Blog 1104 – 09.04.2018
A Tribute To Jackie Gleason
One of my earliest recollections is of watching my parents’ small black and white TV and hearing my daddy laugh at the antics of The Honeymooners, a low cost production and low brow sitcom from the early days of television. Jackie Gleason was a genius of comedy in the same vein as Lucile Ball with her seminal I Love Lucy. And many do not know that Jackie’s hit show, The Honeymooners and his character Ralph Cramden were the inspiration for The Flintstones and Fred Flintstone in particular.
Fred and Barney and their wives Wilma and Betty are Ralph Cramden, his wife Alice, Ralph’s pal and neighbor Ed Norton, and his wife Trixie in cartoon. The Honeymooners were a sort of live action cartoon depiction of working people in early nineteen fifties New York. Ralph was a city bus driver as my dad had been in Detroit, Michigan when we lived there a few years in the early fifties. My dad even wore a uniform similar to Ralph’s and definitely had his disposition. It may come as no surprise to anyone that my daddy also loved and laughed at Fred Flintstone and later at the Archie Bunker character portrayed by Caroll O’Connor.
Jackie Gleason began it all and even his portrayal of the, “You’re in a heap of trouble boy” Highway patrolman in the Smoky And The Bandit movie series is a character with roots back to his Ralph Cramden character. The world of comedy and all of its devotees owe a big salute to Jackie Gleason. The picture I chose for this tribute is from one of Jackie Gleason’s few dramatic roles as Minnesota Fats in the Paul Neuman hit movie, The Hustler.
Jackie we miss you and are so grateful you left us such a wonderful body of work to enjoy over and over again.
Your friend and fellow traveler,