Bill Manhoff (1919-1974), though perhaps best known for his hit Broadway comedy THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT, was a longtime writer for a number of TV series (THE ODD COUPLE, SANFORD AND SON, ALL IN THE FAMILY, LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, ROOM 222 and THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY). THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT opened in New York in 1964 and was such a success that it was soon made into a film with Barbra Streisand and George Segal. It is easy to see why the play continues to be so enormously popular with audiences all over the world. The comedy is based on two strongly written, very human characters, Doris and Felix, who delude themselves into believing they are something they are not. She is a prostitute, but would like everyone to think she is a much sought-after actress/model. He, a clerk in a bookstore and a self-styled intellectual, would like everyone to believe he is a talented writer although he has never had anything published. When the two meet and unexpectedly fall in love they discover, after a frustrating period of on-again, off-again romance, that their refusal to look at themselves honestly is preventing them from finding happiness with each other. They can see each other’s weaknesses and self-delusion, but not their own. Because the author has anchored his comedy in these two very likeable and believable characters, we continue to be amused at their increasingly ridiculous behavior as they come closer and closer to discovering and accepting the truth about themselves. The humor unmasks character, while at the same time providing for an hilarious and heart-warming evening in the theatre.
John Walther and Di Wilson