What a life! And I’m feeling better than ever. Here is where you can find photos from the national signing tour for my new book Tony and Me to honor my best friend and “Odd Couple” co-star Tony Randall — and some vintage pictures you might remember. Enjoy!
Welcome to the first episode of "Ask Jack!" I appreciate the comments my fellow MLBloggers have been leaving here while I’ve been on this book-signing tour for Tony and Me, and here are some responses while in Kansas City for a signing today:
Hey, Jack! Welcome to our blogoshpere! Oscar Madison was a Mets fan. What team or teams do you root for? Are you still involved in horse racing? — Kellia/Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes
Kellia, "involved" is the right word for it! It’s been a long relationship with a lot of ups and downs, but the love is still there. I’ve got a new filly and a new colt that are going to start racing next year and I’m very excited. I’ve promised myself I won’t die until I win the Kentucky Derby.
Mr. Klugman, great to see you and your son collaborating on the Web. Plan to get your book/DVD. I was wondering if you have a favorite three comedy shows of all time? — Tom
Tom, I would say that some of my favorite shows were probably before your time. Shows like "Playhouse 90," "The Defenders" . . . old-fashioned stuff that was more like theater than modern television. Of all time? Definitely "The Honeymooners." Art Carney and Jackie Gleason were both friends of mine and they were brilliant together! As for today’s shows . . . of course, "Seinfeld." But most of the shows I watch these days are being done by HBO. I love "The Sopranos" because I grew up around those some of those guys and know how true to life it is. I loved the first few years of "Six Feet Under." Great writing, great ensemble acting. And "Entourage" is starting to get really fun. For sure, HBO is doing some the best work on television.
Mr. Klugman, so glad to hear you’re doing great. You and Tony have made me laugh for over 30 years. Are there any plans for "The Odd Couple" on DVD?
Well, George, I can’t talk too much about this. But I can say that there’s talk. Hopefully in 2006. Take the poll on this website and let Paramount know what you think! It might help move it along.
Hi Jack- It’s wonderful to see you on here. I was wondering if you really are a Mets fan?
Even though I’m from Philly, my teams are often New York based (sorry Philly). I like to say I’m a Mets/Yankees fans because I really am. But you asked if would I like to see the Mets take The Series in seven before I die? I’d say . . . you BET!
Hi Again Jack-
I forgot to ask you one burning question that has been on my mind for years: In "Quincy," in the episode you did with Jessica Walter called "Mirror Twins" she and her twin had their vital organs on the opposite side of their bodies . . . is that really possible? – firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on the research we did then, it was entirely possible. When I did "Quincy," I would never base a plot twist on a made-up medical excuse. That’s for guys like Glen Larson.
I cannot believe that I, Tina Berkley, am writing to one of the best actors that ever hit stage or screen! I am a HUGE "Twilight Zone" fan and I know that you were in 4 of them. I watched "In Praise of Pip" and I cannot sit through your riviting performance without crying! Love you Jack! Tina from Seattle
Tina, you’re too kind. It’s because of people like you I’ve been able to make a living in this business. Thanks for your loyalty.
As it says on the top of this MLBlog, some of these posts will allow me to share some of my favorite stories about stars I have known throughout my career. Jackie Gleason was a generous, multi-talented guy, a great actor and agood friend. He had one of the biggest personalities I’ve ever
known…and an ego to match! Here’s one of my favorite, true stories
about Jackie that says it all.
Thanks to all of you who have been commenting on this blog and asking questions, too. I am in the middle of a signing tour now in the state of Missouri for my new book Tony and Me, which you can order right here at the MLB.com Shop as a great holiday gift. I will address some of your comments as soon as I can, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy this story about Jackie…one of the great ones.
One of the questions I am asked most often is: "When will there be an ‘Odd Couple’ DVD?" You can help by doing the following: Fill in the information in the DVD poll question that I have just put on the right side of this MLBlog. Here is an arrow to point you to the right. —->
Then we hopefully will come to an answer on this issue, and maybe soon you will be able to use your DVD player to watch scenes like the one below in this picture from my private collection. (There goes Felix again.) There are also great outtakes in the special DVD that you will get if you order my new book Tony and Me right here at the MLB.com Shop.
I’m back on the East Coast now for more book signing appearances, and you can click the link on the right of this page (follow the arrow above) for the full tour. Wednesday is the Washington/Baltimore area, and Friday is Pittsburgh. Next week is St. Louis on Monday, K.C. on Wednesday, and Dallas on Friday. It’s a lot of fun to meet fans who have watched our shows, and fun to have a blog here.
Right before the playoffs started, I enjoyed being interviewed by Billy Sample on the MLB Radio show "Baseball Brunch." We talked about how different "Quincy" was from today’s gory shows like "CSI"; my horse Jacklyn Klugman that finished third in the 1980 Kentucky Derby; and about my new book and what Tony Randall meant to me as my best friend after my throat surgery.
"He just was my best friend," I told Billy. "You know, sometimes you don’t know until a person leaves you. Joey Lewis, the comic, used to say, my piano player’s been with me 20 years, and I didn’t know he drank until he came in sober one day. And that’s what I felt like. I didn’t know how important he was in my life until I lost him."
Billy told me that my sportswriter character on "The Odd Couple" was "so right on". And I said:
"I was a sports fan when Jimmie Foxx was playing, when Lefty Grove was pitching. I saw Jimmie Foxx hit a liner that hit the bleachers and came back the shape of an egg. And he hit a ball so high once, he ended up on second base before the ball came down. That’s what I remember. And Vince DiMaggio was a good fielder, not a good hitter."
Watch the MLB.com Baseball Brunch video
I will have a lot of stories to share from a life in the entertainment world, and of course some baseball, which is what you’d expect from the guy who played Oscar Madison alongside my friend Tony Randall. We’re podcasting these days, so many of these stories will be in this format, and you’ll need to download the application if you don’t have it so you can hear it all. I thought I would start out by telling you why Garry Marshall gave me the biggest break of my career.
This is Jack Klugman. My kid keeps getting me into things I don’t know anything about — first it was websites, then Podcasts, now BLOGS! When I think back to when my career started, it seems impossible that I would one day end up as a "pod", on a website, inside a "blog", partnering with an organization like Major League Baseball, but here I am. And I gotta tell you, it feels GREAT!
How many guys get a shot like this at 83 years old? I’ve got a new book out called Tony and Me, I’m on a book tour around the country and I’m in better shape than I’ve been in my life. What else do I need?
Listen to the "podcasts" (my son tells me that’s a real word) and tell me what you think. Recently, Adam got me into a recording studio and had me tell all the stories he grew up with (suddenly he’s interested again!). He says you can listen to them on the computer. He also says people like them. That’s all I care about. If I can give the people who have supported me all these years something they can enjoy, then I’m happy.
Thanks to MLB for being making it happen. This is gonna be fun. Also…any questions?