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Old 06-30-2017, 07:53 AM   #1
Frank Gannucci
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Default Honeymooners Episode Reviews: "Next Champ" & "Stand-In For Murder" ('54):

Honeymooners Episode Reviews: "Next Champ" & "Stand-In For Murder" ('54):

Episode #72 (Syndicated episode #84)
TV: Half-hour (edited.)
VHS: Attached to "Expectant Father."
DVD: Attached to "Expectant Father" & "The Honeymooners' Greatest Battles." On the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set, it is attached to “Lawsuit”, “Fortune Teller”, “Stand-In For Murder” (’54 version), “Move Uptown” & “The Man In The Blue Suit.”
Air Date: 4/10/54

Ralph and Ed go to a pool room and greet a person named: "Happy." They immediately start their pool game in typical Ralph and Ed fashion. When Ralph tries to make his shot in, Ed puts powder on his hands and claps his hands, making the powder spread. When Ralph makes his shot, Ed sneezes causing Ralph to make a mistake. Ralph's revenge? He goes near Ed and hits his foot with the pool cue. Ed: "Ow!" Ed retaliates by doing the same thing to Ralph." Ralph (yells): "ARRRRGH!"

Dynamite Moran from Altoona walks in. He has come to New York to make it big. He needs a manager. He also has clippings of his two fights that he had. The first fight he had, he knocked the guy out in 12 seconds. Ralph says that must have been a record. If it was in real life, then Mike Tyson broke that record in 1988 by KOing his opponent in 2 seconds. Ed says that he knocked himself out before a boxing match once by falling off the scale. Ralph: "How could you tell?" Dynamite says that the manager that gets him is getting the next champ. Dynamite starts punching in the air. Dynamite then instructs Ralph on how he should fight. Dynamite throws a few punches in the air towards Ralph. Ed (jokingly): "Murder him Dynamite!" Ralph (yells): "SHUT UP!" A person across the room is having trouble getting a pack of cigarettes from the vending machine, so Dynamite helps him by punching the machine which helps him get the pack of cigarettes out. Dynamite says he has to use the phone and call the "Y" to find a place to stay.

Ralph then gets his crazy idea of becoming Dynamite's manager. When Dynamite comes back in, he still needs a place to stay. Ralph then says that he will become his manger and Norton will train him and live with him. Gee, isn't that nice of Ralph to volunteer Ed's services without asking him? Of course not. But to be fair, Ralph changes his mind and says that Dynamite will live with in the Kramden's place. He also says that he will help give Dynamite fights because he knows Jack Philbin, a fight promoter and member of the Raccoon Lodge (and in real life the executive producer of the Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners.) Alice will like the fact that another person is coming to live with them, will she?

Alice is shown in the apartment with cans of food. She says that with prices the way they are, she doesn't know how a family of four manages. Given how prices have skyrocketed since then, the prices back then seem pretty good. Ralph comes home with a box of sweets because he knows that Alice will not like the idea of him managing a boxer and living with them. Alice naturally doesn't. She feels like KOing Ralph when she hears the news. Ralph says that all throughout life he wanted to be something in the sports world. He wanted to baseball, but he was to slow. He wanted to play basketball, but he was too short. He wanted to be a jockey, but he was a little too heavy. Alice: "You're too fat to be a horse." Ha! Ralph and Alice do more arguing until Alice goes into the bedroom and Dynamite comes in. Ralph: "Alice Dynamite is here." Alice throws a piece of newspaper in Ralph's direction. Ralph: "I guess that she must be asleep."

The next day, Ralph and Ed show up at Jack Philbin's office. Ralph mentions that he manages Dynamite Moran to a woman. Woman: "Is he the only one in your stable?" Ralph: "Stable?" Ed: "Hey Ralph, she must have seen your apartment." Ralph complains that he has spent $40 on boxing equipment alone and that he never saw anybody eat like this Moran. Hey by looking at Ralph, doesn't he look like he eats more than Dynamite? Ralph says that the food shortage is getting to be so bad, that her and Dynamite had to share a piece of steak. Ed: "You don't want Dynamite to get sore at you?" Ralph: "I rather take my chances with Dynamite rather than Alice." That's real nice. Ralph mentions that they don't want to look anxious, so what does Ed do when he thinks that Jack walked in? He says: "You got to give our boy a fight; he's eating us out of house and home." That person wasn't Jack. Ralph is mad at Ed for almost blowing what he told him. Jack Philbin (played by George Petrie) comes in and Ed's says: "If you think that were anxious about our boy getting a fight, then you are crazy." Ralph says he wants to get fight for his man Dynamite to get a fight. Jack doesn't want to at first, giving the person's lack of good experience. A guy by the name of Armstrong comes in and hears that Moran can punch; Jack tries to get a fight for him. Armstrong then talks with Ralph and Ed about Dynamite. Ralph says that Dynamite eats noting but steaks. Armstrong: "They don't eat peanut butter sandwiches." Armstrong wants to see Moran train. Armstrong: "What gym does he work out at?" Ralph: "He works out at my place. I don't want anybody to see him and steal him away from me." Ed: "Besides that, we can't afford the gym." Gee, a manager and a trainer can't afford a gym for their boxer. That's saying a lot or them, isn't it? Armstrong then tries to make a deal with Ralph and offer him Dynamite's contract for a lot of money. Jack gets a fight for Moran which causes Ralph to say no to Mr. Armstrong. But says that he can watch Dynamite train in his apartment at 5am which is the time just before Ralph has to go to work. Ralph then gives Mr. Armstrong his address and leaves with Ed.

The next morning at 5am, Dynamite wakes up immediately at 5:30 and immediately starts doing exercises. Can you imagine being that energetic at 5:30am? I can't. Ralph wakes up and immediately after that, wakes up Alice. Ralph (yells): "ALICE, GET UP. IT'S LATE. IT'S AFTER 5:30AM." Somehow, that sentence does not seem right. Alice wakes up and starts doing breakfast while Dynamite works on the punching bag. A person by the name of Taylor comes in and complains about the punching bag noise. He can in at around 5 seconds after Dynamite started so he must live VERY close to the Kramden apartment. Dynamite stops for a while. Ed comes in to train Dynamite. Ed (to Alice): "Want to go a couple of rounds with me?" Alice: "I'm ready to go a couple of rounds with all three of you." Ed shows Dynamite some of his boxing techniques that he used when he was a boxer. The technique? He crouches so when he wouldn't have had far to fall. He also swings back and forth because he was on a ship and the ship naturally went back and forth if you know what I mean. Dynamite works on the bag a little more causing Taylor to come in again and complain about the noise. Ralph orders Taylor to get out of the apartment saying that this is his place and he can do what he pleases. Gee, that's very nice of Ralph, isn't it? Of course not. Ralph, Ed and Dynamite throw the medicine ball around. Every time Ed throws it to Ralph, he throws it hard to him. Ed: "You want to play games, huh?" Ed throws the ball in Ralph's direction and the ball goes through the window and outside. Mr. Armstrong comes in and offers his deal to Ralph. Ralph says no. Alice gets mad at Ralph for turning down the money. She says to Ralph to give him the money or she will give him (Ralph) such a going over that Mr. Armstrong will want to buy her contract. Ha! As Ralph and Alice argue, the set comes apart and you can see the stage crew trying to connect it again. Dynamite goes out to retrieve the ball and when he comes back in to work on the bag again, Taylor comes in and once again complains about the noise. Ralph says for Taylor to beat it. Moran: "Do what he says, beat it little man." Yeah, Dynamite is not being a bully here. Taylor then "punches" Dynamite knocking him out. Mr. Armstrong: "Glass jaw." That's the end of Ralph's boxing career. It looks like that he should have taken the deal. Everyone leaves the room. Ralph apologizes to Alice and Alice forgives him.

Episode #73 (Syndicated episode #'s 81/#82) (Unfinished episode)
TV: In two-parts
VCR: Attached to "Lunch box"
DVD: Attached to "The Prowler" & "Box Top Kid." On the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set, it is attached to “Lawsuit”, “The Next Champ”, “Fortune Teller”, “Move Uptown” & “The Man In The Blue Suit.”
Air Date: 4/17/54

Why is this episode unfinished? Read on. A mob boss, who is a dead ringer for Ralph, is holed up in his apartment because a rival gang leader, Barney Hackett, wants to bump him off. The guy (played by Jackie Gleason) wants to go to South America with the rest of the gang. Nick, one of his henchmen, just came of a bus in which the driver looks exactly like his boss. I wonder why? Nick (played by George Petrie) says that he offered the driver the idea of being a boss of an insurance executive at an insurance company. When Ralph up in the apartment, the will get the rival mob gang to kill Ralph. (The rival gang will think that Ralph is the boss of the other gang.) Boss: "When that happens, we will all go to South America and it will be a Mardi Gras for the rest of my life." The scene closes with no music. Isn’t that odd? What is also odd is when I recorded this from the WPIX in 1998, for the first few minutes of this scene, the tape makes white lines. Isn’t that odd?

Alice is home mixing plaster. She dances to "In The Mood" which is being played on the radio. Ed comes in and dances to the music with the bowl of plaster in his hands. Alice turns off the radio. Ed suggests that they all go out dancing one night. Ralph hates dancing so Ed says to bring the bowl. Ed tastes the plaster thinking it was icing. He tells Alice that. Ralph comes home and tastes the plaster thinking that it is icing. Alice greets Ralph and says that Ed tasted the plaster thinking it was icing. Alice: "Who would do a thing like that?" Ralph: "Nobody that I know." Sure Ralph. Ralph then says that one person offered him the job of being an insurance executive of an insurance company (whose name he doesn't even know). Alice gets suspicious. Ralph says that Alice has got no faith in him. Alice then offers Ralph and Ed some food for dinner. Ed helps himself and takes more on his dish than Ralph does. They eat while Ed talks about a similar situation that happened to him about someone offering him a better job than the one he had. That is how he got his job in the sewer. Ha! Ralph: "I'm mad at Alice because she thinks that there is no one stupid enough to offer me a job." Ed: "This guy sounds stupid enough." The guy who offered Ralph the job, Nick along with Frank, come in. They give Ralph the job. Ralph & Ed, being stupid, believe them. Ralph says that he doesn't want to leave the driving job if this job wasn't steady. Man: "I'll tell you, you will have this job for the rest of your life." Ralph asks about salary. If I were offered a job, I wouldn’t ask about salary. They start by offering Ralph $400 a week. Ralph coughs. The money is raised to $500. Ralph coughs more. They raise their offer to $600. Ralph: "Norton, give me some water." Ed: "Keep coughing Ralph. You will be a millionaire in no time." They give him the money in advance. Ralph & Ed, being stupid, still believe them. They also offer Ralph a Park Avenue apartment, and a chauffeured limousine. Alice can't stay with Ralph for the first days because the president will be in town and having Alice around will make the situation worse. Sure, it will. They leave and Alice comes back. Ralph tells Alice what happened and the news about the job and when Ralph shows Alice the money, believe it or not, Alice believes the job is true. She is mad because he has to stay here for the first few days of Ralph’s new job. Now, she believes that the job is phony.

On the first day of the job, the boss is talking with one of his henchmen about how they are going to knock of Ralph. They are going to put Ralph in there as bait and when he opens up the blinds that will be the signal for the Hackett mob to shoot and kill. A knock on the door is heard, so the boss hides in back of a screen. The henchman takes his time to answer the door. He probably did that to give Jackie more time to go into his Ralph Kramden character. (Remember back then, they didn't have the technology to put two characters played by one person in the same room on TV plus this episode was done live.) Ralph Kramden comes in and says that this apartment looks nicer than his old one when it was brand new. He gets shown the bedroom, while the henchman talks from the main room what Ralph can find in the bedroom. He locks the bedroom door while the boss emerges from in back of the screen. That's revealing the fact that the "bedroom" had a passageway that lead to the back of the screen. Ed Norton comes in and talks to the boss thinking that it is Ralph. He even takes the bosses hat and "improves" it. That's funny. The boss and the henchman leave. Ralph emerges from the bedroom (which by this time has been unlocked by Frank.) Ralph greets Ed and asks him when he got here. Ed says that he was just talking to him. Ralph: "I guess I didn't hear you." The phone rings and its Nick. He says that they just got Ralph a new car. Ralph goes to the window to open the blinds but changes his mind when Ed says that they can view it outside. They leave and slam the door which causes the blinds to open and the mob from across the street (which incidentally is the Hackett mob) starts shooting.

Next, Nick sends Ralph to Hackett's headquarters (a bar), to "sell him insurance." (One of the characters who played part of the other gang is also playing parts of Barney Hackett’s gang. One of them is actually playing Barney Hackett. Ed & Ralph walk in. A fly is heard. Ed is trying to swat it. The fly is buzzing real loud. So loud that it couldn’t be a real one. When Ralph & Ed speak to the bartender and ask for Barney Hackett, Ed swats the fly and scares the bartender into getting Barney Hackett. Somehow, the bartender doesn’t think that Ed was swatting a fly. When Ralph walks in, Hackett thinks it's his archenemy looking for a showdown. Ralph doesn't suspect a thing. Barney's gang is shown to Ralph and Hackett calls him his family. Ralph: "Lovely family." Just as Ralph is invited to step into the back room, a cop walks in and insists that Ralph move his car.

When Ralph shows up at the apartment again with Ed, Nick decides they'll have to bump off Ralph themselves, and then dump his body in front of Hackett's joint. He mistakes his boss for Ralph, “knocks him cold”, and deposits him in the bedroom. They leave and Ralph hears a knock on the door. It's Alice. Alice comes by to visit Ralph on his first day on the job. She now believes that the job is real. Another knock on the door is heard and it's the boss' girlfriend. She hugs Ralph (thinking he is the boss) and Alice sees it and spark fly. The girl says that Ralph is Harry. Ralph says that he doesn't know her while the girl claims that he does. She leaves. Ralph then spots the boss on the bed. Alice then calls the cops in the den. Ralph: "So that's why she called me Harry." (Harry was the boss' name of the group that was Barney Hackett's group's enemies.) Ralph's career as an insurance agent comes to an end.

On the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set, they show footage of the following week (the episode of the JGS that had “Move Uptown” that aired on 4/24/54) of Gleason trying to explain this convoluted story on the air so the audience would have satisfaction. In so doing, he took up so much time that they ran over again." This footage was also seen on the Honeymooners Reunion Special on NBC.

From the old honeymooners.net: "Only the studio audience saw the ending of this episode. As Leonard Stern recalls, the show had not ended by nine o 'clock and without explanation CBS just cut away from the sketch before it finished. "There was so much laughter we ran out of time before the solution,'' he says. ''The television audience was left up in the air. Each of the major dailies, certainly the tabloids, did stories on it, speculating how it would end. It made page two, page one, in each of the New York newspapers. The following week Gleason, who never did superb monologues, tried to explain this convoluted story on the air so the audience would have satisfaction. In so doing, he took up so much time that they ran over again."

Oh my! Can you imagine what would happen if NBC did that same thing with a new episode of SNL by interrupting it so another show can start on time? Imagine the backlash. By the way, when I went to the Museum of TV and Radio (now Paley Center of the Media) in 1998, I saw the 1985 Honeymooners Reunion Special in which Audrey talked about this whole scenario but after they showed Ralph saying: "So that's why she called me Harry." A knock on the door is heard. Ralph answers it and the announcer says (with the Jackie Gleason Production logo on the screen): "This has been a Jackie Gleason Production." By the way, if you get this episode on the original DVD and VHS, you will not get the ending that was not shown to the TV audience. Bummer!

Credit I believe goes to 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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