Don’t choose to be the villain.
An interesting footnote: The idea of the 1960s cartoon show, The Flintstones, was almost
completely lifted from The Honeymooners… right down to some of the plot lines. Jackie
was mad enough to sue the production company, but was advised that he would be a
villain if he sued a popular children’s cartoon show.
Maybe that is a fifth lesson every leader can learn from today:“You can’t sue Fred Flintstone!”
Brad Darrach wrote in People magazine on Jackie Gleason at his death, “Orson Welles
dubbed him ‘The Great One,’ and he wore the epithet as proudly as an emperor wears
ermine, charming and tickling and bullying us until we took him at his own measure.”
(July 13, 1987)
I’ve always admired his work. Gleason could be funny one moment, then show pathos
and sadness the next, and still stay true to himself.
Leaders who want to reinvent can gain inspiration and learn from someone who didn’t
mind showing both a fun side and deep side within the same hour. He created characters
to show every side of his humanity and stay alive in the short history of television.
Gleason said, “I knew that nobody could be on television week after week as themselves
and exist for any length of time, because no one has that rich a personality.... So I knew
that I had to create some characters.”