“A great TV version of the movie and it keeps it's spirit while making it better. Felix Ungar was reinvented as a truly neurotic fussbudget on TV while Oscar Madison kept his …”
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“Oscar, Oscar, Oscar can you clean up your mess. And Felix can you stop that honking? With Murray and Speed as card partners and Penny Marshall as the useless secretary what more …”
Debuting September 24, 1970 on ABC, The Odd Couple is one of but a handful of successful TV-sitcom adaptations of a popular film property. Actually, before the film there had been an extremely successful 1965 stage version, written by Neil Simon and purportedly based on Simon's own experiences while rooming with his recently divorced brother (and fellow writer) Mel Simon. Walter Matthau and Art Carney originally starred on Broadway as compulsive slob Oscar Madison and neat-freak hypochondriac Felix Ungar, who after their wives left them decided to move into the same apartment to share expenses--and drove each other insane in the process. Matthau repeated his role as Oscar in the 1968 film version, while Jack Lemmon took over from Carney as Felix. The TV adaptation headlined Jack Klugman (replacing producer Garry Marshall's original choice, Mickey Rooney) and Tony Randall respectively as slovenly newspaper sportswriter Oscar Madison and ultra-neat professional photographer Felix Unger (whose named was spelled "Ungar" in the play and film, and who'd previously been a TV writer). Beyond granting television rights and collecting a huge weekly fee, Neil Simon exercised no creative control over the series, which softened the abrasive edge of the original (which ended with Felix being booted out of the apartment by an incensed Oscar) and considerably broadened the appeal of the characters. The only actors carried over from the earlier versions were Monica Evans and Carole ...