Odd Couple

Separated at birth: today's birthday boys, Tony Randall and Johnny Cash. Randall was born in Tulsa, OK in 1920, Cash 12 years later in neighboring Arkansas. Both had commercial breakthroughs in 1955 (Randall originating the role of E.K. Hornbeck in the Broadway production of Inherit The Wind, Cash by recording his first single, "Hey Porter" for Sun); both saw career peaks in the sixties and early seventies; both went through a rough 1980s (Cash getting in battles with his record label, Columbia and Randall starring in tripe like the sitcom Love, Sidney); and both found themselves making comebacks in the late 90s and early 00s by trading off their legends (Cash with his series of American Recordings, Randall by spoofing himself in films like Down With Love). In their own ways, they each offered complex riffs on what it meant to be a man in postwar America, and both could be read as playfully manipulating their respective public images of dandyish twit (Randall) and Man In Black (Cash) in order to hide how deeply dedicated they each were to their respective crafts of acting and singing/songwriting. Happy birthday to each!


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