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Old 05-18-2018, 08:19 AM   #1
Frank Gannucci
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Default Honeymooners Episode Reviews: “Curse of The Kramdens” ('57)/“Mad Dogs & Englishmen":

Honeymooners Episode Reviews: “Curse of The Kramdens” ('57) & “Mad Dogs & Englishmen”:

Episode #162
DVD: On disc 14 of the Lost Episode DVD Box Set, it is attached to “Mad Dogs & Englishmen”, “Framed In Spain”, “I Remember Au Mau” & “Manager of The Baseball Team” (’57 version.)
Air Date: 3/9/57

"Curse of The Kramdens" ('57):

The beginning of this episode is unique in that apparently it is the opening of the Jackie Gleason Show with fireworks in the background. Old Gold Cigarettes are the sponsor. Much like in the Color Honeymooners, a camera zooms in on a Glee Girl as they announce the stars’ names. Jack Lescoulie comes out. Jack says that the Kramdens and Nortons are in Ireland.

The show opens in an Irish bar/hotel lobby in Ireland with a bunch of waiters & waitresses (the June Taylor Dancers) singing: “Hooray For The Irish!” After the song is over, the bartender is talking to a man about how a Kramden is coming to visit. The bartender then tells a story on how the curse of Shammus O’ Toole was formed and it hasn't been broken yet. The village of Dunnelin has been affected greatly by it. Part of the story is that the village is very fond of beer and was prospering because of its great beer until the curse was formed. The curse had a very bad effect on their beer and in turn the village was affected a great deal. They say if a Kramden spends the night in a castle that is the home of the Ghost of Shammus O’ Toole, the curse will be broken. He also tried to put a curse on America, but it didn't work. The man leaves. The mayor comes in with the news that the Kramdens are coming. The Kramdens & Nortons arrive at the bar and all the dancers greet them and sing. The mayor says that he found a Kramden because a Kramden has an eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion and the dignity of a king so he shakes Ed's hand thinking that he is Ralph. Ralph corrects him. Ed: "I only got the tooth of an elk." The girls can't believe the reception they got. The girls want to freshen up. The bartender/owner: "You can have the rooms 7 & 12. Ed Norton wants a glass of milk because he’s a Merry Mouseketter. Ralph says that Ed has a little of Irish in him. Man: "Did your mitther come from Ireland?" Ed: "What's a mitther?" Ralph: "He means your mother." Ed: "No, she didn't. Neither did my britther or my sitther. It was my grandfitther." Ed says a toast to Ralph. He thinks about what he says. Now he is ready for the toast. Ed: “Down the hatch.” Everyone drinks. Ralph does that yell that he does whenever he’s in pain or sick. After that, Ralph says: “Boy, that’s smooth.” Ralph buys more drinks. The mayor then makes a toast for all three. Mayor: “To Ralph Kramden, the first Kramden to set foot in Dunnellin since 1826.” They all drink. Ralph: “Whoo!” Ralph asks about his ancestors like his great-great-great-grandfather Patrick Kramden. The mayor says that he was one of the bravest people in Ireland. Ed says that Ralph is very brave. He once took on three guys single-handedly at once. Ed: "They murdered Ralph. Of course he had them outweighed by 50 pounds." Ha! Ralph then sings a song about his ancestors: Lafette Kramden, Livingston Kramden & “Hop-A-Long” Kramden. The song was called: “A Brave & Courageous Man Was He, A Kramden Through & Through.” They talk about Shammus O' Toole, the famous Irish ghost. The mayor asks if Ralph will spend a night in a castle. Ralph says sure. Ed asks to come to. The mayor says that he can. The mayor: "Tonight you will break the Old Kramden curse by spending the night with a ghost.” He realizes what he agreed to. Ed then says that he won’t spend the night in a castle with a ghost. Ed says that Ralph will much to Ralph’s chagrin. The mayor asks to pick up Ralph and carry him to his room on their shoulders. They try but to no avail. The mayor: “Just carry his bags.” They do. Ralph yells at Ed. They go back upstairs. The dancers sing: “Hoorah For The Irish.”

At the hotel, Ralph is a nervous wreck. Alice says that it is not necessary and the ghost and curse don't exist. Ralph: "I’m no fatted calf and don’t you dare say it. As soon as the curse is broken, they will make beer. I'm not risking myself for beer." Alice: "I bet you would for pizza." Ed comes in with Trixie. Ed: "How's the old ghost catcher?” Ralph isn't amused. Ed tries to relax Ralph by saying that the ghost can’t hurt him and stab him. Ralph is more relaxed…until Ed says that all the ghost can do is scare him to death. Trixie talks about the celebration about Ralph being a hero and breaking the curse. Ralph says that he is not going. Alice asks for him to stop acting like a 3-year-old. Ralph: “All right. So, I am a 3-year-old. Put me in the Kentucky Derby. I am ready to run.” The girls and boys break into song called: “You Needn't Fear, We'll Be Waitin' Right Here" It's a great song. The mayor comes in with people to take Ralph’s suitcases to take Ralph. Ralph is scared, he forces Ed to come. Ed is scared too despite the fact that he tried to relax Ralph earlier. After that, the boys leave.

At the castle, the counterfeiters are talking about their evil schemes and they plot how they will scare Ralph and Ed. In other words, they are the “curse”. They have to scare Ralph & Ed out of there so they can continue to use the castle to make counterfeit sweepstake tickets. They leave through automatic doors that open from the top. How is that possible without the doors having electricity? Ralph & Ed come in. The boys are scared. They try to pretend that they are not in the castle and for them not think about ghosts. That doesn’t work because Ed says that their room is haunted. They continue to not think about ghosts. They try to turn on the radio that Ralph brought along, but a scary show doesn't entertain them. After that, more screams are heard. The boys are even more scared." They must remain calm. Ralph: “Whatever you do Nervous, don’t act norton. They try to read the books that Ralph brought along but that doesn’t work either since evil laughter is heard. Ed: “Is there any truth that a ghost can go through a wall?” Ralph: “If it is, I am going through a wall.” They try to go through the window, but it doesn't work. They lay on the bed without thinking about ghosts. Ralph asks Ed for a match, but someone else gives him one (unbeknownst to Ralph) Ralph thanks Ed but Ed tells him that he didn't light it. Uh oh! Ralph hears a scary laugh. Ralph: "Thanks for the light." More scary hi-jinks follow like Ed going through the door (that opened "by itself") on one side of the bed and not coming back. Ralph notices and goes into that door that opened "by itself" and tries to see Norton. Ed comes out on the other side (and slips) and one of the counterfeiters places a fake cat near the bed. Ed thinks that Ralph is now a cat. Ralph comes out and sees what Ed is doing and tries to convince him that he's not a cat. "Ghost": "I am the Ghost of Shammus O' Toole. If your name is Kramden, beware." Ralph lies down on the bed and from Ed's blindside, the bed moves into the wall and comes back without Ralph. Ed wonders where Ralph is. Ralph comes in and when he sees Ed with a blanket on his head trying to look for Ralph, he gets scared. He immediately sees that it is Norton. They hear a knock on the door and the door opens with boots walking "by themselves." They try to leave but a "ghost" (one of the counterfeiters with the blanket on his head) scares them. Ed pulls off the blanket and assumes that he is not a ghost. The counterfeiter goes into one of the two doors on the sides of the bed. They come to the conclusion something fishy is going on and then they go into one of the doors by the bed. Both of those times, the door opens “by itself.” They capture the counterfeiters and leave, supposedly breaking the curse.

The next scene opens up with a celebration at the bar/hotel lobby. The dancers are singing: “Hoorah For The Kramdens.” The Kramdens and Nortons come in ready to leave Ireland. The mayor thanks Ralph. Ralph says that he might be as brave as his ancestors. Ed replies that he helped out the most at least. They say their “goodbyes.” The girls leave. Ralph says that there is no such thing as a ghost. Evil laughter is heard. Ralph gets scared. The boys leave immediately. The dancers sing: “Hoorah For The Irish.”

Time for the curtain call. Jackie comes out. He thanks the crowd. He also says that these shows are tougher to do than the ordinary show. (Gee, I wonder why.) Jackie asks the audience to give a hand for Ray Bloch and his orchestra which they do. He praises June Taylor and her dancers and asks the audience to give them a hand which they do. He praises the writers Marvin Marx, Walter Stone and Herb Finn. Jackie asks the audience to give them a hand which they do. He brings out the lyric writers Lynn Duddy and Jerry Bressler as well as the main cast. Jackie gets the word from Stanley to end it by giving him the cut signal. Jackie: “No wonder he said ‘cut.’ I am bleeding to death out here.” Jackie then says goodnight.

The announcer then plugs Bulova (the world leader in fine watches and radios) and asks the audience to tune in next week as Bulova presents the Jackie Gleason Show. One of the stills that were used for the advertisement was a bit lopsided. The Glee Girls all come out one by one as the announcer tries to at first to read EVERY credit line (some of which weren’t on the credit roll.) The credit roll during these shows is very primitive.

Episode #163
DVD: On disc 14 of the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set, it is attached to “Curse of The Kramdens,” “Framed In Spain”, “I Remember Au Mau” & “Manager of The Baseball Team” (’57 version).
Air Date: 4/6/57

"Mad Dogs & Englishmen":

The beginning of this episode is unique in that apparently it is the opening of the Jackie Gleason Show with fireworks in the background. Bulova is the sponsor. Much like in the Color Honeymooners, a camera zooms in on a Glee Girl as they announce the stars’ names. Jack Lescoulie says that the Kramdens and Nortons have arrived in London.

The June Taylor Dancers dance and sing: “Hurry On Down, Come To London Town" at a London hotel. The girls came in from shopping. They are tired. The boys come in. Ed is wearing a LOUD jacket. They went to an antique shop and bought a 400-year-old shining armor statue. The girls hate the statue. Ralph says that he will use it for an ashtray. Ha! Ralph: “I will only have to empty it once a month to get rid of the ashes.” Ralph asks the Ed to help the bellboy to take it up his room. They want to go to a museum. They ask a British man but he answers in garbled British. Man: "You can't miss it." They don't understand. Ralph asks the front desk clerk who tells them in English. But he tells them that in England, everything stops at 4p for tea. The Kramdens and Nortons then sing: “Everything Stops For Tea.” They then go into the tea room for tea.

A man comes and goes to use the house phone. He tries to call Mr. Kramden in a phone booth. They are not in their room. So, he asks the operator to call Ralph. That guy calls, but he gets the owner. The owner gets the bellboy to tell Ralph that he has a call. The British man who Ralph spoke too earlier comes back in and complains how Americans talk. Ralph comes in comes in with Ed. Ralph gets on one of the phones (somehow not knowing that the guy who wants to talk to him is right near him and vice-versa). Hilarious complications ensue. Finally they find out what’s going on. Mr. Louis approaches Ralph on doing a Flaky-Wakey commercial. Ralph agrees. Ralph thinks it will be a great idea if they do the commercial just like they do in America. Ralph will write, produce and direct the commercial. They leave. The dancers break out and sing: “Hurry On Down, Come To London Town."

At the hotel room, Ed comes in with the ingredients. The girls come in ready to do the commercial. Alice: "Where's the genius (Ralph)?" Ralph comes out with the script. Ralph: "The scene takes place at Lord Chumley Farmingay, second Earl of Brokenchild." He explains the commercial. Ralph is Lord Chumley. Ralph (to Alice): "You are Lady Penelope Farmingay, duchess of Brokenchild. You are supposed to say: 'Good Morning! My you are fit' and then I say: 'Blimey, you look lovely.'" Alice doesn't know what Blimey means. Ralph mentions some of his lines. Trixie is a maid. Trixie: "I'm not the maid type." Ed: "Yeah, haven't you got the part of an English Bulldog?" Ralph further explains what the commercial will be. Ed’s role is the butler. All the butler says: “Breakfast is served.” Then Ed has to get off the stage. Ed says that he has fallen since he is apparently a war veteran. (In fact, Art Carney was a war veteran having served in World War II.) They rehearse. Alice: "My you are fat." Ralph (yells): "THAT'S FIT!" They continue to rehearse as Ralph is still angry. Also, Ralph says to Ed that he doesn’t care how Ed plays the butler. So Ed tries to ad-lib lines in a Churchill-like voice. Ralph isn't amused. Ed says that he wrote a jingle. They go back to the moment just before the butler is supposed to come out. Ed ad-libs lines again much to Ralph’s chagrin. Ralph insists that we will do the commercial the way he wants it. Ed replies with the fact that if that is the case, Ralph can’t use the jingle that he wrote. Ralph explains that he thought it would be a good idea if Ed wrote a jingle. So, they go to the piano and Ed does his little preparing job. He warms up on the piano by playing "Suwannee River". What a surprise. Ralph stops him. Ed then plays the song. Ed's song's lyrics include everyone singing: “Oh boy/gee whiz/that’s right.” The audience applauds. Trixie says that that would be the best part of the commercial. Ralph needs the song needs changes. They continue to go through the commercial which of course includes the fact that Flaky-Wakey cereal boxes include toys. After that, Ralph would taste the cereal and (with a priceless look on his face) would say: “Yum-yum!” They go rehearse the commercial. Ed says: "Quiet on the set" like a director. Ralph kicks Ed out.

At the night of the commercial, everyone complains that it's going to be an all-Ralph commercial. Ralph is all-nervous. Ed says that he is now glad that he has a small part because he doesn’t have the photographic mind that Ralph as. (Ironically, Jackie, of course, had a photographic mind.) Ed tries to get him to remember his lines in a somewhat same fashion as in "Ralph's Sweet Tooth." Ralph is even more nervous. The commercial is going to take place during the Gaylord Farquoix Show. The show opens up just like The Jackie Gleason Show in the '50s apparently opened up originally with the English Announcer plugging the sponsor: Flaky Wakeys. It even has the same curtain I believe that was used on the Jackie Gleason Show at times. The English The girls introduce the stars of the show much like the Gleason Girls introduced the stars in the opening of the Jackie Gleason Show in the '50s. Only thing is one of the English girls is old compared to the other ones (as well as the real Gleason girls.) The girls come out and sing and dance to a song I think is called: “Daddy Loves A Great Big Ball.” The audience applauds during this. Gaylord Farquoix comes out (and he does look somewhat like Jackie Gleason as far as the hair goes) and introduces his orchestra leader Sir Raymond Block (I don’t think that was the real Ray Block.)

They introduce us to the commercial. Ralph bombs as everyone helps him out. This is hilarious especially when Ed accidentally pushes the piano of the stairs. They have plugged the "Flaky-Wakey" product badly.

Curtain call time. Jackie: “As usual, Ralph Kramden fixed everything.” He said that he is going on a little vacation “next week” but “next week” they are going to have “Little Miss Baby Show Business.” The “Miss” is Kate Smith. Along with Kate are Jonathan Winters, Bobby Vann, Gene Sheldon, Pat Rooney & Bill Thompson. Jackie says good night to everyone.

The announcer then plugs Old Gold Cigarettes and asks the audience to tune in next week as Old Gold presents the Jackie Gleason Show and mentions the stars that Jackie mentioned. The graphics used to display the stars names is very primitive. Because the amount of time it took the announcer to read the names, he hurries as he tries to read EVERY credit line as well as names that weren’t on the credit roll as The Glee Girls all come out one by one. (One of the writers not mentioned in the credit roll was Sid Zelinka.)

Credit I think goes to (the original) Bill's 'Mooners Archives, eBay.com, tv.com, Honeymooners Lost Episodes Book, tvguide.com, honeymooners.net, Honeymooners Box Set booklet Honeymooners Lost Episodes DVD booklet, Wikipedia.org, Yahoo Groups You're A Riot! & Amazon.com
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