1997: Neil Simon Recrafts ‘The Sunshine Boys’ for TV
On this day in 1997, CBS presented a telemovie version of Neil Simon’s 1972 Broadway play, The Sunshine Boys, the story of aging vaudevillians whose relationship deteriorates to the point that they find it difficult to work together.
Simon wrote the TV adaptation, which starred Woody Allen as Al Lewis and Peter Falk as Willie Clark and reimagined the two as pioneers of early television. The telefilm’s supporting cast included Michael McKean, Liev Schreiber, Edie Falco, Sarah Jessica Parker and Whoopi Goldberg.
The Broadway roles were originated by Sam Levene as Lewis and Jack Albertson as Clark; a 1997 revival starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. A 1975 film version was also made, starring George Burns and Walter Matthau.