A. General Information
B. Actors and Characters
C. On Television
D. On Home Video/DVD
A. General Information
1. What is "The Odd Couple" about?
"The Odd Couple" is a play, a movie, and a TV show that tells the story of two divorced men - Felix Unger, a neurotic neat freak, and Oscar Madison, a compulsive slob, both living in the same apartment. Although they are good friends, they constantly get on each other''s nerves. This FAQ mostly deals with the tv show.
2. Can you tell me some history about the Odd Couple?
"The Odd Couple" began as a play written by Neil Simon that was performed on Broadway starting in 1965, starring Walter Matthau as Oscar and Art Carney as Felix. Later in the show''s run, Jack Klugman took over the role of Oscar. In 1968, the play was made into a movie starring Walter Matthau as Oscar, and Jack Lemmon as Felix. The tv show began in the fall of 1970, and it was produced by Garry Marshall, with no involvement from Neil Simon. Although the show never made it into the top 25 in the Neilsen ratings, it lasted for five seasons and 114 episodes. The show''s highest rating came in the 1972-1973 season, when it charted at #36.
For a full history of the Odd Couple in all of its incarnations, check out the History page.
3. When the show was originally on, what days and times did it air?
The show went through quite a few date and time changes during its five-year run on ABC. Here is a list of all the days and times it aired (Eastern Standard Time):
Sept. 1970 to Jan. 1971 - Thursday nights at 9:30
Jan. 1971 to June 1973 - Friday nights at 9:30
June 1973 to Jan. 1974 - Friday nights at 8:30
Jan. 1974 to Sept. 1974 - Friday nights at 9:30
Sept. 1974 to Jan. 1975 - Thursday nights at 8:00
Jan. 1975 to July 1975 - Friday nights at 9:30
4. What was "The New Odd Couple"?
This was a remake of the original series, produced by Garry Marshall, that featured a primarily African-American cast playing the roles of Oscar and Felix and their friends. It aired from October 1982 to June 1983. For more information (as well as sounds and pictures), check out the page about other versions of theshow.
5. What about "The Oddball Couple"?
This was a Saturday morning cartoon that aired from September 6, 1975 to September 3, 1977. It featured two characters - asloppy dog named Fleabag, and a neat cat named Spiffy - who shared an office as reporters. It was produced by David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng.
B. Actors and Characters
1. Were Tony Randall and Jack Klugman anything like the characters they play on the show?
In a 1996 chat on Nick at Nite Online, Jack Klugman was asked, "How close was the character you played to your real self?" He responded, "Too close for comfort. If you could see my condominium right now, you would say ''Oscar Madison lives here.'' I''m messy. I''m not dirty. I shower a lot. Let''s say, I like being comfortable."
This was a question that annoyed Tony Randall. In a 1993 Entertainment Weekly interview, he responded, "I''ve been asked that same stupid question in every single interview I''ve done since 1970-that''s about 25,000 interviews [...] No. I''m nothing like Felix at all." However, he was like Felix in some ways. Some of Tony and Jack''s real life interests were incorporated into their characters, such as Tony''s love of opera and Jack''s love of betting on horses. In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Heather Randall said of her late husband, "[H]e was kind of the Felix character. You know, like when I was pregnant, he had stomach pains. That kind of thing. A little bit of a hypochondriac."
2. Was Jack Klugman married to Brett Somers-Klugman?
Yes, Jack was married to Brett Somers (credited as Brett Somers-Klugman on this show), who played Blanche Madison, Oscar''s ex-wife. According to some sources, they were married from 1956 to 1978, but I''ve heard from some other sources that they were never legally divorced.(Tony Randall was never married to Janis Hansen, who playsGloria Unger, Felix''s ex-wife.)
3. What happened to Jack Klugman''s voice?
If you saw any of Jack Klugman's later tv or movie appearances, you''ve probably noticed that he spoke in a raspy whisper. This is because he was diagnosed with throat cancer and in 1989 he underwent throat surgery, which involved removing one of his vocal chords. After the surgery, he could not speak at all, but after vocal therapy, he improved, and was able to speak, although his voice obviously didn't sound like it used to.
4. Have any performers on "The Odd Couple" won Awards for their work on the show?
Yes! In 1974, Jack Klugman won a Golden Globe award for Best TV Actor in a Musical or Comedy. In 1971 and 1973, he won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Tony Randall won the same Emmy award in 1975.
Also, Jack Klugman won an Emmy in 1964 for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, for his appearance in an episode of "The Defenders."
The Neil Simon play also won three Tony Awards: Best Author (Neil Simon), best director (Mike Nichols), and best Actor in a play (Walter Matthau). It was also nominated for best play. The 1968 movie received Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay and best filmediting. Both Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau received Golden Globe nominations for best motion picture actor in a musical or comedy, and the movie wasnominated for best motion picture.
5. Did any of the actors in the 1968 movie also appear in the show?
Monica Evans and Carol Shelly, who played the Pigeon Sisters, were the only performers in the movie who reprised their roles for the tv show (they also had originated these roles in the play on Broadway). John Fiedler, who played Vinnie in the movie, appeared in two episodes of the show, playing different characters.
6. Whatever happened to the Pigeon Sisters?
During the first season of the show, many characters from the movie were also in the show: the Pigeon sisters, Vinnie, Roy, Speed, and Murray. After the first season, the powers-that-be decided to trim down the cast and got rid of all the supporting characters except Murray. (Vinnie and Speed later made occasional guest appearances.)
7. Whatever happened to Roy?
Your guess is as good as mine. Although Vinnie and Speed were eliminated after season 1 in an effort to trim the cast, Roy disappeared midway through season 1 without an explanation. And unlike Vinnie and Speed, he never made any guest appearances in later seasons. The likeliest explanation is probably that Ryan MacDonald, who played Roy, simply wanted to leave the show.
8. Whatever happened to Dr. Nancy Cunningham, Oscar''s girlfriend? Did they break up on the show?
There''s no definitive answer to this. Oscar and Nancy started dating in the first season (episode #16, "Lovers Don''t Make House Calls), but by the end of the second season, she was gone. There was never any scene showing (or mentioning) that they had broken up. She was last mentioned in episode #41, "You Saved My Life," where Oscar speaks to her on the phone. (He calls her "honey," so we can assume that they were still dating.) After that episode, she was never heard from again, without explanation, and Oscar later went on to date other women. One explanation for the character''s disappearance could be that the writers thought there would be more plot possibilities if Oscar dated lots of different women, instead of having one steady girlfriend. It''s also possible that Joan Hotchkis, who played Nancy, wanted to leave the show. Nobody seems to know for sure.
9. Whatever happened to Janis Hansen, the actress who played Gloria Unger? What other TV/movie appearances has she made since the Odd Couple?
Janis got her own question in the FAQ since so many people have been asking about her. You can find a list of most of her movie/tv show roles on her page at the Internet Movie Database. It appears that she has not done any acting in tv or movies since 1980. She currently runs a company for coaching actors.
10. Who is that actor that appeared in a bunch of episodes, always playing a different character, usually a priest?
You are probably thinking of Richard Stahl, who appeared in 8 episodes of the Odd Couple, always playing a different character. Following is a list of his episodes and characters:
- In "I Do, I Don''t" (7) he played the priest at the wedding of a friend of Felix''s
- In "Engrave Trouble" (17) he played Wally the florist/gangster
- In "Murray the Fink" (31) he played a cop
- In "Being Divorced is Never Having to Say I Do" (36) he played the priest at Blanche and Roger''s wedding
- In "The Odd Monks" (52) he played Brother Ralph
- In "This is the Army, Mrs. Madison" (77) he played the priest at Oscar and Blanche''s (flashback) wedding
- In "Cleanliness is Next to Impossible" (85) he played a psychiatrist
- In "The Frog" (95) he played the owner of a pet store
11. Who was the narrator who spoke the opening monologue?
The opening was spoken by William Woodson, who acted as narrator/announcer for several shows during the 1970s and 1980s.
C. On Television
1. Where can I see The Odd Couple?
The show is currently airing as part of the lineup of classic TV shows on the Me TV Network. Check the station's website or your local listings for specific days and times. The show also airs on some local stations throughout the country in syndicated reruns. You can check for the show in your area by going to http://www.zap2it.com/. Enter your zip code to get your local listings, click "see listings," and then click "search" at the top. Be aware that for TV airings these days, the show is often edited for time (ie, to squeeze in more commercials), so your best bet for seeing the episodes uncut is to get the DVDs.
The 1968 movie also airs on tv occasionally, usually on Turner Classic Movies or American Movie Classics.
2. Why did Nick at Nite and TV Land take The Odd Couple off the air?
I don''t have a real answer for this. It could be that the license for the show expired and the stations simply chose not to renew it so that they could make room for other programs. On TV Land''s Frequently Asked Questions page, they write:
Most of the shows on TV Land are acquired programs. These programs are owned by various distributors who licensethem to us for a limited amount of time. Once a show''s license expires, TV Land is no longer permitted to air that program.
3. What are the chances that the show will get back on tv, and what can the fans do to help?
I can''t say with certainty, but I wouldn''t rule out the possibility that TV Land will bring the show back someday. TV Land seems to change its lineup quite regularly, and it frequently brings back shows that were formerly on Nick at Nite or TV Land. Shows like Bewitched, Mister Ed and Get Smart have been added to (and removed from) Nick at Nite''s and TV Land''s lineups several times
Since Nick at Nite has moved away from the "classic TV" format that it started with, there is probably not much chance of the show reappearing there. As for TV Land, I don''t really know how much influence we could have on them, but if you want to try, you can email them here, or call their Viewer Services Hotline at (212) 846-2550.
4. Why doesn''t this website have a list of every city that plays the show on a local channel?
Because such a list would be impossible to keep up-to-date, considering the number of cities in the U.S. and the frequency with which local channels change their lineups. If you''d like to know if The Odd Couple is airing in your city, try searching Zap2It, as described in question C1.
D. On Home Video/DVD
1. Is The Odd Couple available on home video or DVD?
Yes, all five seasons are currently available on DVD from Paramount, and can be purchased from Amazon.com:
In 2000, Columbia House released the show on home video in a series of 10 tapes, each with 3 episodes, but it is no longer being sold. The episodes on the tapes were:
- Tape 1: Courting Laughter - The Jury Story / My Strife in Court / The Dog Story
- Tape 2: On The Air - Big Mouth / Password / Let''s Make a Deal
- Tape 3: Perchance to Dream - Scrooge Gets an Oscar / What Makes Felix Run / Sleepwalker
- Tape 4: The Odd Couple Write - I''m Dying of Unger / The Pen is Mightier Than the Pencil / Take My Furniture, Please
- Tape 5: The Odd Couple Stakes - A Grave For Felix / The Hustler / Felix, the Horse Player
- Tape 6: For Trip or Treat - Felix, the Calypso Singer / Sometimes a Great Ocean / The Flying Felix
- Tape 7: Grouse Spouse - A Night to Dismember / Gloria Moves In / This is the Army, Mrs. Madison
- Tape 8: Battles - The Odd Monks / The Odd Decathalon / A Subway Story
- Tape 9: Jobbed - Two on the Aisle / Felix''s First Commercial / The Big Broadcast
- Tape 10: Health and Hospital - Oscar''s Ulcer / Hospital Mates / Maid for Each Other
Columbia House also sold the show on home video during the early 1990s. Click here to see the video cover. This was also a 10 tape set, which is listed below:
- Vol.1: The Fight of the Felix / The Breakup / Oscar''s Ulcer
- Vol.2: Oscar, the Model / The Big Brothers / It''s All Over Now, Baby Bird
- Vol.3: Felix is Missing / Scrooge Gets an Oscar / They Use Horse Radish, Don''t They?
- Vol.4: The Hideaway / Bunny is Missing Down by the Lake / You''ve Come a Long Way, Babe?
- Vol.5: A Taste of Money / What Makes Felix Run / What Does a Naked Lady Say to You?
- Vol.6: Natural Childbirth / Sleepwalker / A Grave For Felix
- Vol.7: The Fat Farm / Being Divorced is Never Having to Say "I Do" / Security Arms
- Vol.8: Where''s Grandpa? / Partner''s Investment / Oscar''s Promotion
- Vol.9: A Night to Dismember / Big Mouth / The Pen is Mightier Than the Pencil
- Vol.10: Felix''s First Commercial / The First Baby / The Odd Father
The 1968 movie starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon is currently available on home video from Columbia House.
2. How else can I get the show on video?
The best way is to try searching eBay or other auction websites to see if anyone is auctioning their set of tapes.
Note: Please do not e-mail me with requests for video tapes. I do not have any for sale.
3. How many cuts were made on the DVDs?
A lot, unfortunately. Due to the large amount of music in the show, many lines and scenes had to be cut when the rights to the songs could not be obtained. This page has the most complete list I''ve seen of all the cuts.
1. Why does the opening to the show say that Oscar and Felix were childhood friends, when another episode shows them meeting on a jury?
The answer to this question is simple: The tv show is inconsistent.
To elaborate, the producers/writers/whoever didn''t keep track of the facts used in every episode to make sure that everything was consistent - they just used whatever facts they felt were necessary for the particular episode they were writing (it would have been especially hard to keep things consistent when many episodes were written by different people). There is no real way to explain the various stories about how Felix and Oscar knew each other, except to say that it''s just a TV show. ;)
For complete information on all the inconsistencies in the show (there are over a dozen of them) see the Inconsistencies page.
2. What are the words to the monologue that opens the show?
Starting midway through the first season, through season three, this monologue opened the show:
On November 13th, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison''s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving eachother crazy?
Some of the later show openings eliminated the word "childhood", and changed "sometime earlier" to "several years earlier."
3. What was Oscar and Felix''s address?
Since there is conflicting information about where Oscar and Felix live, this question is also addressed on the inconsistencies page:
In the show opening, the number of Oscar and Felix''s apartment building is shown to be 1049, and a few episodes mention them living at 1049 Park Avenue. But in "The New Car" (76) Felix says that he and Oscar live at 74th and Central Park West.
4. Where did this quote come from? - "Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME."
This quote was used by Felix in the episode "My Strife in Court" (66). It definitely wasn''t a car insurance quote, it came from something much more clever. While Felix was trying to give away an extra Broadway ticket for a musical, a woman offered him money for it, and he was arrested for scalping. While cross-examining the woman in court, Felix asks the woman if he said that he had been selling the ticket. The woman responded that she had just assumed that he was, and Felix interrupted her with the "assume" line. You can hear a sound file of it at the Sounds page.
This line was not written for the show. Writer/Executive Producer Jerry Belson heard it from a teacher in a typewriter repair class. Helater remembered the quote while working on the show and decided to include it in an episode.
5. If Oscar didn''t have any kids in the show, how can his son be marrying Felix''s daughter in "The Odd Couple 2"?
True, Oscar didn''t have any kids in the show, but he did in the 1968 movie. There are lots of differences between the movie and the show, and this is just one of them. For more information on the differences, check out The Show vs. the Movie.
When the show first started, ABC did not want either Oscar or Felix to have kids, because according to their standards, divorced people didn''t have children. Later, for whatever reason, they decided to let children be written into the script for Felix.
6. Are there any books about the Odd Couple?
Yes, and complete information is available at the merchandise page.
7. Where can I get a copy of the script of the play?
The play is in the book The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Volume 1. The female version is in The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Volume 1.
8. Where can I get scripts from episodes of the TV show?
I don''t know of any websites that provide the text of any scripts from the show, but you can buy scripts from Script City.
9. Who composed the theme song?
The theme song, originally used in the 1968 Odd Couple movie, was composed by Neal Hefti, who also composed the theme for "Batman."
10. Where can I get the theme song on cd?
Check out the merchandise page for a list of CDs that have the theme song on them.
11. My theater group wants to perform The Odd Couple / The Odd Couple (Female Version) / Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple. How do I get permission?
To answer this question, I checked the book, "The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Vol. 1." The beginning of the book states:
Caution: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Vol. 1 and the individual plays published therein are fully protected under the Universal Copyright Convention, Berne Convention and Pan-American Copyright Convention and are subject to royalty. All rights are strictly preserved, including professional, amateur, motion picture, television, radio, recitation, lecturing, public reading and foreign translation, and none of such rights can be exercised or used without written permission from the copyright owner.
All inquiries for licenses and permissions for stock and amateur uses should be addressed to:
Samuel French, Inc.
45 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010-2751
Phone (212) 206-8990
Fax (212) 206-1429
All other inquiries for licenses and permissions should be addressed to:
Albert Da Silva
502 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10022
(The book actually listed a different address, but based on what I''ve found on the web, this seems to be the current address.)
12. What is the name of the song that Roy Clark played at the end of episode 111, "The Roy Clark Show"?
The song is "Malaguena," written by Ernesto Lecuona in 1927. The song appears on two of Roy Clark''s albums: The Roy Clark Guitar Spectacular! and Urban Suburban.
If you have a question about "The Odd Couple" that is not listed here, e-mail me, and I''ll do my best to answer it.