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The REAL Brooklyn of
Jackie Gleason and The Honeymooners

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Born in Brooklyn in 1916, Jackie Gleason was a star in every aspect of show business, from saloon comedy to Broadway theater. He composed best-selling albums and starred in films like The Hustler. But Gleason is best remembered as long-suffering bus driver Ralph Kramden in TV’s The Honeymooners.

Ralph is a big man with big dreams. His mannerisms and catchphrases “Bang, Zoom,” “Pow, right in the kisser,” and “Baby, you’re the greatest!” are remembered and repeated today.



Jackie Gleason's childhood home, 328 Chauncey Street, Brooklyn

The character of Ralph Kramden is based on the people Gleason grew up around in Brooklyn in the early 20th century. The Kramden apartment on the show was patterned after the one he shared with his mother at 328 Chauncey Street, the address used in the series.

The REAL Brooklyn of Jackie Gleason and The Honeymooners follows Gleason’s journey from that cold-water flat to Manhattan’s Adelphi Theater, where the “Classic 39” episodes of The Honeymooners were filmed.


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In between, we revisit Gleason’s schools and childhood hangouts and the Brooklyn vaudeville theaters and dives where The Great One got his start in show business.


A short stay in Hollywood, where Gleason appeared in some forgettable films and starred in TV's The Life of Riley for one season, preceded his return to the Big Apple and the role he was born to play. 


Archival photos and the recollections of Gleason and the show’s cast—Art Carney (Ed Norton), Audrey Meadows (Alice Kramden), and Joyce Randolph (Trixie Norton)—bring the era to life.


And awaaay we go!


Jackie Gleason, 1952. Charlotte Brooks, LOOK magazine collection, Library of Congress

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