The Honeymooners

Season 5 Episode 18

The $99,000 Answer

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Jan 28, 1956 on CBS
out of 10
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64 votes

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Episode Summary

The $99,000 Answer

Ralph goes on a quiz show with the category of popular songs. He practices all week, spending a lot of money, only to miss on the first question!


Running time: 26:00.

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  • Brilliant as usual.RATING:10

    One of my favorite episodes.Hey,never mind that-they all are!Great acting by Gleason when he first appears on the quiz show.Ralph was extremely nervous("I brive a dus."-"I dus a brive").After exhausting all avenues to study up on the popular songs category,driving everyone crazy in the process,an extremely overconfident Ralph has his dreams of wealth dashed on the first question.And his desperate answer of "Ed Norton" was priceless.The Kramdens are doomed to remain at 328 Chauncy St.....Notes:Episode had entertaining scene with Alice's mother,who is always good in the series.Also in this episode, Trixie has her only "funny" line in the whole series,about Ralph being "the biggest thing on television".moreless
  • Hilarious, and a classic to say the least! When Norton starts to play the piano, he goes into his usual twitches, which always annoys Ralph. The funniest part is Ralph's reaction to Norton - usually shouting "COME ON!!!", and then shoving him.moreless

    It's interesting to note that this episode has some similarities to a previous Honeymooners skit titled "Songwriters". In that sketch, Norton was seen playing the piano and starting out each tune with the intro of "Suwanee River". Ralph asked Norton in that sketch why he always had to play "Suwanee River" before he played a full-length tune. However, in "$99,000 Answer", Ralph didn't know that "Suwanee River" was the name of the song Norton always played in the intro. "Songwriters" was broadcast a year before "$99,000 Answer".

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but it would have been more appropriate to have the "Songwriters" episode occur after "$99,000 Answer" for two reasons: in "Songwriters", Ralph knew about the "Suwanee River" song, and the song that Ralph & Norton wrote became a hit on the radio, which would have given them royalties - thus, made them a little wealthier to where they could afford more modern amenities of the time.moreless
  • Ralph goes on a TV game show for a chance to win $99,000.

    Ralph practices with Norton in studying the names and composers of songs in order to win the $99,000 on a game show. Ralph and Alice fight on weather or not he should go all the way to the $99,000 answer or not. This episode is very funny in that the piano they use to practice is in Ralph's apartment and they keep everyone up in the building playing the piano late at night. Also, Norton has to play the intro part of a song as a warm-up before he plays the actual song that Ralph is trying to guess each time. A neighbor in the building comes in Ralph's apartment just singing trying to help Ralph out in his practice also.moreless
  • This one is a winner

    Ralph appears on the $99,000 answer and he gets rather nervous introducing himself and the subject makes him more nervous, popular songs, Ralph hasn't studied that subject in a while, good thing the show gave him a week to think about it, since his introduction took to long so that it ended before he could be asked questions. Ralph has Ed help him study by buying records and having sessions where Ed plays the piano and Ralph names that tune, the catch is that Ed has to warm up with a reindition of Swanee River that annoys Ralph. When he finally gets to the quiz show, you can guess what the first question is...can't you?

    It's a very well done episode, one of the top 10 I must say.moreless
Audrey Meadows

Audrey Meadows

Alice Kramden (1952-1957)

Art Carney

Art Carney

Ed Norton

Joyce Randolph

Joyce Randolph

Trixie Norton (1952-1957)

Jack Davis

Jack Davis

Mr. Parker

Guest Star

Jay Jackson

Jay Jackson

Herb Norris

Guest Star

Ethel Owen

Ethel Owen

Mrs. Gibson

Guest Star

Jackie Gleason

Jackie Gleason

Ralph Kramden

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • During the piano practice session, Ralph correctly guesses all but one of the songs Norton plays on the piano. The last one, however, seems to stump Ralph - while drawing snickers from the audience. The reason this is funny is because the song is none other than "Melancholy Serenade" aka Jackie Gleason's theme song. A little inside joke by The Great One obviously. And in fact, if the viewer freeze frames this scene while Norton is turning over the sheet music to that song, there is a moment when you can clearly see Jackie's head shot on the cover, thus reinforcing that Ed really was blessed with that musical talent.

      Of course, before Ralph gets a chance to correctly identify the song, "Jealous McGarrity" knocks at the door and the boys get distracted from their rehearsing.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • [Ralph tries to convince Alice.]

      Ralph: For the last time, Alice, I'm telling you. I am going for the $99,000 question!

      Alice: For the last time, Ralph, I'll be very proud if you win the 600 bucks.

      Ralph: $600? Peanuts, peanuts, what am I gonna do with peanuts?

      Alice: Eat 'em, like any other elephant.

    • Alice: [to Norton] If you touch that piano again, I'll lose all my respect for you!
      Ralph: (threatening) Go ahead and PLAY, Norton, if you don't want to lose my friendship!!
      Norton: Well, I'm in a spot! If I play the piano, I lose your respect, and if I DON'T play, I'll lose your friendship! (anguished wail) Why, oh WHY, was I blessed with this musical talent???

    • [Ralph is trying to explain to Alice why he KNOWS he's going to win "THE $99,000 ANSWER"..]
      Ralph: ...and for your information, a twelve year-old kid walked in on one of these programs, WALKED IN, and answered a $16,000 question! Twelve years old, she was! Stands to reason ME, a grown man, I should be able to answer the same questions, that a TWELVE YEAR-OLD KID could answer!!
      Alice: Spell "antidisestablishmentarianism".
      Ralph: [a bit of an apprehensive pause] I'll spell it.....I'll spell it!
      Alice: Well...go ahead.
      Ralph: (exploding) I'll spell it when you give me $16,000 DOLLARS for spelling it!!
      Alice: (sheer disbelief) $16,000 for spelling it? I'll give you $32,000 if you can SAY it!

    • Ralph (talking about his mother inlaw) "Why couldn't she have been with Custer when he got in that trouble."

    • Ralph:"600 dollars? A mere bag of shells."

    • Alice: Just go for the gold, you've already got the pot.

    • "I bribe a dus." Ralph, just a tad nervous on the quiz show while stating his occupation.

    • Ralph: I'm at my best when I'm under pressure.
      Alice: Of course you are Ralph. You have to be in the kind of work you do. You're a man who brives a dus.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Mr. Parker's answer was actually incorrect. The number "1" in numeral or spelled-out form appears a total of 16 times. 8 times in numeral form, and 8 times spelled out.

    • Ralph's reference to the "twelve year-old kid" who won a "$16,000 question" on a TV quiz show was Gloria Lockerman, a young girl who won $16,000 on "THE $64,000 QUESTION" in September of 1955 before taking her winnings and going home. Her category was "Spelling Bee", which is why Alice challenged Ralph to spell "antidisestablishmentarianism".

    • Ralph Kramden's incorrect $99,000 answer was named number 91 on TV Guide / TV Lands 100 Most Memorable TV Moments in December of 2004.