International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons
Arthur William Matthew "Art" Carney (1918/11/04 - 2003/11/09) and |
Herbert John "Jackie" Gleason (1916/02/26 - 1987/06/24)
From 1 November, 1952 until 1 June, 1957 and later from 17 September, 1966 until 28 February, 1970, the Honeymooners was one of televisions most popular shows, although it only ran as its own series for 39 episodes in 1955 and 1956.
As part of the show, bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and sewer worker Ed Norton (Art Carney) were members of the Raccoon Lodge in Brooklyn, New York. The fraternity was called the International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons, the International Order of Loyal Raccoons, or at times, the Royal Order of Raccoons. Founded by Toots Mondello and Herman Hildebrand in 1907, their motto was "E Pluribus Raccoon".
Ralph and Ed belonged to Bensonhurst chapter which had a membership of 300. Their uniform, costing $35, was a double-breasted military jacket with oversized epaulets on each shoulder, white shirt, dark tie and a hat with a raccoon tail. Morris Fink, a sewer worker with Ed Norton, was the Grand High Exhalted Mystic Ruler. He wore three tails on his coonskin hat. George Williams was the president of the Bensonhurst Raccoons. Monthly dues were $2.
Official club greeting (Bylaws, sec. 2)
The handshake involved touching elbows (first right then left), followed by a "Woooooo" sounding cry as they wiggled the raccoon tail on their lodge hat. They ended by chorusing: "Brothers under the pelt."
From the hallowed streets of Greenpernt,|
To the shores of Sheepshead Bay,
From the Verrazano Narrows,
To Canarsie across the way...
We have come together, one and all,
In fellowship to commune,
And to glorify the Grand Exalted
Brotherhood of Raccoons. [Howl]
In the West and in the East|
Theres a mighty little beast
For courage there is no other.
When the chips are all at stake
We are proud to call him brother.
So with our noble tails entwined
And a spirit strong of mind
We'll have hearts that cannot melt.
In the forest, in the trees
On the land or seven seas
We're brothers under the pelt.
Raccoons, the noble Raccoons
Membership requirements (Bylaws, sec. 2)
- US citizen for the last six months|
- have a public school diploma
- pay a $1.50 initiation fee.
Raccoon of the Year privileges
- Opening the first clam at the annual clambake
- Steering the boat on the annual ride up the Hudson River to Raccoon point.
- Free burial with spouse at Raccoon National Cemetery in Bismark, North Dakota.
- Opportunity to run for Grand High Exhalted Mystic Ruler.
- Throwing the first bag of water out of the hotel window at the Raccoon convention.
- Annual national conventions in Chicago and Minneapolis.
- Annual ride up the Hudson River to Raccoon point.
- Annual clambake.
- Annual fishing trip (wives not allowed)
- National Mambo dance championship.
- Annual Costume Party.
- Raccoon Lodge bowling team, the Hurricanes.
There was a $15 fee for each event.
Fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes.
Guest Speaker 1953/06/13 [00:13:31]
Ralph has to speak at the next Raccoon meeting but Alice took his uniform pants to the cleaners and he has nothing to wear.
The Deciding Vote 1955/12/10
Ralph loses a Raccoon election. Guest stars Cliff Hall as the Raccoon Lodge president. Directed by Frank Satenstein, written by A.J. Russell, Herbert Finn.
Something Fishy 1955/12/17
Ralph and Ed don't want to take their wives on a Raccoon fishing trip. Guest stars Cliff Hall as the Raccoon Lodge President. Directed by Frank Satenstein, written by Sydney Zelinka, Leonard Stern.
The Loudspeaker 1956/04/21
Ralph writes a speech because he thinks hes going to be Raccoon of the Year. Directed by Frank Satenstein, written by Marvin Marx, Walter Stone.
On Stage 1956/04/28
Ralph expects to be the star of a Raccoon Lodge play that he, Alice, and Ed are in. Directed by Frank Satenstein, written by Sydney Zelinka, Leonard Stern.
Unconventional Behavior 1956/05/12
Ed handcuffs himself to Ralph on their way to the Raccoon convention. Directed by Frank Satenstein, written by Marvin Marx, Walter Stone.
See tvtome.com for episode details. [2004/03/13]