By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Missing Jack Klugman
I grew up with the guy. Many of you did.
“The Odd Couple” was a joy and repeated, it seemed, 20 times a day, back when the number of channels in any given market could be counted on your hands.
The best episodes were when Oscar really wanted something… or really wanted to avoid something. The less pronounced the intensity, the weaker the episode. Tony Randall always made it worth watching as well, forever pirouetting through life while suffering bad sinuses and the constant threat of depression. (He was the Carrie Mathison of the era.)
“Quincy” was one of our—my sister and my—favorite shows. It was completely f-ing absurd. But there was a genius in putting such a slouch up front. Like Columbo before him, he was infinitely more interesting than investigators who took themselves too seriously. It was the era of the P.I. freak… the lanky and ancient Barnaby Jones, the cannonball that was Cannon. The only “straight” one was Mannix and he was employing a black woman… edgy at the time… and she was hot as hell, making it all a bit more.. ahem… askew…
But God, it was fun.
I was too young to drive, so like “Bob Newhart,” “Carol Burnett,” and “Alice”, the glorious falseness shaped my idea of the world.
I remember when Klugman lost his voice and, almost, his life to throat cancer. Incredible irony… the guy with THAT voice gets throat cancer. Of course, when he made his small comebacks, the well-remembered rawness of his voice became an advantage as it wasn’t shocking to hear him croak.
It’s a remarkable run. 90 years.
There seem to be more of these people going every year… as I close in on 50 myself.
The classic notion, that TV stars are people you like enough to invite into your home. So true. And I will miss Jack Klugman’s new visits… and treasure his old ones.