‘The Honeymooners’ Star Sandy Renda Recalls What it Was Like Working With Jackie Gleason

by Joe Rutland

The Honeymooners remains an iconic classic TV show starring Jackie Gleason, and once, Sandy Renda appeared on the show. While Renda’s name might not be familiar to longtime fans of the show, he actually had quite a star turn on it. We should clear something up here. Renda did appear on The Honeymooners but it was part of an extended sketch on Gleason’s variety show on CBS in 1957.

‘The Honeymooners’ Actor Sandy Renda Recalls His Time With Jackie Gleason

“When in Rome” is part of what is called “The Lost Episodes” of The Honeymooners. They total more than 100 sketches and long-form stories beyond the “Classic 39” episodes that aired in the 1955-56 TV season. Renda was at home a while back and was flipping around on his TV set. He then comes across the image of a 10-year-old boy that looks familiar. It should. It’s him! Yes, he would sit and watch the “When in Rome” episode.

“I said, wait a minute, man,” Renda told MeTV. “This thing looks very familiar. Oh, my God. After all these years, I had never seen it.” So, the episode, also viewed as one of the musical Honeymooners sketches, aired on CBS and The Jackie Gleason Show

“Now, this has to be 30 years ago,” Renda says. “That’s how long ago. Penny Marshall [of Laverne & Shirley fame] had the special on [in the late 1980s]. A friend of mine calls my house, and my wife comes running downstairs. She said, ‘You won’t believe but your Honeymooners is on!’ We went upstairs to watch it, and we all got a kick out of it — but it was only one of the scenes. I believe it was the last scene.” We get more from MeTV.

Young Actor Gets Role After Mom Receives Call At His Home

How did Renda get the part? “My mother got a call at the house because I was 10 years old,” he says. “The agency that I was with called my mother and said, “There’s a part on The Jackie Gleason Show. I had done summer stock [theatre], The King and I and The Rose Tattoo. Nobody got the part yet. They can’t find the right boy.”

His father drove him and his mother to The Park Sheraton Hotel. It’s where Gleason was living at the time. Renda gets the part and pulls off the role quite well. And he even shared a moment after the sketch ended with “The Great One” himself. “They were running short on time,” he says. “They normally would introduce the four major characters. Jackie brought me out, which is very gracious.” And what did he think of Gleason? “Because I was 10, a small 10, he looked like an avalanche of a man.”