Melancholy Serenade

Jackie Gleason used to say that “Miami Beach audiences were the best audiences in the world.” As a kid, I was enthralled with The Jackie Gleason Show, which aired on CBS in the late ’60s.

I loved the opening shot that swept low and fast across Biscayne Bay. I loved the theme music. I enjoyed comedy sketches with the Kramdens and the Nortons, unaware that the characters had been created before I was born on the classic series, The Honeymooners. I wouldn’t discover those reruns until the early to mid ’70s when I was in sixth or seventh grade.

Sheila MacRae played Alice Kramden in the Honeymooners sketches on the 1960s variety show. She passed away on Thursday at the age of 92. Jane Kean, who played Trixie Norton in those sketches, died in November at the age of 90.

During the years that the Gleason show originated from Florida, my father would often travel to Miami on business for Bacardi Rum. He brought the family along with him when I was in kindergarten and again when I was in second grade. I remember thinking how exciting it was going to the place where they made one of my favorite TV shows.

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