The Odd Couple by Neil Simon

at Theater J Directed by Jerry Whiddon
Dramaturgy Packet (compiled by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones)


Table of Contents
About the playwright…………………………………………………………………………….. 3 About the play…………………………………………………………………………………….. 5 Neil Simon on marriage………………………………………………………………………….. 7 1960s Attitudes about divorce…………………………………………………………………. 9 The Odd Couple on TV……..…………………………………………………………………….13 Famous pairs………………………………………………………………………………………..15 Biographical and cultural references in the play…………………………………………....20


About the Playwright Neil Simon (From PBS American Masters)

Neil Simon is, arguably, the world’s most successful living playwright. He has had dozens of plays and nearly as many major motion pictures produced. He has been showered with more Academy and Tony nominations than any other writer, and is the only playwright to have had four Broadway productions running simultaneously. His plays have been produced in dozens of languages, and have been blockbuster hits from Beijing to Moscow. Born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, Marvin Neil Simon grew up in Manhattan and for a short time attended NYU and the University of Denver. His most significant writing job came in the early 1950s when he joined the staff of YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, a landmark live television comedy series. Sid Caesar’s hilariously cutting-edge program had some of the best comic minds in television working for it, including Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart, and Carl Reiner. "I knew," said Simon, "when I walked INTO YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS that this was the most talented group of writers that up until that time had ever been assembled together." By the 1960s, Simon had begun to concentrate on writing plays for Broadway. His first hit came in 1961 with "Come Blow Your Horn," and was soon after followed by the very successful comic romance "Barefoot in the Park." Simon’s brother, Danny, who also worked on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, played a major role in his writing. Eight and a half years older, Danny brought Simon into the business and had shown him the ropes. In fact, it was Danny who provided the inspiration for one of Simon’s most enduring hits. After his divorce, Danny moved in with another divorced man, and this situation became the set-up for "The Odd Couple" (1966). Though Danny had begun writing the story himself, he reached a block and eventually handed it off to Simon who soon made it a smash on Broadway. Starring Jack Lemon and Walter Mathau, the 1968 film version was equally successful and prompted a popular television series. 3

By 1973, Simon was a major voice in contemporary comedy. But, that year he entered a low period in his life, when his wife of twenty years, died. Sometime later, he met the actress Marsha Mason, and they were married. His 1977 play, “Chapter Two”, dramatizes the grief of a newly remarried man trying to start over after his wife has died. Chapter Two was considered one of his finest works and he followed it with a musical, “They’re Playing Our Song”. Throughout his four-decade career, Simon has drawn extensively on his own life and experience for materials for his plays. Many of his works take place in the working-class New York neighborhoods he knew so well as a child. One of Simon’s great achievements has been the insightful representation of the social atmosphere of those times in New York. With his autobiographical trilogy, "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1983), "Biloxi Blues" (1985), and "Broadway Bound" (1986), Simon created a touching portrait of an individual, his family, and the world around them. With these plays, Simon found his greatest critical acclaim, and for his 1991 follow-up, "Lost in Yonkers," Simon was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Neil Simon has for almost forty years invigorated the stage with touching stories and zany characters, but possibly his greatest contribution has been the ability to create humor from the lives and troubles of everyday people. Of Simon, actor Jack Lemon said, "Neil has the ability to write characters -- even the leading characters that we’re supposed to root for -- that are absolutely flawed. They have foibles. They have faults. But, they are human beings. They are not all bad or all good; they are people we know."
The Plays

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Come Blow Your Horn (1961) Little Me (1962) Barefoot in the Park (1963) The Odd Couple (1965) Sweet Charity (1966) The Star-Spangled Girl (1966) Plaza Suite (1968) Promises, Promises (1968) The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969) The Gingerbread Lady (1970) The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971) The Sunshine Boys (1972) The Good Doctor (1973) God's Favorite (1974) California Suite (1976) Chapter Two (1977) They're Playing Our Song (1979) I Ought to Be in Pictures (1980) Fools (1981)

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983) Biloxi Blues (1985) The Odd Couple (Female version, 1986) Broadway Bound (1986) Rumors (1988) Lost in Yonkers (1991) Jake's Women (1992) The Goodbye Girl (1993) Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1993) London Suite (1995) Proposals (1997) The Dinner Party (2000) 45 Seconds from Broadway (2001) Rose's Dilemma (2003)


Premiere Production of The Odd Couple
The Odd Couple opened on Broadway in 1965 at the Plymouth Theatre, and ran for 964 performances, until 1967. It starred Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Art Carney as Felix Ungar. The play earned Neil Simon his first Tony Award, for Best Author. The play also garnered Tonys for Best Direction, Best Actor (Mathau) and Best Scenic Design. The Odd Couple was also nominated for Best Play.

Offshoots of the Original Play
In 1968, the play was made into a successful film starring Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Jack Lemmon as Felix Unger. The TV show aired on ABC from 1970-1975 with Jack Klugman as Oscar and Tony Randall as Felix, earning both of them Emmys for their performances. In 1982 the show was revived as The New Odd Couple, with African-American actors Ron Glass and Demond Wilson as Felix and Oscar. This version lasted just one season. Simon adapted the play into The Odd Couple (Female Version) in the 1980s. It premiered at the Broadhurst Theater in 1985 with Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers as Olive and Florence.


The 1998 film sequel, The Odd Couple II reunited Mathau and Lemmon in the roles they had originated onscreen thirty years previously. In 2002 Simon wrote Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple, to update the cultural references of the original.

The Inspiration for The Odd Couple
From Rewrites: A Memoir by Neil Simon Neil Simon writes about how his older brother Danny, already a successful TV comedy writer, inspired the creation of The Odd Couple, when Danny got divorced and moved in with a friend. At about the same time Danny broke up with Arlene, Roy broke up with his wife, Connie. Their breakups led to a new union, more famous and longer-lasting than their two marriages combined. The two men had alimony and child support to pay. Money was going out and the drain weighed heavily on Danny. He proposed, in a manner of speaking, that he and Roy move in together to cut down on their rent, utilities, and all other expenses. This union didn’t prosper any better than either of their first marriages. I was in California on business, and Danny and Roy invited me to dinner. I asked where the restaurant was in case I was late. The restaurant was their apartment. Danny was cook and Roy was the husband who usually came home late for dinner. Your average American couple. They generally ate at home together even on double dates with women. The money saved on restaurants and tips could eventually put Danny’s children through college…and Roy in an asylum. When Danny made his pot roast for four (he was an excellent cook) and the girls showed up an hour late because Roy never told them exactly when to arrive, Danny almost killed Roy with his spatula. To me and anyone else seeing it, the situation was hilarious. I told Danny it was the premise of a brilliant comedy, whether as a film or a play. He agreed and told me he intended to sit down and write it. Danny rarely ever wrote alone, starting with his collaboration with me, through all his years working with other writers on TV. Danny liked to talk when he wrote. He liked to pace. He liked to eat… For months Danny tried to put the play on paper. He rarely got past page fifteen. I kept calling him from New York, urging him to continue. I thought the idea couldn’t miss. Try as he might, he gave up on it. “You know how to write plays. I don’t. You write it instead.” I told him I would but made it clear that my concept would certainly be different from what Danny may have had in mind. I couldn’t write with him looking over my shoulder. I said I would see the characters in a different way, in a more objective light. Danny himself later admitted to me that he would probably 6

never have seen Felix in the way I perceived him. I had to do it in my own style, in the rhythms of speech I was now working in. He gave me carte blanche and I gave him a percentage of my earnings from the play in perpetuity. For the past thirty-some years we’ve both been making money from it… I had already fleshed out the characters of Danny and Roy, making them opposites in many more ways than they were in real life. I made Danny a finicky and compulsive demander of neatness and order, which Danny was not, and I made Roy sloppy, disorganized, and grouchy, none of those characteristics really fitting Roy Gerber’s true nature. Roy and Danny actually liked each other very much, and aside from Danny’s need to have Roy and friends come to dinner on time, they got on pretty well. As a result of my changes, however, the play’s characters now found it was not only difficult to live with each other on a day-to-day basis – as it is for almost all of us – but that they were complete opposites, unable to be together under any circumstances. For Roy’s character I picked the name Oscar Madison, with the hard K sound, because it made me visualize a stronger person, more dominating…I wanted a prissy name for Danny’s counterpart and chose Felix because he sounded like a cartoon character, a shy and finicky person… This time the first act came easily. I knew the atmosphere, the talk, the drinks, the smoke, and the food from the occasional poker games I attended with friends, writers, agents and actors…I went because I loved the banter and the sandwiches from the Carnegie Deli. It was my night for male bonding, which came less frequently for me once I was married and had children. I played carefully but not because I was afraid to lose money. I just didn’t want to look like an idiot…Luckily, it was not a serious poker game. It was fun, laughs, beer, and great sandwiches.

Neil Simon and Marriage
Neil Simon’s Multiple Marriages Although Neil Simon did not have personal experience being divorced when he wrote The Odd Couple in the 1960s, he has since been divorced and remarried several times. His first marriage was to Joan Baim in 1953. It was by all accounts a happy union that produced two daughters and ended with Joan’s death in 1973. Simon then married actress Marsha Mason within the year, and remained married to her until they divorced in 1980. His third and fourth marriages, both to actress Diane Lander, Simon once described simply as “dismal.” He never gave up on marriage, however; he has been married to his current wife, actress Elaine Joyce, since 1999. Neil Simon on Marriage


From an interview by Charles Flowers in Book Page, October 1999 BP: The marriage and divorce themes of the play you're revising, The Dinner Party, dovetail with the conclusion of The Play Goes On, after your third divorce. NS: I'm a marrying man. I've never left a marriage. If Joan hadn't died, we'd still be married today. But just as human beings can be born with genetic faults, I think some marriages have a genetic flaw that can cause them to die. BP: At age 70 you still believe in marriage, in general and for yourself? NS: I don't like dating or just living with a woman. I like to create a relationship, a marriage. And almost all of my marriages have involved children, so I'm really a family man as well. I'm going with someone now . . . She, I hope, will be the last marriage. BP: A new play. A new marriage. The play goes on. NS: Yes.


The1960s: Changing Views on Divorce
From “The Counterrevolution: A Critique of Recent Proposals to Reform NoFault Divorce Laws” by Laura Bradford Before the 1960s, legal rules regulating marriage reflected the belief that the state had a profound interest in the institution, and therefore could closely regulate its formation, organization, and dissolution. A couple could only obtain a divorce where one member had clearly engaged in one of a few acts defined by the state to constitute a fault. Only the "innocent" spouse could apply for divorce. Originally the fault grounds for divorce in most states included only a few narrowly defined transgressions, such as adultery, cruelty, and desertion. In the early 1900s, many states expanded and secularized their notions of fault. The new faults typically included conviction of certain crimes, homosexuality, insanity, and drug addiction, and numerous others with great variety across the nation. The most common fault ground was adultery As attitudes about the individual and the family began to change and divorce became more prevalent in the early 1960s, distaste for public intrusion into the marital relationship led to the decline of the fault system. The secularization of divorce led to less restrictive attitudes about breaking the marriage contract. Gradually, society began to accept a view of marriage as a partnership between individuals, terminable at will when it failed to meet the needs or desires of either party. The restrictive fault regime had imposed intolerable obstacles in front of a procedure desired by more and more couples. The spectacle of couples parading their marital problems in front of judges fed the impetus for reform. The movement toward no-fault was supported by the fact that divorceseeking couples often subverted or ignored the restrictive fault rules. The most common evasions were migration and collusion; couples would either go to a jurisdiction with more lenient divorce laws, or would perjure themselves before the court to manufacture instances of marital" fault." In the 1960s, ninety percent of divorces on fault grounds were granted without contest. The judicial system participated in this evasion; divorce hearings became "brief and perfunctory" as judges sought to avoid ugly airings of marital grievances. This new view of marriage questioned the idea that divorce could be fully explained by simplistic notions such as "fault." More complex conceptions of human psychology led people to understand divorce as stemming not from one factor but from a variety of complicated circumstances affecting both parties.


At the same time, attitudes regarding the law's proper role in moral discourse about the family were undergoing revolutionary change… Changing moral values, as evidenced by the sexual revolution and the decline of religion in American life, have reduced popular consensus about marital norms. In particular, the decline of religious homogeneity has weakened the moral base of family law. Another factor that Schneider identifies is what he calls the rise of "Psychologic Man." According to this theory, modern individuals crave self-realization and personal well-being more than they seek to fulfill religious and moral duties. For members of this new generation, marriage is a relationship that should continue only as long as it "works" for the partners. Thus, the traditional view of the wife as a family caretaker unselfishly devoted to the home and the husband as the provider and protector have given way to demands for self-fulfillment and self-development. Concomitantly, changing gender roles contributed to the modern conception of marriage as an equal partnership. From “Divorce and the Family in America: A Social Critic Argues that Divorce Poses Not Threat to the Institution of Marriage” Excerpted from the NOVEMBER 1966 ATLANTIC MAGAZINE By Christopher Lasch …Until the middle of the nineteenth century in England and the United States, grounds for divorce were pretty much confined to adultery and cruelty. Divorces, moreover, had to be granted by legislative enactment. These provisions, making money and political influence requisite to divorce, effectively limited divorce to members of the upper classes; and except in rare cases, to upper-class men, eager for one reason or another to get rid of their wives. The new laws, still in effect today in most places, substituted judicial for legislative divorce and broadened grounds of divorce to include desertion. Both of these provisions, particularly the second, show that women were intended to be the principal beneficiaries of the change. That was certainly the result. Ever since the liberalization of the laws in the mid-nineteenth century, divorces have been easier and easier to obtain, and more and more of them have been granted to women. But those who see in these statistics a general dissolution of morals and a threat to the family misunderstand the dynamics of the process. The movement for earlier divorce owed its success to the very idea which it is supposed to have undermined, the idea of the sanctity of the family. Indeed, it is somewhat misleading to see divorce-law reform as a triumph even for women's rights, for the feminists could hardly have carried the day if their attack on the arbitrary authority of husbands had not coincided with current conceptions of the family—conceptions of the family which, in the long run, tended to subvert the movement for sexual equality. It was not the image of women as equals that 10

inspired the reform of the divorce laws, but the image of women as victims. The Victorians associated the disruption of domesticity, especially when they thought of the "lower classes," with the victimization of women and children: the wife and mother abused by her drunken husband, deserted and left with children to raise and support, or forced to submit to sexual demands which no man had a right to impose on virtuous women. The rhetoric survives, somewhat diluted, in the form of patriotic appeals to home and motherhood, and notably in the divorce courts, where it is perfectly attuned, in fact, to the adversary proceeding. Judicial divorce, as we have seen—a civil suit brought by one partner against the other—was itself a nineteenth-century innovation, a fact which suggests that the idea of marriage as a combat made a natural counterpoint to the idea of marriage as a partnership. The combat, however, like the partnership itself, has never firmly established itself, either in legal practice or in the household itself, as an affair of equals, because the achievement of legal equality for the married woman depended on a sentimentalization of womanhood which eroded the idea of equality as easily as it promoted it. In divorce suits, the sensitivity of judges to the appeal of suffering womanhood, particularly in fixing alimony payments, points to the ambiguity of women's "emancipation." Sexual equality, in divorce as in other matters, does not rest on a growing sense of the irrelevance, for many purposes, of culturally defined sexual distinctions. It represents, if anything, a heightened awareness of these distinctions, an insistence that women, as the weaker sex, be given special protection in law. From this point of view, our present divorce laws can be seen as faithfully reflecting ideas about women which, having persisted into the mid twentieth century, have shown themselves to be not "Victorian" so much as simply modern, ideas which are dependent, in turn, on the modern obsession with the sanctity of the home, and the sanctity of privacy. Indeed, one can argue that easier divorce, far from threatening the home, is one of the measures that has been necessary to preserve it. Easy divorce is a form of social insurance that has to be paid by a culture which holds up domesticity as a universally desirable condition: the cost of failure in the pursuit of domestic bliss— especially for women, who are discouraged in the first place from other pursuits—must not be permitted to become too outrageously high. … Current concern about divorce springs from two different kinds of considerations. On the one hand, the prevalence of divorce seems to reflect a ''breakdown" of marriage. Traditionalists demand, in the face of this condition, a tightening of the divorce laws; reformers, a more 11

"mature" approach to marriage. On the other hand, a second group of reformers is alarmed not by the breakdown of marriage but by the hypocrisy surrounding divorce. They would make marriage a completely private matter, terminable, in effect, by mutual consent—a change which might or might not accelerate the "decline of the family," but which, they argue, would better accord with our pretensions to humanity than the present laws. The plea for more stringent legislation encounters the objection that laws governing morals tend to break down in the face of large-scale noncompliance. In New York, the old divorce law did not prevent people from getting divorces elsewhere or from obtaining annulments on the slightest suspicion of "fraud." The argument that there would be fewer divorces if there were fewer romantic illusions about marriage expresses an undoubted truth; but it is not clear, as the argument seems to assume, that there is something intrinsically undesirable about a high rate of divorce. Most reformers, when confronted with particular cases, admit that divorce is better than trying to save a bad marriage. Yet many of them shy away from the conclusion toward which these sentiments seem to point, that one way of promoting more mature marriages might be to make marriage as voluntary an arrangement, both as to its inception and as to its termination, as possible. The definition of marriage as a contract, enforceable at law, probably helps to promote the conception of marriage as a combat, a tangle of debts and obligations, which figures so prominently in American folklore. Revision of the law, particularly the divorce law, would not by itself change popular ideas of marriage, but it would at least deprive them of legal sanction. Even now, living apart is grounds for divorce in eighteen states and in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, the period of time varying from eighteen months in Maryland to ten years in Rhode Island. Barring a general wave of reaction, a possibility which should not by any means be discounted, other states can be expected to follow their example. In every case, reform will be accompanied by dire predictions of the disintegration of domestic values, but the family has outlived such predictions before. Far from being a survival of some earlier historical period, the idea of the family as sacred and inviolate, the cornerstone of society and the seat of virtue, is a characteristically modern idea bound up with the "privatization" of experience and with the tendency of the middle class, in Aries's words, "to organize itself separately, in a homogeneous environment, among its families, in homes designed for privacy, in new districts kept free from all lowerclass contamination." This self segregation of the middle class may have been, in the long run, a disaster; on the other hand, it may turn out to have been, precisely because it fostered a new respect for the 12

family, an important countervailing influence to the growth of the state. In either case, the family, desirable or deplorable, is hardly threatened by the increase in divorce.

Looking For A Sidekick By Dan Crowley From The Enterprise: Cape News; Falmouth, Massachusetts Someone To Hang Out With I’ve decided that I need a sidekick. But I just don’t want any sidekick, I want someone else’s sidekick. A sidekick is a specialist; always there at the right time, capable, funny, smart and just good company. The term, I believe is a 19th century American word, but the act of being a sidekick goes way back in history. Sidekicks then didn’t know what they were. Some of the earliest side kicks were Archilles and Patroclus from the Iliad and Moses and Aaron from the Bible. There were Enkidi and Gilgamesh from the Epic of Gilgamesh too, but I don’t think I’d want any of these guys as sidekicks. Lewis and Clark were possibly the first famous pair of American sidekicks, but while I wouldn’t have minded taking the trip across the country with them, I think they’d be a little too stiff to be my sidekick. We imported Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza, and Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson, but it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th century that we started to see the typical sidekick in this country. Sancho would be good if I wanted to fight windmills, but I don’t think so. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were a couple of fun sidekicks, but I’d always have to be slapping Laurel to get him to smarten up. I need a smarter sidekick.


The sidekick thing really got going in the mid 20th century as Hollywood grabbed the idea. Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden had his Ed Norton on the Honeymooners and Sky King had his niece Penny. That was always a little bit weird. Today Sky King would probably have to register as a sex offender just for taking Penny flying. There was Timmy and Lassie. While I like dogs, I wouldn’t want one for a sidekick. In today’s world I’d have to carry a doggie-do bag and a poop-scoop everywhere we went. Lewis and Martin were a couple of fun guys. The whiskey and women flowed 24-7 when they were together. We’d sing and tell jokes all day and night, never sleeping. I still like women, but I don’t like whiskey and I need my sleep, so that wouldn’t work. I like Marshal Matt Dillon’s side kick Festus on Gunsmoke, but the limp? Otherwise I might consider Festus. I like the name. How about Sheriff Andy and his sidekick Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show? I could be Andy, but that Barney was as dumb as a stump. I need a sidekick with a little more upstairs. Here’s a definite contender to be my sidekick – Tonto. The Lone Ranger could always rely on Tonto to get him out of a jam. Like magic Tonto was always there. He was smart, unlike that boob Fife, and crafty. And he was an Indian. How cool would that be to have an Indian as a sidekick? I’m putting Tonto on my sidekick fantasy team list for now. Batman had the Boy Wonder, Robin, but hanging around with boys and making them dress in tights would probably land me in jail. The Green Hornet had Kato, but I’m really not a big crime fighter and Kato would probably want to go out and chase bad guys all the time; the same with Starsky and Hutch. Captain Kirk had Spock, but all that time away from home. How many times were Mrs. Kirk and Mrs. Spock on Star Trek? Not many. As a matter of


fact I don’t think they were ever on. Maybe Kirk and Spock were driven into outer space by nagging wives. Another possible for the fantasy team keeper list is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Either one of these guys would be a good sidekick. Oh, wait, I think they might have died in the end. How about Major Tony Nelson and Major Roger Healey from I Dream of Jeannie? These guys landed sitcom roles with Barbara Eden back in time when displaying one’s belly button was scandalous. You have to respect a guy who spent his time with a scantily clad Barbara Eden staring at her navel all day. Still, not sidekick material. Here’s a sidekick that’s right up there with Tonto. Remember F Troop? Sergeant O’Rourke and Corporeal Agarn. That Agarn would be neat sidekick. What fun we’d have. He’s on the list too. I suppose I could have a female sidekick. Adam had Eve, Fred had Ginger, but not in the biblical sense, I don’t think. Bonnie had Clyde, probably several times. What else is there to do when hiding out from the law? Tarzan had Jane (for sure). Living in a tree house with a half naked woman does sound appealing. I’d have to get rid of that monkey. I think I’ll put Jane on the fantasy team possible list. Mork had Mindy (Nanu Nanu). Mindy was hot. Everyone knows Anthony had Cleopatra and even as kids we all knew there was a certain chemistry between Popeye and Olive Oyl. You know, I don’t think I want a female sidekick; too many hassles. I’d rather join Kirk and Spock and spend my time in deep space. The Odd Couple, Oscar Madison and Felix Unger were sidekicks and roommates. I’d probably end up shooting Felix in our first month together. Tim Allen and Al Boreland were sidekicks on the show Home Improvement. Al was a nice guy and he put up with a lot of crap from Tim; but, too much plaid. 15

Hawkeye and Trapper on MASH were a couple of cool guys, but I wouldn’t want one as a sidekick. The practical jokes would get old after a while. I know a sidekick for the list. How about Mini-Me, Dr. Evils miniature twin. A Mini-Me sidekick would be very cool. He’s on the list with Tonto, Agarn and Jane. Cheech and Chong were a couple of crazy sidekicks, but what fun would either one be today with states de-criminalizing marijuana? Let’s see – Johnny Carson had Ed McMahon and Dave Letterman has Paul Schaffer. But they aren’t real sidekicks. They go home separately after work. It’s just business. I’m not a movie person or I consider one of those Siskel and Ebert guys, probably the living one. Harry Potter’s sidekick Ron Weasley was a little slow. However, the witchcraft thing would be interesting. Let’s see: Bert and Ernie, Fred and Barney, Yogi and BooBoo, Woodstock an d Snoopy, Calvin and Hobbs, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Patrick, and Bevis and Butthead; no none of them. But I do like the idea of Gumby and Pokey. What’s wrong with Pokey? He’s a pony and everyone loves a pony. We could ride off into the sunset. Pokey is on the list. It’s time to choose between Tonto, Corporeal Agarn, Jane, Mini-Me and Pokey. It’s tough picking a new best friend and sidekick this way. It has to be someone that I can hang out with and do things with, have some fun. Okay, Jane’s out. It would get boring in that tree house after a few months and beside, there is that monkey. Beside that she’d probably nag me to death and want to spend time together swinging on vines. Mini-Me would be a boytoy, show-off sidekick. While he’d be cool, what could we do? I’d probably step on him. Okay, down to Tonto, Corporeal Agarn and Pokey. All three have a lot going for them. 16

Humm… Well, Pokey is a horse. True, he can talk, but I can’t bring a horse into the house, my wife wouldn’t buy it. Pokey is out, no animals. But notice he lasted on the list longer than Jane. Down to Tonto or Corporeal Agarn. I have to go with Tonto. He’s steady, loyal, brave and true. He would stand beside me no matter what. And he knows all that Indian stuff which is pretty cool. We could ride horses across the high chaparral, rescue damsels in distress, capture bad guys and do good. He’d probably be happy to get away from the Lone Ranger. What was with that mask anyway? Who was he fooling? I could begin going by the name, Kemo Sabe. Tonto: Sp-Eng Trans, n. fool, dummy, stupid, idiot, adj. foolish, silly, idiotic, soft headed. Kemo Sabe: There are several translations to this name. It probably means, trusty scout, one who is white, white shirt, friend to the Apache. I think every once in a while when the Lone Ranger called his sidekick Tonto (stupid in Spanish), if you listen carefully, the Indian responded “qui no sabe” which in Spanish means clueless, or he who knows nothing. How disillusioning to know, that as I watched this show as a kid the Lone Ranger and Tonto were name-calling as they dodged a hail of bullets. Anyway, if Tonto and I are going to be sidekicks I’d better brush up on my Spanish.


Biographical and Cultural References

Pure-A-Tron (page 43) Home air purifiers were a new phenomenon in the 1960s, promising relief from pollution, dust, pollen, and “irritating” smoke and odors. This is an ad for a Puritron air purifier from 1960.

Automat (page 43) A fast-food restaurant format popular in the first half of the twentieth century, where fresh food and drink were served by coin-operated vending machines. Automats began going out of fashion starting in the 1950s, with the rise of suburbs and fast-food restaurants with drive-through windows.

Silent Butler (page 48) A small receptacle with a handle and a hinged lid, used for collecting the contents of ashtrays, crumbs from a dinner table, etc., for disposal.


Hotel Dixie (page 45) Opened in 1930, the Dixie was one of Manhattan’s grand hotels. Just as Madison Square Garden sits atop Penn Station today, the Dixie had the Central Union Bus Terminal in the basement, with a giant turntable for the buses to change direction. The Dixie’s Plantation Room was a favored venue for many big bands and torch singers.

Walter Pidgeon (page 60) A debonair leading man in Hollywood in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Film highlights: How Green Was My Valley (1941) Mrs. Miniver (1942) Advise and Consent (1962)

Drambuie (page 63) A Scottish liqueur. According to liqueur reviewer Andrew Brown, Drambuie is best served neat, or with ice, as an after-dinner digestif, and pours to a lovely dark, golden yellow color. The aroma is sweet and honey-like, with hints of malt and smokiness. There's a mix of herbs and spices - aniseed, juniper and cloves.

Phenobarbital (page 76) A barbiturate, commonly prescribed during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s as a sleeping aid and tranquilizer. Now used primarily as an anticonvulsant.



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