41. The Odd Couple (1970-5)

This is the first of five articles I am doing for the TV Count Down now in progress at Wonders in the Dark.

Wonders in the Dark

by John Greco

The Odd Couple was one of those shows that was never a huge hit during its original TV run. For five-seasons it ran on ABC and not once did it crack the Top 20 in the Neilson ratings. However, once the show was cancelled and put in syndication, it became a favorite, still running today on various cable stations and streaming services. The shows two stars made more money once the show went into syndication than they did during the original run.

The show was based on Neil Simon’s hit Broadway play [1] that opened in March of 1965 and ran for more than two years. Walter Matthau played Oscar Madison, the sloppy, gambling sports-writer for The New York Herald with Art Carney as the finicky television news writer, Felix Unger. [2]  The play won numerous Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Actor for Matthau, and Best…

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A Look at The Odd Couple

Oddcou Over the years I have read many of Neil Simon’s plays and “The Odd Couple” has remained at the top of my favorites list.  The play was a huge hit on Broadway with Art Carney and Walter Matthau originating the roles of Felix Unger, (a newspaper writer in the play and movie and a photographer in the TV series) and sportswriter Oscar Madison. The play opened in March of 1965 and ran for 964 performances. Along with Carney and Matthau, the cast included the delightful character actor John Fiedler and as the Pidgeon Sisters, Monica Evans and Carole Shelley.  Along with Matthau these three actors would recreate their roles in the 1968 film. Evans and Shelley would go one step further playing the giggling bird sisters on the TV series. (1) Continue reading

Short Takes: Wall Street, Mitchum, Lincoln and Mansfield!

This edition of Short Takes includes one underrated fairly new film, from 2011, a made for television movie along with communists, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Joan Blondell and Jayne Mansfield.

Trial (1953) Mark Robson

A courtroom drama, filled with hot topics like racism, vigilantism, the Klu Klux Klan, communism, police brutality, paranoia and the influence of the media. On trial, a Mexican youth accused of murdering a local white girl. One of his lawyers (Arthur Kennedy) is more interested in using the boy as a martyr to raise money for the communist party while the other (Glenn Ford) is an idealistic young law professor who never tried a case before. Made during the McCarthy witch hunt era the story line has a strong anti-communist feel to it, but still manages to reflect some of dark sides of the American dream. Continue reading