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The Odd Couple (1970)
don't just ASS-U-ME that this show is a classic.....
At first, Jack Klugman wasn't interested in doing this show. But when he found out that Tony Randall had signed on, Jack changed his mind. I believe that they turned out to be the greatest comedy team in TV history.
There is so much about "The Odd Couple" that is wonderfully endearing-especially when you examine its history. It ran for five seasons(1970-75 )with 114 episodes. But the ratings were very marginal all through its original run on ABC.
Then, something happened when it went into syndication in the latter half of the 1970s. People tuned in to the show on local stations all across the country. "The Odd Couple" became a sensation. WPIX-TV in New York City was showing it four times a day, at one point !
The first season used the vertical set with the gate and canned laughter for the episodes. Tony and Jack went to executive producer Garry Marshall about this. If the show was picked up for a second season, they wanted a horizontal set and a live studio audience for the show. Marshall had seen the chemistry between this pair. Tony and Jack got what they wanted and more. They each received five percent ownership of the show ( quite rare for actors on any series ). This gave them both a dose of creative control. They 'punched up' many of the scripts, threw in some of their own ideas, and made the show even funnier.
Jack's "Oscar" took home two EMMYs for the show and Tony's "Felix" took home one of his own, as well.
There has been plenty of debate about the guest stars that came on the show. It was mostly opera stars & ballet dancers for Tony ; various sports figures for Jack. But it worked and could often be hilarious.
Of course, Felix was always the neat-freak and Oscar was always the slob. That's part of what made "The Odd Couple". Tony and Jack turned it into an American classic.
Just one question..."Can two divorced men share a DVD set- without driving each other crazy ?" I'm betting they can :-).
Jeffrey McAdam-Reed ( email@example.com ) .
California Fever (1979)
a beach fantasy that never had a chance...
CBS scheduled "California Fever" on Tuesday nights at 8 opposite ABC's powerhouse, "Happy Days".
I thought it was an engaging bit of fluff, but it had such an implausible-no-IMPOSSIBLE premise. The four stars never went to school; never went home; parents were never shown-they would just hang out at the beach-all the time.
This was in the fall of 1979. I had my "SONY BETAMAX" & I also had a habit of taping shows I knew were 'terminal' from the start.
Jimmy McNichol & Michelle Tobin had starred in a very short- lived family show called, "The Fitzpatricks" in the fall of 1977. In that show, they were brother & sister.
Co-star Marc McClure ( Ross ), went on to play "Jimmy Olsen" in the original four Superman movies.
Lorenzo Lamas ( Rick ), eventually made it big on "Falcon Crest".
Jimmy went on to make a few made-for-TV movies. One of them was called, "Blinded by the Light", in which he starred with his famous sister, Kristy. Jimmy was very one-dimensional in that one ( about a cult ). Kristy was much, much better.
Michelle disappeared completely after "Fever". Jimmy had some moderate success playing bass guitar in various bands, but his trail has been 'cold' for many years.
There were 13 episodes of "Fever" produced; 9 were telecast before cancellation-I have 6 of them. They are now on VHS masters & I can & have transferred them on to DVD, as well. Hard to believe & 'who cares' ? I know. But this is a rarity that will, doubtless, never be seen, again. I'm probably the only person in the country that has this one & it makes for a neat collector's item.
The theme song was sung by Jimmy & was written by Alan O'Day. O'Day had a number 1 hit in the summer of 1977 with, "Undercover Angel". It was there at the top for a number of weeks & is still heard & fondly remembered, today.
"Fever" ran from September 25th, 1979 until December 11th. Then it was gone. Ironically, one week after "Fever" was pulled, CBS aired "The Jimmy McNichol Special" in the same time slot ! But people paid as little attention to that as they had with "Fever".
A good friend of mine once asked me, "Jeff, why do you work so hard at remembering"? I countered that with, "Why do YOU work so hard at FORGETTING"?
"California Fever". It's been nearly 30 years. But it is also fun to remember-as well as have a chunk of the show in my hands.
"These kids have the fever. California Fever-where every day is sun & fun & every night is something else. Catch "California Fever", this fall on CBS". An original promo ( am I thorough or what ) ? More likely I need to stop sniffing nail polish remover. Nah. While you have to totally suspend disbelief in order to watch a show like this one, it did have a certain unrealistic charm to it.
Oh Boy, I need a vacation ! California ? No, I think not.
Jeffrey McAdam-Reed ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Death Wish (1974)
The Very Best of Bronson
This was Charles Bronson's best movie by far. His chiseled features & stoic mannerisms fit his character perfectly. New York City.
Paul Kersey, mild-mannered architect & bleeding heart liberal, whose life is suddenly shattered. Muggers have attacked his wife & daughter. Wife, Joanna ( Hope Lange ), is dead & his daughter is becoming a vegetable.
Soon after Joanna's funeral, Kersey's boss sends him out to Tuscon on a job. "The Jainchill Development Company" there needs someone with Paul's expertise & skill as an architect. Also, being away from New York for a while would seem to be therapeutic.
Paul is met in Tuscon by Ames Jainchill ( Stuart Margolin-EMMY winner from "The Rockford Files" ). Ames takes Paul to an old western movie set which is now a tourist attraction.
Later, that evening, they go to a club...a gun club. Paul has told Ames that he was a C.O. in a medical unit during the Korean war. Upon learning that Paul was, actually, a conscientious objector, Ames begins laughing & says, "Oh Christ ! What a guest to bring to a gun club !"
But, it turns out that Kersey's childhood was spent around guns & he is a 'dead shot'-courtesy of his father.
When the job is finished, Paul is headed back to New York- along with a present from Ames-a 32 caliber pistol. Now, Paul is beginning to focus on something...REVENGE. He begins prowling the city streets at night hoping that local muggers will see him as 'an easy mark'. But Paul begins gunning them down left & right.
The mayor, city leaders, and the NYPD are secretly pleased- of course, they dare not reveal that to the citizens. Kersey is doing what they would all love to do-and the voters seem to adore the man known only as "The Vigilante". It's kind of like having a gunslinger named "Pecos Paul" in town. Muggings are way down & people are sleeping a lot better.
Eventually, Paul is wounded by a mugger's bullet. Inspector Frank Ochoa has been doggedly tracking our vigilante. Now, Ochoa has the opportunity to offer Paul a deal. The inspector has secured Paul's pistol. The weapon will be 'disposed of' if Paul leaves New York..."permanently". Kersey's classic response ? "Inspector...by sundown ?" One is reminded of the scenes in Tuscon.
Is the very end of this film a new beginning ? Well, that's what sequels are for-and "Death Wish" spawned four of them.
"Pecos Paul" ? Well I was quite pleased with that...and I don't even like westerns. Jeffrey McAdam-Reed