155. “Well, it’s a broken water main all right, Ralphie Boy?”

The episode:The Slime People,” ep. 108

The riff: Spoken in a rather dopey-sounding voice by Crow as one of the “slime people” in the movie emerges from a sewer through the open manhole cover.

The explanation: This is an impression of the character Ed Norton from the sketches-turned 1950s CBS sitcom “The Honeymooners.” Norton, played by Art Carney, was the neighbor and sidekick of the show’s “main” character, Ralph Kramden, who was played by Jackie Gleason. Norton worked for the sewer company, and often called Ralph “Ralphie Boy,” thus the provenance of the riff. He was one of TV’s most enduring supporting characters, the Barney Rubble to Gleason’s Fred Flintstone.

Novelty factor: I definitely don’t know “The Honeymooners” well enough to pick up a reference like that. I know some of the basic tropes of the show (“to the moon” and all that), but the re-runs were already long past when I was a kid. It was actually a surprise for me to learn that there were only 39 episodes of the show’s original run. Given its place of prominence in pop culture, I always figured that it was a long-running series.


4 thoughts on “155. “Well, it’s a broken water main all right, Ralphie Boy?”

  1. Another show that entered a lot of our public consciousness as Warner Brothers cartoons first. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P04YTzTjh0 “They did three of them”

    Though I did get to see the re-runs of the original series in the late 70’s when local TV ran then late night. It was always fun re-discovering the shows I already sort of knew from Warner Brothers cartoon Homages.

  2. Funny you should compare Norton to Barney Rubble, since The Flintstones is The Honeymooners. Gleason considered suing HB for the overwhelming similarities, but between liking the show and not wanting to be known as the guy who took it off the air, he left it alone.

    Incidentally, one of my favorite MST running jokes ties into the Honeymooners. Pearl calling Crow “Art” went back a letter sent in by a little kid who watched a sketch in which Joel was doing his Gleason and introduced Crow as “ART CROW!” (with the same intonation Gleason would introduce Carney). The kid assumed Art was Crow’s first name and labeled his picture “Joel, Tom, Gypsy and Art.”

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