Saturday, January 04, 2014

Picking Up Extra Money

Oscar (Jack Klugman): I wouldn't bet somebody else's money on just a horse. I bet it on a horse. A sure thing.

Once, I gave some money to my friend Steve, about whom I have written before, to run an errand for me.

I don't remember the details surrounding that now. Maybe I had to work a double shift or something. Maybe that is why I couldn't run the errand myself.

Anyway, I gave this money to Steve and told him what I needed him to do with it — and he wound up betting it on a horse. I confronted him about that. I was angry about the way he had used my money after swearing to me that he would run my errand as I requested. Steve got a little defensive. I guess neither of us handled that matter terribly well.

I mention that now only because it is relevant to the episode of The Odd Couple that aired 40 years ago tonight. It was called "The Moonlighter," and it was about how Oscar had been given some money to buy season tickets to the Yankee games. He had gambled the money on "a sure thing" that turned out to be not so sure after all, and he was moonlighting at a diner to earn the money back.

His roommate, Felix (Tony Randall), was understanding about Oscar's predicament — until he learned it was his money that had been squandered. Well, actually, it was one of Felix's clients' money, but Felix had trusted Oscar with it, and he felt his trust had been betrayed.

Felix didn't like the idea of Oscar continuing to work in the greasy spoon at nights. He thought it would jeopardize Oscar's full–time job at the newspaper, and he suggested that Oscar work in Felix's photography studio to earn the money to cover the price of the tickets.

There was no real lesson to be learned from the story, I suppose. Felix was going to do a photo shoot with three beautiful girls, and he instructed Oscar that he was to treat them as "colleagues and co–workers" — which Oscar did, sort of.

The lesson, perhaps, came at the end when Oscar, to show his appreciation to Felix for his help and understanding, made a meaningful gesture.

Well, it was meaningful to Felix.

Oscar, the ultimate slob, had cleaned up his room.

Felix was stunned upon seeing it. "I'm very impressed," he told Oscar — until he lifted the bed cover to reveal Oscar's dirty clothes. Apparently, Oscar had just gathered them up off the floor and stuffed them under the bed cover until after Felix's inspection.

Same old Oscar.