Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ralph and Alice Kramden were the Liz Taylor and Richard Burton of Bensonhurst in 1950's Brooklyn.

No, Not because Ralph was worldly and distinguished or because Alice was sophisticated or vivacious, like the Burtons, who personified the globetrotting lifestyle of the all-too-jaded Jet Set.

But because conflict was the currency of their respective marriages.

You see, both renowned, romantic pairings often evidenced an unequivocal and vibrant love that seemed to manifest itself in angry bouts of volcanic temper and unrealized threats.

The Karamden's were played for raucous comic effect and sweet, sentimental appeal by Jackie Gleason, as Ralph, an NYC bus driver and Audrey Meadows,as Alice the dutiful wife, who had a low tolerance for Ralph's hi-jinks..

There was a point in each of the exquisite, 39 episodes of THE HONEYMOONERS situation comedy or during a sketch featuring the Kramden characters on THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW that the caustic couple expressed their love for each other at the top of their lungs.

Gleason and Meadows were at the top of their game in these moments of exaggerated, marital turbulence. It was the nuanced quality of their performance and deft writing that kept the Kramden's arguments from getting truly ugly.

The domestic dust-up usually happened when one of the manifold,"get rich quick" schemes that Ralph conceived in concert with his sidekick in subterfuge, Ed Norton, as played with superlative comic agility by Art Carney, started to implode.

That was when his loyal,loving and sardonic spouse, Alice, would unleash a volley of vitriol on her hapless hubby.

Behind the acrid rhetoric, and at the core of the Kramden's relationship, was an unabiding love that endured any setback and overcame every challenge.

Alice knew that Ralph understood his shortcomings and that he would only engage in these outlandish adventures in an earnest effort to make a better life for the wife he adores.

The excerpt posted below, thanks to the WOWINKORPORTAED YOU TUBE SITE, is from a sketch on THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW. It is a duet performed by Jackie Gleason as Ralph and Audrey Meadows as Alice, where he explains to his beloved ,in song, that unless she stops criticizing him ,one of these days, pow, right to the moon.Enjoy!!!!!

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