Ralph and Alice Crumbden.


Medium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1956
Creators: Tedd Pierce (writer) and Robert McKimson (director)
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In the 1950s and early '60s, television was eating away at movie attendance. But the new medium wasn't all …

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… bad for the films — it also provided grist for the parody mill, i.e., something new for cartoons to make fun of. At Warner Bros., director Robert McKimson (Foghorn Leghorn, Tasmanian Devil) parodied such now-mostly-forgotten TV stalwarts as Wide Wide World (Wild, Wild World, 1960) and People Are Funny (People Are Bunny, 1959).

He even sent up an occasional show that has not been forgotten in the years since, such as The Jack Benny Show, in The Mouse That Jack Built (1959), in which Benny and Mary Livingston did their own voices, as did Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. But the McKimson TV parody that has suffered least from the passage of time is probably The Honey-Mousers, which was released December 8, 1956.

In this parody of the classic early sitcom, The Honeymooners, both of the male voices (a Jackie Gleason imitation for "Ralph Crumbden" and an Art Carney imitation for "Ned Morton") were done by Daws Butler (Peter Potamus, Wally Gator). The one female voice, an imitation Audrey Meadows for Alice (the analog of the Trixie character didn't appear in the cartoon), was done by June Foray (Nell Fenwick, Grammy Gummi).

Of all McKimson's TV parodies, only this one had a sequel. Cheese It the Cat hit theatres on May 4, 1957. In fact, there was even a third in the series, Mice Follies, which was released August 20, 1960. All three were directed by McKimson, and all were written by Tedd Pierce, a gag man responsible for many of the best cartoons starring Bugs, Daffy and other Warner characters.

But those three cartoons were all there ever was of The Honey-Mousers — no comic books, lunch boxes, Underoos, etc. In fact, they've never even made guest appearances on Animaniacs or Tiny Toon Adventures.

But those three cartoons have been rerun endlessly over the past 40-odd years. As recognizable as the originals are, generation after generation, that makes these guys reasonably close to being stars.


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