The Honeymooners was originally created as a sketch idea to be included on the Cavalcade of Stars, a popular variety show on the small, now defunct DuMont television station.
In 1950, nightclub and Broadway comedian Jackie Gleason became the regular host of the Cavalcade of Stars. After a few shows, Gleason created a new sketch idea and a new character for himself. His idea, which was augmented by the Cavalcade writers and better developed over time, revolved around a working class couple in Brooklyn. The first Honeymooners sketch lasted less than five minutes, and many of the subsequent ones were not much longer, but the down-to-earth situations and everyman characters touched a chord in the American people, and The Honeymooners became popular.
People understood and empathized with the big-mouthed bus driver Ralph Kramden, his level-headed wife Alice, and their friends and neighbors, the Nortons.
Gleason left the Cavalcade of Stars in 1952 and moved with the Honeymooners to his own show, The Jackie Gleason Show, on CBS. Art Carney and Joyce Randolph, who played Ed and Trixie Norton, moved with Gleason to the new show. Pert Kelton, the original Alice, did not and was replaced by New York actress Audrey Meadows. The Honeymooners continued to grow in popularity, and the sketches became longer and it became so popular that after four years as a sketch within a show, CBS decided to make it a show in its own right.
Thirty-nine classic episodes were made of The Honeymooners during the 1955-56 season. The Honeymooners used the same principal cast, but the filming was not shown live as it was on The Jackie Gleason Show (though it was still filmed in front of an audience). The characters, too, were always the same except for slight variations over the years. Even with this, though, The Honeymooners suffered in the ratings, which was due in a large part to its scheduling, and Gleason broke his contract for another season of the Honeymooners. Instead he opted to return to his highly popular variety format of The Jackie Gleason Show. The Honeymooners show was off the air, but regular Honeymooners sketches continued on The Jackie Gleason Show off and on until 1970, with the cast occasionally changing. Throughout the seventies infrequent Honeymooners specials were broadcast. Soon after the finish of the classic thirty-nine episodes in 1956, Gleason, who owned the rights to the thirty-nine episodes, sold them to CBS, who before long had them syndicated. Honeymooners' re-runs have remained popular since then. Classic 40/44 (including Songwriters & 99 Year Lease shows) remain in regular syndication across North America to this day. It's also regularly shown in many countries around the world.
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Operation Protest 10x13
Returning from his cross-country trip promoting the film "Love on a Bus", Ralph is offered a promotion within the Gotham Bus Company, but trouble erupts when Alice's nephew starts picketing their headquarters.
We're Off to See the Wizard 10x12
At Mardi Gras, a hotel mix-up leads the foursome to Emma, Norton's distant relative, a phony spiritualist.
The Incredible World of Ed Norton 10x11
The crew presents "The Incredible World of Ed Norton," an underground view.
Double Trouble 10x10
The Honeymooners visit Sun Valley, Idaho.
The Match Game 10x09
In Chicago, a computer-match service, has the Norton's clicking & the Kramdens not.
The Sun And Racoon Capital 10x08
The Honeymooners visit Miami where Ralph & Ed vie for High Exalted Mystic Ruler.
Hawaii, Uh Oh 10x07
The Honeymooners visit Hawaii. Guest Donald O'connor concocts a diet sauce guarenteed to slim down fatties.
Happiness Is A Rich Uncle 10x06
Ralph & Alice test Alice's Uncle Howard's go-go girlfirend, to make sure shes not in it for the money.
The Honeymoon Is Over 10x05
During the 'Trip to Hollywood' story arc, Ralph, Alice, Ed, and Trixie are asked to appear on "The Mike Douglas Show" to promote their song "Love on a Bus".
Case of the Cuckoo Thief 10x04
A Hollywood shopping spree turns chaotic when Alice is set up in a shoplifting scam.