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Even 30 years later, there is still something intimate about this. Viewer and actor are joined. Canned laughter, artificial performances and overstuffed productions are not built to last. The Honeymooners is forever.
While Ralph's classic catchphrase might have brought in peals of laughter in its day, his frequent threats to send his wife "to the moon" actually play as borderline disturbing when paired with his closed fist coming swiftly toward her face.
Alice (Audrey Meadows in most reruns) was the show's strongest figure. Its most enduring and endearing feature, though, is the best supporting actor anyone has ever had, Art Carney as the earnest sewer worker, Ed Norton.
Although the show was made in a state of barely controlled chaos, partly because Gleason didn't like to rehearse, and on-air flubs and missed cues were common, it remains one of the most beautifully acted shows of its kind.