10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Honeymooners’
Back in the ’50s, Jackie Gleason was the king of comedy and after finding success with a recurring comedy sketch, The Honeymooners was finally created into a half-hour filmed series in 1955. While the series only ran from October 1, 1955 to September 22, 1956 with 39 episodes, those 39 episodes have gone down in TV history and fans can’t get enough of them in syndication. The series followed bus driver Ralph Kramden and his best friend Ed Norton, a sewer worker, as they came up with quick schemes for cash only to be brought back down to earth by their wives Alice and Trixie. Starring Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph, the sitcom was witty and genuinely funny. Take a look back on the classic series with 10 things you didn’t know about The Honeymooners:
10. Two Alice’s
Although Audrey Meadows is best known for the classic and sarcastic role as Ralph’s wife Alice, she wasn’t the original Alice Kramden. Actress Pert Kelton portrayed Alice in the first seven episodes of the 39 but then left the series with news stating she had health issues to attend to. Eventually it was discovered that Pert had actually been fired and blacklisted because her husband Ralph Bell sponsored an ad in The Daily Worker in 1948 and was branded a Communist. Because of her association, Kelton was fired even though Gleason fought to keep her. Although Kelton was fired, it wasn’t easy to find a replacement because initially Gleason rejected Audrey Meadows when she auditioned because he thought she was “too young” and “too pretty.” Meadows didn’t accept the rejection, however, and immediately went home and had a photographer come to her house early the next morning to take photos of the actress with no makeup, her hair not done and with a torn blouse. When Gleason saw the photos he knew immediately that it was the Alice they were looking for, but didn’t realize it was the actress he had rejected the previous day. Upon finding out it was her, he reportedly said, “Any dam with a sense of humor like that deserves the job. Hire her!”
9. The Apartment
When designing how the Kramden’s apartment should look, Jackie Gleason took inspiration from the Chauncey Street tenement he grew up in in Brooklyn. While the Kramdens could have bought some nicer things on credit like the Nortons did, Gleason wanted their apartment to look sparse and depressing which led to an unexpected reaction from fans. Before long Meadows began receiving tons of mail which included aprons, curtains and objects to help decorate the apartment so that Alice could lead a nicer life.