SUPPORTING GREAT TELEVISION

The Honeymooners: Ralph Kramden’s Forgotten River

In Flashbacks on January 28, 2011 at 12:00 am

Alice (Audrey Meadows), Ralph (Jackie Gleason) and Ed (Art Carney) in “The $99,000 Answer.” (Screen cap)

On January 28, 1956, CBS aired The $99,000 Answer, one of the best-loved episodes of The Honeymooners.

The plot: Blustery Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason), preparing to compete in the popular music category on the quiz show The $99,000 Answer, drives wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) batty by spending a week cramming at home.

Ralph is aided by piano-playing pal Ed Norton (Art Carney), who warms up for each song with a few bars of Swanee River, much to Ralph’s chagrin.

On the night of the show, Ralph has transformed himself into a pop-music expert, but he isn’t prepared for the first question: Who composed Swanee River?

“Ed Norton?” Ralph guesses.

In 1997, TV Guide ranked The $99,000 Answer sixth on its list of television’s 100 greatest episodes of all time.

See for yourself: The $99,000 Answer is part of The Honeymooners: The Classic 39 Episodes DVD set.

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