LOS ANGELES (Special to TSD AfterDark) Lost in a dank, dusty warehouse in Studio City, California, a 16mm film is being restored. It was found by a night watchman on March 8th and handed over to film historian, Alfred Keller. It is believed to be the only remaining copy of an episode of The Odd Couple that was never aired. Entitled, The Unger Games, the controversial episode depicted Felix Unger (played by the late Tony Randall) tormenting his roommate Oscar (played by veteran actor Jack Klugman) with a meatball hero sandwich after Oscar lost his wallet during a night of tomfoolery with his sports writer colleagues.
A hungry Oscar returns home to an empty refrigerator and unable to purchase food. Randall’s Felix character sees the opportunity to transform the sloppy, unkempt Oscar to a refined man of elegance and cleanliness. That’s where Randall’s epic performance kicks in, and a newly seen sinister side of Felix Unger is revealed to an unsuspecting audience.
“Oscar! You can have this delicious meatball hero if you change your sloppy ways forever, and…kill Mr. Moretti in apartment 12. The man made an insulting remark about my Veal Saltimbocca.” Felix proclaims from the shadows of his well appointed kitchen, holding a meat cleaver.
The show’s producer, Garry Marshall was stunned upon seeing the footage for the first time in nearly forty years and claimed Randall’s performance ran the gamut of emotions.
“Tony’s unedited, spellbinding, nay, dizzying soliloquies had us all on our heels. What manic bliss he gave us that day. All of us, Jack included, could only sit and watch, as we were witness to acting history.” the 77 year old television veteran said.
The script, written by Randall himself, was filmed on November 20, 1972. It was set to air the following January, but the network deemed The Unger Games too intense for television. Even by today’s standard’s, the dark, offbeat episode remains profoundly disturbing.
“They say tragedy plus time equals comedy,” added Marshall. “But not enough time has passed to get a chuckle out of this episode. It’s distressing to say the least.”
The Unger Games needs the approval of the Randall estate to be included in a planned Odd Couple DVD box set due in October.