‘The Honeymooners’: Jackie Gleason’s Disdain for Rehearsals Led To One of Ralph Kramden’s Most Noteworthy Quirks

by Jeremy Spirogis
Jackie Gleason appears in promotional photos for

Jackie Gleason was identified for his bodily comedy and relatable however hilarious storylines on each The Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners. One factor the star wasn’t identified for was his love of rehearsing. In truth, Gleason completely refused to rehearse, which meant the recitation of his traces was not all the time good. His lack of preparation led to the creation of one in every of Ralph Kramden’s most notable quirks. 

Jackie Gleason portrayed Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners

By the time The Honeymooners started airing as a standalone sitcom, Gleason was well-known in Hollywood. He confirmed up in a number of films and exhibits after, too. In the 1970s, for instance, he appeared in Smokey and the Bandit as Buford T. Justice. His most recognizable position was as Ralph Kramden, although. 

Jackie Gleason appears in promotional photos for 'The Honeymooners'
Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden | Carsten/Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images

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Gleason portrayed the bus driver from Brooklyn for the present’s authentic 39-episode run. The collection targeted on Ralph and his spouse, Alice Kramden. His wild schemes together with his greatest friend and neighbor, Ed Norton, typically led to hijinx, a lot to the disdain of his and Norton’s wives. 

Gleason was identified for rubbing his abdomen to purchase himself time to recollect his traces

Gleason might have been thought of an incredible entertainer, however his work ethic was reportedly missing. According to The Baltimore Sun, a 1992 biography painted Gleason as a comedic genius who was additionally insecure and struggled together with his relationship with alcohol. According to the publication, Gleason was identified for displaying as much as performances with simply minutes to spare after having a number of drinks and solely glancing at a script the day of a efficiency.

Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason appear on stage togetherAudrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason appear on stage together
Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

One of the methods he hid his lack of preparation was ad-libbing. According to a number of sources, Ralph’s signature abdomen pat on The Honeymooners was Gleason’s method of distracting the viewers. It gave him sufficient time to compose himself and signaled to his co-stars that he wanted protection.

His co-stars typically helped him alongside, too 

Gleason’s co-stars had been additionally identified for serving to him alongside when he clearly forgot traces. Audrey Meadows was notably useful to Gleason throughout scenes. The publication claims Meadows would typically information Gleason to his mark with physique language. According to Mental Floss, Alice’s harsh glances and hand on her hip weren’t simply methods to let the viewers know she disapproved of her husband; They had been employed to assist Gleason get to his mark. 

Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph, Art Carney and Jackie Gleason on the set of 'The Honeymooners'Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph, Art Carney and Jackie Gleason on the set of 'The Honeymooners'
The forged of ‘The Honeymooners’ | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Art Carney, who portrayed Ed Norton, was additionally acquainted with Gleason’s fail-safe alerts. If you watch every episode, chances are you’ll discover Norton speaking furiously whereas Gleason pats his abdomen. Carney typically took the abdomen pat as a sign that he wanted to begin arising with dialogue whereas Gleason remembered his traces. 

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