Art Carney praised Jackie Gleason in a 1977 interview for his ''generosity''
There would be no Ralph and Ed without the connection between Art Carney and Jackie Gleason.
When big stars collaborate on productions or work in the same environment, sometimes their egos clash. Yet, that was not the case for Art Carney and Jackie Gleason, who played best buds on The Honeymooners.
In fact, Art Carney credited Gleason for helping him expand his talents. The duo was comedic gold for viewers worldwide on the 1950s hit series, although it only had one season. In an interview with Copley News-Service in 1977, Carney talked about why people loved the show.
"We were believable in what we did. Jackie Gleason and me," he began. "He was Ralph Kramden, the bus driver, and I was Ed Norton, the guy down in the sewer. And people accepted us in that way."
According to the article in the newspaper, viewers didn't see Gleason and Carney acting as the fictional best friends; they saw them acting as themselves. Carney added, "People just didn't think we were acting. I don't know what they thought we were doing, but they never thought of it as acting."
The chemistry viewers saw on-screen between Gleason and Carney was just as strong behind the scenes. He learned a lot from the multi-talented actor, but one piece of advice connected with him the most.
"[It's] more about timing and more about how to observe people," Carney said. "Jackie brought things out of me. He gave me free rein. He trusted me. He knew I wasn't after his job. He was very generous professionally and financially. He really is The Greatest."
Carney was an Oscar-winning actor, after receiving the award in 1975, so the demand for interviews was high. However, he loathed it. "No offense, but I'm much more comfortable when I'm playing someone else. When I'm myself, that's the problem and it's always been that way."
All of the things Carney did in the industry were from his "instinct, watching other people and learning." Yet, he was still a private guy, and people loved it.