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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.