The Honeymooners: The Complete Restored Series DVD
Folks, this is a big deal we’ve got up for you today. The folks out at MPI Video sent out a massive box set that may well comprise the single biggest review item we’ve ever undertaken, and it’s called The Honeymooners: The Complete Restored Series. Settle in and brace yourself because we’re about to take on one of the all-time greats.
The Honeymooners is the immortal story of Ralph Kramden, a city bus driver in Brooklyn, sharing a small apartment with his beloved wife Alice. Ralph wants his piece of the American dream, and thus is out to elevate himself and Alice in the universe. Ralph’s schemes are aided and abetted–and more than once hindered–by Ralph’s best friend, sewer worker Ed Norton and his wife Trixie. Thus will a series of misadventures begin as Ralph and Alice and Ed and Trixie live, love, and work in New York, struggling for their taste of the good life but often realizing that they have more of that good life than they realize right at hand.
But here’s the thing–you won’t just be getting the original Honeymooners episodes, all black and white and such. You’ll also get the original Dumont Network episodes from the Cavalcade of Stars variety show. Then there are the CBS Radio episodes, as well as eight “musical hours” that haven’t actually been seen, anywhere, since 1957. A good chunk of this stuff was actually lost until the Jackie Gleason Enterprises folks pulled originals out of their vaults for conversion to DVD, and so you’ll get to see it quite possibly for the first time ever right here.
The show itself is reasonably funny stuff–obviously some of it is better than others–but you have to watch it in the correct frame of mind. Yes, much of what you see here will be trite and tired stuff by today’s standards; the comic misunderstandings, the sneaky plans that go awry…all of this is so very familiar. But at the same time, there’s a reason why it’s trite and tired. This is one of the places where all those things that are so very familiar came from in the first place.
This is no less than television history playing out here before you, and if you have any interest at all in either The Honeymooners, or the history of television in general, then you’re definitely going to want to check out what amounts to the last word in proto-sitcoms.
The Screenhead Ten Scale, meanwhile, gives The Honeymooners: The Complete Restored Series a full ten out of ten–it’s hard not to give that kind of score to something that brings its share of laughs along, as well as a whole lot of stuff that hasn’t been seen by mortal eyes in better than fifty years.