During the mid-1970s, Jackie Gleason revived “The Honeymooners” franchise for a series of four television specials. This 1977 production finds Ralph Kramden somehow getting himself recruited as the director of his bus company’s holiday season play, an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” With Ed Norton as his assistant director and their wives Alice and Trixie shanghaied into the cast, one can hear the chaos coming from a mile away.
BOOTLEG FILES 635: “The Honeymooners – The REALLY Lost Debut Episodes” (1993 television special).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The program was never re-released to home entertainment channels.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
In 1993, fans of “The Honeymooners” were shocked to learn that some of the earliest episodes of the classic comedy were rediscovered after being presumed lost for more than 40 years. These episodes, which consisted of eight- to twelve-minute sketches performed on the “Cavalcade of Stars” variety program broadcast on the DuMont network, were presented during the spring at special screenings at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. On October 30, 1993, six of the sketches were gathered into a Disney Channel special called “The Honeymooners – The REALLY Lost Debut Episodes.”
Not many people know this, but both of my parents are hardcore fans of “The Honeymooners” and growing up I must have seen every episode of the Jackie Gleason sitcom at least a thousand times. I have every quote memorized, I remember every episode, and yes, I’ve even sat through the painfully unfunny, and boring “Lost” Episodes. I’ve also never seen the cinematic reboot with Cedric the Entertainer since, as a fan, I have to draw a line somewhere. In either case, 2016 marks the sixtieth anniversary of when Jackie Gleason voluntarily cancelled his sitcom “The Honeymooners” after thirty nine episodes.
The series lived on in syndication for decades after, becoming a cult classic and garnering an immense following of loyal fans. There was even at one time a convention for the fans of the series. “The Honeymooners” is a New York staple, and every single year the local TV station in New York (WPIX/Channel 11), plays a twenty four hour marathon of all thirty nine episodes. Since it’s been almost a hundred years since the show bowed out, I thought I’d list my top five favorite episodes of the series. It was not an easy feat, at all. With great pain, I had to omit a ton of great episodes in favor of this five, including “The Worry Wart,” “Trapped,” “A Matter of Record,” “Mama Loves Mambo,” and so many more.
In spite of that, these are the top five episodes of “The Honeymooners” that always stand out most for me. If you have never seen “The Honeymooners,” I highly suggest these five.