Tag Archives: Jackie Gleason

Adapt To Be More Adept

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you better adapt to new audiences. Reading time: 3:04

        You’re beautiful and your sexy hair, stylish clothes and stunning makeup are just as beautiful. After all, you’re an actress with all the glamour that draws fans on stage and screen.

Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason

Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason

     So what’s the chances that you would allow yourself to be professionally photographed while you’re wearing curlers, a torn housecoat and no makeup? Audrey Meadows did that and earned the contested TV role as the wife of Ralph Kramden in the Jackie Gleason’s sitcom The Honeymooners in 1955 .

      And in the process, the famous actress of her time modeled a leadership behavior that the most influential leaders follow even today more than a half century later:

Adapt to your audience’s
fears, concerns

and expectations
before you make your presentation,

before you ask for the order or for the job.

       Audry Meadows, the former Broadway musical star in Top Banana, had a method to her madness. She wanted the role of playing Jackie Gleason’s wife in the sitcom. But Gleason was reluctant to even consider her. Continue reading

Partnering Power: How Sweet It Is

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your partnerships. Reading time: 4:42.

           As a reporter with the Miami Herald in 1975, I met Jackie Gleason in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he was promoting a professional golf tournament, the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. He was honing his golf swing to host President Jerry Ford in a celebrity round with legendary entertainer Bob Hope and the greatest professional golfer at the time, Jack Nicklaus.

          And that sunny February morning Jackie Gleason taught me a leadership lesson I never expected and never have forgotten over these last 37 yearsl

Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners.

Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in The Honeymooners

      The Great One. That’s what the television entertainment world called Jackie Gleason. And no wonder. After all, he hosted  television programs in the 1950s-60s that dominated the airwaves —from The Honeymooners to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS — and made loud-mouth Ralph Kramden the most famous bus driver in New York.

       In fact,  the first time I heard Jackie Gleason’s voice live and in person on the golf course, he sounded more like the boisterous and cantakerous Ralph Kramden in the The Honeymooners who would yell at his wife: “Straight to the Moon, Alice.”

        Jackie Gleason was mad as hell. He stood about 50 yards away from me on the driving range. Gleason yelled at my photographer to stop taking photos (“Hey Pal, not now!”).  The Great One demanded to be left alone to concentrate on his golf swing.

      By the time I could intervene and introduce myself as something more than a pesky fan, I figured Ralph Kramden would also kick me “straight to the moon” when I requested an interview. Maybe I could hope he’d settle for just making one of his patented threats: “One of these days… POW!!! Right in the kisser!” I was wrong. In fact, Jackie Gleason taught me a lesson in leadership that surprised me, especially after I saw first hand how self-absorbed and arrogant he appeared to be based in his personal behavior during a practice round of golf. Continue reading

Personal Communications: From Plato to Play-Doh

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you communicate more clearly.


             “Daddy, how do you get to be grown up,” my then  four-year old daughter ask me one day. I said: “Well, big girls are really smart. They read a lot.” “Daddy, I read the comics a lot,” she said.  I clarified: “You have to read more than comics. You have to read history and literature, you have to read Shakespeare, you have to read Socrates, and Plato.”

        “Oh…..,” she said. A few minutes later my daughter came prancing into the living room. “I’m grown up,” she claimed. “You are?” I wondered. “Yes, I can read Plato. See,” she said, reading from a can in her toy box:  “Play-Doh comes in three colors etc.’.

        Now I have heard of tuna in a can, soup in a can, but philosophers in a can?

        I smiled and realized my mistake, a mistake that forced me to think more about the tone of my words -the way my words sound to others especially given their frame of reference. How foolish of me to think that my daughter would hear the word  Plato and not link the sound of that word with a clay-like modeling compound material that she played every day with to make arts and craft projects –Play-Doh– than the student of Socrates.

   That conversation with my daughter taught me to be more cognizant that speech is like music. Indeed, we hear the melody long before the lyrics, the sound long before the words. Continue reading