Notorious in that, in its original airing/performance the previous year (April 17, 1954) the show ran overtime, and the network was forced to cut away at the end, so that the audience never saw the show's conclusion (not that you couldn't have figured it out...the big "reveal" at the end had JUST occurred when the show abruptly ended).
In any case, Gleason decided to restage the show---as he did with three of the other extended "Lost" shows ("Letter to the Boss", "Santa and the Bookies" & "Love Letter"). George Petrie, Boris Aplon, Frank Marth, and Sammy Birch reprised their roles, while Ralph Stantley and Jim Boles were new in their parts. For a plot summary, see the original broadcast of 4/17/54.
This particular show is one of the most elaborate, in that Jackie Gleason continually alternates between his two characters, making frequent quick costume changes; Gleason LOVED this sort of thing---he thrived on it, preferring, as he did, to live "on the edge" by performing a complex, demanding script with MINIMUM rehearsal on LIVE TV! A truly unflappable performer.
This version seems a bit flat in the beginning---the audience clearly was not as responsive in their laughter as in the original staging, and the cast's energy seems to suffer a bit. But by the time Ralph and Ed arrive at the Boss' apartment, things pick up; the big confrontation scene in the bar with Barney Hackett and his thugs is loaded with big laughs, and the pace accelerates from then on. And yes, this time the cast makes it to the end without being cut off.
A fun show, and a real tour-de-force for Gleason.
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