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The Color Honeymooners - Collection 1
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The real question for Honeymooners fans is: do the color episodes hold up when compared to the originals? And the answer is, in a way, no: Gleason and Carney are older and a bit slower in regard to timing and performance, and MacRae and Kean, while pleasant, can't touch Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph as Alice and Trixie. And the musical and production numbers, while eye-catching, weigh down the humor at the core of the sketches. But there's still plenty of chemistry between Gleason and Carney in their best-loved roles, and if you're a die-hard Honeymooners/Gleason fan, you'll probably want to add these episodes to your collection. The four-disc set includes all nine unedited episodes from the story arc, as well as the featurette "The Great Gleason Express," which chronicles the star's process of moving his show from New York to Miami Beach ("the sun and fun capital of the world," lest you've forgotten) via a lavish train, with plenty of stops along the way to cater to his fans. The featurette is rounded out by an interview with Gleason's widow, Marilyn Taylor Gleason. --Paul Gaita
- "The Great Gleason Express" featurette
Top Customer Reviews
This was the first(Gleason) show series to be shot in colour and Gleason certainly makes effective use of the medium as is evidenced by the myriad of coulourful costumes worn by both cast and crew.
Now before I go any further I think for the sake of those that have read the above "review" by Mr.Gaita I should clarify two essential points.
Firstly is that this set is a three disc set,with nine episodes.
Secondly these are NOT hour long sketches nor are the entire shows one sees here an hour long.Indeed no Honeymooners sketch in any Gleason show(excluding specials of course) were ever one hour in length.The running time of these shows range anywhere from 46-49 minutes...in total.
What has happened is,for whatever reason,MPI has CUT Gleasons' entire opening monologue sequence.What we get is everything AFTER that,i.e. the Honeymooners sketch and,if time permitted because sometimes it didn't,Gleasons' closing words,thank you to the audience and introduction of the cast.The cutting of the opening is certainly not a make or break situation but it is VERY disappointing and the big reason I gave this set a star less than it should get.
With that aside let's get back to the review.I must say that I never saw any of Gleasons shows in colour because I simply didn't own a colour set until years later.Only the more financially well to do in my neighbourhood had colour sets and those I did see sported this terrible reddish-greenish blury picture.Read more ›
While I enjoyed these episodes and am glad I have more "Honeymooners" in my DVD collection, I nevertheless get the impression that this is where Gleason's comedic style, as with Lucille Ball's in the 1960's, started to calcify. The black-and-white "Honeymooners" seems more "authentic," if you will -- you really get the sense that this is a couple barely making ends meet. By contrast, in the color eps, you can see Gleason and Carney really playing to the crowd. Every time a familiar bit of shtick comes, the audience goes crazy -- a precursor of the whooping and hollering yahoos you hear on live-audience sitcoms these days.
And in the B&W eps, Gleason is far more believable as a pale, manic, barely-getting-by bus-driver. It's kind of hard to identify with the Kramdens when each episode begins with a splashy production number, and once-pale Ralph sports a Miami tan.
Lastly, some of the writing is a bit open-ended, such as the episode where Kramden and Norton are stranded at sea. (Spoiler alert here.) In one scene, they're in a lifeboat; in the next and final scene, there's a quick wrap-up where their rescue is barely mentioned. They get all sorts of press coverage for their Flakey Wakey trip and hardly anyone even notices a rescue at sea?
This is nit-picking, I know, and again, I am glad to have the DVD. Still, some of these sore points tend to stick out. If you're enough of a "Honeymooners" fan, though, you'll probably overlook these problems.
Video quality is excellent.Read more ›
So for me and a lot of other small children in the late 60s, THIS is the Jackie Gleason Show that we remember.
Now of course fans of the original 1950s Honeymooners may coomplain about the comparison, but having seen this for the first time since I was a small child, nostalgia aisde it's really good on it's own. Art Carney and JG are in fine form and the later actresses who play Alice and Trixie (who were actually the third to do so) do a pretty good imitation of Joyce Randolph and Audrey Meadows. It does help to avoid any memory or comparison to the 50s episodes to fully enjoy this.
The musical numbers are a tad cornball by modern standards, but interesting as a time capsule of what variety shows were like in the 60s. Look carefully and you'll see Mercedes Ellignton (Graddaughter of the legendary Duke Ellington) among the dancers.
So on it's own, it IS pretty entertaining. Incidentally, the liner notes promise a DVD of the "Jackie Gleason Show" (sans Honeymooners) also from MPI in the near future. Ooh Goody good good (as JG would say). Modern viewers will see JG in FULL form with Crazy Guggenheim, The Poor Soul, Reggie Van Gleason, and Timmie "Oh Yeah" Rogers (a pioneering Black comedian). So look out for that and enjoy this in the meantime.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great shows in color -later episodes--except for the flakey wakey shows all the rest are past shows put to music=vol 2-3-4--thoroughly enjoyable--great shows-all of them--will make... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Neil L. Hudson
Saw the reruns a few years back and did not realize this outstanding comedy existed! Great addition to the Honeymooners original series and for the whole family!Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
In my opinion the later color honeymooner’s variety show from the late 60 is not as great as the classic from the 50s. Little different cast and is more like a musical. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Donald Jones
Jackie Gleason and Art Carney were outstanding comic geniuses--together. The collection, r/t round-the-world trip, was hilarious--to me. Read morePublished 18 months ago by gashiyaguru
I bought this collection, along with collections two and three. I remember watching these as a little boy. Each show is full of great comedy, great music, and great dancing. Read morePublished on December 3, 2011 by Epistem Quest
This is a great set. The 60's color Honeymooners have a different Alice and Trixie, but it will not take you long to be won over. Read morePublished on August 26, 2011 by Edward J. Vasicek
I was born about the time the Original 39 were filmed, so I never saw them when they were originally broadcast. I only saw them in syndication, they were funny, in a sitcom way. Read morePublished on August 12, 2011 by Waialae Will
For starters, I love The Honeymooners. I grew up on the "Classic 39" and was delighted to discover the lost episodes later on. Read morePublished on May 6, 2011 by Ricardo C.
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