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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > The Honeymooners Specials – Second Honeymoon + Valentine Special (MPI DVDs)

The Honeymooners Specials – Second Honeymoon + Valentine Special (MPI DVDs)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B+     Specials: A-



As an historian on figures from popular culture, I wanted to answer a question relating to these Honeymooner Specials: what happened to Joyce Randolph?  Why didn’t she reprise her role of Trixie Norton along with Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden, Art Carney’s Ed Norton and Audrey Meadow’s Alice?  Jane Kean, who portrayed Trixie from 1966-1970 on The Jackie Gleason Show, played the role instead.


An ABC spokesman said at the time (1975): “Miss Randolph will not be in the cast because the idea for the special grew out of a dinner party at Caesars Palace.  At the table were Gleason, Carney, Miss Meadows and Miss Kean, among others.  Had Joyce been there, she would have been picked for the role.”   Joyce Randolph stated at the time, “I’ve been in touch with the producers, and they tell me they’ve made a verbal commitment with Jane.  I think they’re a little ashamed of what they’ve done and they don’t know how to undo it.  Well, they could hire me and pay Jane for not playing the role.  If they don’t, viewers will not be getting the original Honeymooners.”


In these specials, Ralph Kramden is underweight and tanned, Ed Norton is nearly as bulky as his best friend.  Alice has lost her attractive air of abiding drudge but not her sharp edge. Still each performer’s comic timing is intact.  The live audience, being so familiar with the character’s behavior, responded accordingly.


Second Honeymoon has Ralph thinking Alice is having a baby amidst the celebration of the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary.  Although Alice still lacked electrical appliances (how did this woman survive!?) topical references are made to Marcus Welby, The Godfather and Jaws.  Despite the writer’s attempts to stay current, Alice mentioned still using an ice-man!


The Valentine Special has Ralph thinking Alice was spending evenings with another man when she was actually working to earn money for her husband’s Valentine’s Day present.  This special features a hilarious scene with Gleason and Carney dressed as women.  Some of the jokes and storylines are recycled from older material but it didn’t matter to this viewer.  It’s like welcoming back old friends and knowing in advance what they will do and say.


The extra feature in Second Honeymoon is a delightful sketch from The Ray Bolger Show (1967).  Audrey Meadows plays Alice in the role of a working woman while Bolger’s Ralph takes care of the apartment.  The extra on the Valentine Special featured Sheila MacRae as Alice.  She is playing opposite George Kirby’s Ralph and Rich Little’s Norton from a 1971 episode from The KopyKats.  Both Kirby’s and Little’s impressions are effective.  MacRae, who played Alice on The Jackie Gleason Show from 1966 through 1970, easily falls back in her role.


These specials are a nice way to spend a couple of hours with familiar friends with the best possible 1.33 X 1 full color image (live from Miami Beach) and clean Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.  Each are sold separately.



-   Fred Grandinetti


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