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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Klugman, Jack: Tony and Me

  Amazon  

4 stars

Jack Klugman's brief memoir Tony and Me (with Burton Rocks) is written as a tribute to the late Tony Randall, Klugman's friend of nearly 35 years, who played Felix Unger to Klugman's Oscar on television's The Odd Couple (1970 to 1975). The book spans the two actors' careers--from early stints on live television to Randall's creation of the National Actors Theater--but focuses on the period of their collaboration on the series. (When they were cast for the show both Klugman and his co-star had already had extensive experience performing The Odd Couple on stage, though not with each other. During hiatuses from the show, however, they would perform the play together to further hone their characters.) The book offers an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how two professionals went about perfecting their characters. Jack, for example, always pushed for a "love scene" in each episode--the scene in which the real affection between Oscar and Felix was manifested: "The mandatory 'love scene' made us real to each other and gave the show a life beyond the situations and jokes. I keep hitting on this point because I'm hoping this book will be read not only by fans of the show, or by fans of Tony and me, but also by young actors and writers who must understand that the most basic unit of any successful dramatic truth is human feeling." And he's right, of course, because what makes The Odd Couple work is the intensity of feeling between Oscar and Felix, whatever their differences.

Tony and Me bills itself as a book about the friendship between Klugman and Randall. For much of the book, however, the intensity of their relationship is not apparent, and Klugman in fact tells us that during the Odd Couple years the two didn't socialize much off-screen. This ostensible lack of closeness makes sense given Klugman's moving account later in the book of his return to performing after losing most of his voice to throat cancer. Randall's unwavering support during that difficult period changed Klugman for the better, breaking down the barriers he'd surrounded himself with for most of his life. Klugman credits Randall with nothing short of making him a better human being. So in fact the book is ultimately a paean to friendship, and it is very touching in its final pages.

The book includes a foreword by Gary Marshall, the executive producer of The Odd Couple, as well as interviews with Klugman himself and with Heather Randall, Tony's second wife and the mother of his two children. The book is packaged with a DVD of outtakes from the series. Some of the proceeds from sales of the book will benefit Tony Randall's National Actors Theater.

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