Monday, February 27, 2017

To the moon, Alice! To the moon!

(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Ralph Cramden or Jackie Gleason
Do you remember “The Jackie Gleason Show” and "The Honeymooners"? My parents watched it regularly, which meant I watched it as well. Pretty young, but I noticed some elements that have given me pause.

Oh, the June Taylor dancers were amazing.  Being so young, the precision was clear with “How did they do that?”

Related image
Over head camera shot

But, the show itself disturbed me.  Art Carney was great; he had comedic sense, Ed Norton,and somehow put up with Jackie Gleason who was Ralph Cramden . But, Jane Meadows? I loved her.  She was so dry, didn’t burst out in laughter, seemed to stay married with Jackie, never intimidated, and put up living in that dismal apartment.


Gleason’s And-away-we-go must have seemed funny, and How-sweet-it-is, but why? My parents understood the innuendos, but to me, seven-year old me, I watched Gleason's face. Somehow it frightened me.

And then there’s his fist, rage-filled face “To the moon, Alice! To the moon!” She never blinked an eye or flinched.


A peek into the lives of the Cramdens, YouTube


What is funny about a bully? Is Ralph a bully? You would have to check Gleason's history, his fame, where he started, and where he ended. Then you would have to make a decision yourself.

26 comments:

  1. Gleason was not a nice man and I think I remember reading that when he died few people attended his funeral. People laughed at Ralph Cramden and Archie Bunker, (and to some extent, Ricky Ricardo) but those characters demeaned and verbally abused their wives and were not an example about what a man should be. Even at a young age, I realized that. I was very lucky to have a sweet man as a dad who loved and respected my mom.

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    1. We all laughed, at the same time realizing what jerks these men were. I still hear Edith Bunker's voice and see her confused face.

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  2. It is awkward to watch now. I didn't really watch too much of that show when I was a child. In this clip, both the man and woman disrepect each other and it is cringeworthy. I'm blessed not to have experienced that growing up or in my life now.

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    1. We had two or three channels when growing up. Very little programs were on TV. We watched, did not understand.

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  4. Yeah, I don't think that show would play today. But it was a different era then.

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    1. It had to be the times to allow that show. It was on for one year.

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  5. My parents never watched that show and I can see why.

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  6. I remember the name Jackie Gleason, so we must have had the show here too, but I don't remember it at all. 90% of my childhood was spent reading books and if the TV was on I rarely bothered looking at it unless the show really caught my attention.

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    1. For me, I loved the afternoon b/w movie classics.

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  7. Never got into either of those, but seen the likes of Archie Bunker and such. Rather pathetic when you really think about it.

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    1. Looking back on Archie Bunker and Jackie Gleason, I think pathetic and poorly thought-out by writers and producers.

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  8. I don't know those shows, but we had plenty of our own sexist humour and comedians here in the UK in times past. Glad things have moved on, to some extent!

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    1. Jackie Gleason was a rough guy from his early days as a bouncer in a bar.
      I am glad as well, to see more tenderness. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. Ah I remember him, if memory serves, I recall Smokey and the Bandit! Gleason was the sherrif wasn't he? Wasn't he great!!! Fun stuff dumb cops, monster trucks with smokey road rage.

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    1. This was near the end of his career. This was humor, and well done.
      I believe he died from complications of diabetes and heart failure.

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  10. I remember hime, of course, but I never saw the show. Probably was off the air, or not part of my TV watching when I arrived here in 1962. So I don't know what kind of man he was.

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    1. You can find him on Wikipedia, and by clicking on the YouTube video above. Hope you do!
      Loved you post about Sweden.

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  11. We never watched it that much, but it did have quite a following didn't it?

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    1. I think it did. Post-war? Rough and tumble guys? I don't understand it.

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  12. I guess Jackie would be seen as a bully in today's world, but no one took his threats seriously and it's not like he ever did more than talk. I remember my parents watching it but little more about the show.

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    1. I look at it now with an adult perspective, knowing what cruelty is and how a bully affects the recipient. In my adult thoughts, if a bully threatens, then eventually a bully does. Have seen it on a playground too often.

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  13. I never watched The Honeymooners until I was an adult and saw them in syndicated reruns. However, since it was a variety show and my parents almost always watched any variety show, I did regularly watch The Jackie Gleason Show. Always loved the sequences with Frank Fontaine and "Joe the Bartender".

    Never thought of Ralph as a bully--just a brash loudmouth. Seemed like there were a lot of characters like that in early TV and in the movies back then. It was funny to me. I was never bothered by bullies and the concept always seemed like more of a caricature than anything real. I think most people in real life were more respectful back then--or at least in the people I experienced.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Ralph Cramden was a character written to be brash, unkind. Perhaps now he is seen as an almost cartoon character. But I still remember that face, contorted in anger.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!