“I know him. He’s too nervous to kill himself. Wears his seat belt
in a drive-in movie.” – Oscar on Felix
Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple tells the story of Felix Ungar,
a neurotic, neat-freak newswriter, who is thrown out by his wife and moves in
with Oscar Madison, a slovenly sportswriter. Simon based the play on his brother
Danny’s true-life experience and described it as: “Two men - one
divorced and one estranged and neither quite sure why their marriages fell apart
- who move in together to save money for alimony and suddenly discover they’re
having the same conflicts and fights they had in their marriages.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Simon revised the play in 1985 for a female cast starring Sally Struthers and
Rita Moreno. It was based on the same storyline and same lead characters, now
called Florence Ungar and Olive Madison. It ran on Broadway for 295 performances.
BEHIND THE SCENES
As a play, The Odd Couple ran on Broadway from 1965 to 1967. It was
directed by Mike Nichols and starred Art Carney as Felix and Walter Mathau as
Oscar. In 1968, the play was made into a successful film starring Walter Matthau
as Oscar and Jack Lemmon as Felix. The television series made its debut in 1970
starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, who became more closely linked with
their characters than their movie counterparts.