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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Last Angry Man.

I'd been waiting for this one for quite a while.
Jack Klugman was ninety years old, certainly not nearly in the best of health.
I felt it was imminent.
I'd spent almost every workday between 1972 through 1975 in his presence.
I knew him pretty well.
So, if not me, who?
If not now, when?

I have mentioned Jack on this blog quite often over the years, and due to senility, I
may be repeating things I have said before.
But I know that I have things to say about him that I've never said.
So, if not me, who?
If not now, when?

Jack was the last surviving member of the cast of the great film "Twelve Angry Men"
In life, he was a pretty angry man.
In the movie, he was one of the least angry.
He was very young when he made the movie.
Maybe he just grew into it.

I loved Jack.
As a person.
He was very approachable.
You could talk with him on just about any subject, and he was quite articulate and
opinionated.
I loved Tony Randall as well.
I knew him for the same amount of time, but I never got any kind of sense that I really knew him.
He would always regale us with stories, but it was if he was an extension of his talk-show persona.
He was not quite flesh-and-blood.
Jack made only infrequent appearances on talk-shows, and usually hid his personality.
He never really opened up in those situations.
He was far more interesting than he let on.
Jack and Tony Randall were a great team together on "The Odd Couple"
Their strengths complimented each others, and they made up for each others weaknesses.
When my former partner and I wrote the spec script that got us hired, we had never seen an episode of the show.
Our only role models were Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau from the movie.
So that's what we wrote.
When we landed on the set the first time, we got our education.
In our minds, Tony was far funnier than Jack Lemmon.
He was a writers dream.
He could make our words far funnier than we thought they could be said.
But in our heads, he was only competing with Jack Lemmon.
Jack Klugman was competing with Walter Matthau.
That's not a fair fight.
So we were a little disappointed
Tony was a great comedy technician.
Jack was a great dramatic actor.
Not a natural comedian.
My two pet peeves with Jack, which I eventually got over, was that he had a tendency
to swallow his punchlines.
And he'd laugh at his own jokes.
But what Jack had that Tony did not was major warmth.
Somebody on stage had to have that.
And Jack had it in spades.
He truly made you care.
And he had this other comedy asset.
He had this enormous head.
An oversized head.
When we put him in a fat suit, it looked like he belonged in it, because it matched
the size of his head.
When we wrapped his face in bandages in the "Theater Critic" episode, it was as funny as it was because it was Jack's oversized head inside the bandages.
If it was Tony's head, it wouldn't have been nearly as funny.

So I'd have to say, in total, that Tony and Jack were a better Felix and Oscar than
Lemmon and Matthau.

I've got considerably more to say about Jack, and will continue next time out.


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My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."