Fans of “The Honeymooners” know “The Divine 39” weren’t the only episodes Jackie Gleason and company made of the Golden Age of TV comedy. Those episodes from the 1956-57 season, which were released on DVD in 2003, are the ones that are repeated endlessly.
But there were many more that were done live. The most complete collection of these ever released will be out Oct. 4 in a new 15-disc box set by MPI called “The Honeymooners Lost Episodes, 1951-1957: The Complete Restored Series,” it was announced Friday.
These “lost” shows, which starred Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden, Audrey Meadows as his long-suffering wife Alice, Art Carney as neighbor Ed Norton and Joyce Randolph as his wife Trixie, were originally broadcast live and thought lost to time. They weren’t seen again until Gleason opened his private film vault in 1985 and announced that he had kinescopes of the shows.
The new set contains 30 episodes and sketches never before on DVD, including the eight “Honeymooners” musical shows from 1957. Fourteen full-length shows and four sketches haven’t been seen since their regular airings, according to MPI.
Also included are two previously unknown “Honeymooners” radio shows; rare color home movie footage of a 1957 rehearsal and the first home video release of the nine known surviving “Honeymooners” sketches from the DuMont Cavalcade of Stars variety show, featuring the original Alice Kramden, Pert Kelton. Also included are bonus features including a new interview with Joyce Randolph, who played Ed Norton’s wife, Trixie.
The collection was digitally restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and includes a deluxe 42-page booklet containing the show’s history and rare photos.
While “The Divine 39” are the best of the best, this set will be a great historical addition to the legacy of one of the greatest shows ever.