Though the show's actual performances in the 1950s were considerably before my era, I was one of thousands of loyal New Yorkers who enjoyed watching late-night reruns of the Classic 39 episodes on WPIX Channel 11 throughout my childhood.
I now own all of the lost episodes also and, since purchasing them over a year ago, I've been in Honeymooners heaven! BANG! ZOOOOM!! ;0)
One of the main reasons I love the early sitcom so is the bottom-line love affair between the focal points of the legendary series, Ralph and Alice Kramden. Anyone even slightly familiar with the series knows the drill regarding the decades-long marriage between ordinary Gotham Bus Company driver Ralph and his long-suffering but pretty wife Alice. Ralph is a lovable, loud-mouthed, get-rich-quick fiend constantly plotting would-be success stories with his sidekick and upstairs neighbor Edward L. Norton, masterfully portrayed through the years by acute comic sensitive, Art Carney.
(Public Domain photo)
The SituationRalph has been notified he has the bus company's best driving record for the year and will receive an official "Safety Award" down at City Hall. He and Alice invite Ed and his wife Trixie (endearingly portrayed by Joyce Randolph) to attend the lunchtime ceremony. They'll have pictures taken and afterwards meet the mayor - a huge thrill back then!
The DilemmaThe Kramdens are nearly ready to leave for downtown when Ed's wife Trixie walks in wearing the exact dress design Alice is wearing... the two are shocked at the news. Instead of one woman conceding to change outfit for the sake of the occasion, the two butt heads and lock horns in stubborn pride; refusing not only to change dresses, but now even to attend Ralph's big event!
POW! RIGHT IN THE KISSER came the enemy's insidious blow of vanity and pride to snuff out all the joy and laughter from Ralph's special day.
But God had other plans.
The Plot ThickensAlice sits at the kitchen table, resolute in decision not to change her dress. You can see pride and anger forming a hardening crust around the edges of her emotions, heading for her heart as the hour approaches noon. Since the group were already running late, this rift between Alice and Trixie made each tick of the clock deafening to Ralph's ears. So he pleads with her, appealing first to her sense of long-term relationship with Trixie.
"Alice, do you mean to tell me that you are going to let 14 years of friendship with Trixie be broken up over a dress?!"
To which Alice answers, "YES, if it's the same dress!"
"I can't believe it," Ralph sighs, "this is ridiculous!"
Alice is silent.
Ralph gestures in one last plea, tossing his hand toward the city and saying, exasperated, "Do you realize we have to be there in just a few minutes?"
To that Alice rises and, with arched, obstinate brows delivers what the enemy was certain would be the death blow to Ralph's day and even his confidence in the love and devotion of his wife:
"Well, I'm sorry, Ralph," she says, shaking her hard head, "it looks like you'll just have to go without me."
None of the room's molecules move, and Ralph stands stunned before her. Then it happens.
Humility to the Rescue"Go without you?" He looks like a five-year-old boy as He repeats, "Go WITHOUT you?" Then he steps near her, looks right in her eyes with that bottom-line love of his and says,
"ALL the fun of receiving the award is having YOU by my side when they give it to me..."
That part of the scene always stirs tears in me and sometimes still does make me cry because, folks, Ralph didn't say part of the fun, or even most of the fun... no, this big hairy-knuckled bus driver looked at his loving wife of umpteen years and stated, with all abandon, that ALL of the fun, satisfaction, and worthwhile quality of being rewarded for safe miles HE drove behind the wheel of his bus through the snow and the sleet and the rain would utterly disappear if he did not receive the award in the company of his dear Alice. Chokes me up even now.
But God's work through Ralph's humility and love tugs my heart even more.
VICTORY!Alice's entire countenance softens at those words. She loves Ralph, after all - genuinely and truly - and her love for him goes beyond her vanity or pride. He humbled himself to her. She knew when the words from her big, soft-hearted, man carried sincerity, and she never failed to meet him on their balcony of humble love and loyalty.
God's humility breaks the back of pride as Alice softly replies, "All right, Ralph... I'll go change."
HALLELUJAH, folks! Ain't that grand?! Isn't it JUST LIKE our God? Glory!
[Now, die-hard Honeymoonies know that Alice actually ends up wearing the dress because of Trixie's loving concessions. But, to me, that's even further proof of the love of God through the powerful onset of His humility in the lives of "bottom-line" friends and lovers.]
...to the Moon!
Daddy's Girl =0)
"... fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."