‘The Honeymooners’: Star Jackie Gleason Still Holds Record for Most Weeks Atop Billboard Charts

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Jackie Gleason was not born with musical talent, yet he loved music so much. His lush, orchestra-heavy records sold millions of copies.

How could a kid raised in near poverty in Brooklyn, N.Y., find success in the music world? He would “transcribe” melodies he heard in his head to other musicians.

That, in turn, would form the basis for Gleason’s records. One of them, “Music for Lovers Only,” was released in 1952 and reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop album chart, according to ME.tv.

Capitol Records didn’t realize they would have such a big hit with Gleason’s album. In fact, “Music for Lovers Only” stayed in Billboard’s Top 10 albums for 153 weeks. It’s an amazing tribute not only to Gleason and his creativity but for the musicians who played on those records.

Jackie Gleason Has Midas Touch When It Comes To Music

These “mood music” albums pretty much had songs done by Gleason and other musicians and lyricists. Originally, “Music for Lovers Only” was printed as a 10-inch album with only eight songs, four per side, on it.

That was reprinted into a 12-inch album that added additional songs to the album.

Again, Gleason seemed to have the Midas touch at times. His albums, along with his popular CBS variety show, brought him much success, wealth, and fame.

Want to see Gleason the musical conductor in action? Take a look at him helping guide an orchestra during an appearance on “The Kate Smith Show.”

‘The Honeymooners’ Characters Inspired TV Cartoon Show

In Gleason’s other world of television, “The Honeymooners” helped inspire a couple of cartoonists to come up with characters.

These four characters appeared on Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones.” Their look and even mannerisms at times look awfully much like Ralph, Alice, Norton, and Trixie from “The Honeymooners.”

Coincidence? Well, maybe or maybe not. It depends on who is talking about the show.

Gleason, for his part, could see the similarities yet didn’t take Bill Hanna or Joe Barbera to court. He didn’t want the show taken off the air because kids loved it so much.

When asked if they copied “The Honeymooners,” Barbera would not acknowledge that but did admit they were inspired by Gleason’s show.

Next time you come across “The Flintstones,” watch an episode and see if you can find similarities in Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty to “The Honeymooners.”