‘The Odd Couple’ with Tony Randall, Jack Klugman Premieres on This Day in 1970

by Megan Molseed
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We all know the show. If nothing else, the unmistakable trumpet-filled theme song is all we need to recognize one of television’s most iconic comedy shows: The Odd Couple.

This popular – and incredibly classic – television sitcom is now officially fifty-one years old today!

On September 24, 1970, audiences were introduced to Jack Klugman and Tony Randall’s portrayals of television’s most famous Odd Couple, Oscar Madison, and Felix Unger.

“‘The Odd Couple’ starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman premiered 51 years ago, September 24, 1970, on ABC,” wrote RetroNewsNow in a Friday evening tweet announcing the anniversary.

The Twitter post even includes the hit ABC sitcom’s most recognizable opening credits.

You know the opening scene…the one where the two newly divorced bachelors step out of their apartment building. And Oscar tosses his cigar to the ground. Only to then have Felix pick it up with his umbrella, clearly disgusted.

The same iconic sitcom intro where we see poor Felix get hilariously pummeled by an elderly woman while trying to help her cross the street; and Oscar Madison finds himself stepping directly onto wet cement. All of this happens, of course, while the recognizable trumpet-filled theme song is cheerily playing in the background.

‘Odd Couple’s’ Broadway Begining

The Odd Couple television series was based on a 1965 Neil Simon play by the same name.

A huge Broadway hit since it first premiered in 1965, the story was first adapted into a 1968 film, starring Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau.

Originally, the series is said to have originally held the title Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.

However, by the time it made it onto the air on ABC’s primetime line-up the title had been shortened to what we know it as today: The Odd Couple.

Additionally, the series was one of the first to be developed by the great Garry Marshall for Paramount Television.

Garry Marshall would go on to develop some huge sitcom successes aside from The Odd Couple. Sitcom major players such as Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy.

A Perfect Set-Up For Laughs

The Odd Couple center’s around roommates Felix and Oscar. Each of whom is divorced and finding out how to navigate life after marriage. The two share a Manhattan apartment; however, the duo could not be more different.

Felix is ultra-tidy; spending his days focusing on making his space as neat and organized as possible. While, Oscar, on the other hand, is far from tidy. Because of this, Oscar’s messes are always driving the uber-clean Felix crazy.

This, of course, is the source of many of the sitcom’s most hilarious moments.

The Odd Couple found success for five seasons on ABC; airing from 1970 until 1974.

Outsider.com