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The great one, Jackie Gleason, was the center of this show. He always had great support with Art Carney for years one of the best and most under rated second bananas in history. When you watched this show, Gleason was the glue.
The show would always open with Sammy Spear & his Orchestra playing a number, with the June Taylor Dancers on screen doing a major dance including those now often copied ceiling shots down on them in formation. Jackie would then always come out on stage, usually in his bath robe. He would do some monologue comedy which Gleason was good at, and would always finish it with "Let's have a little traveling music Sammy....And Away We go..." Then we'd go into the delightful worlds of Gleason comedy. There was a lot more to this program than just The Honeymooners. Gleasons range went from that to the Poor Sole doing silent comedy, to Reginald Van Gleason. Usually most shows would feature a stop to see Joe the Bartender (Gleason) who along with Frank Fontaine (Crazy Gogenheim) would regal the viewers into a comfort zone only Gleason could create.
There were guest stars who would work with Gleason, sometimes more music & dancing. Regardless who was on, the variety found on Gleason almost always was sure to please. The 1960's revival got too dependent on the Honeymooners towards the end and got away from the variety format.
One thing sure, Gleason proved over & over again on his variety show how talented he was & what a range he had. All that and he never won an TV Emmy award. It amazes me that the TV academy never gave him a lifetime achievement award even now because Gleason made major contributions to early television becoming accepted into peoples homes. Without Gleason, Red Skelton, Lucy and Ed Sullivan, I am not sure CBS would have survived any more than the Dumont network which fell apart when Gleason left it.
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