The Great One
The Great One
What Can You Learn from Jackie Gleason?
"How sweet it is!" -Jackie Gleason
If you saw Smokey and the Bandit, you are familiar with the work of Jackie Gleason playing the iconic Sheriff Buford T. Justice. He was an entertainer with a string of creativity years before the hit movie came out in 1977.
"The Great One" will forever be known for his successful business decisions. He starred in the hit series. The Honeymooners, in the early days of television and revived the show several decades later through smart foresight.
What you can learn from his creativity will inspire you to go where nobody else has gone in your field and industry. Here are 4.5 lessons he taught us about business:
1. Remember the past and give the people what they like most.
Jackie was one of the earliest television stars. He was in a show for the CBS network (the same network who hosts The Big Bang Theory). Knowing television was a successful medium, he signed a 20 year agreement with the network. He got paid whether or not he was on a show. Gleason was such a hot talent that the network executives readily signed the agreement.
When he starred in “The Honeymooners” 1950s situation comedy, he knew he was on to something special. He had it filmed in a new style of video for the day (Kinescope). The show wasn’t that big of a hit its only season on television, but he was able to parlay his success into “reruns” – something few had even conceived of at the time.
Jackie also used The Honeymooners for future roles on television and even revived many of the shows plots and characters on his variety shows in the late 1950s and 60s.
In 1985, Gleason revealed that he had saved 39 episodes of the classic show, just when classic television (TV Land) was coming into style. “The Lost Episodes,” were opened up to a new generation of viewers and he became a star once again.
Gleason knew he was on to a product that would transcend the moment – a blue-collar situation comedy… decades before Roseanne, Archie Bunker, Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy.
He had the forethought to keep the Kinescope tapes hidden in a personal vault... for a day they would be revealed to the world. Reruns and classic television cable networks hadn’t even been dreamed of yet, but he saved the tapes for the right time when they would.
Remember Classic Coca Cola?
What is your organization doing that is a “classic”
transcending time? We live with a generation who loves “retro” ideas but has no concept
of luggage without wheels, variety shows, family meals together, any non-internet
communication, Western movie genres, sitcoms that are funny and earned rewards. What
worked years ago that customers would like a taste of again?