They don't do TV like this anymore. No. Seriously. That was not meant as a cliché. They literally don't do TV like this anymore. And that is in spite of the fact that much of what Gleason developed in the course of this show has been borrowed, copied, and shamelessly imitated by hundreds of current writers and producers over the last half-century. No matter whether he won any awards at the time. No matter that, when the show finally went off the air, CBC paid him more money NOT to work anywhere else than had ever been paid before. (Much like when Johnny Carson woke up one day and realized that his show was NBC's largest cash cow, and demanded a new contract, NBC correspondingly paid HIM more than any other "host" had ever seen). Gleason's greatest creation, the Honeymooners, has been spiffed and riffed moreso than any other concept you can think of. The Bugs Bunny people even did an entire cartoon, played by "mice" versions of Gleason and Carney. If you are lucky enough to get a chance to see a Honeymooners episode (many were stripped out and played on their own for years after) you will (or should be) astonished at how much punch the actors got, considering the sets were cardboard and the props were something from a lawn sale. Which is not to take away from Gleason's other talents or even his other creations, like the Poor Soul and the Bartender, but Honeymooners was the top of his craft. At the end of each show, after telling jokes, acting, and dancing, Gleason often needed a towel because he was pouring in sweat. You don't see that anymore today either. If by any chance you only know Gleason from forgettable walk-ons in films like Cannonball Run, and never saw this show, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
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