Riley worked in an aircraft plant in California, but viewers usually saw him at home, cheerfully disrupting life with his malapropisms and ill timed intervention into minor problems. His ... See full summary »
60 years before the Jackie Gleason Show was the 1890s.
And now it's been 60 years, more or less, since the peak of the Jackie Gleason Show. I don't know how many geezers in 1954 pined for the good old days of Harrigan & Hart, and it seems odd that the present day senior citizens cackle at their memories of Jackie Gleason. In 1954, there was no videotape of the 1890s which the old folks could refer to for a cold splash of reality and maybe put an end to their babbling. But now there is a filmed record of the early 1950s TV shows of Gleason, Jimmy Durante, the Ritz Brothers, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle et al, and you can watch most of them on Youtube. Painfully dumb is the only way to describe most of it. I just finished watching a 1951 clip featuring Reggie van Gleason, III. The Three Stooges are high art in comparison.
If I could reach into a barrel of all of Gleason's skits and pull some out at random to create a complete show, I would find:
At the top of the show, he recites verbatim the Mutt & Jeff cartoon from the previous Sunday funnies.
Ralph: One of these days Alice, Pow! right in the kisser.
Charlie Bratton: Hey Clem, what's that slop you're eating? Clem: Some day I'm going to kill that man.
Fenwick Babbit unbuttons and rebuttons a sweater with about 30 buttons and says "You're a nice man".
Reggie: Mmm boy are you fat.
Stanley Sogg: Tonight's movie is brought to you by Mother Fletcher.
Weirdo: I'm with you. Jackie: Oh no you're not!
I can't find any Rudy the Repairman quotes and you needn't look for any on my account. This show may have been a landmark of early television but it has very little entertainment value today.
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