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Old 07-19-2019, 07:59 AM   #1
Frank Gannucci
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Default Honeymooners Episode Reviews: "Santa & The Bookies" ('53) & "Honeymooners XMas Party"

Honeymooners Episode Reviews: "Santa & The Bookies" ('53) & "Honeymooners XMas Party" ('53):

Episode #66
TV: Attached to “Honeymooners Christmas Party” (’53 version). In 2019, Decades Channel aired either this episode or the 1952 version in two parts and attached it to "New Bowling Ball."
VCR: Attached to "Game Called On Account of Marriage." On the VHS/DVD version of “Seasons Greetings From The Honeymooners”, it was attached to “Honeymooners Christmas Party” (’53 version)
DVD: Attached to "Game Called On Account of Marriage", "Brother-in-Law" & "Peacemaker." On the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set it is attached to “Finger Man”, “Honeymooners Xmas Party” (’53 version), “New Year’s Eve Party”, “This Is Your Life” & “Cottage For Sale.”
Air Date: 12/12/53

"Santa & The Bookies" ('53):

This episode was part of the TV version “Seasons Greetings From The Honeymooners” that is different from the home video version.

Alice is busy knitting clothes for some baby. Trixie comes in and here Alice reveals her temporary job she has just so she can save enough money for Christmas. She won't tell Ralph because Ralph will make her quit no matter how hard the job is. It's the principle of the thing to him. She did and said the same exact thing in "Expectant Father" too. Alice hurts her back so Trixie says she will make sure Alice go sees a doctor.

Ralph comes home and is upset that he has to have tuna fish for the fifth time. He wanders why that he couldn't have a hot meal. He and Alice have an argument about this causing Alice to go into the bedroom. Ed comes in Alice is knitting baby clothes to make some extra money for Christmas. Norton comes down. Ed: "Hey Ralph, what are all those cats doing outside your front door?" Ralph gets more upset that he has to have tuna fish. Ed asks Ralph if he can hide Trixie's Christmas present in the Kramdens' apartment, Ralph says yes and sticks the present in the bureau drawer -- where Alice has hidden the baby clothes. A moment later, when Norton tells Ralph that Trixie has made a doctor's appointment for Alice, Ralph is sure that Alice is pregnant. Ed: "This is almost as good as when you got 300 points in bowling." Now Ralph is remorseful for yelling at Alice. He decides he has to make some more money in a hurry so that his future son can go to college. He needs so extra money for the kid. Ed: "I have some money that is owed to me and when I get it, it's just as good as yours." Ralph: "You're a good pal Norton. Who owes you?" Ed: "You do." Gee, that really helps Ralph. Ralph he answers a newspaper ad for a Santa Claus job but not before Ed finds some jobs that Ralph can do to earn extra money for the kid. One of them is in South America. Ralph says to forget about that job because he doesn't want to go to South America. Ed finally finds a job for Ralph, a street Santa. Alice comes in and says that Ralph was right he deserves a hot meal. Ralph is acting all nice because he thinks that Alice is pregnant. Alice doesn't know what to make of it. She leaves and then so does Ed. After Ed leaves, he brings in the cats that were near Ralph's front door, one of them climbs out of Ed's hands. D'Oh! Not something that was in the script.

The next day Ralph goes to apply for the job. What he doesn't know is that the guys who placed the ad are bookmakers and that they plan to use the Santa to collect bets. They reveal themselves to Ralph as Mr. Smith and Mr. Smith. Ralph gets hired and asks Ed if he can be hired but he warns them that he is not as smart as he is. With that, Ed is hired. Around 6pm that night, Ralph and Ed begin their first day on the job. Ed is wearing a loud elf uniform. Ed is recognized by some kids as Space Hopper. Ha! After one person drops in their slip, Ralph reads it and still he doesn't know it's a bet for a horse in a race. A mother and a kid come by. She asks "Santa" that if he doesn't go to bed when they get home, will he put a lump of coal in his stocking. "Santa" says: "Yes." So the kid kicks Ralph. They leave. Either that kid and his mother live VERY far away or that mother forces her kid to go to bed VERY early. One drunken person comes by, takes one look at them and says that he will never drink as long as he lives. One other person comes by and accidentally knocks over the bowl. That was also not in the script, so Jackie covers it up by saying: "The dollar is going down every day." Another person comes by and puts his money in the pot. Ralph says he will get that back many fold. Man: "I should. It's 20 to 1." Ed: "What are you talking about? It's half-past six." He leaves. An old lady comes by. When she puts down her bet with the money, Ralph says that she doesn't have to do that. Lady: "I want 'Rocking Chair' for $2." Ralph still doesn't know what she meant. A policeman comes by and puts his money in (thinking that what Ralph and Ed are dong something good.) When Ed says to the police officer to put in his slip (everyone else put in their slips). The policeman sees what's really going on and sends Ralph and Ed to jail, thinking that they are the bookies they are looking for.

In jail, Ralph is mad at Ed. He is thinking that this is the end of life for him. Ralph explains to the police officer that his wife is pregnant. Alice comes by and Ralph tells her that he was making extra money for their future baby. Alice says that she is not pregnant. Now Ralph and Ed are in bigger trouble. When Ed says that the two Mr. Smiths are going to come by their street corner and collect the money soon, Ralph hatches a plan so the police can catch the real bad guys. It works.

It looks like Ralph will have a Merry Christmas after all. But when he holds out his hand, a woman comes by and drops money in his hand. A policeman catches him and sends Ralph off to jail as the opening of the "Dragnet" theme song plays.

Episode #67
TV: Attached to “Santa & The Bookies” (’53 version). In 2019, Decades Channel either aired this episode or the 1952 or 1951 version in two parts.
VCR: Attached to "Forgot To Register."
DVD: Attached to "Forgot To Register" & "Income Tax." On the Lost Episodes DVD Box Set it is attached to “Finger Man”, “Honeymooners Xmas Party” (’53 version), “New Year’s Eve Party”, “This Is Your Life” & “Cottage For Sale.”
Air Date 12/19/53

"Honeymooners XMas Party" ('53):

I do remember in the 1997 or so, searching through an on line TV guide and finding out that WPIX was going to air this episode right before Christmas 1997 in two parts. I would understand it if WPIX didn't air it considering that the last part of this episode is nothing but musical numbers and they cost $$$ to get the rights to air them. This was before the Decades Channel aired either this episode or the 1952 or 1951 version.

This episode was part of the TV version of “Seasons Greetings From The Honeymooners” that is different than the home video version.

I will also point out that when this episode was released on VHS, MPI decided to put most of the video package in red. For the video that has "New Year's Eve Party", they put that video package in green. I guess they did that since that they are holiday episodes, the might as will decorate the packages with holiday colors. I like that. They didn't do the same thing with the DVDs though.

I find it strange that there were two Christmas specials done in the same year.

The episode opens up with Alice decorating the Christmas tree. Ralph comes home with potato salad from DeVitos. She says that he should get it from Krauss'. Ralph explains that at DeVitos that Reginald Van Gleason as running a party and that a lot of people are there including people who came from Connecticut. Ralph, disgustedly, leaves to get potato salad from Krauss'.

Trixie comes in and she reveals that Ed gave her an orange juice squeezer. You squeeze the oranges on top of Napoleon’s head and the juice squirts out of his ears. Same gift that he would give her in "'Twas The Night Before Christmas." A guy knocks on the door and Trixie answers it and within a second she knows his name: Fenwick Babbit. Either Trixie saw him before or he gave her his name very softly and quickly. Fenwick is played by Jackie Gleason. After pacing his beer barrel in the apartment, he begins to cut the ice. He hits his finger and yells in Ralph Kramden fashion. Now I wonder why Alice and Trixie don't come up with the thought that Ralph and he look alike. When Trixie goes upstairs to get something for Fenwick, Fenwick asks: "Does she live nearby?" The crowd laughs. When Trixie comes back, Fenwick realizes that he is in the wrong apartment and leaves. But not before he says to Alice: "You are a nice lady."

Ed comes in and says that he has come with, Frances Langford. The crowd applauds for the guest star. She sings "Great Day" and "I Love Paris" for Alice, Ed, and Trixie, and dances with Ed. Joe The Bartender comes in (also played by Gleason). Of course after hearing Joe speak, Alice, Ed and Trixie don't come up with the thought that he and Ralph look alike. Joe The Bartender reveals something that just happened a few minutes ago at Krauss'. This poor soul comes in and takes the last bit of steak and gives it to a kitten that he bought in from the cold. Fatso Fogarty sees this and becomes mad. He sets up a nasty practical joke in which he tells him he had "won" a diamond and then handed him a cheap rhinestone. What made the hoax particularly pathetic was that the poor soul, totally taken in, cherished his prize. Alice, moved by the tale, tells Joe to send the poor soul up, and she'll give him a real present. Joe & Frances leave.

The poor soul comes up (played by Jackie Gleason in pantomime) comes up and Alice gives him a real present. Once again, Alice and Trixie don't even think that he and Ralph look alike. He gives her the "diamond" and leaves. Trix: “Now that Ed is gone, let’s relax.”

Trixie says that they are showing some Christmas Specials on TV, so she asks Alice if they can watch it on Alice's TV (which probably looks terrible). Alice says that the TV is on the brink. Gee, in "TV or Not TV", Alice says that the Kramdens never got a TV. Rudy the Repairman comes by to fix it. Rudy is played by Jackie Gleason and once again by looking and hearing Rudy speak, Alice and Trixie don't think that Ralph and he look alike. Alice explains all the trouble she is having with some of the channels. Some of the channels that I think she talks about: 4, 5, 7, 11, and 13. Now, since I used to live in North Jersey and about an hour away from New York, I can tell you that those channels in real life do exist. And do you know what? The channel 11 that Alice is talking about would start to carry reruns of the Honeymooners four years later and has carried them for the better part of 50 years. Rudy, after hearing Alice's strange problems, brings in Whitey. Whitey talks to Ralph in language that is not real English. But Rudy understands him anyway. Great comedy. Rudy makes a pass at Alice and Trixie & sees the set destroyed. He said that a pair of shorts caused the problem and he and Whitey depart with the shorts. Alice tells Trixie that it doesn't really matter, since she just had the set on trial.

Ed Norton comes in with little Eddie Hodges who is going to sing at Krauss'. "He is not going to drink", says Ed. Eddie had to be a kid. Ed sings: "Welcome My Baby Back Home." It's interesting that Jackie allowed this kid to sing on his show when you think about the fact that he didn't want kids to appear on his show because he thought that kids may not be able to act on cue. Both Eds leave. Alice says that Ed is always looking to help someone. Trixie says that after a wedding he drove a couple of family members home. The only problem was that it was their wedding. Oh boy!

Ed comes back in and Reginald Van Gleason comes in (played by Jackie Gleason). He brings in gifts for Ed, Trixie, and Alice. He also brings in his band and June Taylor Dancers, with Alice's permission. The band plays a song VERY loudly and Gleason dances with the dancers. Try doing what Reggie is doing in an ordinary apartment at night in real life and you will probably get a TON of complaints (and maybe get kicked out too.) Anyway, at one point Reggie dances too far to the left and you can see the stage curtain. Another think that wasn't in the script. Once again, Alice, Ed and Trixie don't come up with the conclusion that Reggie and Ralph look and probably sound alike (maybe except for Reggie's mustache). Reggie and his whole entourage leave. Ed: "Reggie is okay in my book." Ed says that in Reggie's limo, he watches wrestling. Not on TV, he watches wrestlers wrestling each other in the limo in a pro wrestling match. Oh God! Trixie is afraid to leave because another star may drop by. Alice says that she wonders where Ralph is. Ed says to Trixie that he will give her what every woman wants on her hand, that being rubber gloves. Ha!

Ed and Trixie leave. Ralph comes by with a policeman. Alice explains the whole situation to the policeman and leaves. Ralph reveals what happened. After he returned the original potato salad, he had to walk two LONG blocks to Krauss only to find out that Krauss was asleep. He kicked so hard on his door that he knocked out the window and got in trouble with the police. Anyway, Alice and Ralph exchange gifts. Ralph opens his gift first and finds out that Alice gave him rubber-lined gloves. Alice gets an orange juice squeezer from Ralph. The same gift that Ralph will giver again in "'Twas The Night Before Christmas." Ralph says that after 14 years of marriage, every Christmas gets better and better. 24 years later in an ABC Special, Ralph and Alice say that they are celebrating 25 years of marriage (the writers thought that that would be appropriate since that show marked the 25th anniversary of the show.) The hug and kiss.

I lot of people probably don't like this episode since it's a great departure from traditional episodes. I liked it because it's a great X-Mas episode and it offers a change of pace. Jackie Gleason must have had to do some quick costume changes in this episode since this episode (like all the other ones in the 50's) were done live.

Credit I believe goes to the old Bill 'Mooners Archive, eBay.com, tv.com, Honeymooners Lost Episodes Book, tvguide.com, honeymooners.net, Honeymooners Box Set booklet Honeymooners Lost Episodes DVD booklet, Yahoo! Groups You’re A Riot! & amazon.com.
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