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Posted by on Aug 21, 2006 in At TMV | 0 comments

Comedy Greats: The Slapstick Of Jackie Gleason

If you say the name “Jackie Gleason” these days, most older generation and even new generation (those who study comedy) types will think of the comedian’s most endearing and enduring character, The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden (the model for Hanna Barbera’s Fred Flintstone).

But there were SEVERAL SIDES of Gleason’s comedy. And one was slapstick comedy that RIVALED that of the sight-gag-filled early silent shorts of Laurel and Hardy and the more raucus sound shorts of The Three Stooges that appeared from the 1930s-1950s.

Click on the You Tube piece below and see him as Rudy the Repairman. Unlike Kramden, who’s a wannabe bully who usually backs down, Rudy is an authentic bully…who’d come on and demolish an entire set.

Bios of Gleason noted that CBS gave him a lump sum to produce his show. And he didn’t care: he’d wreck a whole set for a laugh, even though it would have been cheaper to do something involving fewer people and fewer broken walls, etc.

When you watch this bit (you’ll see Art Carney aka Ed Norton in another role as well) remember: it was done and aired LIVE…in front of a packed studio audience.

You can get books about Jackie Gleason here. You can get his DVDs here.