Jackie Gleason and Art Carney: When the honeymoon ended

Here's the story of the pair parting ways.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Unless you're a Hollywood agent, then it can mean months of press statements about your client's contract ending. That's just sorrow, nothing sweet about it at all.

All good things must come to an end, and in 1957, one of those good things was The Honeymooners. After reaching what was then the peak of TV culture, Jackie Gleason was ready for a change. In '56, The Honeymooners shifted from its former hour-long format, giving up its "live" presentation and shortening each episode to one half-hour. In doing so, the show slipped from the top, losing out that number one spot to crooner Perry Como's variety show. Now, in 1957, at a crossroads, Gleason chose to forge ahead on a path of his own. He'd sever his ties, professionally, with former co-star Art Carney, to plot his showbiz future.

The following was all relayed to the Associated Press by Art Carney's personal manager, William McCaffrey, in 1957.

"Gleason has other plans for next year and they don't include Carney. That's to Carney's liking, too. We think he's ready to fly on his own."

The parting, McCaffrey stressed, was amicable, leaving the door open for future Honeymooners reunions.

"Our contract with Gleason ends in June. I don't presume to speak for Jackie or comment on what he's going to do. Art and I are very friendly with Jackie. Art owes a great deal to him.

"But my concern is Art. He has had a most successful engagement with Jackie and now Art and Jackie are going their separate ways."

The parting, like the pairing, was fruitful. Each man was able to create the conditions for his individual success. By the time of The Honeymooners reunion specials in the 1970s, both had expanded their profiles within Hollywood. Gleason had a prominent role in Smokey and the Bandit, and Carney won an Academy Award for his role in Harry and Tonto.

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11 Comments

JeffPaul76 18 days ago
Well, That's too bad, they got along so well, that you wouldn't think there was any trouble between them.
AgingDisgracefully 19 days ago
WHO will forget Jackie's blockbuster The Sting II?
Besides everyone.
Bapa1 19 days ago
Whoever wrote this seemed to forget The Jackie Gleason Show from Miami Beach in the 60's. You know, the show that Gleason and Carney 'worked' together on,
cperrynaples Bapa1 19 days ago
Yep, that's the one where Sheila Macrae played Alice!
MadMadMadWorld Bapa1 19 days ago
I attended one of those filming "The Jackie Gleason Show" from Miami Beach, in the Fall of 1966. What a thrill that was to see Jackie, Art, Sheila MacRae, and Jane Kean (as Trixie). He moved his show "American Scene Magazine" (original title) to Miami Beach for the Fall 1964 season, and it stayed in Miami Beach until CBS canceled it in 1970.
JeffPaul76 Bapa1 18 days ago
Whoever wrote this article is probably too young to know about The Jackie Gleason Show. Or didn't research it very well.
cperrynaples 19 days ago
A few mistakes: The half-hour Gleason ran in 1958! It featured Buddy Hackett in place of Art Carney and it ran on Friday against Walt Disney on ABC! Perry Mason was on Saturday and beat Como by starting a half hour early! Fun Fact: Gleason's lead in was Trackdown, a former MeTV Western! Carney signed a contact to do specials for NBC!
Runeshaper 19 days ago
Both were GREAT men and I'm glad that both succeeded after The Honeymooners (-:
McGillahooala 19 days ago
I don’t even know what to say about this article. “They worked together, then they didn’t, and that was alright with them.” Pretty well sums up those paragraphs. Some of these articles are like reading a phone book.
justjeff McGillahooala 19 days ago
Oooh! Phone books are *so* exciting!





Aaron
Adams
Aletter
Amoretti
Aniston
Arbetter
Astin
Auer
Averbach
Baker
Bancroft
Bedford
Bell
Bemish
Benjamin
Bornstein...
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