The Honeymooners' Audrey Meadows loved working with children
Ms. Meadows was quick to praise her co-stars on Uncle Buck.
W.C. Fields was famous for his comedy and his aphorisms. Whether he's actually the source of the quote or not, Fields is frequently credited with advising Hollywood actors never to work with children or animals. In addition to the obvious chaos both kids and dogs bring, there was the risk that they'd upstage the more seasoned entertainers. Fields would become, in his mind, just another prop, while the adorable children or animals hogged all the limelight.
Audrey Meadows found success in the 1950s as Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners. As Alice, Meadows was the frequent foil or punchline for Jackie Gleason's Ralph. Maybe Ralph's gruff and physically domineering approach made Meadows more suited to gentle scene partners. Later in life, it was clear that Audrey Meadows did not share W.C. Fields' disdain for children.
In 1990, Meadows was tapped to star in CBS' Uncle Buck, a sitcom based on the popular John Candy movie. While she'd made her name acting opposite one of Hollywood's most recognizable stars, for this new show, Meadows costarred with three children. Rather than cry uncle over her underaged coworkers, Meadows bucked the trend and embraced the little thespians.
"I love working with the children on the show," Meadows told the Tampa Bay Times in 1990. "The fact that they're so good is one reason the show is such a delight.
"Actually," Meadows laughed, "I think W.C. Fields was probably a cranky old lush."
Although the Uncle Buck show had neither the legacy nor the longevity of The Honeymooners, it did allow Meadows to return to television, which she absolutely loved.
"It's probably the most intimate medium. The show comes into your home. You don't have to go out to see the actor. He or she is right there in your living room."
CBS' Uncle Buck lasted for one season, with twenty-two episodes produced. Crucially, none of them featured John Candy.