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For the most part Season 5 is wonderful, and it's obvious why Tony Randall snagged the EMMY for it, but Paramount Home Video has destroyed what has got to be one of the most joyous moments in t.v. sitcom history. In the last episode when the the minister announces that Felix and Gloria are once again husband and wife, Oscar erupts into a dance and belts out "I'm Singing in the Rain." Not so in this truncated release. The song is wiped out completely and the scene is ruined. Could the rights to the tune really have been that expensive? There are other musical edits throughout the season, but this one is unforgivable.
This was the show that pretty much started the whole mismatched pair sitcom or at least the most memorable of that type. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman have perfect chemistry which the show really benefits from. The series had clever writing from start to finish. Not just one of the most memorable show from the 1970s, but also one of the memorable shows of all time.
As far as Sit Coms go "The Odd Couple" is number one on my list of
favorites...edging out even "M.A.S.H." and "All In The Family".Randall and
Klugman make this show great...both are perfectly attuned to their roles.Its
one of the few times a Television show attained the high quality of its
While Randall and Klugman's great chemistry and comic timing make the show there is strong support from the other cast members.In particular Al Molinaro's mystified Murry The Cop,Gary Walberg's Grouchy Speed and Brett Somer's cynical Blanche Madison. May the sun never set on "The Odd Couple"!
Let me asked you this question................
How many TV shows do you know were major hits after they were made into feature films? How many of those movies made the transition into a great TV series?
Answer: "The Odd Couple","M*A*S*H","Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"(Alice),and "In The Heat Of The Night".
First off,let me say that "The Odd Couple" was the first and foremost based on a Neil Simon play to successfully make the transition from being on Broadway,to motion pictures,and finally to television as a weekly series. In 1968,the motion picture version starred Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon,and on September 24,1970,the television series version premiered on ABC-TV and it starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman and was produced by Garry Marshall.
The television series was one of ABC-TV biggest hits and it won back to back Emmys during its incredible five year run on the network from 1970 to 1975. It also in the top ten Nielsen during its run making it one of the most funniest shows of the decade. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman offered more to the roles than the movie or the Broadway play put together and every comedical line was simply magic. Indeed,the show was wickedly funny and sometimes having the two end up in some various situations especially,Randall(who played Felix Unger)who always tries to do the impossible for him and his divorced roommate Klugman(who played Oscar Madison),but ends up with hilarious results.
The show was produced by Garry Marshall,who went on to produced "Happy Days","Laverne and Shirley",and under the supervision of the playwright himself,Neil Simon who oversaw the production. Speaking of "The Odd Couple",this series hasn't been shown in years and it needs to be brought back,since the last time it was shown was on Nick-At-Nite's sister channel TV Land,and the former cable network TNN( formerly The Nashville Network and changed it title to The National Network which is now these days Spike TV).
**Getting back to the other shows that were great feature films and went on to become great TV shows: "M*A*S*H"(CBS-TV:1972-1983),"Alice" (CBS-TV:1976-1985),"In The Heat Of The Night"(NBC-TV:1986-1992 and also on CBS-TV:1992-1994)
These days, it's common for a network to milk every dime of the
syndication rights for a series, but the first time it was done in
today's over-the-top fashion was when Channel 11 in New York began
airing Odd Couple reruns four times a day, twice in the afternoon, and
twice again in the evening. The show ran just long enough for this to
be possible, and any kid in New York, especially one who didn't have
cable, couldn't help but watch at least some of the time.
Odd Couple reruns were a refreshing change of pace from Brady Bunch reruns, with their suburban amenities, like grass, driveways, and bedrooms bigger than closets. Sure, there were The Honeymooners, but they lived in Brooklyn in the 1950s, and there was I Love Lucy, but they were the old neighbors you avoided in the hallways. Felix and Oscar, however, were guys who were either like your dad, your dad's friends, or one of your cousins or uncles. They were regular New Yorkers living regular lives. Kids in New York who wanted someone to relate to and to experience the city got a double dose of the Big Apple and then some through this show.
What made this show work even more than the personality clash was the culture clash. Those who trash the celebrity cameos miss their purpose. Oscar's world was as alien to Felix as his was to Oscar. Scenes like Felix and Bubba Smith discussing interior decorating, or Oscar learning ballet exercises from Edward Vilella, are what really defined the show. Each character understood the other's place in his world, but could never fully respect or understand the world. This is why we got Oscar as a theater critic and Felix in the booth on Monday Night Football.
We also got two lead characters escaping bad marriages only to find themselves in a worse marriage, not to each other, but to the ever-elusive affordable Manhattan apartment with a roommate who isn't too far off the deep end. The need to preserve one's living arrangements drives Manhattanites to tolerate Odd Couple-style antics, lest we have to pay the entire rent or risk an unknown quantity as a roommate.
For me, as a kid watching the reruns (I never caught the series during its run) was a New York experience all its own, a chance to "see" my own city in all its quirky glory, comedically encapsulated by two of the great talents of that era. We got hot dogs eaten on the run, cabs hailed in rainstorms, subways getting stuck, poker games, off-track betting, and a measure of culture through Felix that I never would have been exposed to otherwise.
This show effortlessly achieved a level of performance on a weekly basis that few of today's shows can match even on their best nights. This may have been a product of the three-network era when talent and ratings were not so diluted, but it's also a product of a quality standard that seems sorely lacking today. There were some mediocre episodes on this show, but very few bad ones, many good ones, and a lot of great ones.
I'll end with some trivia notes: Klugman really lived at 1049 Park Avenue (he often played horses at the OTB parlors on the East Side), and Tony Randall actually lived at 145 Central Park West. Talk about hiding in plain sight!! This was also one of the few shows ever to use a phone number for one of the characters that did not begin with 555.
This is indeed one of the few tv series that are equal too if not better than the film and play it was based on. Simply shot and perfectly played, the scripts and the acting could not be better. These shows are fun to watch now not only for the style of clothing, but also for the fact that it's about two middle aged men! TV show-makers of today would do well to watch and learn from this classic.
I'm about the only person I know who prefers the first season (shot in
cinematic style with a single camera) to later seasons, but even after
switched to the multiple-camera technique and live audience (with the
accompanying broadening of the humor), it was still better than 90% of TV
sitcoms ever (unlike, say, *Happy Days*, on which quality plummeted when
they made a similar change).
The only thing that really interferes with my enjoyment of *TOC* is the horrible, horrible celebrity cameos.
I mean, Rodney Allen Rippy?
The TV show, 'The Odd Couple' is a classic. Great acting from two pro's
with excellent scripts. Growing up I watched the episodes over and over
like many other favorites shows. So, when I heard it was coming finally
to DVD, I said, 'Finally'. But beware folks... Season one is
unaltered... BUT, the other final four seasons are edited... I guess
being cheap... a lot of the music/songs were not re-bought. Which is
very sad... because a couple episodes ended in song. Even though the
episodes are very much intact, the alternations do show, especially the
final episode when Felix gets remarried and cut is Oscar singing,
"Singing in the rain" at the end. Very bad edit. But the comedy is
still very much there but not the true episodes, so beware! Tony
Randall, God rest his soul would be disappointed if he saw this.
The Odd Couple I rate a TEN!!! The last four seasons on DVD I rate a 8 cause of the edits.
Great comedic concept from Neil Simonthe slob and the neat freak, two
divorced men living together in a small Manhattan apartment. But it's
really Klugman and Randall that make the premise work so welltheir
chemistry is simply superb. Klugman seems a natural for Oscar the slob,
with his sour expression and grouchy manner. Then there's Randall as
Felix, with his no-fat body and absurdly picky manner. You just know he
never played with mud pies or put on dirty socks.
It's amazing the writers get so many hilarious variations on the same themeFelix carrying on with his finicky obsessions to an annoying degree. He just can't seem to help himself. At the same time, we can't help sympathizing with poor Oscar who retaliates by turning his bedroom into a city dump. Actually actor Randall pulls off a really difficult trick: he manages to make Felix annoying without being dislikable. Any hint of the latter and the show would have fallen flat.
And who can forget the superb supporting cast, especially hawk-nosed Al Molinaro as Murray, the New York City policeMAN. He fits amiably right in with whatever the shenanigans might be, maybe too amiably for a cop. Then there're the rest of the poker playing characters, plus the girls led by Klugman's real life wife Brett and Father Knows Best's Elinor Donahue. Since nearly all the hijinks occur in the small apartment, the writers have their work cut out for them, and rise to the occasion they do, with only an occasional misfire. My favorite parts are when some poor put-upon old lady gets enough of Felix's extremes and swats him with her pursehe always looks so surprised, like he can't figure out why. Anyway, it's one of the best character-based comedies of the 70's or any TV decade.
"The Odd Couple" TV series just gets funnier with age! It is timeless
and hysterical! We own all 5 seasons on DVD and watch episodes often
and laugh out loud again and again! Clever scripts and genius casting
make this series one of the very, very best of all time! Tony Randall
and Jack Klugman have a magical chemistry - just like Jackie Gleason
and Art Carney! No one else is needed in scenes with these Dynamic Duos
- they are THAT funny interacting with each other! (The film version of
"The Odd Couple" provided a couple laughs but the TV series starring
these 2 beloved, ultra-talented actors outshines the movie in every
way!) Tony and Jack's facial expressions and body language cannot be
understated! They truly became Felix and Oscar in every episode! Al
Molinaro is a treasure as the very lovable, very funny Murray the Cop!
Our favorite guest actor x 3 episodes is Richard Staal (he is the
hilarious yet ultra-dry, Brother Ralph in "The Odd Monks"). John Byner
is right up there for his hilarious, memorable scene at the parking
garage in "The New Car."
It's great to see all the creative ways the writers incorporated fun guest stars from different facets of show business, esp. "Password" & "Let's Make a Deal" episodes. (It's also refreshing to see how nice men used to dress, even in casual settings, with collared shirts and tapered, non-jean, non-cargo pants!)
It is impossible to pick a favorite episode but a few include "Sleepwalker," "The Fat Farm," "The Flying Felix," "Security Arms," "A Night To Disremember," "The Moonlighter," "Scrooge Gets An Oscar," "My Strife in Court," and MORE!
The biggest disappointment of recent years regarding this series: The editing and altering of episodes on the DVDs is absolutely inexcusable and utterly disappointing!!!
We were lucky enough to see Tony and Jack live on stage in the 1990s, starring in "The Odd Couple" and it was a dream come true. Tony and Jack were interviewed on the radio during their week in town for the show and both stressed how disgusted they were with the editing of the shows on TV; Jack said the best lines/scenes are cut out! How true! What would they say about the DVDs now?
When we made our first trip to NYC (3 weeks ago), our first stop was 1049 Park Ave. to get photos of the cool apt. building where Felix disgustedly picks up Oscar's discarded cigar off the ground during the famous beginning of the show! Long live "The Odd Couple"!
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