Episodes: 39 (half-hour)
TV show dates: October 1, 1955 – September 22, 1956
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, and Joyce Randolph.
TV show description:
This beloved sitcom began as a 12 minute sketch on Cavalcade of Stars, became a regular sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show, and then graduated to its own show.
Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) live in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Their home is located below their neighbors and best friends, Edward “Ed” Norton (Art Carney) and Thelma or “Trixie” (Joyce Randolph). Ralph drives a bus for the Gotham Bus Company whilst driving Alice crazy. Norton is a sewer worker and like Ralph, dreams of a better life.
The two frustrated friends often take part in get-rich-schemes that never succeed — like selling “Handy Housewife Helpers” or learning pop songs to win the grand prize on a game show. For their hard luck, Ralph blames everyone but himself. He takes out a lot of his anger at Alice who isn’t afraid to give it right back.
Ralph and Norton break up the monotony of their workweeks by joining the Hurricanes Bowling Team at the Acme Alley and becoming members of the Racoon Lodge. But, the misunderstandings at home keep their lives anything but routine — like when Ralph overhears Alice rehearsing for a play that involves her character plotting to kill her husband or when Ralph thinks he only has six months to live after he finds a vet’s report about his mother-in-law’s ill dog.
While “Ralphie-boy” and Norton are usually at odds with their significant others, and there isn’t ever enough money to go around, at the end of the day, they realize they have their wives and each other which might not be so terrible after all.