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Jackie Gleason: Genius at Work (2006)

This special is a thorough retrospective of Jackie's most popular characters from his 1950's television series, characters that include: Ralph Kramden, Reginald Van Gleason, III, the Poor ... See full summary »

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Jerry Bergen ...
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Rita Colton ...
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Marilyn Gleason ...
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This special is a thorough retrospective of Jackie's most popular characters from his 1950's television series, characters that include: Ralph Kramden, Reginald Van Gleason, III, the Poor Soul, Fenwick Babbit and Joe The Bartender. Many of the sketches have not been available or even viewed since their original live broadcasts. Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm hosts the program with feature commentary from Mrs. Marilyn Gleason.

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1 March 2006 (USA)  »

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Jackie Gleason: Genius at Work is a fairly good compilation of Gleason sketches
1 January 2008 | by See all my reviews

This special about The Great One is hosted by Jeff Garlin of "Curb Your Enthusiasm". He basically just stands there and mentions many things about what makes Jackie Gleason what he was. His widow, Marilyn Taylor Gleason, is also interviewed about her late husband's work habits-such as his refusal to rehearse more than once-and about his characters that he showcased on "The Jackie Gleason Show" during the '50s. Among his characters that we see clips of: The Poor Soul, Fenwick Babbitt, Joe the Bartender, Rudy the Repairman, Charlie Bratton the Loudmouth, Reginald Van Gleason III, and, of course, Ralph Kramden. Of course, many of those clips also have second banana Art Carney in them especially the Kramden ones where he plays the scene-stealing Ed Norton. There's also an Audrey Meadows one in which she doesn't play Alice Kramden: a Reginald Van Gleason where she plays his girlfriend Monica who wants to marry him. Reginald responds by literally sending her to the moon! Many other funny sketches abound though both Rudy and Charlie may be a little too obnoxious for my tastes. While I do love "The Honeymooners", the scenes picked for this special seem to emphasize the arguments of Ralph and Alice too much and not enough on the great chemistry of Ed and Ralph and, by extension, Art and Jackie. I did love the "Can You Do This?" game show sketch that Fenwick enters and many of the Gleason dances especially one where he danced with Marilyn. I also loved The Poor Soul sketch where he fails at bowling and the various Joe the Bartender monologues. And I admit liking one story Charlie told Clem (Carney) about his uncle, a garbage man. This special only showcased Gleason's work on his '50s TV variety show. Maybe someday someone with make a DVD box set of whatever surviving episodes from that era exists.


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