Don't touch that dial!
8 February 2021
Warning: Spoilers
No, it's not your vertical hold, (remember that?). That's Jackie Gleason's face, (Ralph Kramden), as he has to chow down on a sugar-laden candy bar on national TV with a terrible toothache. it's probably the greatest 'take' of all time. The method Ralph and Ed use to deal with Ralph's toothache the night before is also one of the great Honeymooner's moments.

When the "Lost Episodes" came out in the 1980's, a friend of mine who was big fan of the "Classic 39" expressed disappointment in them. he felt they were of inferior visual quality, being "kinoscopes", a record of a live broadcast created by literally bolting a film camera face-t0-face with a TV monitor and recording the show 'through the glass', compared to the Classic 39, which were simultaneously broadcast and filmed by a special process known as an 'electronicam'. I disagreed for two reasons: while the electronicam image and sound were of consistent quality, they had the 'distant' feeling of any old film. You can watch a black and white movie from 1955 and it might be a good movie but it looks like it was filmed in 1955 and you are stuck in 2021. The Lost Episodes may have some imperfections but if you look past them you can see the live performance and think that you are in 1954, when this episode was presented.

The second reason was that I felt the real peak of The Honeymooners in terms of story telling and humor was the year before the Classic 39, the 1954-55 season. The series has matured past the 10 minute sketches that were about arguments and become a full-blown show of it's own within the Jackie Gleason Show. it had fully developed characters and relationships, multi-faceted stories that lasted not 25 minutes as with the Classic 39 but 45 minutes and writers were at their peak. the humor was louder more raucous than the Classic 39 but once you get used to that you laugh harder. Some of these stories were re-done with the 60's Jackie Gleason Show but Jackie and Art Carney were older, more baggy-eyed and had lesser performers playing their wives so it wasn't as entertaining. these are the originals and the best versions of these stories.

So, If you've just watched "Ralph's Sweet Tooth", congratulations. You are about to go on a wild ride of laughs through the greatest season television's funniest show ever had!
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