Friday, October 25, 2019

Ralph the Spaceman

This is my entry in the Honeymooners Blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlogII.

A scene from the movie Back to the Future:

Marty McFly, transported from 1985 to 1955 via a time machine, is having dinner at the home of his then teenage mother.  His grandfather wheels in the TV to the dining room so they can watch the "Honeymooners" while they eat.  The episode is "The Man from Space" which Marty's father had just been watching earlier in the movie (in 1985).

Marty: Hey!  I've seen this one!  This is a classic.  This is where Ralph dresses up as a man from space!

Milton (Marty's uncle, now just an obnoxious kid):  What do you mean you've seen it.  This is brand new.

Marty:  Yeah, well, I saw it on a rerun.

Milton:  What's a rerun?

An interesting fact (in case you didn't know it).  Marty was transported by the time machine to a specific date in 1955, the day his pal Doc Brown had discovered the concept of time travel, Nov.5, 1955.  This particular episode of The Honeymooners" wasn't  actually aired until Dec. 31, 1955, 8 whole weeks later.  Which means Marty's time machine works in exquisitely anachronistic ways, I guess.

Alternately known over the years as Cavalcade of Stars, The Jackie Gleason Show, and American Scene Magazine, Jackie Gleason had a variety show than spanned  from 1952 to 1970.  Gleason tried various formats, mostly a variety show style (and one incredibly inept attempt at a game show that only lasted one episode and for which Gleason apologized the next week, returning to a variety show format.)

Over the years, one of the favorite segments of the variety show included a vignette involving a working class man, his wife and their neighbors.  It was so popular that it became a show of it's own.  (However, unlike The Simpsons, which was a spinoff of The Tracy Ullman Show, this show merely replaced the regular time slot of Gleason's variety show.  It ran in it's The Honeymooners format for a brief one season before returning to the variety show format.

The Honeymooners (Dec. 31, 1955):

Ralph has an idea on how to win the costume contest at The Raccoon Lodge.  He is going to rent a costume.  After all, the competition down at the Lodge is pretty slim.  As Ralph says, the others use the same ideas over and over each year:  one guy will wear a sheet and be the ghost of Julius Caesar, and another guy goes in his wife's dress as Tugboat Annie. 

The only problem is that he hasn't got the money to rent the costume.  So he goes to his friend Ed Norton (Art Carney) to borrow the money.  But Norton already had the same idea, and doesn't have the money.  Which, of course, ticks Ralph off because he claims Norton stole his idea.  He decides to ask his wife Alice for the money but she tells him she doesn't have it either.

So Ralph has to go into dangerous territory.  He has to use his brains.  (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!)  Ralph tries to come up with an original idea using scraps and tools from around the apartment.  To spur him on he has the intention of doing better than Norton, whose costume is supposed to be the 18th century French designer of the sewers of Paris. (Norton, who works as a sewer worker actually idolizes the French "hero")   Norton is decked out in a stunning French aristocrat costume, which has to be seen to be believed

But that's nothing compared to what Ralph and his rattletrap mind can come up with.  Ralph is going to win this contest as

"The Man from Space!"

But his plan to upstage his buddy Norton in his French aristocrat uniform hits a snag.  Norton is called in to work at the last minute to fix a problem  in the sewers.  So Ralph thinks he's a shoo-in for the $50 prize money.  (although the contest judges misinterpret his costume.  They think he is dressed up as a pinball machine.)

If you are a fan of sitcoms you know how all of this will end.  The egocentric Ralph absolutely MUST be put in his place.  But I'll bet you can't guess how his comeuppance actually comes about.  In case you'd like to watch it, I include a youtube link to the episode.

That's it for today folks.



  1. Thanks for this blogathon entry. It's worth the entire episode, of course, to see Ralph and Ed in their crazy get-ups.

    1. I've only seen a handful of Honeymooners eps. Usually when it was on late night when I couldn't sleep. Thanks for reading.

  2. The Honeymooners always rounded out their shows with the perfect punchline. I'm laughing right now!


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