The Jackie Gleason Show in Color

| February 8, 2018

At some point in life, everyone has the nostalgia bug. It’s not as infectious as the flu bug, and tends to leave you feeling relaxed instead of weak and sluggish. However, nostalgia can also bring to light a much different, not-so-PC era of which we no longer live. And, boy, can it make you feel old. I still can’t believe 80’s music is considered “oldies” these days. But I digress. So, jump in your wayback machine, set the gauge for late 1968/early 1969, and set out for Miami Beach and The Jackie Gleason Show in Color.

Jackie Gleason was a comedian and pioneer in the early days of television (circa early 1950’s). Gleason’s sitcom The Honeymooners was the template for all sitcoms to follow over the next 60+ years. Also around this era, variety shows were immensely popular. When Gleason started his, The Jackie Gleason Show, it was one of, if not the most successful on TV. However, recording in New York became a burden to Jackie, mostly because he was an avid golfer, and it’s pretty difficult to find a golf course in New York, in December, that isn’t covered in a foot of snow. So, in 1964, Gleason moved the show to the sun and warmth of Miami Beach, Florida.

The Jackie Gleason Show recorded in Miami from 1966 until its final season in 1970. The 4 episodes included on this DVD are from late 1968 and early 1969. Watching them with fresh, 2018 eyes and knowing the ever growing personal and political turmoil in America at that time, the show feels out of place. Most of the humor was more suited for Gleason’s heyday in the ‘50’s. The jokes were rapid fire, from such comedic luminaries as Milton Berle, Phil Silvers, & Red Buttons, and felt more like a Fryer’s Club roast. The only time when things actually felt relevant and slightly edgy was when George Carlin came on and did a set that garnered some slight gasps and cautious laughs from the studio audience.

So why is the DVD of The Jackie Gleason Show in Color worth owning? It’s a fascinating time capsule. The DVD includes 4 episodes of the show that were never released in any way and includes three incredible Honeymooners sketches that haven’t been seen in over 50 years. If you have parents or grandparents that have fond memories of Jackie Gleason, get them the Time Life DVD of The Jackie Gleason Show in Color. Memories…

About the Author:

Steve graduated from Southwestern Michigan College with an Associate's Degree in communications. He currently resides in Niles, MI

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