The Honeymooners (TV Series 1955–1956) Poster



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 paid 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.
Pert Kelton, the original Alice, left while the sketch was still part of The Jackie Gleason Show (1952) 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 line: "Pow! Right in the kisser!" was said in only one of the original 39 episodes, # 35.
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..
Jackie Gleason improvised every instance in which Ralph says "Bang! Zoom!". It was never written in any of the scripts.
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.
Jackie Gleason's line "Baby, you're the greatest!" was only said in nine of the original 39 episodes.
Audrey Meadows received hundreds of household items in the mail such as curtains, pot holders and irons from fans who wanted Alice to have better things. One fan sent her 10 cents to buy a curtain rod because it was too hard to mail one.
CBS and Buick, the show's sponsor, wanted a second season, but Jackie Gleason refused because he felt that the quality of the scripts would not sustain for another season.
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.
The four main characters later became the prototypes for the four main characters in The Flintstones (1960).
Jackie Gleason refused to work with Art Carney in anything besides Honeymooners material until the TV movie Izzy & Moe (1985).
Ralph's phrase "To the moon, Alice!" was ranked #2 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 20 Top Catchphrases" (21-27 August 2005 issue).
Voted #3 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
Two episodes were filmed per week instead of the usual one per week for weekly shows.
Instead of a regular television studio, the series was filmed in the Adelphi Theater which held an audience of 1,400.
The apartment building's address was 328 Chauncey Street in Brooklyn, New York City. This was Jackie Gleason's childhood address and the apartment he grew up in served as the model for the set. Although it is stated that the characters live in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn the address is actually in Bushwick. Gleason believed that Bensonhurst sounded more like a Brooklyn neighborhood to viewers outside of New York City.
A running gag in the "Honeymooners" sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show (1952) was Ralph making remarks to Trixie about her previous career as a burlesque dancer. This was toned down for this separate series and Trixie's dancing career was rarely mentioned.
Art Carney's first appearance on The Honeymooners was not as Ed Norton, but a cop who gets hit by a barrel of flour in the very first "Honeymooners" sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show (1952).
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Ed's full name is Edward Lilywhite Norton.
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The animated opening credit sequence was created by Al Stahl. The fireworks in the opening credits were shot by Stahl in Coney Island, Brooklyn. At the time, Coney Island had fireworks displays on Tuesday nights. Art Carney had previously worked on Stahl's short PM Picnic (1950).
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Trixie Norton's real name was Thelma.
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On 11 August 2009 the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. The stamp honoring "The Honeymooners" has a picture of stars Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden and Art Carney as his friend and neighbor Ed Norton. Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled Texaco Star Theatre (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), The Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).
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Since 2000 a life-sized statue of Jackie Gleason dressed as Ralph Kramden has stood outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.
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Every time Ralph gets choked on a cigar he exclaims "it pays to buy the best"
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There happens to be an actor named Edward Norton.
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