Honeymooners, revered as one of the most uproarious sitcoms of all
time, revolves around the desperate schemes of lovable New York City bus
driver, Ralph Kramden (played by "the Great One," Jackie
Gleason). Kramden lives in a rundown Brooklyn apartment with his
sharp-tongued wife Alice (Audrey Meadows). Inspired by the almighty
dollar, Ralph mires himself in get-rich-quick schemes (like investing in
no-cal pizza or marketing plastic shoehorns), often coercing his pal and
neighbor, Ed Norton, into going down with him. In direct contrast to
Ralph's hotheaded, explosive temperament, however, Ed maintains an
unflappable, positive attitude through it all.
Surprisingly, The Honeymooners was not the hit it was expected to be, and Gleason returned to the variety show format after one year. Nine years later, when Art Carney returned, additional episodes aired through the end of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1971, featuring Sheila MacRae as Alice and Jane Kean as Trixie.
The "classic 39" became a cornerstone of vintage television reruns soon after their original run. And in 1984, fans of the series were treated to "the lost episodes," a series of Honeymooners sketches culled from original kinescopes from the early days. As part of his contract, Gleason had received a copy of each episode and saved them for posterity. A get-rich-quick scheme worthy of old Ralphy-boy himself, Gleason sold them 30 years later to a Kramden-hungry nation.