To Say the Honeymooners was your run of the mill husband and wife story would be an understatement.
Ralph and Alice Kramden, bickering long before The Bunkers. At the helm of the show was Jackie Gleason who played Ralph to perfection, his friend and co-conspirator in most of his schemes Ed Norton was played by Art Carney who stated in an interview years later that they were just a couple of kids who acted like a couple of kids.
The Honeymooners started out as a sketch on the Cavalcade of Stars which was on the DuMont Network. It blossomed into a 39 episode series broadcast on CBS
DuMont ceased operations 65 years ago in 1956. Today it’s library (or what is left of it) is owned by it’s chief Rival CBS. It is estimated that only 350 complete DuMont Television Network shows survive today. Mainly kept intact by the hosts of the day including Jackie Gleason who preserved copies of all his programs which was a smart move in my opinion
what made the show famous was the chemistry between it’s leads. Alice Kramden wasn’t your typical housewife. Regarded by many as the first feminist, she wasn’t afraid to tell Ralph off if he was going too far.
The shows enduring popularity led to inspiration for many characters and TV series years later, the most notable being The Flintstones. Jackie Gleason once said in an interview that he considered suing Hanna-Barbera but he didn’t want to be known as the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air.
And today it is still as popular as ever before, being introduced to new generations by their parents and grandparents who watched it in it’s prime. In fact it was from my Grandfather that I saw Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton for the first time and I was amazed at how in sync they were. In describing his character, Jackie Gleason once said:
“The Poor Soul hasn’t got a heck of a lot of ability, so he keeps trying and he invents schemes, and he fails and Alice shows him a great deal of affection. She knows why he did it to make her happy. And He’s just an ordinary moax who’s trying to make it and just can’t do it.”Jackie Gleason to Morley Safer (60 Minutes 1986)