Monday, May 17, 2010

Bang, zoom! New York City's Ralph Kramden statue

Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden: Bus Driver, Raccoon Lodge Treasurer, Dreamer

How sweet it is that the folks at the TV Land network would erect an 8-foot statue of the great Jackie Gleason as lovable loser Ralph Kramden from "The Honeymooners" in front of New York City's Port Authority bus station, where 7000 buses arrive and depart every day. Kramden drove the Madison Avenue bus for the Gotham Bus Company and he was always coming up with get rich schemes that would ultimately fail, usually in concert with his dimwitted pal Norton (Art Carney) and much to the chagrin of his long-suffering practical wife Alice (Audrey Meadows). The "classic 39" half-hour black and white episodes are from 1955-56, but "The Honeymooners" existed in sketch form on Gleason's variety show before this and they continued on Gleason's other shows and specials on into the 1970s. At the statue, I was a little annoyed with one fellow who appeared to be in no mood to move off his perch in order to let an out of town eccentric roadside attraction fan snap a few unfettered portraits, but I didn't say anything, fearing all that would come out would be a Gleasonesque "homina, homina. homina." I would have liked to have debated which is the better "Honeymooners" episode -- "The Chef of the Future" or "The Man from Space" -- but he just didn't seem that approachable. Oh well. So, here's to you,, you're the greatest.


gainesville365 said...

This is darling!

I think we need an "Away We Go!" statue in Miami.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Jackie Gleason's mausoleum in Miami has "And away we go" engraved on it, which I think is just too perfect.

Jeffery Blackwell said...

I think this is entirely appropriate, as I am a huge Gleason fan. However, I protest your characterization of Norton as a dimwit! He was often a couple of steps ahead of Ralph, but careful not to bruise his pal's ego. Maybe the Sanitation Workers union will someday build a statue of the other genius of that show; Art Carney. Thanks for the post!

Bill said...

It IS a good thing that you didn't say anything to your new friend, or you might have ended up visiting the new Ed Norton statue down in the sewers!!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Jeffery: I think Art Carney is a genius. My favorite bit of his was him always playing "Swanee River" as an intro on the piano. He retired to Sherry's hometown of Westbrook, Conn. and she saw him a couple of times at the local convenience store.

Bill: Yes, I think he had a "Pow, right in the kisser" waiting for me.