The $99,000 Answer is one of the show's most famous episodes, and it's a true classic. If you don't know the twist of this one, please go see it now. In fact, "go see it now" is good advice for any of these episodes at any time.
Some of my favorite Mighty Gleason Players turn up in The $99,000 Answer. First up is the oft-heard but seldom seen Garrity, the bellicose upstairs neighbor who likes to shout snide comments at Ralph...or sometimes just holler at him to shut up.
Check out Garrity barging into the Kramdens' premises like a bat out of hell as Ralph and Ed try to practice for Ralph's appearance on the game show:
The disheveled Garrity always cracks me up, but the best part is when he leaves, Alice enters the room, And Ralph yells out the doorway, "You woke up my wife!" and calls him a loudmouth!
Garrity: Always a playa hater. What right does he have to come down and break Ralph's concentration? It's quite possible that his butting in is what creates the mental block that leads to Ralph's downfall.
(Spoiler alert: As hilarious as it is when Ralph goes on the show and can't identify the composer of Swannee River despite hearing it a thousand times in his own apartment as Ed's "warmup song," it strains credibility. Kramden knows every other damn song in creation but can't handle this "gimme"? I always chose to believe he put a mental block on the tune because he was so irritated at Norton recycling that same bit time and time again.)
After Garrity it's the inimitable Mrs. Manicotti, one of my other all-time favorites in the Gleasonverse. She tries to test Ralph with old Italian opera songs but winds up waving her arms in frustration, unable to stump the master.
Mrs. Manicotti cooks, she mambos, AND she sings? What a woman! If anything ever happens to MR. Manicotti...
Let's stop and think about that name for a minute. Mrs. Manicotti. Real creative, Honeymooners writers. I'm surprised Garrity isn't Mr. Potato (He kind of looks like a "Mr. Potato,: doesn't he). It may be the single best/worst name in Honeymooners history.
Finally, because I love the way Ralph rattles off song facts, here's a picture of him doing his thing:
|"...for a little picture called 42nd Street..."|