- Actors: Jackie Gleason, Johnny Olson, The June Taylor Dancers, Sammy Spear and His Orchestra, Art Carney
- Writers: Buddy Arnold, Cully Richards, Keith Fowler, Snag Werris, Tom Tenowich
- Producers: Jackie Gleason
- Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 3
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Phase 4
- Release Date: June 27 2006
- Run Time: 60 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- ASIN: B000EXZFR6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,505 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
Honeymooners V1 Color Collecti
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In 1966, Jackie Gleason's television variety show added a new hour-long sketch that reintroduced audiences to one of America's favorite families--the Kramdens and their neighbors the Nortons, whom Gleason immortalized as The Honeymooners in the 1950s, first on his variety series, and as its own program. For this all-color incarnation, Gleason reunited with Art Carney as pal Ed Norton, while Sheila MacRae and Jane Kean were the new Alice and Trixie, respectively. The Color Honeymooners also added musical numbers to the sketches, but aside from these new features, it was the same old Honeymooners, as seen in this four-disc set, which preserves the nine-episode "Trip to Europe" story arc. It's actually a revised version of the "Box Top Kid" sketch from The Jackie Gleason Show circa '56-57, which finds Ralph consumed with contest fever after his brother-in-law wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe through a write-in contest. After Norton pens a slogan for Flakey Wakey, Ralph is granted first prize--but must first prove that he's lost weight from eating the product. This spins into an eight-part story which takes the Kramdens and Nortons to Europe, where they cause havoc in the great cities of the Continent, as well as on an African safari. The sketches are balanced out by a number of musical bits, including performances by the June Taylor Dancers, the Glea Girls, and other regulars and guests.
The real question for Honeymooners fans is: do the color episodes hold up when compared to the originals? And the answer is, in a way, no: Gleason and Carney are older and a bit slower in regard to timing and performance, and MacRae and Kean, while pleasant, can't touch Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph as Alice and Trixie. And the musical and production numbers, while eye-catching, weigh down the humor at the core of the sketches. But there's still plenty of chemistry between Gleason and Carney in their best-loved roles, and if you're a die-hard Honeymooners/Gleason fan, you'll probably want to add these episodes to your collection. The four-disc set includes all nine unedited episodes from the story arc, as well as the featurette "The Great Gleason Express," which chronicles the star's process of moving his show from New York to Miami Beach ("the sun and fun capital of the world," lest you've forgotten) via a lavish train, with plenty of stops along the way to cater to his fans. The featurette is rounded out by an interview with Gleason's widow, Marilyn Taylor Gleason. --Paul Gaita
Top Customer Reviews
This was the first(Gleason) show series to be shot in colour and Gleason certainly makes effective use of the medium as is evidenced by the myriad of coulourful costumes worn by both cast and crew.
Now before I go any further I think for the sake of those that have read the above "review" by Mr.Gaita I should clarify two essential points.
Firstly is that this set is a three disc set,with nine episodes.
Secondly these are NOT hour long sketches nor are the entire shows one sees here an hour long.Indeed no Honeymooners sketch in any Gleason show(excluding specials of course) were ever one hour in length.The running time of these shows range anywhere from 46-49 minutes...in total.
What has happened is,for whatever reason,MPI has CUT Gleasons' entire opening monologue sequence.What we get is everything AFTER that,i.e. the Honeymooners sketch and,if time permitted because sometimes it didn't,Gleasons' closing words,thank you to the audience and introduction of the cast.The cutting of the opening is certainly not a make or break situation but it is VERY disappointing and the big reason I gave this set a star less than it should get.
With that aside let's get back to the review.I must say that I never saw any of Gleasons shows in colour because I simply didn't own a colour set until years later.Only the more financially well to do in my neighbourhood had colour sets and those I did see sported this terrible reddish-greenish blury picture.I was quite happy to stick with my B&W.
MPI has done a pretty good job in presenting these shows but not a great one.The clarity is fine but the film just shows its' age much more than it should and I think a better job could have been done to bring it up to the standard of other shows from that same time.
As far as Gleason,Carney,Kean and McCrae are concerned I just can't say enough about them.The two principles are right on top of their form the entire way through.Their chemistry is immediately apparent and they know their characters inside and out and the fun they have with each other spills out to us(and the live audience then).Kean and McCrae of course are no slouches in their departments considering the big shoes they had to fill.Remember the so called Classic 39 were still on TV at this time and everyone who watched THIS show were intimately familiar with that one.There were unfair comparisons then and there are now with their counterparts Meadows and Randolph.In my oppinion there is and never was any comparison at all.No one could take Meadows and Randolphs' places and both Kean and McCrae knew this from the get go.So they did THEIR thing not imitations,which would have fallen as flat as a pancake had they attempted to do so.Therefore the new dynamic they brought to their parts blended nicely with Gleason and Carneys roles.This oppinion has never been a popular one with hardcore fans of the Honeymooners,but it's one I've never waivered from since those years when I first saw them.
I must also give a special mention to the June Taylor dancers.I had forgotten but seeing these talented people again after almost 40 years is a pleasure in itself.They were a hard working bunch of hoofers to be sure and I invite viewers to pay special attention to the dancing in the Irish segment of this series.The footwork would make even Michael Flatley jealous I'm sure!
This is Vol#1 of what I hope will be a total release of all the Honeymooners sketches from this show of this period.I believe there are somewhere around 33 sketches left to be released,if this is MPIs' plans that is.Remember also that NOT every Jackie Gleason show had a Honeymooners sketch.Like Jackies' early 50s shows the sketches done on this particular series could be of various lengths also,if as I say there was one done at all.
Lastly I should mention that this series(The Trip to Europe) has been the only one previously syndicated and released on TV.On TV it also included a sketch called "King of the Castle".This had them back home and some events that happen after the trip.MPI must have thought this particluar segment didn't warrant inclusion because it wasn't technically part of the "trip",so I'm sure it will be released on a future set.
In conclusion I would certainly recommend this set to any Honeymooners fan and having said that this set should not be relegated just to "die -hard" fans of the show,as the editorial "review" states.Nothing could be further from the truth.These shows are light,true to the Honeymooner format and an experience the whole family can enjoy.And come to think of it that's exactly who were watching and enjoying them back in 1966!
It also states that these sketches "are weighed down" by the musical numbers.This is also,in my oppinion,total bunk.The numbers compliment and sometimes enhance the sequences.It is absolutely precious to see both Carney and Gleason arm in arm singing their hearts out before us.And their small "dance" routines together have to be seen.It's a beautiful thing!
The work MPI has done on them certainly could have been better and their cutting of Gleasons' entire opening sequence is a travesty but as I stated earlier not a deal breaker.
This is a set that belongs in everyones' DVD collection!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
Seeing Gleason's glamour girls at the beginning of each show brings back memories. I used to love when he would come out at the end of each show and have a smoke, and drink some "tea," or "coffee." My favorite part was when he would bellow out, "SHEILA MACRAE," "JANE KEAN," "ART CARNEY!" I really appreciate people who bring laughter into my life. Jackie Gleason certainly did that. Big time!
On Jaunary 8th, 1966 they did their last B & W Honeymooners, an hour special with music; and Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, and Jane Kean. (Jane was fine, but what a shame Joyce Randolph didn't make the trip down South). Apparently, that was a huge hit, so now it was time to bring 'em back (with Sheila MacCrae and Jane Kean as the wives). Also brought back were the original 1950s scripts, with some modifications).
The main difference between the 1954/1957 versions is "color". I believe most fans would have purchased these '50s versions - the players *look* more like their "Classic 39" counterparts. (I was lucky enough to attend viewings of some of these original shows at the Museum Of Broadcasting in NY around 1985).
Too bad that the 1957 shows were not also filmed/videod in color, too. Well, c'est la vie. (Ralph might say, SEST LA VYE). So let's sit back and enjoy these very rare programs.
All have great production numbers, costuming, sets. The scripts are strong; the acting - it goes without saying. Ten years passed and they didn't miss a beat. (It seemed that their timing was a bit off in the first of the remakes, though).
The matured and weightier (*sorry, Great One*) Jackie and Art get to show their versatility through the shows; it's not exactly the pair you've seen from the mid-50s though, so a way of appreciating the proceedings is to treat it as Gleason and Carney on Broadway, so to speak, more than the Honeymooners sing.
The Trip to London has some business reminiscent of the "Chef of the Future" episode; not as funny, but still funny.
Unfortunately, there's a heavy reliance on vaudeville stuff: ghosts in a castle, guys in gorilla suits in a very tired and dated safari sketch. Its as much Abbott and Costello as Gleason and Carney, and that's a little depressing, although A & C still work for me.
Another drawback is the somewhat "theatrical" feel to the shows - the actors appear to berequired to boom out their voices as if playing to a huge auditorium. The "Classic 39" was also done "live" but for whatever technical reason were able to deliver the dialogue softly at times.
Let's hope those B & W versions can be rescued from isolation - with all due respect to Sheila MacCrae and Jane Kean, the "Classic 39" troupe looks funnier in the French Bastile!
In this series, they win a trip around the world. My favorite episode is when they go to Italy and a little boy gets a crush on Alice. Ralph hears her talking on the phone and tells Norton, "I heard his name at the end of the conversation. It was Harry VaDerchi." Lots and lots of great humor and colorful scenery.
In the middle 60's, every other week on "The Jackie Gleason Show" they would do "The Honeymooners." On alternate weeks, it was the Jackie Gleason (variety) show. These are just The Honeymooners.
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