Sunday, January 11, 2015

Odd Couple building.

When I was a kid I was a big fan of the TV show The Odd Couple. I'm still fond of it. The characters from the film were broadened for TV into readily understandable types, and the writing and acting were always fun. The TV show had a brighter edge than the original movie. And there were other reasons I liked the show. 

Although I did not grow up in Manhattan, we in the outer boroughs knew that of all the shows on television, only one did a good job of portraying life in New York at the time---everything from the high cost of parking and alternate side of the street parking, bad Broadway musicals, shoes stolen on subways from sleeping passengers, high-security buildings, vandalism, finding apartments through the obituaries... Things that didn't happen in normal cities. It was great.

Consequently every time I was in Manhattan I thought I saw the building Oscar and Felix supposedly lived in. But I never could be sure.

That's it! No, darn it.
Well, I love the Internet. According to the show's trivia page on IMDB, the address was 1049 Park Avenue... except that the address was said to be 74th and Central Park West on one episode. This is a serious conflict, as the former is on the Upper East Side and the latter on the Upper West Side, and there's a huge difference to people who live in these areas and to no one else on the planet. (The Central Park West park-view apartment would be a pretty swank address for a sportswriter and a kiddie photographer, even in the 70's.) Anyway, 1049 was used for the exterior shots in most episodes, and that's where fans flocked when Jack Klugman passed away.

That's IT!

Seinfeld never seemed like New York to me as much as a set that looked like New York, peopled with about a hundred characters that knew each other. Forget Friends and Mad About You. Various Hallmark and Lifetime movies set in New York might as well be set on Mars; they don't even look like a Neverland version of the city. The Odd Couple always felt like Manhattan. Unfortunately, it felt like a Manhattan you didn't want to live in, but in the 70's, it wasn't.

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