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Huge Details You Never Noticed in the Odd Couple

Few sitcoms have been more influential than The Odd Couple. It’s so groundbreaking that shows like Two and a Half Men and Frasier attempt to follow its formula to success. The humor and emotional impact of the series come from following the daily lives of 2 men. The one who can’t be more different or have a stronger friendship.

The story began as a popular play, then became a movie, and later a show. It never blew up in the ratings but had plenty of devoted fans.

Like and subscribe for more on what allowed this sitcom to continue to endure to this day. Watch our video for huge details you never noticed in The Odd Couple.

Other Potential Leads

Sitcoms live and die by the chemistry and talent of their cast. Especially when it comes to ones about the daily lives of 2 men with opposing personalities. It is a struggle to find the right men to portray The Odd Couple. Several talented actors consider before they find the right match.

Art Carney, who originally played Felix on stage, and famous singer and actor Dean Martin, were both considered to play Felix. After he was cast, Tony Randall wanted Mickey Rooney to play Oscar, and so did Garry Marshall, but John Klugman eventually earned the part.

The Apartment’s Address Of The Odd Couple

The show mentions several times that Felix and Oscar live at 1049 Park Avenue. This is a real New York City address, and scenes for the opening credits and exterior views were filmed in front of the building that sits there. Fans still visit it, hoping for a glimpse of The Odd Couple and send mail addressed to the characters.

Cartoon Connections Of The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple features several actors who went on to become famous voiceover artists. Bill Woodson, who delivered the opening credits narrations, went on to narrate the Super Friends cartoon. It featured several stars of the Peanuts franchise; Pamelyn Fredin, who played Edna also voiced Lucy Van Pelt, and Christopher Shea, who played Phillip voiced her brother Linus.

The Odd Couple also spawned a short-lived cartoon series. It was called The Oddball Couple and ran from September 6-December 20, 1975. It followed Spiffy and Fleabag, a dog and cat who served as analogs for Felix and Oscar.

Capitalizing on the Odd Couple’s Popularity

Almost any show that becomes popular will soon be a target for merchandising and advertising, and The Odd Couple was no exception. Jack Klugman and Tony Randall appeared in a series of commercials for Eagle Snacks, where they exaggerated the stereotypes of their characters but used their real names. Their faces also appeared on a box of the popular board game Challenge Yahtzee.

A Historic Emmy Nomination

The 1980s was a prime time for comforting family sitcoms at the end of the workweek. The Odd Couple received an Emmy nod for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1974, but it was the last time a Friday night sitcom ever received the same nomination. The closest one ever came was when Burt Reynolds won a trophy for his part on Evening Shade in 1991.

Fighting Cancellation

The Odd Couple became a fan favorite but earned poor ratings and never reached the Top 25 of Nielsen’s rating list. It was nearly canceled after the end of every season. Tony continually worried about it going off the air while Jack tried to calm him down. High-rated summer reruns saved it every time until it was officially canceled after five seasons in 1975.

Production Changes

The first season was filmed in the same apartment as the 1968 Odd Couple movie with one camera and included a laugh track. The entire team wasn’t a fan of this setup, but only the lead actors had enough power to make a change. Every other season was filmed with three cameras and a live audience.

Richard Stall’s 9 Characters

Richard Stall was a famous comedy character actor with dozens of minor roles in sitcoms throughout the 70s and 80s. He appeared on The Odd Couple 9 times as nine different characters, including a psychiatrist, florist, monk, pet-shop salesman, and more.

The Odd Couple: Gay Subtext

Producers were concerned that the title may lead viewers to believe that Oscar and Felix were gay. They added a line to the opening narration that said “can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?” It did the trick, but Tony and Jack would occasionally play into the stereotype by improvising homoerotic dialogue that can be seen in 2005’s The Odd Couple Out-Takes.

Tony continued to get questions about the true nature of the characters’ relationship even after it went off the air. He says that he once took a cab from the airport to his apartment, and when he explained to the driver that the woman walking into his house was his wife, he acted surprised and said, “I always thought that…you and Oscar were…you know.”

Life Imitating Art

Many of the main characters’ quirks were based on the actors who played them. Jack Klugman and his character Oscar both loved racehorses, and Tony Randall and his character Felix both liked classical music and opera.

This wasn’t the only way that life imitated art on the show. Oscar’s ex-wife Blanche was played by Jack Klugman’s wife, Brett Somers, and they separated during the show’s run.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more. Keep watching to learn more details you never noticed in The Odd Couple, including production and story changes, how the actors interacted with each other, and more.

How The Odd Couple Met

Felix and Oscar are considered an “odd couple” because of how their clashing personalities make it seem as if they could never become friends. There are three separate explanations within the show for how it happened.

The opening narration claimed that they were childhood friends until the word “childhood” was removed in the 3rd season. The show also mentioned more than once that they met in the army. One episode that served as a reference to the 1957 film 12 Angry Men said they met while serving on the jury of a controversial murder trial. It’s up to fans to decide which of these options they prefer.

Multiple Endings

The show’s ending also had more than one potential story option.

The final episode that fans saw showed Felix and his wife getting remarried and Oscar looking on with approval. Writer Larry Rhine said that an alternate ending had Felix remaining unmarried because his obsession over every detail of the wedding made his bride storm out before the ceremony ended. The network preferred the latter option because it left the story open-ended, but the creative team insisted on wrapping it up in a satisfying way.

The “New” Odd Couple

The first attempt to reboot The Odd Couple began in 1982, with Demond Wilson as Oscar and Ron Glass as Felix. It failed to offer anything new and reused scripts from the original series, so it only lasted for 18 episodes.

Gary Marshall served as a consultant on the 2015 remake that cast Matthew Perry as Oscar and Thomas Lennon as Felix. He appeared in 1 episode as Oscar’s father, Walter, whose name is a tribute to the original Oscar, Walter Matthau, from the 1968 film. The new show managed to become its own entity and add new characters while keeping what made the original great. It lasted for three seasons.

Neil Simon

Neil Simon wrote the play that The Odd Couple was based on in 1965. It was successful and eventually spawned a movie and a series.

The original title for the show was “Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. He didn’t have faith in it at first and didn’t want his name so prominently attached to it. This led to a name change and a single line in the credits that said the show was “based on a play by Neil Simon.”

It took time for him to accept the show, but he was a fan by the 2nd season. He even appeared in an episode where Oscar and Felix pass by him while walking through New York.

Oscars’ Bedroom

Oscar’s bedroom was a haven from his neat-freak roommate. Every time the camera shifted to it, the studio audience cracked up. Writer and director Frank Buxton said this was possible because they screened off the set and waited to show the bedroom until the right moment.

Guest Star Problems

ABC wanted high-profile guest stars to boost The Odd Couple’s low ratings. Producer Garry Marshall refused 2 of them; Howard Cosell and Bobb Riggs. He felt that they were only added to capitalize on their popularity and chose lesser-known opera singers and ballet dancers instead.

Certain guest stars got a surprising reaction from the studio audience. Deacon Jones, an African-American football player for the LA Rams, appeared on the episode Felix’s First Commercial. He received applause and a standing ovation at first until he asked his beautiful, blonde, white wife to stand up as well. That shocked the audience into silence.

Tennis player Billie Jean King almost refused her guest appearance in The Odd Couple. She originally said yes, but her manager called the next day and said she didn’t want to do it. She was hesitant because of her latest victory against Bobby Riggs, who’d previously appeared on the show, but she was eventually convinced to go on.

John Klugman and Tony Randall’s Touching Bond

John and Tony worked together for at least five years in Broadway and film before beginning filming on The Odd Couple. They were more similar than they seemed and always got along. In the 3rd episode of the show, they dressed up in a horse costume to win a mattress on the popular game show Let’s Make a Deal. It was one of the only times viewers saw these professional actors laugh on screen. They were unable to contain themselves after Tony delivered the line; “without me, we wouldn’t be in this swell horse outfit.”

Their bond deepened as they grew older, and Tony even helped Jack through a battle with throat cancer in the last years of his life.

Which member of The Odd Couple do you relate to the most? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more of the most beloved sitcom duos of all time.

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