The Honeymooners

Overview

The Honeymooners chronicles the lives of New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden and his wife, Alice, as they search for domestic happiness inside a confining Brooklyn apartment. As a stand-alone television program, it ran for just thirty-nine weeks from 1955 to 1956, but its characters appeared in long-running sketches on Calvalcade of Stars and The Jackie Gleason Show and the program has lived on for generations in reruns and home video releases. David Sterritt investigates The Honeymooners as an enduring and ...

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Overview

The Honeymooners chronicles the lives of New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden and his wife, Alice, as they search for domestic happiness inside a confining Brooklyn apartment. As a stand-alone television program, it ran for just thirty-nine weeks from 1955 to 1956, but its characters appeared in long-running sketches on Calvalcade of Stars and The Jackie Gleason Show and the program has lived on for generations in reruns and home video releases. David Sterritt investigates The Honeymooners as an enduring and valuable index of societal norms and televisual tastes in the 1950s—a project made all the more intriguing by the diverse ways in which The Honeymooners both reaffirms and diverges from the typical broadcast idioms of its day.

With chapter headings borrowed from Honeymooners episode titles, this volume considers the program’s cultural, historical, and artistic dimensions in connection with the values of postwar America at large. Sterritt traces the roots of The Honeymooners within the context of the golden age of television, demonstrating that the show was central to early television history in ways that surpassed most of its rivals. He also details the many distinctive features, relating to both comedy style and ideological import, that set The Honeymooners apart from other shows and made it profoundly influential on family-based situation comedies in later decades. Ultimately, Sterritt shows that the program’s treatment of race, class, and gender was a revealing mirror of its time and that its characters, aesthetic qualities, and plot devices were more complex and sophisticated than they may have seemed.

Scholars of film and television studies, fans of The Honeymooners, and readers interested in 1950s American culture and television history will enjoy Sterritt’s analysis of The Honeymooners.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814333969
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Series: TV Milestones Series
  • Pages: 120
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Sterritt is emeritus professor of theater and film at Long Island University and past chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Cinema and Interdisciplinary Interpretation. He is chair of the National Society of Film Critics and author or editor of several books, most recently Guiltless Pleasures: A David Sterritt Film Reader and The B List: The National Society of Film Critics on Genre Movies, Low Budget Beauties, and Cult Classics We Love.
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Table of Contents

Introduction "Better Living through TV" 1

1 "Principle of the Thing": The Honeymooners and Postwar America 15

2 "Opportunity Knocks, But": Social and Cultural Issues 25

3 "Unconventional Behavior": Psychological Perspectives 41

4 "You're in the Picture": Honeymooners Aesthetics 55

Conclusion: "Please Leave the Premises" 73

Notes 83

Bibliography 89

Videography 91

Index 101\

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