Kramden's Bus - On the classic sitcom THE
HONEYMOONERS/CBS/1955-56, Jackie Gleason played the portly,
ill-tempered bus driver Ralph Kramden who works for the Gotham Bus
Company located at 225 River Street in Manhattan. Ralph's daily bus
run (Bus No. 2969 & No. 247) took him along Madison Avenue in
On the episode "A Matter of Life & Death" Ralph thinks
he's dying and laments "It's that poundin' I take, drivin' that bus
every day. Well, I guess there'll be no more bus rides for me. I've
come to the end of the line. I'm goin' to that big bus depot in the
sky. It's a one-way trip with no transfers."
On episode "A Man's
Pride" Ralph boasts untruthfully to his friend Bill Davis that he is
President of the Gotham Bus Company. Ralph's best friend Ed Norton
comments "You know Ralph, when I was a kid there was a guy named
Houdini. He had a great act. They handcuffed him. They put him in a
big packing case. They nailed down the cover. Tied ropes around it.
Attached a big rock and then dropped the whole thing in the middle
of the East River." When Ralph asks "What about it?" Ed answers
"Well, getting out of that was a cinch compared to what you got
yourself locked into."
Despite Ralph's daily problems (his bus was
robbed six times - five time the robbers got nothing; the sixth time
they stole $45 dollars and his bus) Ralph was voted the city's
safest driver on the episode "The Safety Award" (aired 5/19/56) and
got interviewed by Universal Magazine who wrote a three-page spread
on his achievement.
During his interview Ralph remarks "This is a
special award. Happens once in a blue moon. But take policemen, and
firemen, they're gettin' awards all the time, and I think bus
drivers, in a way, are public servants just like them guys."
the interviewer asked what extreme danger he encountered on the job
similar to police or firemen Ralph rallies by saying "When you open
the door for a mob of howlin' women on their way to a January White
Sale at Macy's!"
Ralph elaborated on his disdain for women riders "All
women are the same. The bus is crowded - there might be an empty one
right behind - but they push, they shove, they fight to get on the
bus. And then when they're all on and I finally get the door closed,
that's the signal for them to start askin, 'Does this bus go up
Madison Avenue?' But that's nothin'. Did you ever see a woman on a
crowded bus go lookin' through her pocketbook for change? If they
dig deep enough, they come up with everything. A gas bill from 1932,
a hockey puck, even burnt-out electric light bulbs. but the right
Other fellow Gotham Bus drivers to serve the public
included Joe Cassidy, Frank Ferguson, Gallagher, Grogan, Charlie
Henderson, Herbert Johnson, Jimmy Nolan, Philbin, and Potter. The
Gotham Bus Line's president is John J. Marshal (played by Robert
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