The Gwendolyn and Cecily Day Thread (September 30)

1968’s The Odd Couple is one of my favourite comedies. Not many theatre productions translate to the screen, of course, but Neil Simon’s does, and then some. You can’t really beat Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and the dialogue is razor sharp throughout.

“Where are you going?”

“The john.”

“Alone?”

“I always go alone…”

Stage comedies (in which Matthau, but not Lemmon, also starred) need to have great supporting characters who hit the mark with only a few lines in a couple of scenes. Felix and Oscar’s fellow poker players are all great: Murray the Cop, Speed, Roy, and Vinny (I love when, after all his complaining about leaving early, he immediately says they’ll be there “until three or four in the morning”, to keep the distraught Felix safe).

Then of course there’s the The “Coo-Coo” Pigeon sisters, Cecily and Gwendolyn, were played by Carole Shelley and Monica Evans. They were the only two performers to be in all three of The Odd Couple versions: stage, film, and the first television adaptation. They were originally only in one scene, but thanks to Boston critic Elliot Norton, simon added them into the third act which made an “enormous difference.”

The Pigeon Sisters

Another fun fact: the Triple Play was filmed at Shea stadium on June 27th, 1967, before a game between the Mets and the Pirates. Pittsburgh player Roberto Clemente was asked to bat but refused!

I’m on Instagram – @craigwardscott – where you can see my illustrations.

I’m always up for suggestions too if there’s something you’d like to see or have drawn for you.

Have a great day and take care of yourselves, Avocado!