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Jackie Gleason Show

By Wikipedia

The Jackie Gleason Show was a popular television variety show that starred Jackie Gleason and ran in a variety of incarnations, from 1952 to 1970.

The former series originated on the DuMont Network under the title Cavalcade of Stars. After original host Jerry Lester quit the show in 1950, Gleason--who had made his mark on the first television incarnation of the Life of Riley sitcom--stepped into Cavalcade and became an immediate sensation. In 1952 CBS president William S. Paley lured Gleason away to his network, and the series was retitled The Jackie Gleason Show.

The show typically opened with a monologue from Gleason, followed by sketch comedy involving Gleason and a number of regular performers (including Art Carney) and a musical interlude featuring the June Taylor Dancers. Gleason portrayed a number of recurring characters, including supercilious millionaire Reginald Van Gleason III; friendly Joe the Bartender; loudmouthed braggart Charlie Bratton; mild-mannered Fenwick Babbitt; and a put-upon character known only as the Poor Soul, who Gleason always performed in pantomime. By far the most memorable character, however, was blowhard Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden, featured in a series of skits known as "The Honeymooners"; these were so popular that in 1955 Gleason suspended the variety format and filmed The Honeymooners as a regular half-hour sitcom. The show's original format and title returned in 1956 and continued until 1959, when Gleason began an ill-fated stint as host of a game show called You're in the Picture, which lasted only one episode, and led to Gleason offering an on-air apology to his viewers the following week. Committed to filling a quota of episodes, Gleason renamed the series The Jackie Gleason Show and turned it into a short-lived talk show.

In 1962 Gleason returned to the tried-and-true variety format with his American Scene Magazine. Like his earlier shows, American Scene was initially filmed live in New York City; after two seasons, production moved to Miami, Florida. In 1966 the title once again became The Jackie Gleason Show, and would remain so until the show's cancellation in 1970. By this point the episodes included well-known guest stars and skits that were later collected as The New Honeymooners. The regular cast of the new variety show included Gleason and old sidekick Art Carney; Milton Berle was a frequent guest star.


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Aired: September 20, 1952 - September 12, 1971

Cast: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Sheila MacRae, Jane Kean, Glea-Girls, John Olsen, Sammy Spear and his Orchestra

Network: CBS (1951-1970) NBC (1970-1971)

Genre: Variety

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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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