Allan Keyes Marvels at: The Sheer Brilliance of Jackie Gleason

30 Sep

September 30, 2013


We all know the triumphs of Jackie Gleason- Ralph Kramden (his masterpiece), Minnesota Fats (his Oscar-nominated role) or my personal favorite, Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Such a comic genius!


Anyone can take a winning formula and run with it like a champion. But the measure of the man comes in the face of failure. And speaking of failure, ever hear of a Gleason project called “You’re in the Picture”?  It was only ranked as the 9th worst show of ALL TIME by TV Guide.  Just for context, this project was worse than:

“Hello Larry”

“The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer”

“Manimal” (!!!)


….but slightly better than “Cop Rock” So yeah, this show was pretty putrid.

You know how you and your girl can go to the county fair and have those backgrounds where you can stick your head through the cutouts and your flabby ass is transformed into muscle diesel and your girl suddenly gets those DD breasteses you’ve been dreaming of? Hilarious right! Well, that was the basis of this game show.



Someone stuck his head through the hole and had to guess what the picture was. As you would expect, this show lasted ONE episode, and everyone knew that “the ship be sinking” as soon as it aired. So rather than do what network television would do today, which is move the show to 8:30 on Friday and play out the string as a summer replacement, Gleason came on the air the next night and aired an amazing nine minute mea culpa about just how big a bomb this show was. It’s nine minutes out of your life, but it’s nine amazing minutes. Please watch:

(and it does disgust me that blowhard Anthony Bourdain is advertised at the front of this video. This human grease stain doesn’t deserve to be on the same video sharing service as a titan like Gleason)

Most people would’ve skulked away nursing their wounds, but not Gleason. He starts out “Last week we did a show called “You’re in the Picture…….that laid the BIGGEST bomb” and it gets funnier from there. Only a genius could take that wet fart of a TV show and make his explanation/apology compelling, funny television. That’s GENIUS. And kudos to the network for allowing Gleason to get on there and actually speak about it. You wouldn’t get that today. My favorite part of the whole video is where he  actually hints that he’s not really drinking coffee out of that cup, if you get my drift.  He actually lost a sponsor over that if you can believe.

Now if we can only get a TV network to give us a pre-emptive apology for some of the upcoming sure-to-be bombs in the new fall lineups…

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