Kramden of the Apes


John "Bridge" Martin

It was 62 years ago that Tarzan showed up on the Jackie Gleason sitcom, "The Honeymooners."

At least in song.

The episode, titled "I Remember Mau Au," originally aired April 13, 1957. It had the Kramdens and Nortons abroad on a vacation trip when Ralph and Ed become infatuated with the idea of going on an African Safari. They sing a song, titled "We Are A Couple of Hunters," which starts off with a mention of their boyhood hero, Tarzan.

Not all of the lyrics were understandable, but I think I got most of them. I added a couple of question marks where I wasn't sure and substituted lions for another word I couldn't understand because lions made sense, in context. If you want the tune, you'll just have to find the episode and watch it or make up your own.

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Tarzan in Media


Tarzan has been a near-mythic figure in American culture since Edgar Rice Burroughs penned Tarzan of the Apes back in 1912. Books, Films, Syndicated comics, various products and more became part of the landscape. Even into the mid 1960s references to this iconic hero could be found. TV shows like "Dragnet", "Leave It To Beaver", "Perry Mason", "77 Sunset Strip", "My Three Sons", "Adam 12", "Cannon", "Mannix", "Gilligan's Island, "The Monkees", "Hardy Boys" and many more were riddled with either humorous or other nods to the Lord of the Jungle.

However, things changed over the years and by the 1980s there were few to no references on TV. Then again, I have not seen every show ever made, but the ones I do watch are pretty popular, run for decades, and run the gamult of comedy, drama, and documentary.

What changed?

I have a few thoughts, but for this joyous recollection of Jackie Gleason and Art Carney doing a gag song on live TV will save those for another day.


Ralph (Jackie Gleason):

When I was a kid just six years old

I had an idol brave and bold

Tarzan of the jungle was his name

He was a man of bravery

Realer than any man could be

How I always wished to be the same...

Ed (Art:Carney):

Oh, he could capture anything in the jungle,

Because he had the noble heart of a king


Whaddya say we take a chance?

Move to the land of elephants,

Africa is waiting to be tamed

Are ya game?


Oh are ya game?


We're a couple of hunters

From Sackwith(?) Avenue

We're gonna go to Africa

Like all good hunters do.

We've made the big decision,

We're gonna get provisions,

And toss them in a native-type canoe


We will go to places where no one's been before

And capture wild animals by the score,


So if you meet hippopatomus

Don't do a thing till you hear from us

We like to bring 'em back alive....

We're a couple of hunters

From Brooklyn USA

We're not afraid of lions(?)

We'll feed them on the way.


But if they chance to meet ya

And they decide to eat ya

They'll never know another hungry day,


We may catch a tiger, a large giraffe or two,

We may open up a private zoo...

So if you see rhinocerous

Don't do a thing till you hear from us,

We'd like to bring 'em back alive.

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NOTE 1: Ed's line about "... if they chance to meet ya, and they decide to eat ya They'll never know another hungry day," is a reference to Ralph's weight.

NOTE 2: Yes, even Jackie Gleason put tigers in Africa!

The episode can be found as a pay-per-view item at youtube.

A summary of the episode, without the words of the song, can be found at the bottom of this page: