“If you pretend the characters can’t speak, and write a silent movie, you will be writing great drama.”
“Many Odd Couple fans have their favorite episodes, whether they be ‘The New Car,’ ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ ‘That Is the Army, Mrs. Madison,’ ’Password,’ ‘The Ides of April,’ ‘It’s All Over Now,’ ‘Baby Bird,’ or ‘The Rain in Spain.’ My favorite is called ‘The Odd Monks’ because I wrote it out of desperation….This episode came at a point in the season when Jack [Klugman] and Tony [Randall] said they were getting tired of the long, complicated scripts we were giving them. The truth was they didn’t want to memorize so many lines. So I offered a compromise. I said, ‘Everybody take the week off. I’m writing the script this week.’ In the script Felix and Oscar go to a monastery and have to take a vow of silence. For nearly forty pages there was no dialogue, thus eliminating the need for two stars to memorize anything. The entire script was based on physical and visual humor, which I had learned from the scripts I had written for Lucille Ball. I think it was not only a funny script but one that varied the rhythm of the show. Sometimes when I watch TV with my wife I’ll come across “Odd Monks” on cable, and I have to sit and watch it through to the end. Jack and Tony, in my opinion, knocked that episode out of the ballpark.”
My Happy Days in Hollywood (written with Lori Marshall)
Couldn’t find an online clip from The Monks episode, but the basic concept continues a trend of this blog that started in January of this year after I saw The Artist. That is the concept of movies and scenes played with little or no dialogue. Thought that was a strength of Argo that I saw last week, and also of the old Steve McQueen film The Cincinnati Kid which I caught on cable over the weekend.