The Honeymooners

The Honeymooners

American sitcom
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The Honeymooners

The Honeymooners is an early American television sitcom created by—and starring—Jackie Gleason and based on a recurring comedy sketch of the same name that had been part of his variety show. It follows the lives of New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden (Gleason), his wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) and his best friend Ed Norton (Art Carney) as they get involved with various schemes in their day-to-day living. Most episodes revolve around Ralph's poor choices in absurd dilemmas which frequently show his judgmental attitude in a comedic tone. The show occasionally features more serious issues such as women's rights and social impressions.

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Also known as add_black also known as
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Genre
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Created by
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Based on add_black based on
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Developed by add_black developed by
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Written by
Marvin Marx
Walter Stone
A.J. Russell
Herbert Finn
Leonard Stern
Sydney Zelinka
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Screenplay by add_black screenplay by
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Story by add_black story by
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Directed by
Frank Satenstein
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Creative director add_black creative director
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Presented by add_black presented by
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Starring
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Judges add_black judges
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Voices of add_black voices of
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Narrated by add_black narrated by
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Music by add_black music by
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Theme music composer
Jackie Gleason
Bill Templeton
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Opening theme
"You're My Greatest Love"
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Ending theme
"You're My Greatest Love" (Extended Version)
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Composer
Sammy Spear, Jackie Gleason
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Country of origin
United States
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Original language
English
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No. of seasons
1
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No. of episodes
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PRODUCTION

Executive producer
Jack Philbin
Stanley Poss
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Producer
Jack Hurdle
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News editor add_black news editor
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Production location
Adelphi Theatre, New York, New York
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Cinematography
Daniel Cavelli
Doug Downs
Jack Etra
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Animator add_black animator
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Editor add_black editor
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Camera setup
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Running time
26–27 minutes
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Production company
Jackie Gleason Enterprises
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Distributor
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Budget add_black budget
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RELEASE

Original network
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Picture format
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Audio format
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First shown in add_black first shown in
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Original release
October 1, 1955 (1955-10-01)
September 22, 1956 (1956-09-22)
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CHRONOLOGY

Preceded by add_black preceded by
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Followed by
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Related shows add_black related shows
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Ralph: Don`t start that again, Alice. No wife of mine is gonna work. I got my pride. You know, no Kramden woman has ever supported her husband. The Kramden men are the workers in the family. Alice: Wait a minute, Ralph. What about your father? For a long time there he didn`t work at all. Ralph: But neither did my mother. At least he kept his pride, Alice. He went on relief.
  • Pert Kelton, the original Alice, left while the sketch was still part of The Jackie Gleason Show due to purported health problems (it was later revealed she had been blacklisted). Audrey Meadows was approached for suggestions about who could replace Kelton. After rattling off a list of actresses, none of whom were suitable for one reason or another, Meadows finally suggested herself. Jackie Gleason initially rejected her on the grounds that she was too young and pretty. Meadows, determined to get the part, had a photographer come to her house at 7:00 the next morning, and had pictures taken of herself without makeup, her hair pinned up with combs she'd slept on, and wearing a torn blouse, a skirt, and an apron. When Gleason saw the pictures he exclaimed happily, "That's Alice!" and asked who it was. When told it was the same young actress he'd rejected the day before, he said, "Any dame with a sense of humor like that deserves the job. Hire her!"
  • The show was shot "as live" (filmed before an audience, edited and shown later). If you ever notice Jackie Gleason patting himself on the stomach, it was a sign that he had forgotten his line..
  • Audrey Meadows was the only cast member to receive residual payments for the show for her entire life. This was a result of her shrewd manager, who predicted the prospect of a "rerun" even in the early stages of television, before precedent was set for it. As a part of her contract, she was told to stipulate that if the show were to air in subsequent time slots in the future, she would be payed royalties, which is an interesting bit of history because it's now a standard condition for all TV work that the involved parties from an episode should get paid for each showing of it. These days it applies to directors, actors, writers, and voice actors, along with others in different capacities as well.
  • Jackie Gleason rarely liked to rehearse, as he feared it killed the spontaneity of his performance. Co-stars Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph eventually took to rehearsing without him, taking turns standing in for him in scenes where Ralph Kramden appeared.
  • According to Art Carney, the elaborate procedure Ed Norton would go through whenever he had to sign something was originally an ad-lib. He based it on the performance his own father would go through when signing his school report card.

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