Best Second Banana in the Business, The

Show business sobriquet bestowed on the talented actor/comedian Art Carney who is best known for this role as Ed Norton, New York City sewer worker and friend to blustery bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) on the sitcom THE HONEYMOONERS/CBS/1955-56.


One of his earliest television supporting character roles was on THE MOREY AMSTERDAM SHOW/CBS/DUM/1948-50 when he played the hilarious Charlie the Doorman and later Newton the Waiter (before TV he worked in Vaudeville & radio).

In 1952, Carney became a regular on CAVALCADE OF STARS/DUM/1949-52 where he proved to be a perfect foil to the series host Jackie Gleason in a variety of sketches. One of which was THE HONEYMOONERS.

In 1957, he left the company of Jackie Gleason to explore greener pastures. He proved himself to be an excellent leading man in the movies Harry & Tonto (1974) and The Late Show (1977) and on Broadway in “The Rope Dancers,” “The Odd Couple,” “Lovers,” and “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.”

In 1977, Art Carney starred in the police drama LANIGAN’S RABBI/NBC/1977 as a police chief in small town of Cameron, California; and as James “The Weasel” Cavannaugh on the sitcom THE CAVANAUGHS/CBS/1986-89.

Born Arthur William Matthew Carney on November 4, 1918, in Mount Vernon, New York actor Art Carney died November 9, 2003 in Chester, Connecticut.

In recent years the term “Second Banana” has been appropriately linked to Ed McMahon who was the announcer and sidekick of Johnny Carson on the NBC’s THE TONIGHT SHOW from 1962-92.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Showbiz Nicknames, TV & Movie Industry

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