Make no mistake. This is not a memoir of either Jack Klugman's or Tony Randall's lives. This is nothing like Moss Hart's Act One, perhaps the premiere theatre biography, and one of the very best biographies period. Nor is it meant to be. It is a warm and inviting conversation about a dear friend and the intersection of their lives in the theatre, then how that produced a deep and abiding friendship.
It is "a tribute to my dear friend, Tony Randall," according to Klugman, a series of reminiscences he shares about events in their nearly half century of friendship and partnership on the stage and television. Randall was already a star on the "Mr. Peepers" show when they first worked together in 1954 on the forgettable "Appointment with Adventure," a summer replacement show for the Goodyear Theatre. The production they shared was "a stinker" but an enduring personal and theatre relationship was born.
We learn that the show was cancelled every year because it was moved around on the schedule and could never find its audience. Then, each summer, the reruns would be given a consistent schedule, find an audience, and the show would be picked up again. This went on for the entire run. The best news was that because of the initial low ratings, both actors were able to get a percentage of the show. Klugman says, "That 'piece' sent both of my kids to college."
After Randall's death, Klugman was empty; he felt "gypped." Weeks of thinking about the reason for this explained why, among other things, he felt compelled to write this book. "You see, I hadn't ever told Tony the real gift his friendship had given me .The real gift that Tony's friendship gave me was the capacity to truly trust another human being completely. And that single act changed my life." "What I didn't get the chance to tell him was that our friendship had made me a better human being."