Jun 27, 2012

45th Anniversary of The Odd Couple Movie Filming At Shea Stadium (1967)

On June 27th, 1967 Hollywood set up its cameras at Shea Stadium for a scene for the original movie version of “The Odd Couple”starring Walter Matthau & Jack Lemmon. Shea made it’s film debut in a game between the home town New York Mets & the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Originally Roberto Clemente was asked to be the batter in the movie scene, but he declined the part because he did not want to be portrayed as a weak hitter. Another Future Hall of Famer & star of the 1960 World Series, Bill Mazeroski took the part, getting paid $100 for his role.

The scene in the film takes place from the press box in the top of the 9th inning with the Mets holding onto a one run lead. Sports writer Oscar Madison is covering the game & gets an emergency phone call in the press box from his roommate Felix Unger. Oscar sarcastically comments to a sports writer while getting up, the Mets still have a chance if they make a triple play. On the phone call Oscar gets annoyed when Felix tells him not to eat too many hot dogs because he’s preparing dinner at home.

On the field during the phone call, Mets pitcher Jack Fisher pitches to Mazeroski who hits a bouncer to third baseman Ed Charles. Charles steps on third, throws to (Ken Boswell I believe) at second for one, who then throws over to Ed Kranepool at first, completing the triple play.

Legendary sports writer Maury Allen makes a cameo appearance & tells Oscar he just missed the greatest play he’s ever seen. Oscar yells into the phone at Felix “Are You Crazy, are you out of your mind?” A few Met players come out of the dugout to shake hands with the infielders.

Throughout the movie Oscar is seen wearing a Mets hat, which just goes to show you how popular the Mets were even before 1969. On the TV show, Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison also often wore a Mets hat. Keep in mind the Odd Couple TV show began in 1970 & ran through 1975, a very good period in Mets history. Both Oscar characters had pictures of Mets players on their wall too.

The scene was filmed before a real game between the Mets & Pirates. When the actual game began, Mets manager Wes Westrum had Dennis Bennet take the mound against Pittsburgh’s Woodie Fryman. The Mets line up had Bud Harrelson leading off, Cleon Jones in center, Tommy Davis in left, Ron Swoboda in right batting clean up, Hawk Taylot behind the plate, Ed Charles at third, Eddie Kranepool at first, & Jerry Buchek at second.

The Mets hit Woodie hard in the bottom of the 1st, inning. Bud Harrelson lead off with a single, then Cleon Jones reached on base with an error. Tommy Davis then singled home Harrelson, & Ron Swoboda blasted a three run HR to put the Mets up 4-1. In the 2nd the Mets Jerry Buchek & the 9th place hitter- pitcher Bennet both singled. Bud Harrelson hit a sac fly ball that scored Buchek. In the top of the 4th inning, Bennet was replaced by Dick Selma after allowing two runs on seven hits with the Mets leading 5-2.

Selma earned his first win of the year by throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings striking out four Pirates. On the big day of the movie, Bud Harrelson had three hits, Ron Swoboda & The Glider Ed Charles both had two hits each. The Mets win put them at 25-41 in ninth place, 17 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals who would go on to win the World Series, beating the Boston Red Sox in seven games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Correction, it was sportswriter, Haywood Hale Broun, not Maury Allen in the scene with Matthau.