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Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:00 PM

Ralph Kramden's salary

Ralph: Quiet, I don't want my salary to leak out.
Alice: You're salary couldn't drip out.
_

OK, I know it's a work of fiction, but it always bugs me when something doesn't quite fit. Ralph was a NY bus driver, so why were they living in squalor? We're they paid that badly back then?

I seem to recall that the bus company was a private business, and not a city job with a union. That doesn't explain why Ed was also living in the same building. He had a government job. We're they paid that badly?

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ralph Kramden's salary (Original post)
Cartoonist Jun 2019 OP
Sanity Claws Jun 2019 #1
mahina Jun 2019 #12
snowybirdie Jun 2019 #2
PSPS Jun 2019 #3
Wellstone ruled Jun 2019 #4
Cartoonist Jun 2019 #5
Wellstone ruled Jun 2019 #6
PSPS Jun 2019 #9
Wellstone ruled Jun 2019 #10
Jane Austin Jun 2019 #13
PSPS Jun 2019 #14
Jane Austin Jun 2019 #16
Mister Ed Jun 2019 #7
3Hotdogs Jun 2019 #8
mahina Jun 2019 #11
delisen Jun 2019 #15

Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:12 PM

1. Ralph spent money on get quick rich schemes

He also had enough money to belong to a lodge and go bowling regularly. Clearly they had some disposable income.

I don't think that they lived in squalor. People lived a lot more modestly in the 1950s. The Kramdens had a one-bedroom apartment and most apartments at the time had exterior fire escapes.

As for the Nortons, their apartment was nicer. I did some research after my initial post and found this, https://eyesofageneration.com/welcome-to-the-ed-norton-apartment-this-great-color-photo-was-taken-in-april/
Yes, the Nortons clearly had a nicer apartment. I also remember that they got a television before the Kramdens did.

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Response to Sanity Claws (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 03:27 PM

12. I thought the same, just a normal nice place to live. Squalor? Not at all.

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Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:12 PM

2. Artistic license

Probably based on Gleason's actual childhood apartment. His Dad left home when he was a child and his mom was a drinker.

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Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:14 PM

3. $62 per week

Both Ralph and "Norton" (Art Carney) were paid $62 per week. Gleason decided to portray the family as relatively poor when The Honeymooners was a radio show and he based it on the then-popular radio show, "The Bickersons," which used the same device as a better foundation for comedy.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:17 PM

4. You got it,

and the Bickerson's were always arguing about money.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:42 PM

5. I thought it was about him snoring

I've only heard about 10 episodes.

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Response to Cartoonist (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 01:57 PM

6. The issues with poverty

and lack of money and Mobility,the snore was the hook in the dialogue. So many Sitcom's came from this type of monologue,people during the Forties could relate. And after WW2,the first three years were a mess for tons of folks. And the Radio Soap Opra's and Situation Comedies were the rage.

Three Generations living in a three bedroom House was kind of the norm,oh and many did not have Electricity or indoor plumbing during this time in our History. This was the beginning of the mass migration to the Cities as well,were modern conveniences was the norm. And Gleason and his writers had years of Historical References to work with.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 02:35 PM

9. Speaking of Gleason

There's no doubt about his talent. He really struck gold when he inked his CBS contract and became a legendary icon. But before then, even before his "Life of Riley" show on NBC, he tried to make it as a movie star. That didn't work out, but his few movie appearances back then demonstrate his instinct for comedic timing. One example is his small role in "Larceny, Inc.," with Edward G Robinson. In this hilarious movie, a 25-year-old Gleason plays the role of a soda jerk.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 02:45 PM

10. Iconic Role.

Think of all those Second City and Saturday Night folks who copied the Soda Jerk role.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 03:32 PM

13. Was Gleason on The Life of Riley?

I remember William Bendix as Riley, but not Gleason.

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Response to Jane Austin (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 04:01 PM

14. Bendix took the role in the second incarnation

"Life of Riley" had its first incarnation (only 26 episodes) in the 1949-1950 season (sponsor Pabst Beer canceled.) Bendix was working on the film version and was unable to work on this. Later, in 1953, the series was revived with Bendix and it ran for six seasons. Most, if not all, of the episodes in syndication are from the Bendix run.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #14)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 09:38 PM

16. Ah, thanks.

I missed the first incarnation.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 02:10 PM

7. Gosh. I thought it was $84 a week.

It's fifty years since, as a young boy, I happened to see a rerun episode in which, in the heat of an argument, Alice tried to humiliate Ralph by shouting that figure out the window while he tried frantically to shush her.

I guess memory is off, then? I always thought I remembered her shouting, "$84 a week!".

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Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 02:31 PM

8. I believe the tv apt. set is either in the Brooklyn Transit Museum or the Museum of Radio and TV in

Queens.

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Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 03:26 PM

11. I thought it looked very comfortable, never considered it squalor.

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Response to Cartoonist (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 05:55 PM

15. NYC workers in the 1950s did to have large salaries

The had modest salaries and pensions plans which were supposed to make up for the modest salaries.

Over time their salaries increased at a faster rate than those of private companies and their pension plans were better than those of private companies. many municipal employees were able to retire at much younger ages than private company employees.

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