The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Jackie Gleason (1975)

TV Special  -   -  Comedy
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27 February 1975 (USA)  »

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"Show me a guy who can eat, drink and be merry, and I'll show you a fat, grinning drunk." - Dean Martin
10 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When Dean Martin put together the celebrity panel for his roast of Jackie Gleason in 1975 he did it up right. Cast members from Gleason's seminal TV series 'The Honeymooners' were on hand, including Ralph Kramden's 'first' TV wife Audrey Meadows, and Art Carney, appearing in character as his best friend Ed Norton. Also on hand were Sheila MacRae, the second Mrs. Kramden in the late Sixties 'Jackie Gleason Show', and Jane Kean, the second Mrs. Norton also from that series. The only one missing that I would like to have seen was Joyce Randolph, the original Trixie Norton from 'The Honeymooners'.

As usual, the dais included top comedians of the day, all in fine form to pay tribute to 'The Great One'. For Milton Berle, this was his twelfth Celebrity Roast, while other repeat performers included Phyllis Diller, Danny Thomas, Gene Kelly and Nipsey Russell. Also on hand were Sid Caesar and Frank Gorshin doing impressions of Burt Lancaster and host Dean Martin. The funniest presenter was Foster Brooks doing his alcoholic routine while portraying Jackie's personal physician.

Just before the Man of the Hour got to speak, Dean presented some film clips of the many characters Jackie Gleason created over the years like Joe the Bartender, the Poor Soul and an amazing look alike impersonation of Oliver Hardy. Of course Jackie got in last licks, and you know that his signature line had to say it all - "How sweet it is."


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