Every fan of The Honeymooners has their favorite episode of the show.
From “Mama Loves Mambo” to “Better Living Through TV,” the series may have only had 39 episodes, but it produced what today are considered classic scripts.
Here is what show co-star Joyce Randolph offered as her favorite episode of the pioneering series.
Jackie Gleason ended ‘The Honeymooners’ after 1 season
Although Jackie Gleason didn’t create The Honeymooners, he was in charge of every detail on the show.
He started the show and made the difficult decision to end it after only 39 episodes. Gleason simply didn’t feel the show would be able to produce scripts that were as fresh and funny as the ones they’d done.
“We were running out of ideas,” Gleason told Johnny Carson in 1996. “I liked The Honeymooners and I liked doing them, and I didn’t want to denigrate them by forcing scenes that didn’t mean anything.
“So I wanted to quit, but they didn’t believe me. They thought I had another job someplace, but I didn’t. I’m glad I did stop them, because what we had done was good and if we had gone any further, we might have spoiled it,” he added.
What it was like for Randolph to work alongside Art Carney
For Randolph who was on-screen wife to Art Carney’s Ed Norton, the experience of working with such an accomplished comedian was a thrill.
The actor told the Archive of American Television in 1999 about Carney who died in 2003, “He’s so fantastic, he can do anything, just anything. Once in a while, he and Jackie would play Laurel and Hardy in rehearsal and he can do it perfectly, just great. He’s done serious things since then. He’s just naturally a funny man. He was the perfect foil for Jackie.
“I don’t think that Mr. Gleason would have gotten as far as he did without Art Carney,” Randolph added.
Carney, in fact, would go on to deliver an Oscar-winning performance as Harry Coombes in the 1975 film Harry and Tonto.
Her favorite ‘Honeymooners’ episode
Regarding “TV or Not TV,” which was the series’ premiere episode, Randolph candidly expressed that that one was most certainly not her favorite. “Seems to me the premiere was one I was not in,” she said. “I was very upset to not be on the first one.”
About “Sleepwalker,” the episode in which Ed Norton unable to sleep begins sleepwalking and crying out for his childhood dog, Randolph said, “I liked that one.”
“My Ed is sleepwalking and calling Lulu, Lulu, the dog,” she recalled. “That was a cute one.”
Asked how Art Carney “sleepwalked” on live TV without any mishaps, Randolph laughed, guessing that “Well, maybe he was squinting to see where he was going. He had no mishaps that I can remember.”
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