing her all daddy’s favorite old TV shows when she is older. Maybe I’ll start her off with The Flintstones and slowly move on from there…

Steve Bailey said...

I agree that the show is great, but years ago, we talked about the show one day at my office, and we all agreed that it could never get made today. Imagine pitching it. "It's mostly about this couple who live in a slum in New York. And every week, the man threatens to beat the crap out of his wife!"

sanford said...

Love the episode where he calls his mother a blabber mouth

James said...

The college kids to whom I've shown THE HONEYMOONERS generally find the show funny, if sometimes a little too broad for their taste. Of late, though, there has been a tendency for discussions about the show to get too far sidetracked into arguments about whether or not Ralph's behavior toward Alice is sometimes abusive or whether or not Alice is guilty of "fat-shaming" Ralph.

I suppose it shouldn't, but it always surprises me how many of these kids have never heard of THE HONEYMOONERS. Generally, I LOVE LUCY is the only series from that era that they're familiar with.

James Van Hise said...

I never thought it was funny, even 50 years ago, and watching it I found it very depressing. What a horrible life these people lived. A sitcom?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Captain Video!

Peter said...

I must admit I've never seen it. My only exposure to it was watching Back to the Future, where Marty sees the premiere of a Honeymooners episode in 1955, which he accidentally refers to as a classic that he's seen before.

You were 5 in 1955. Were you already watching Honeymooners at that age?

And did a strange young man called Calvin Klein visit your house for dinner? :-D

Sung said...

The Flintstones started five years later. If you read the Wikipedia page about it, you'll see plenty, even Jackie Gleason considering a lawsuit.

I watched the Honeymooners before I could fully speak the English language and found it hilarious. The physicality of Gleason and Carney's comedy was more than enough to get me to laugh. And then when I saw the episodes later, I found them funny in a wholly different way. One of my favorite sitcoms, too, Ken.

Gary said...

Maybe the funniest sitcom ever made. For added fun, check out the video now on YouTube of our current "president" sitting next to Ralph. It's a regular riot!

RyderDA said...

39 episodes is, like, 4 years of current sitcoms...

Anonymous said...

@Fred Vogel:
If you watched the show closely, you'd realize that Ralph and Alice were very much in love.
Alice gave as good as she got, and there was a real warmth and tenderness between them.
That was one of the points of the show. And it was as well done as any domestic comedy in television history.
And the contemporary complaints about domestic violence are ridiculous in that context, since it was a comedic trope and there was never even the hint of actual violence. Ralph was no more likely to actually hit Alice than Alice was to hit Ralph.

Anonymous said...

Earl B writes:
The whole "domestic violence" argument people like to throw at the series is utter crap. Ralph was a blowhard venting his frustration. Alice was never in any danger - and she knew it. He'd never lay a finger on her - and she knew it. When he went too far, she shut him down. Look how he caved after she scolded him for saying his marriage proposal was a hare-brained idea.

E. Yarber said...

THE HONEYMOONERS always seemed like an outlier in television comedy to me. I LOVE LUCY came from the radio situation comedies that CBS had developed in the post-war era... in fact, it was a retooling of Lucille Ball's audio show MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. Most variety shows fell back on Vaudeville or Burlesque, or in Sid Caesar's case the Catskill Resort shows. When you look at a running sketch like Caesar's COMMUTERS, you see clever writing built around a central concept. THE HONEYMOONERS was raw in comparison to all of these shows, completely character-driven and built around a level of frustration and pain that would be grueling to watch if there wasn't a note of redemption at the end.

Ralph never barreled into an episode screaming in rage. By contrast, he tended to begin a story hopeful that he had either found a way out of the grinding lifestyle he was trapped in or was at least going to find a moment of respite for himself and Alice. He exploded when that hope was threatened. Consider that his job was driving a bus, a role that demanded he go in a endless circle that invariably left him exactly where he began, while expecting him to be patient with an endless stream of complaining customers. When the day was done, he had been forced for hours to suppress his reactions, leaving him with raw nerves once he was finally able to express himself openly again.

Norton, by contrast, was an underground creature who seemed to have a comfortable camaraderie with his fellow sewer employees, well insulated from the crowd above. He emerged from work relaxed, if somewhat out-of-synch, and seemed to turn to Ralph as a link to the rest of the world. His disconnection led him to easily accept Ralph's desperate schemes for escape from the grind. This put him in contrast to Alice, who spent her days constantly faced with the crummy living conditions she had to face as a result of the Kramdens' poverty. Ralph's anger was never directly at Alice, but the ways she had to remind him of the reality he couldn't escape until he was reminded that she was what made him endure it.

Trixie was a peripheral character because she was less involved with Ralph than as a bridge between Alice and Norton. To Alice, Trixie was a practical friend and sounding-board. Norton was more attracted to her as yet another illusion, having first seen her as a burlesque performer. Likewise, the Norton apartment was attractive but false. They had the nice furniture and appliances that the Kramdens lacked, but only because they had bought them on credit.

I agree that the "lost" episodes are weaker than the 39, but they're still an interesting record of how these characters and the premise didn't appear out of nowhere but were developed the same way the Second City would present sketches that had fallen in a set pattern after various levels of improvisation. Gleason was the ultimate arbiter of what THE HONEYMOONERS was and wasn't, and went deeper into his past and insecurities to do so than he may have ever been willing to admit. It's easy to pick at surface elements of the shows, rough and untidy as they can be. The plots may be ragged and the performances extreme, but there was a solid, real core to it all that still resonates. There really wasn't anything else like it in its time or ours.

david kelly said...

I'm in my 20's and love this show. I love any show that's funny and well written despite the fact of it's age or if it's B&W. I wish people would stop generalizing people my age as if we were nothing but closed minded. My favorite movie is an old B&W: The Enchanted Cottage with Robert Young

Phil said...

@ ELS

Flinstones was a rip-off of Honeymooners.

Read this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Honeymooners#The_Flintstones


blinky said...

It still blows me away that there was only one season.
Ed Nortons "Swanee River" piano intro to every song he played to prep Ralph for Name that Tune was priceless.

Yvonne said...

Nice to see you support domestic violence. If they make a movie about Harvey Weinstein, you'll laugh your head off during the rape scenes.

Peter said...

Really, Yvonne? You genuinely believe Ken is endorsing domestic violence? Or are you just trolling?

suesea7 said...

I remember laughing my head off at The Honeymooners when I was a kid. It must have been in reruns for years because I was only 3 when it first aired. Art Carney was the best. Probably my favorite episode is The Golfer, which must be the one where Norton addresses the ball - "Hello, ball" - and then talks about poloponies (pronounced po-LOP-onies) when he means polo ponies.

I think the way Lucy was treated in I Love Lucy bothers me more than the "to the moon" bits in the Honeymooners. Both are kind of interesting in what life was like for women in the 50s.

Sue in Seattle

therealshell said...

Some people just love to be all "woke," and to bring the tone of the blog down. Ralph's bluster was never anything other than that, bluster. He and Alice were very much in love, and Alice responded in kind to Ralph's "threats," giving as good as she got. She knew that she was secure with Ralph. Bringing Weinstein into a post about a classic situational comedy is churlish in the extreme.

Peter A said...

Yvonne...take a chill pill

Steven said...

blinky said...

It still blows me away that there was only one season.


Jackie Gleason always claimed that he realized the 39 episodes they did during THE HONEYMOONERS' one season on the air were so good that they'd never be able to top them, so he declined to do a second season rather than produce a new batch of shows that couldn't help but be inferior to the first season's shows.

Which is nonsense. In its one season on the air, THE HONEYMOONERS, on CBS, ran a poor second in the ratings to THE PERRY COMO SHOW on NBC. Both CBS and Gleason's sponsor insisted he go back to his old variety show format, which he did. THE HONEYMOONERS continued to be seen as a recurring sketch on Gleason's variety show, though, well into the late 1960s.

sumerlad said...

I always thought that Alice was essential to the show. Her sweet lovely presence was a sign that there must be more to Ralph than the bluster and bull.

Jeff Boice said...

Jackie Gleason did say he considered suing Hanna-Barbera over The Flintstones, but his lawyer advised him not to, asking Gleason if he wanted to be blamed for taking the kids favorite cartoon off the air. Another reason may have been that earlier Jackie was sued by Phillip Rapp, who claimed "Honeymooners" ripped-off his "Bickersons". I'm sure though that you can find examples of the genre that predate both shows, however.

Anonymous said...

The Closest show to The Honeymooners today is probably Curb Your Enthusiasm

IT is the 1950's Bensonhurst show in 2010's LA (on acid).
Four main characters.
The main character always has some plan or situation that goes off the rail.
He is at once lovable and snarky
The other foils revolve around his orbit.

IT is more profane, less physically funny, but it is essentially Everyman struggling against an unfriendly world.

John Nixon said...

When I was a kid my Dad was a big Jackie Gleason fan. We watched the Honeymooners, the Jackie Gleason Show...with Crazy Googenheim...and we had all the Jackie Gleason record albums that were loaded with 'beautiful music' type songs that he had produced. He was very talented, a really funny guy as well as a first rate musician and extremely light on his feet dancer.

The Honeymooners influenced a lot of shows over the years. Everything from The Flintstones to King of Queens.

I find it interesting that so many people focus on the line "right to the moon Alice" and think of him as an abusive man. That is taking it way out of context. It seems to me that he ended quite a few, if not most, of his shows with the line "baby...you're the greatest".

Tod said...

The greatest line in the history of television comedy...Dahh...Ed Norton?

Dhruv said...

I have seen few clips of THE HONEYMOONERS on YouTube, I liked it. But mostly I love the spoof made by Looney Tunes with June Foray and Daws Butler voicing the characters.


I like the Honeymooners reference on "Family Guy" too.

There is a character (voiced by Robert Downey Jr.) so traumatized by Jackie Gleason, that he turns to killing fat people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PneqY0xZOKE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GIAIXAOgaI

And of course few cutaways too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxo_avLAPmA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-PA-ls6RXU


P.S.: I missed yesterday's Oscar post, just read it. I liked it, especially your reference to your "brother" :)

Mike Bloodworth said...

You've had THE HONEYMOONERS discussion before. As previously stated, I am not a fan. Sometimes, as I get older, I reexamine shows I didn't like as a kid. Often they had jokes or situations that you had to be an adult to understand. But, as I've watched the show over the years I've never warmed to it. T.H. just isn't funny to me. However, I used to watch the sketches on the Jackie Gleason Show.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition actually took place the DAY AFTER Thanksgiving. ABC used to run several hours of cartoons on "Black Friday." "Day After Turkey Day" was how they advertised it.

Off Subject: Yesterday, I made a facetious comment about starting "The Streamy Awards." Of course I was just kidding. However, purely by coincidence, I learned that there actually is a "STREAMY" award. Its given to online videos. Their statuette is NOT a kid peeing as I suggested, but a figurine resembling the Oscar© except with extended arms. And according to Wikipedia the show is produced by Dick Clark Productions. Who'd a thunk it.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
M.B.

tavm said...

If the sketch wasn't originally about Ralph and Alice and had Norton as a character from the start (Art Carney did appear in the first skit but as a cop), it probably would have been called "Ralph and Ed" instead of "The Honeymooners".

Buttermilk Sky said...

Someone -- I believe it was James Wolcott -- described The Honeymooners as "American kabuki." The physicality, Gleason's exaggerated facial expressions, the gestures that must have overwhelmed the small TV screens of the period, well, I think I see what he meant. And as often as Ralph threatened Alice with violence ("Bang! Zoom!") he never hurt anyone but himself.


Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Astroboy said...

re: Steven said...

Man, I know I'm old, and I'm fine with that, but it's the weird urges I get now that kind of freak me out:

When I read Steven's comment I realized I would really LOVE to watch an episode of the old Perry Como Show right now!

Stephen Marks said...

And Happy Thanksgiving to you as well Ken. I live in Canada and we had ours a month ago, I celebrated with weed and escorts, both legal in my country now so it was a very happy thanksgiving, traditional I guess you'd say. So sad that Grandma Levine is no longer with us as I had met her when I stopped by the Levine's on that Thanksgiving with the touch football game on the front lawn. Damn what a day, Ken and David Issacs, Ted and Robert Kennedy and their respective clans all playing football before dinner. Sadly Ted had to leave early with his secretary to catch the ferry back to Hyannis Port. Ken suggested taking the short cut over the secluded wooden bridge as Ted raised his Crown Royal and coke, glanced at his secretary, gave us a wink and took off. Nice man, should have been president.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the holiday with your loved ones, eating tons of turkey and pumpkin pie and that wobbly, green, jelly shit that someone always brings. What is that stuff? I love Ken but he kind of gave Joyce Randolph the brush off in his post, ..." and Joyce Randolph was ok too." I felt bad, like she was Ringo Starr trying to add a line to a lyric by John, Paul and George, or Joey Bishop desperately trying to hold his own with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis. Hey, she showed up for all 39 episodes, did her shit and never complained. Nice lady, should have been president.

k said...

Ralph was a blowhard.
Alice was never under any threat.
Along the lines af wheen I was growing up when asked what's for dinner my mother frequently answered poison stating that was her get out of jail defense that she told us and we still ate it.
She was not the best cook but we were never afraid that she would actually do it. ( though in retrospec there might have been a few times we should have been nervous)
I always liked how the living situation was more realistic then almost all other sitcoms.
Always wondered how so called"poor" characters were able to afford a 3 or 4 bedroom split level in the suburbs.
It wasn't untill Redd Foxx show and (ta da) Becker where I saw living situations that struck me as being near realistic. ( except episode showing newstand operator, Jake Malinak, apt. seemed a bit to big for some one with tha job to be able to afford)

K said...

Ps
39 episodes in a single "season" and game of thrones can't even give us 6 every two years.

Craig Gustafson said...

One of the few moments I loved in the late 60s version of "The Honeymooners" was during their "around the world tour," in Madrid. Blackmailers take a "compromising" photo of Ralph with a Luscious Senorita, and for once Alice is the crazy jealous one. When everything works out in the end, she admits she's been a jealous fool and begs Ralph to forgive her. He says, "Not *yet*. I'm gonna enjoy this..."

Janet Ybarra said...

Yvonne, I don't like THE HONEYMOONERS likely for the same reason you don't (please see comment above),

But I believe we can discuss the issue and the content without taking shots at Ken.

I have found Ken to deeply sensitive and thoughtful on a variety of issues.

Donald Benson said...

I fondly remember a bit where Norton used the phone to call in a favor from fellow sanitation worker.

The wife answers, he says "Tell your husband it's Mr. Norton, his coworker from the bank", then asides to Ralph, "It's a party line and they don't want the neighbors to know he works in the sewer. " A few moments later, Norton is talking to his friend: "Remember when I saved you from drowning in the small loans department?"

As for "Flintstones", interesting how it kept the characters' blue collar feel but moved them into the suburbs with a far more middle class standard of living (all those talking appliances, colorful vacations, etc). The Jetsons, in contrast, were decidedly better off in the style of most 60s sitcoms: George had a vague desk job and answered directly to the CEO, the family had a live-in maid (albeit robotic), and this was presented as "normal" America.

Loosehead said...

Never seen it - I don't think it made it over to this side of the pond, and it looks like it was released the year before I was born. It looks like another "schlub with a hot wife" show. In any case, Frasier is sitcom perfection, followed by One Foot In The Grave, Only Fools and Horse and Dads Army. From a British point of view.

Mark said...

Also go to Wikipedia and check out the extent to which the Jetsons was lifted from the movie series Blondie

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Sue in Seattle. Once I married, I couldn’t watch I Love Lucy with out getting angry. I loved the scenes with Lucy and a Ethel, but when Ricky would yell at her..

As with Fred Flintstone, Ralph was a big mouth and wouldn’t harm a hair on Alice’s head. He knew he married up and would never do anything to hurt her

Pam, St. Louis

Eric J said...

I was a teen when the Honeymooners came out. I thought Kramden was an asshole and nothing in the intervening years changed my mind. I didn't really think much more of Jackie Gleason. The show itself was a depressing bore to me.

On the other hand, I looked forward to anything Art Carney did, even on the Honeymooners. He could do drama and he could do any level of comedy.

Every time the genius of the Honeymooners comes up, I go watch a couple episodes and come back with the same reaction. No thanks.

A little perspective. I also think A Confederacy of Dunces is depressing and largely unfunny. I struggled to get through it only because I knew it's on Ken's reading list for his USC course. But the main character is about as obnoxious and depressing as any character I've ever read.

Despite nearly all of your sitcom credits are on my all-time favorites list, we don't seem to share a lot of other comedic interests :)

Gary said...

I remember reading a great analysis that said "The more Ralph yelled at Alice, the more he was yelling at himself."

Kaleberg said...

I enjoyed The Honeymooners as a kid and the one or two episodes I've seen since then. Ralph was all bluster, and it was rather obvious that everyone knew it. If you look at domestic abuse, it's a whole syndrome of control and dependence, contempt and fear. I've seen enough cases to recognize the dynamic, and it wasn't there in the Honeymooners. That was just bickering, and a couple that can't bicker has a serious problem. It's like the old Chinese saying, "Of course we argued. We were friends. Only enemies dare not argue."

Y. Knott said...

The Honeymooners has never resonated with me particularly ... but there's no denying the teaming of Ralph and Ed could result in serious hilarity.

Also, I can see modern audiences being bothered by the overall tenor of Ralph's threats, but I never imagined for one second that Alice was in any danger whatsoever from him -- because Audrey Meadows played her role so perfectly. Ralph was a blowhard, Alice knew it, and she knew he knew it too.

Horaceco said...

You might enjoy this Ken: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XriXDtfqCg

BobinVT said...

There are many “lost episodes” of the Honeymooners on Amazon’s Prime streaming service, including the first sketch featuring Ralph and Alice. I’ve only watched the first few. They are very short, 6-8 minutes. And thank God for that, because that because if people think the Ralph of the 39 classic episodes is an asshole, they ought to see him in these earlier ones. He is angry, and just rages at Alice through nearly the entire sketch. Alice is played by Pert Kelton as a major battle ax, and more like someone like Ralph would end up married to instead of the adorable Audrey Meadows. It’s basically just two people yelling at each other. Fortunately they made the necessary changes for this to become a comedy classic. I share your love for the classic 39.

VincentS said...

I've been watching THE HONEYMOONERS all my life and I've yet to get tired of them. I too have all 39 episodes on DVD, but luckily I live in NYC and Channel 11 is doing a marathon today on Thanksgiving and I resume will do the same in New Year's Day.

Yvonne said...

Ybarra, Ken is a big boy. He can take it. We Y's have to stick together.

-bee said...

If it was for the humor alone, I don't think I would be as much of a fan of the show as I am. What gives it real resonance for me is how far it goes in straddling tragedy. With America at the height of rah-rah patriotism of the 1950's, here was a show where the main character is always on the verge of economic collapse and time and time again humiliated when he reaches for the brass ring of the American dream. The show never goes so far to say the American dream is a 'sucker's game' but this is the subtext of at least 60% of the shows. To this day few shows in this country dare question the 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' mentality of this country. As many issues as "The Connors" has thus far, I do appreciate it for going there (at this point, I actually think it works better as drama than comedy).

As for the Ralph, Alice dynamic, I completely appreciate the complaints people have but...what the actors bring to the characters is so special I think it takes what's on the surface to a whole other level. The way I put it, the more negative energy Ralph directs at Alice, the stronger she becomes. My own visceral reaction is, there is no question in my mind that he would never physically hurt her. I also appreciate though other people might FEEL it different.

Mike Doran said...

Hoping that this comment gets lost in the shuffle …

As a late '50s/early '60s kid, I got to see the classic Honeymooners in post-network syndication, on Channel 9 here in Chicago.

Ch9 ran these episodes daily, back-to-back with Amos 'n' Andy.

Think about that for a second.

At age 10 or so, my comedy education is coming from watching two great (if unsung) comedy teams:
On Amos, Tim Moore and Spencer Williams - American Negroes (the term then in use, no judgment intended).
And on Honeymooners, Gleason and Carney - Irish, my people.
And as a Kid, all I saw was funny.

I guess Oscar Hammerstein was right all along:
You've got to be carefully taught …

Joe said...

There was no domestic violence in the show. I don't think there was even a suggestion of domestic violence.

If you look at Alice, she NEVER showed any fear of Ralph, even when he was making his"threats." She never even blinked, because they BOTH knew he never had intention of laying a finger on her.

Janet Ybarra said...

Nope, sorry. Ken deserves much better.

B.Alton said...

My favorite Honeymooners, and the only ep I have on DVD, is “One Big Happy Family,” which interestingly is not one of the ‘39’ (actually airing in April 1955, thus predating The Hooneymooners series by several months). I remember seeing Gleason on 60 Minutes once where he mentioned that the shows were hard to write because he would only do stories that could happen in reality.

Tom Lawrence said...

“Hello, ball ...”
Ralph was a simple-minded guy who dreamed big and always failed. He would bluster and threaten but was, as his pal Norton knew, “the sweetest guy in the world.” Alice knew, too, which is why she married him, stuck with him and supported his dreams, knowing they would fail.
“Poloponies!”
Any suggestion that Ralph actually physically threatened Alice is preposterous. She knew it, he knew it and they were in love to the moon and back. That didn’t stop them from arguing.
“Your salary couldn’t drip out.”
Jackie Gleason used memories of his own Dickensian upbringing to craft the show and characters. It was the creative peak of his long career, and he knew it. Art Carney was a major success on the radio, on Broadway, on TV and in the movies, where he won a Best Actor Oscar. But this was his signature role, and Art was smart enough to realize it.
“Hey, Ralphie boy ...”
It’s the funniest show ever made, pure brilliance, comic gold mined 39 times and still shining brightly.
“Baby, you’re the greatest.”

Johnny Walker said...

Took me a while to tune into its sensibility, but now I genuinely love The Honeymooners. It’s a great show.

SkillSets said...

And like "I Love Lucy" the 39 "classic" episodes of "The Honeymooners" will be syndicated forever. Yes, the DuMont Electronicam system was a stop-gap method that predated videotape by a year. But there aren't any 62-year-old videotapes, but there are 62-year-old "Honeymooners" episodes captured on 35mm film. And they'll be loved, forever.

Jake Mabe said...

I finally broke down and bought the "Lost Episodes" (actually "Honeymooners" sketches from the variety show, as you said) a couple of years ago. While I agree that they're not nearly as good as the Classic 39, I would personally recommend the set to fans. I enjoyed them much more than I thought I would. Having said that, the series set is indeed a must-own.

k said...

@ Mike Doran
I remeber that along with what the station letters stood for ( WGN World Greatest Newspaper-Tribune, WLS Worlds largest store Sears, WCFL-?- AFL CIO etc)

but coming back to a point that I mentioned in passing previously is that the HoneyMooners were one of the very few shows that showed realistic living quarters and conditions.

One thing that always bugs me is a series set in a "poverty" situation and the set is pure middle or upper middle class housing.
Classic example was (ugh) Married with Children, impoverished shoe salesman in a 3 bedroom suburban rambler.

Other sit coms including first roseanne, come to mind, as does Good Times and the list goes on.
Are writers/producers pressured to show people living well above their stated station/income of life? oddly enough the same people may drive income appropite vehicles -junkers- but living standards are, to my eye, almost always unrealistic.

ps part of the reason I enjoy "Murder in Paradise" ( Brit mystery/comedy set in caribbean) is the buildings do reflect the weathering and realistic living standards ( except shack on beach Brit expat is boarded in, I did live in one once long ago but I am sure a pricey something is there now)

funny thanksgiving gif said...

Also go to Wikipedia and check out the extent to which the Jetsons was lifted from the movie series Blondie