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Friday, November 21, 2014

How About Chicken?


The two funniest things I ever heard about anyone saying were:
1) At a gathering of A-List celebrities at dinner aboard a yacht, one of the A-Listers initiated a game---"Who Has Met Whom?", thinking that at least one member of this group had met just about anyone that could be imagined.
His first question was "Has anyone met Eleanor Roosevelt?"
Immediately, Warren Beatty's hand shot up. "Actually, I met Eleanor Roosevelt."
From the furthest end of the table away from Beatty, another A-Lister called out to him.
"Did you fuck her?"
That's one.
2) In the 50's a struggling young actor had to take a day job working at the soda fountain at Howard Johnson's, in Times Square.
He hated this job.
He hated the clientele, primarily made up of tourists.
He hated having to discuss with them the renowned 28 flavors of Howard Johnson's ice cream.
One afternoon, a middle-aged lady sat at the counter, trying to make up her mind about which flavor of ice cream she would settle on.
and she prattled on about it, finally asking the young actor what he would recommend.
With this being the backbreaker, he responded "How about Chicken?"
He was summarily asked by management to turn in his apron and his scooper, which he didn't mind at all doing.

The quotee in both instances was Mike Nichols.

Mike Nichols was a giant, in all respects.
A great wit.
A great performer.
And that rarest of rare things, a great director.
Both stage and screen.
One of the only directors to find sustaining success on stage and screen.
There was nothing about Orson Welles that was sustaining.
Elia Kazan found it, but he had other problems.
I'm not one to easily give out compliments to directors, as I regard most of them as complete hacks.
Writers, to me, are the visionaries.
So I exempt them when I talk bout directors.
Non-writing directors are, for the most part, merely camera pushers.
When I've tried to get my movies made, negotiations usually break down when some studio attempts to foist some hack director on me, rather than allowing me to direct it myself.
I would usually say something like "Look, if you can get Mike Nichols to do it, or Scorcese, or Francis Ford Coppola, I would gladly step aside. Past that, they're all hacks."
And my movie would go back on the shelf.
I want my movies to be made well.
I would much prefer my movies not be made at all than be made badly.
As great as his great ones were, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", "The Graduate", "Carnal Knowledge", "Silkwood", "Working Girl",
"Postcards From The Edge", he also had his share of clinkers.
"The Fortune", "Heartburn", and I was not a fan of "Catch-22". I found it way too confusing.
But then I was never able to get past page 60 of the novel.
I think that Nichols understood that even a great director can't transcend a bad script.
He might have attempted to with those stiffs, but just couldn't get over the hump.
But even in the stiffs, there were almost uniformly great performances, and staggeringly great photography.
Nichols was clearly a hands-on actors director.
Even in "The Fortune", he put Stockard Channing on the map.
In "Working Girl" he managed to make me a fan of Melanie Griffith, who in subsequently lesser hands, virtually vanished from the screen.
Nichols was a great psychologist when working with actors.
Before "The Odd Couple" hit Broadway, they were a smash in Boston.
The cast, in previews in New York, was already settling in for a lengthy run.
First day of previews, Nichols completely changed the blocking.
This staggered and bewildered the cast.
Why is he doing this?
It made no difference, and it went on to be the smash hit that it was always destined to be.
When asked subsequently about the change of blocking, Nichols replied that he was worried about the cast getting too complacent, and they needed shaking up.
This also speaks to something I also believe in: the over-importance given to stage blocking in general.
Except for key moments in my plays, I have approached blocking as "just let the actors be comfortable on stage, and make sure that they don't bump into each other.
I've essentially taken my cue from Nichols, and his approach to "The Odd Couple"
I'll have more to write about directors as hacks in the future.
When Mike Nichols and Elaine May teamed up, they did this sketch called "The $65 Funeral".
It involved Mike, as the grieved relative, answering an ad for a $65 funeral, subsequently learning that absolutely nothing was included.
May asked "And how were you planning to transport the deceased to the church?
Nichols, bewildered by the question, replied ".....cab?"
He finally settled on the much more expensive Hearse.
Great sketch.
Now that it's Mike's turn, I'd certainly like to think that Diane Sawyer is going to spring for far more than the $65 funeral.
At least for the Hearse.

He certainly came a long way from "How about chicken?".

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Right Idea.

Sophie Tucker was this huge star in Vaudeville.
Mainly in the 20's and 30's, until there was no more vaudeville.
And she was old then.
After that, she was still a huge star in nightclubs.
And she also gravitated to the Ed Sullivan Show, the last vestige of Vaudeville.
That was really my only exposure to her.
I really didn't get her.
She seemed ponderous, pious, self-important, humorless, and imperious.
She sang, or talked-sang, about show business, or patriotism.
It all seemed pretty embarrassing.
Martin Short, in his new autobiography, talks about his character, Irving Cohen, the ancient Jewish songwriter,
as having been based on Sophie Tucker, whom he had only seen in similar contexts.
It was a parody.
He felt the same way about her as I did.
But there was another side to Sophie Tucker, one that I was not aware of until very recently.
There was an abundance of special material written for her when she was in Vaudeville.
Most of it was quite racy.
Most of it was quite hilarious.
Most, if not all of it, was performed by Ms. Tucker quite perfunctorally.
In that same heavy-handed style of hers.
It was, again, the wrong idea.
I learned this by seeking out her albums, which I found easily.
Why did I seek them out?
Because a couple of weeks ago, PBS aired a Michael Feinstein special, which featured other cabaret performers.
It took place at the refurbished Rainbow Room high atop 30 Rock.
Feinstein started talking about some of the stars who had played the Rainbow Room in the past.
And he mentioned Sophie Tucker.
This led to a segue for an introduction of June Squibb, the actress who was nominated for an Oscar last year as Bruce Dern's wife in "Nebraska". (She should have won.)
Feinstein told the audience that Tucker had all that special material written for her, and that Squibb would sing one of those songs that Tucker made popular long ago, "I'm Living Alone And I Like It".
Squibb, seated at a table, with drink in hand, launched into the song, and proceeded to blow the roof off the dump.
Perfect timing, perfect comedic attitude.
She was incredibly funny.
You can check this all out at PBS.org.
I think they are still showing it.
Anyway, this put an idea into my head.
I went to the Spotify website, where it seems they have every album ever recorded.
I found the Sophie Tucker album that contained "I'm Living Alone And I Like It".
It was abominably unfunny.
I then listened to many other cuts on that album.
All racy, all hilariously written, all not well-performed.
There is enough great material out there to make an entire for evening or two for a one-woman show for June Squibb to embody Sophie Tucker in a way that Sophie never deserved, but we as an audience very much do.
Either on Broadway, Off-Broadway, or in a Cabaret.
June Squibb is 83 years old now.
I don't know if she sat at that table, drink in hand because she has trouble walking or standing, but if that's the case, let her just sit there so you can drink her in.
Some enterprising producer is missing a major bet by not following through on this.
An evening with June Squibb as Sophie Tucker is very much the right idea.


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Wrong Idea.

1939.
It was a heck of a year for movies.
Among most film critics and historians, it was regarded as the greatest year for the output of great movies.
Here is just a partial list:

The Rains Came
Dodge City
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Gunga Din
The Women
Drums Along the Mohawk
Stanley and Livingstone
Union Pacific
Destry Rides Again
Jesse James
Dark Victory
Gone With the Wind
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Love Affair
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Ninotchka
Of Mice and Men
Stagecoach
The Wizard of Oz
Wuthering Heights

It's pretty hard to argue about 1939 and movies.
I'll take it one step further.
To me, 1939 was the greatest year ever for recordings of popular music.
Again, a partial list:

"All or Nothing at All"
"An Apple For The Teacher"
"Are You Havin' Any Fun?"
"At the Woodchopper's Ball"
"Back In The Saddle Again"
"The Boys in the Back Room"
"Brazil"
"Comes Love"
"Darn That Dream"
"Day In, Day Out"
"Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead"
"Do I Love You?"
"Don't Worry 'Bout Me"
"Frenesi"
"Give it Back to the Indians"
"God Bless America"
"Good Morning"
"I Didn't Know What Time It Was"
"I Get Along Without You Very Well"
"I Like to Recognize the Tune"
"I Thought About You"
"I Went to a Marvelous Party"
"If I Didn't Care"
"If I Only Had a Brain"
"I'll Never Smile Again"
"In a Mellow Tone"
"In The Mood"
"It's A Big, Wide, Wonderful World"
"The Lady's In Love With You"
"Lydia, The Tattooed Lady"
"A Man And His Dream"
"Moonlight Serenade"
"Over The Rainbow"
"Pennsylvania 6-5000"
"Perfidia"
"South American Way"
"South Of The Border"
"Stairway To The Stars"
"Strange Fruit"
"Tuxedo Junction"
"Tain't What You Do"
"Tara's Theme"
"Too Romantic"
"Two O'Clock Jump"
"We'll Meet Again"
"Well, Did You Evah!"
"What's New?"
"When You Wish upon a Star"

Pretty impressive.
But not necessarily conclusive.
What makes it conclusive for me is a song that was recorded that year that most of you have never heard of, but now consider my favorite.
I never heard of it until about five years ago, when I stumbled across it accidentally.
It was never a hit.
It received virtually no airplay, at the time, or since.
And I have taken it upon myself to make some attempt to give it the kind of exposure it has always deserved.

Throughout the history of American Popular Music, there has been the hip and the unhip.
The great hip bandleader Artie Shaw referred to Bing Crosby as the first hip white man.
Before Crosby, there were already, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Jelly Roll Morton, and Louis Armstrong.
It was always very hard to be black and unhip.
For whites, it was very easy to be white and be Rudy Vallee, Russ Columbo, and Buddy Clark.
The early hip black bands, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chick Webb, and Jimmie Lunceford easily made way for hip white bands like Woody Herman, the above-mentioned Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Charlie Barnet.
Even Glenn Miller, although scoffed by some as being too commercial, was not unhip.
Unhip was left for white bands such as Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo, Kay Kyser, and Lawrence Welk.
There was no excuse for these particular bands.
They made a mockery of music in general.
Thus, in 1939, Charlie Barnet's band made an all-out assault on those unhip white bands with his own form of mockery.
A recording was made called ""The Wrong Idea".
Sammy Kaye, upon hearing it on the radio, successfully went through a lot of arm-twisting to get it banned from the airwaves.
So the public awareness of "The Wrong Idea" was very short-lived.
But it can be found on YouTube by typing in "The Wrong Idea-Charlie Barnet"
If you listen to it, which I strongly recommend, you will hear a very sappy instrumental first chorus, after which the vocalist comes in.
It should be noted that the vocalist is Billy May, who was Charlie Barnet's trumpet player, and one of the great hipsters of all time.
He went on to become a great arranger.
He was Sinatra's go-to guy when he couldn't get Nelson Riddle, or when he wanted something a lot more swinging than Nelson could provide.
May arranged Sinatra's entire "Come Fly With Me" album in the fifties.
Probably the swingingest album Sinatra ever did.
May then wrote "Somewhere In The Night", which was the TV series Naked City's title song for about three years.
Until they got Nelson Riddle to write another one.
So go to YouTube and indulge yourself in a treat: "The Wrong Idea", by Charlie Barnet and Billy May.
And then, tell your friends.


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Television For And About Jews. Part Two.

The last article was a prelude to the fact that I found a network on my cable system called The Jewish Life Network, or JLN.
I'm very glad that it is there.
It has quite a few shows that I hadn't seen in many years.
The Soupy Sales Sales Show.
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show.
The Jack Benny Show.
The Original Goldbergs, with Gertrude Berg.
There is also a Jackie Mason Show, that he did in 2005, that was essentially a topical news show.
What does this all add up to?
For one, a whole lot of entertainment.
For another, a whole lot of pandering.
However widely it was known, all of the above names were and/or are Jewish.
Dinah, while she was busy advertising Chevrolets with the big tail fins, never advertised that she was Jewish.
But among the tribe, word leaked out, and I think that's why we are seeing grainy black-and-white kinescopes of her fifties/early sixties variety hour, which was originally shown in color.
Even so, you can tell that it was very well done.
And she could really sing in those days.
Not like when she had her afternoon talk show, when she kept making fried chicken and attempted to sing.
Her pipes were really shot by then.
She should have stuck to frying the chicken.
Yes, Soupy Sales was Jewish.
His real name was Milton Supman.
A lot of Jews know this, and that's probably why he appears twice a day on the JLN.
I have really loved watching Soupy recently, particularly the old black-and-white shows he did locally in New York in the mid-sixties.
The original Goldbergs, with it's sappy sentimentality, and predictable plots, usually involving misunderstandings, and jumping to the wrong conclusions, a la "Three's Company", is salvaged by superior dialogue writing.
Gertrude Berg, the muscle of the writing, really knew how to turn a phrase, usually a heavily accented Jewish one.
She was very much into what Garry Marshall referred to as "verbal spins".
Something I heavily engaged in when I worked for him.
"The Jackie Mason Show" was done in 2005, so it ain't exactly topical anymore.
And it was done when I still thought he was funny.
Hindsight has pretty much changed that.
I don't know how politically correct it would be today for Jack Benny, an obvious Jew, to do a character who was obviously so cheap.
But the JLN doesn't seem to mind.
And neither do I.
His show was wonderful.
Also at the risk of political incorrectness, let me state that the JLN embodies two of the worst qualities of my people: We are notorious braggarts and notorious beggars.
And the JLN thrives in both elements.
The braggadocio involves not only an air of superiority over other peoples, but also superiority amongst each other.
The JLN has Jewish celebrities, such as Jason Alexander, and Lainie Kazan, who I think is going on her fourth face-lift, making on-camera appearances extolling the virtues of this network.
Another is Mayim Bialek, from "Blossom", and "The Big Bang Theory".
The graphics under her picture read "Ph.D. and actress Mayim Bialek"
It's a way of saying to ourselves, and to the occasional Gentile tuning in, ""Not only is she a successful actress, but she's a doctor yet".
One of my father's weirder jokes was he'd ask you "What's a phudnik?
You'd say "I don't know."
He'd say "A nudnik with a Ph.D."
I guess on every level, even among nudniks, there was a pecking order.
As far as begging goes, there is no charity related to Israel that is not ponderously paid attention to during their commercials.
When I was a college age teenager, and my sister was a high school age teenager, living in an apartment building in Flushing, Queens, we would often see this ancient Hassidic Jew, with the long black coat, the black hat, and the full beard, right out of Central Casting, roaming the streets of our neighborhood, relentlessly begging for money.
On Jewish holidays, he got brave enough to go around ringing everybody's doorbell.
You'd open the door, he'd have his hand out, and with a pitiful look in his eyes, say ""Money for Yuntiff?"
"Yuntiff" actually meant "Yom Tov", which meant "the holiday".
It didn't matter which holiday.
Passover, Chanukah, Succoth, Simchas Torah, Rosh Hashanah, Tubishvat, Yom Kippur....
He was there outside your door, ready to say "Money for Yuntiff?"
I, having no money to spare, usually handled this by looking through the peephole, seeing it was him, and not opening the door.
Once or twice, getting caught unexpectedly, I opened the door, saw and heard "Money for Yuntiff?", and said "Wait right here."
And I went to get my sister. I said "Les, there's someone here to see you."
She then came to the door, and embarrassedly turned him away.
This worked twice.
I don't think she's ever forgiven me.
The Yuntiff guy then broadened his horizons.
He started working purely American holidays as well.
Memorial Day, Fourth of July (boy, did he look sweaty in that coat.), Labor Day....
Now, here it is, Veteran's Day, and I'm looking at the commercials on the JLN.
And all I can think of is "Money for Yuntiff?"


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, November 7, 2014

Television For And About Jews.

It used to be, when I was growing up, that TV was much more for and about Jews than it is now.
That's because there hadn't yet been such a thing as a coaxial cable.
Before that, TV was geared pretty much for people in New York City who could afford TV sets.
You know.
Jews.
That's when Sid Caesar was lauded and dominated the airwaves.
Then, after the coaxial cable was laid, around 1958, people in Utah had TV sets, Lawrence Welk owned the airwaves, and Sid Caesar went on a twenty year drunk.
Catering to Jews then became non-existent.
The opposite held forth.
Networks shied away from Jews-in-front-of-the-cameras in droves.
Caesar, Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Molly Goldberg, Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, George Burns, all gone.
All the Borscht Belt comedians gravitated to Ed Sullivan, where they never left until he did.
The was no Alan King Show, no Henny Youngman Show, and no Myron Cohen Show.
No, Sullivan was their only refuge.
So who did we have left?
Gleason. Irish.
Perry Como, Dean Martin, Italian.
Andy Williams, non-descript American.
Red Skelton, descript American.
Donny and Marie, Utah.
Sonny, Italian.
Cher, I didn't know what the hell she was, but I know it wasn't Jewish.
Jerry Lewis couldn't make a go of it on TV.
They didn't want Carl Reiner playing himself, so they got Dick Van Dyke.
Dinah Shore made every effort to hide the fact that she was Jewish, and got away with it for quite a while.
The Jews were all writers, and behind the cameras.
Oh, every once in a while, the networks got a little brave.
They gave Jackie Mason a sitcom.
Thirteen weeks, and out.
In 1976, there was a successful movie called "Next Stop, Greenwich Village", about a young Jewish boy breaking away from his parents to go share an apartment in the Village.
The following year, due to the aura surrounding me due to the success of "Laverne and Shirley", I was approached by CBS to surreptitiously adapt "Next Stop Greenwich Village" into a half-hour sitcom.
I was as surprised as anyone, knowing the history of such things.
But somebody managed to convince somebody of something, and pretty soon, a pilot for this idea was in the works.
And even more surprisingly, it sold.
We had Pat Carroll and Jack Kruschen as the parents, and a very young Adam Arkin as the breakaway son.
It was called "Busting Loose", and ran for a full season in 1977.
What was not surprising at all was that after about six weeks, CBS begged, yea pleaded for us to tone down the Jewishness.
Pat Carroll and Jack Kruschen were virtually written down, if not out, and the show became a slightly older gang comedy, on the order of "Happy Days", with not one mezuzah in sight.
I bring all this up because on my cable system here in Chicago, I have found a network that is blatantly bucking the trend:
The Jewish Life Network.
It is all, and I mean ALL things Jewish.
I will go into detail about it's programming next time.
Until then, shabat-shalom, everyone.


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

We Will Be Amused.

I'm writing this the morning of election night.
As usual, I can't wait for events to transpire.
As Spencer Tracy said to his nephew, Jeffrey Hunter, in the 1958 movie, "The Last Hurrah", the greatest spectator sport in this country is politics.
I don't know if this is as true today as it was in 1958.
There are too many people today who don't even know that there is an election tonight.
So now, politics may have been surpassed by Pro Football.
Unfortunately, the major share of the population not aware of the elections are the ones most effected by the outcomes.
Particularly when it comes to the minimum wage and women's issues.
And if they are aware, they can easily be hornswoggled by the Republicans to vote against their own interests.
That people have become this dumb saddens me.
But it also amuses me.
Because none of these issues affect me personally.
I have no dog in any of these hunts.
Oh, I voted.
Also against my own interests.
Just trying to do what I thought was right.
But if my votes don't carry the day, my taxes will remain low, and I'll make out like a bandit.
And I will be amused.
The bullshit that is coming out of every candidate's mouth is highly amusing.
Everything that Chris Christie says and does is amusing and compelling.
Particularly his delusions that he is not in trouble, and is advancing himself.
That people support him for anything is amusing.
Oh, I have my villains in these races.
Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida...
I'm sure if Scott Baio was running somewhere, I'd find a way to consider him a villain too, just on name value.
But if the Scott's win tonight, its just another example of "You can fool all the people all of the time"
And I will be amused.
This whole deal about voter suppression is very dismaying.
It represents the downfall of our democracy.
Which makes it highly amusing when we try to export democracy to other countries, and they say "What about your voter suppression?"
We don't live in the world of Frank Capra movies anymore, where the people rise up at the end and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
Capra, always a staunch Republican, would probably be rolling over in his grave if he was able to see what has happened to his Party, fueled by the Koch Brothers' money.
This both saddens and amuses me.
It's not like Bush vs. Gore, where I was viscerally and emotionally involved in the outcome.
Justifiably so, as it turns out.
But it can't get any worse than that, so I remain somewhat dispassionate.
And amused.
The Democrats have been acting like wusses, abandoning Obama right and left, leaving him to twist in the wind.
We have been treated to the spectacle of Alison Lundergan-Grimes unable to admit that she voted for Obama.
Politically pointless and cowardly.
It probably will cost her any chance to beat Mitch McConnell.
The Republicans are likely to win the Senate, not that it would make much difference, unless they use it as platform to impeach Obama.
We already went through that with Clinton, and I can't think of anything that was more amusing than that.
And Clinton emerged heroically.
The Republicans won't do anything about climate change.
But I'll probably be long gone by the time the planet is killed off.
So I really don't see any downside to tonight's proceedings.
The difference between politics and Pro Football for me is that with football, I have to have a bet down to care and have a rooting interest.
With politics this year, and probably in the ongoing future, I just have to cozy up to the TV set, and let the curiosity factor take over.
Let the best man win.
Fat chance.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting Used To Illinois.


I like Illinois much more than I liked Michigan.
In many ways.
In some ways, not so much.
On the plus side, there are many more opportunities for me here in Illinois.
For one, I've already booked a slew of speaking engagements at Chicago Public Libraries, where I sell and sign my books.
It's new turf for me.
I have virtually wrung the Detroit area dry in that regard.
There seem to be opportunities to teach, and get my plays done here.
I have wrung Detroit dry in that regard.
On the minus side, I'm not quite used to living here.
For one thing, there are these things commonly known as tollbooths.
They're all over the place.
I don't think I saw one tollbooth during my entire stay in Michigan.
Here, they're all over the place.
It's not that I've never dealt with toll roads before.
I grew up in New York. On Long Island.
Long Island is replete with tollbooths.
I am one of the most physically uncoordinated humans you'll ever run across, and much time was spent in my youth attempting to toss the appropriate amount of coins into the basket at the tollbooth, almost invariably missing the basket, having to get out of the car, holding up traffic, picking the errant coins up from the pavement, and putting them back into the basket.
This particular fault has lied dormant all these years, only to be revived here in Illinois.
I am perhaps the worst living driver who was ever issued a license.
My mother WAS the worst, but she is no longer with us.
I inherited her skills, or lack of them, directly from her.
They combine a substantial lack of control of the vehicle, and a total lack of a sense of direction.
Neither of these contribute to the tollbooth problem, but there have been a couple inventions that you'd think would at least somewhat level the playing field.
One is the GPS, or Garmin, where the recorded lady gives you directions.
This device can also be found in your IPhone with Siri being your accomplice.
You'd think all I had to do was blindly follow along.
But there would always be these forks in the road where you're not sure where to make the turn.
And if you're me, you always make the wrong choice, only to hear that dreaded word "recalculating".
Then, there's this other invention, called the I-Pass.
Elsewhere, it is known as the EZ-Pass.
It allows the driver to simply flash the pass at the light at the tollbooth. and the toll is automatically paid.
Usually at a cheaper rate.
No coins. No baskets.
A Godsend.
My wife has an I-Pass, and uses it to pay the tolls to and from work every day.
I almost never drive anywhere, so I didn't need one.
Until one day that I did.
I was going to make a short round trip to the nearest Walmart.
Don't ask me why.
It's not important.
I pleaded with my wife to let me have the I-Pass that day.
She wouldn't hear of it.
She needed it for more tolls than I did.
It would have cost an extra fifty cents to give me the I-Pass.
So she gave me a change-purse, filled with coins, and left me to my own devices, with my Siri and my Garmin, to make my round trip to Walmart and back.
One of the things that has NOT leveled the playing field is that the Siri and the Garmin can both provide you with misinformation.
I managed to get all the coins in the baskets without dropping them, but, as I left the toll road to go to my hotel, the Garmin directed me back onto the toll road, forcing me to pay another toll.
It did this four times, at a buck-ninety a throw, before I got smart enough to figure out that I was being misdirected.
I turned on the Siri, which set me and the Garmin straight.
And I found my way back to the hotel.
That change-purse that my wife had given me was now practically empty.
At least seven bucks lighter.
All because she needed to save fifty cents.
Needless to say, she quickly responded by ordering me my own I-Pass.
At least one source of further embarrassment will now be spared me.
Who knows what other sources will raise their ugly heads?

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Mixed Blessing Of Comcast. Part Two.

Last time out, I listed, as Ed Norton would say, Comcast's good pernts.
Today, we'll be dealing with Comcast's bad pernts.

#1) It is almost impossible, whatever your problem is, to get anyone on the phone.
After signing up with them, and receiving equipment from them, I had to install a few things so I could have cable in at least one room, and have internet access.
I called Comcast, and got recorded message choices.
Then, after making the appropriate choice, was asked by the recorded lady to enter the ten digit phone number associated with the account.
I was told that no such account exists.
This occurred repeatedly.
After appearing at my local Comcast store, providing them with the information, and being handed equipment.
I also had an appointment scheduled for five days later, the earliest they could do it, for technicians to complete the full installation.
I was handed a modem, so I could hook up the Wi-Fi.
No problem.
I knew how to do that.
I did it.
My devices indicated that it had been done successfully.
One problem though:
I couldn't get on the internet.
On any of the devices.
Oh, I could go outside of my house, and get the internet on my IPhone.
But not inside the house.
It was being blocked inside the house, for some reason.
I wanted to find out what that reason was, thus the attempted call to Comcast.
Where I was told repeatedly that no account exists.
Then, at long last, my account was recognized by the recorded lady.
This put me on a recorded loop, where I was asked the same questions over and over again.
I then realized that you had to be a Navajo Code-talker to get to speak to a human being.
Whatever was asked, I responded by relentlessly hitting "Zero" on my phone.
Eventually, this got me to a human being, who spent the first three minutes ignoring me while laughing and chatting with his fellow workers.
When he finally noticed that there was someone on the other end of the phone, we got down to business.
I asked him why I had no internet access.
After dancing around this question for about a half-an-hour, he noticed that I had a technician appointment in five days.
And that was why I had no internet access.
THEY had to turn it on.
This begged the questions "Why wasn't I told this?", and better yet, "Why was I handed a modem?"
The answers to both questions were "I don't know."
I wanted to call my local Comcast store to get answers.
Local.
Twenty minutes there, and twenty minutes back, by car.
Time I could have saved if they had a local phone number that you could call.
Like all U-Verse stores do.
But they don't.
They are unreachable by phone.
So I shlep there by car, only to get the same answers that I got from the deciphered phone call to Comcast.
Of course, the moron who handed me the modem was off that day.
I suggested that we call her, only to be met with "We don't disturb employees on their days off."
Apparently, it didn't matter how much I was disturbed.
So I went five days without internet, except for my IPhone, which did provide it once I disconnected the Wi-Fi.
How spoiled I have become.
That's all I got, is #1.
But I think it's enough.


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Mixed Blessing Of Comcast. Part One.

Part of my move to Chicago has involved having to change Cable companies.
In Detroit, I had AT&T U-Verse, which I have referred to in the past as "U-voise" in tribute to the 1950 film "Mister Universe",
during which Bert Lahr and Jack Carson, as wrestling promoters, signed the reigning "Mr. Universe" played by a very uncomfortable Vince Edwards, to a pro wrestling contract, and took every opportunity to call him, and refer to him as "Univoise".
I loved my U-Voise.
They provided very reliable service.
They had a very good channel selection.
I was in Cable Heaven.
But U-Voise wasn't available where my new house was.
All there was, was Comcast.
I was dismayed.
Part of my malaise about it was mollified when I went to the nearest Comcast store, about twenty minutes away by car, and was handed their programming guide.
I specified what Premium services I wanted, and they went out of their way to figure out how to save me money.
As good as U-Voise was, Comcast was far better in this regard.
I am a big fan of MeTV, a channel that specializes in Classic TV, and commercials directed at really old people, which I generally skip through, and was praying that Comcast also carried MeTV.
Not only do they carry MeTV, but they also carry all the clones of MeTV.
There's MeTVToo, Cosi, Antenna, and my current favorite, The Jewish Life Network.
This is definitely an upgrade from U-Voise.
U-Voise doesn't have any of these.
What I have now is an embarrassment of riches.
But this upgrade has already come at a severe price.
And it has already taken it's toll on me.
I'll get into the dark side of Comcast next time.
And by dark side, I mean Jet Black.
Yet, I have emerged unscathed.
But their faults must be exposed.
And I'll do that next time.

'Til then-----

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Eating Lasagna With Ballpoint Pens.

Why life isn't fair:

I'm sitting in my gorgeous new house in Chicago.
It is for the most part, filled with still packed boxes.
It will probably take much time to get everything unpacked.
But I've got my room to watch TV, and there is enough room in our bedroom for us to be quite comfortable.
However, there are several things that I count on my wife to take of, and, sad to say, she let me down.
One of those things was to provide me with eating utensils.
This issue came to a head when, after not being able to immediately retrieve the silverware from any of the investigated boxes, and my wife not bringing home any plastic silverware, where it resided in abundance at her office, we were faced with the issue of dining out, only to learn that at just about every restaurant in our immediate area, the kitchens closed at nine pm.
As my wife generally works until at least 7:30pm most nights, and then has a half-hour drive to get home, we have generally been fighting the clock to eat out locally.
The first night. not being aware of this, and not knowing where the silverware was, we began making excursions to the local restaurants, only to be turned away because it was after 9pm.
Now we did have leftovers from a previous restaurant experience, and thought we'd probably be able to find at least something that resembled a spoon or a fork.
At least one that we could share.
After much searching, we determined that we couldn't.
Knowing her as I do, I assumed that after about three weeks of hotel living out here, waiting to move in, she would have had her usual good sense to swipe at least one set of silverware from one of the restaurants that we had frequented.
But she was remiss in her duties.
And we both paid the price.
Oh, I suppose we could have gotten back into the car, and gone to the supermarket, where we could have acquired plastic forks, but we were far too demoralized at that point.
And far too cheap to pay for something we had in abundance in the house somewhere.
The leftovers in question were Italian seafood pasta, and Lasagna.
The pasta seemed manageable.
I got the idea to transform two ballpoint pens into chopsticks, and eat it like it was Chinese Lo Mein.
The Lasagna was the tricky part.
Trying to eat the Lasagna with two ballpoint pens as chopsticks was certainly a daunting process.
And of course, a thoroughly humiliating one.
I mean, think about it.
My wife is a highly valued, well paid financial executive.
I have achieved a certain amount of prestige in my show business career.
Our new house is a showplace.
We have other quite valuable real estate holdings.
And we're both sitting in our new kitchen, attempting to eat Lasagna using ballpoint pens as chopsticks.
We managed to get through it.
And we won't have to re-create this experience, as the silverware has now been uncovered.
But, at the time, my first and only thought was "How the mighty have fallen".
As Zero Mostel put it, in "The Producers", "Once I was the King of Broadway. Now, I'm wearing a cardboard belt!"

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, October 17, 2014

Learning To Toddle.

"Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders......."

This is the beginning of Carl Sandburg's poem, "Chicago".
Why am I quoting this?
I am about to let the cat out of the proverbial bag.
My wife and I have just moved from Detroit to Chicago.
Now, this may not seem earthshaking to any of you, but it is a 5.6 on the Richter Scale to me.

I've been dropping little hints along the way over the last few months, when it was a tentative plan.
It got firmed up when my wife got a job here.
Such is my life.
I follow her around from job to job like an Army brat.
In "G'bye Dere, Part 4", a post I put up a few months ago, I got into a 29-round debate in the Comments section with "Mike from Chicago", where we debated, among other things, the relative merits and demerits of movie producer Hal Roach and baseball executive Bill Veeck, during which Mike implied that if one has never lived in Chicago, one can never have his unique perspective on life, and the appreciation of his surroundings that he enjoys.
I replied "Gee! I hope I get to live in Chicago some day so I can be as smart as you!", knowing I had this imminent move in my back pocket.
The debate deteriorated rapidly, to the point where, because of what I determined to be his tediousness, boorishness, inaccuracies,
and lack of humor, I sent him packing.
Although I believe I have detected him still lurking on the blog.
He's welcome to do that.
I just don't want to hear from him again.
I've already got quite a few "moving to Chicago" stories to tell, and they will involve the usual amount of bellyaching, although actually, I really love it here.
And I'm starting to feel smarter already.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Siri Sabotage.

My Siri has served me quite well.
I have always loved my Siri.
I have at least always loved the IDEA of my Siri.
But that's in the past tense.
It's all over now.
The bloom is off the rose.
The romance is over.
It used to be that I'd ask my Siri anything.
And I mean ANYTHING.
And in a jiffy, in a New York minute, Siri would be right there with the answer.
Not now.
Not any more.
Now, Siri doesn't understand a word you say.
I'm not positive why.
But she has become hard-of-hearing.
I'm not holding any kind of personal grudge.
I'm not holding Siri's feet to the fire.
I think she means well.
I think it's beyond her control.
At least with the IPhone 5.
I suspect sabotage.
Either from Apple, in an attempt to get their customers to upgrade to IPhone 6, with their "much better Siri", one that can easily understand you, or one of Apple's competitors, who has hacked into Apple, and brought the old Siri to her knees.
I am seeing commercials all the time for competing cell phone companies that compare the old Siri to Helen Keller.
But I'm sticking to my guns.
For better or worse, I'm going to keep talking to the deaf lady.
Hey, Lady!!!!!


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"I Don't Read Anybody's Blog". Part Two.

I don't think I ever mentioned this, but I have a major aversion to receiving mass e-mails.
E-mails for which I am not the sole recipient.
I feel like I am becoming a member of somebody else's audience without asking my permission.
The exception I make is when I receive a mass e-mail from someone I know is a reader of my blog.
Then, I welcome their mass e-mails.
Otherwise, I prefer my e-mails to have a more personal stamp to them, so I'm not just a member of their audience.
I know.
I write a blog.
You are all members of my audience.
But you have all come here on your own volition.
I don't put pressure on anyone to read what I have to write.
Here, I am preaching to the choir.

Several years ago, an old friend decided to put me on her mass e-mail list, after years of personal e-mail correspondence.
Subsequently, I never received any more personal e-mails from her.
She used to be a reader of my blog, but I sensed that she had stopped reading it.
That became reason enough for me to essentially dismiss her mass e-mails once I had been forced to open them.
Not too long ago, she sent me a mass e-mail, quoting an article that informed me that Lee Harvey Oswald had grown up in the Bronx, in New York City.
This was not news to me.
He and I had attended the same public school in the Bronx.
Me in kindergarten, Lee in the fourth grade.
I had once made mention of this on my blog.
So I wrote my mass e-mailing friend back and said "Tell me something I don't know".
She wrote back, un-massed, "How am I supposed to know you knew this?"
I explained that I had written about it on the blog.
She sent back those magic words: "I don't read anybody's blog any more. I don't have the time".
She doesn't have the time.
Yet she has the time to send out the equivalent of her own blog, the mass e-mail, which she does with some regularity.
Only by doing it that way, she is forcing the recipient to at least unwittingly pay attention to it.
I expressed those sentiments to her subsequently, with the request that she take me off her mass e-mail list.
That I have no problem communicating with her directly and personally, but just not in that form.
She graciously accommodated me.
Now, I receive e-mails from her that seem like mass e-mails, except that they are addressed personally to me.
Oh, well.
At least she made the effort.
I don't think I have to concern myself with her seeing this.
After all, she doesn't read anybody's blog .
She doesn't have the time.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"I Don't Read Anybody's Blog"

Several months ago, in L.A., I had dinner with a couple of guys I knew in college.
One, a good friend, who is an avid reader of my blog, and the other, who started out as a friend, and turned himself into less than an acquaintance.
During the course of eating, my friend casually mentioned that I have a blog, and that he enjoyed it, to which my less-than-acquaintance responded "I don't read anybody's blog. I don't have the time".
Notice that I didn't bring it up.
I would NEVER bring it up.
Unless I had a particular reason.
My friend brought it up.
Now, I honestly have no objection to someone not having the time to read my blog.
It's not necessarily for everybody.
I read some blogs.
I don't read others.
What I object to strenuously is someone going out of his way to tell me, in public, "I don't read anybody's blog. I don't have the time".
Like he's above it.
Like he's above me.
Like I'm not worth his time.
Now, I certainly don't mind him thinking it.
People can think whatever they want.
But why is it necessary to tell me?
If someone had told me that they had a blog that I was not aware of, I'd like to think that I'd say something like "Sounds great! I'll have to check it out."
Whether I meant it or not.
Total honesty does not have to be the order of the day.
But my less-than-acquaintance chose that other path.
And solidified his position as "Less-than-acquaintance".
He is a successful screenwriter.
I suppose I could have said "I don't go to see anybody's movies. Particularly yours. I don't have the time."
This would have been a true statement.
But, gentleman that I am, I missed a wonderful opportunity to not keep my mouth shut.
I haven't seen him since.
And do not intend to.
I suppose you can call this Blog Etiquette.
And Life Etiquette.

Next time, I will offer up another example of "I don't read anybody's blog. I don't have the time".

Until then.....


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****


Friday, October 3, 2014

The Return Of "Ticky Tock"

Quite a few months ago, I wrote an article here called "The Saga Of Ticky Tock".
Here is essentially what I wrote:

Woody Guthrie once wrote an recorded a song called "Ticky Tock".
That's not what I am referring to here.
I mentioned after seeing the preview to "The Sound of Music" that there were charlatans in the Metropolitan area of New York who took advantage of kids in our neighborhood, convincing their starstruck mothers that their kids had the talent to send them into the stratosphere, if only they had a little coaching, which these crooks would provide.
This led to the mass auditions and rejections of these moppets for the original production of "The Sound of Music", which starred Mary Martin.
But there were other charlatans out there.
Those who took advantage of very young little "composers and lyricists", convincing them that for a fairly hefty fee, they could get their compositions published and recorded by major artists of the time.
Two such "composers and lyricists", actually I don't know who contributed what, were these two ten-year-olds named Debbie and Diane.
Their composition, which we in the neighborhood heard incessantly, was a little ditty called "Ticky Tock".
As I'm sure they had never heard of Woody Guthrie, and since I have heard his "Ticky Tock", I can assure you that they were not the same song.
I will attempt to recreate Debbie and Diane's "Ticky Tock" as best I can, considering that you can't hear the music on paper:

"When my baby left me,
I didn't know what to
do
oo
oo
ooh
When my baby left me, I was sad and
blue oo
oo
ooh

So I looked at the clock, said "Ticky Tock"
Ticky Tah
ah
ah
ock
When my baby left me.....(and then the whole thing was repeated. Over and over.)
It never ended.
It was a song without end.
It's like it was on a loop.
Now you might think that the lyrics to "Ticky Tock" were inherently stupid.
And maybe they were.
But so were many hit records at the time.
What was more inherently stupid than "Ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang"?
Not much, but at least it had an ending.
"Ticky Tock"'s lack of one did not stop at least one shifty entrepreneur from getting Debbie and Diane's mothers to part with a significant amount of cash to see their budding geniuses handiwork wind up on the hit parade.
It never did.
But it has lived on in our memories.
Whenever my wife, or my sister, or I say a sentence that ends in the word "clock"
One of the others can be counted on saying "...said 'Ticky Tock'?"
My sister, when she was eight, actually came up with an absolutely appropriate ending to "Ticky Tock"
She sang "So I looked at the clock, said 'Ticky Tock", and started all over again."
This was to the tune of "Pick myself up, dust myself off..."
Pretty hip for an eight year old.

--------------------------------------
Fair warning, the following might appear to be more curmudgeonly and tasteless than usual, even for me.
I was born a curmudgeon, the very first post on this blog was curmudgeonly, and I'm sure I'll die a curmudgeon.
And my taste has always been questionable.
So if this sort of stuff is starting to wear you down, I suggest that you skip the rest of this, and come back next time.
Okay.
You've been warned.
Last Christmas, I had Christmas dinner `with some relatives.
After consuming way too much food, I developed what can most politely describe as a case of the trots.
Actually, it was a case of the full out runs.
So there I was, in the bathroom, sitting where one sits, in the midst of agonizingly exploding.
I hope this isn't too graphic for you.
During this cacophony, I heard my nephew, in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom where I was doing my damage, singing a lullaby to his one year old daughter, trying to induce her to fall asleep.
His lullaby of choice was Brahms' Lullaby.
Or at least his version of it.
He did not know any of the words to it, so it was all "Da da dum, da da dum, da da dum dum, de dum dum"
Here are the lyrics to Brahms' Lullaby:

"Lullaby and goodnight, with roses bedight
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed

Lullaby and goodnight, thy mother's delight
Bright angels beside my darling abide
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast"

The way my nephew did it, he never got past the equivalent of the first line, which ends with "roses bedight"
One line.
And he da da dummed it that way for a good half-hour.
Like it was on the same kind of a loop as "Ticky Tock"
Another song without end.
And without lyrics.
With the added aggravation of my inability to escape the situation because of my exploding bowels.
My nephew is a very nice, intelligent guy, and can't help the fact that he has no musical sense whatsoever.
Thus, I never confronted him about it, regardless of how much added pain he caused me.
I can only encourage him to have good nights, sleep tight, and not to let the bedbugs bite.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Freakouts From TV That I Have Known.

The actor Don Keefer died the other day, at the age of 98.
Nice run.
He had a huge list of TV credits, usually playing a rather amiable weakling.
I first became aware of him on the early 60's sitcom "Angel", which starred a very amiable French starlet named Annie Farge.
Keefer played her very amiable next door neighbor.
Doris Singleton played his not so amiable wife.
Keefer knew his way around comedy, and was very good on "Angel".
I'm probably the only person who remembers Don Keefer from "Angel".
But he is remembered vividly, if not by name, but by his face, for one of his other TV roles.
In an episode of "The Twilight Zone", he was one of a handful of people who were subject to young Billy Mumy's whims, where he was capable of "wishing" for things to come true.
Usually it was a matter of "Wishing them to the cornfield", where their heads would be sticking out from a long corn stalk.
More unique, and more frightening, was what happened to Keefer.
Mumy "wished" Keefer would become a Jack-in-the Box.
And he did.
There was Keefer's frozen smiling face, sitting on top of the spring of a Jack-in-the Box.
It was one of the most frightening things I'd ever encountered in my young life.
A total freakout.
I can never watch that episode of "The Twilight Zone " again.
I once had a table at my local Comic-Con, where I sat right next to a now grown Billy Mumy.
I mentioned Keefer and the Jack-in-the-Box. And how it freaked me out.
He said "Yeah. I get that a lot."

At least this freakout was somewhat rational.
I mean, let's face it.
It was a really horrifying image.
But there have been a couple of others that have bordered on the truly irrational.
In the early 1930's, in the opening credits of many Warner Brothers' movies, even before the big "WB" would come lurching at you, it would be preceded by this forming atom, or proton, or something, where dots would be circling around round rings, with what sounded like a bongo drum accompaniment, forming, on the beat, with a cymbal, the letters "A---A---P", against a black background.
It stood for "Associated Artists Productions"
I haven't seen it since I was a teenager, but when I did, it made me run from the room.
I don't know why, but it just freaked me out.
It probably still would.
I hope I'm never in a position to be tested again.
I don't think I'd pass.

The third freakout was not mine, but my daughter's.
It was yet another tribute to my truly terrible fathering skills.
My only previous experience with little girls was as my sister's older brother.
And I treated her mercilessly.
Thus, I treated my daughter like I treated my sister.
I am not proud of this.
My daughter was a huge fan of "The Muppet Show".
On one episode, Harry Belafonte was the guest star.
During the course of the episode, he sang an African song called "We Come From De Fire"
He was surrounded by various Muppets, all wearing scary-looking African masks, and singing along with him.
This freaked my daughter out completely, and, this already being the age of the VCR, I had recorded it.
And showed it to her at every opportunity.

I suppose I thought "Why should I be the only one to suffer?"
And I suppose it's too late for an apology, since it's 29 years later, but I'm sorry, kid.


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Friday, September 26, 2014

Goodson-Todman---A Pretty Fair Output, Huh?

Beat the Clock (1950–1961, 1969–1974, 1979–1980)
The Better Sex (1977–1978)
Blade Rider
Blockbusters (1980–1982, 1987)
Branded (1965–1967)
Broken Sabre
By Popular Demand (1950)
Call My Bluff (1965)
Card Sharks (1978–1981, 1986–1989)
Choose Up Sides (1956)
Concentration (1973–1978, 1987–1991)
The Don Rickles Show (1968–1969)
Double Dare (1976–1977)
Family Feud (1976–1985, 1988–1995)
Get the Message (1964)
Goodyear Theater (1957–1960)
He Said, She Said (1969–1970)
It's News to Me (1951–1953, 1954)
I've Got a Secret (1952–1967, 1972–1973, 1976)
Jefferson Drum (1958–1959)
Judge for Yourself (1953–1954)
Las Vegas Beat
Make the Connection (1955)
Match Game (1962–1969, 1973–1982, 1990–1991)
Mindreaders (1979–1980)
Missing Links (1963–1964)
The Name's the Same (1951–1954, 1954–1955)
Now You See It (1974–1975, 1989)
Number Please (1961)
One Happy Family (1961)
Password (1961–1967, 1971–1975)
Password Plus and Super Password (1979–1982, 1984-1989)
Philip Marlowe (1959–1960)
Play Your Hunch (1958–1963)
The Price Is Right (1956–1965, 1972–present)
The Rebel (1959–1961)
The Richard Boone Show (1963–1964)
Rider Beyond Vengeance
Say When!! (1961–1965)
Showoffs (1975)
Snap Judgment (1967–1969)
Split Personality (1959–1960)
Tattletales (1974–1978, 1982–1984)
That's My Line (1980–1981)
To Tell the Truth (1956–1968, 1969–1978, 1980–1981, 1990–1991)
Two for the Money (1952–1956, 1957)
What's Going On? (1954)
What's My Line? (1950–1967, 1968–1975)
The Web (1950–1954)
Winner Take All (1948–1950, 1951, 1952)

This is a list of the shows that Mark Goodson and Bill Todman produced and got on the air for TV.
It doesn't even include unsold pilots.
I don't know if anyone else can even come close to matching that record for number of different shows produced.
Oh, there was the occasional Prime Time dramas or comedies, but most of them were Game Shows, of varying degrees of success.
Except for certain glaring exceptions, the game shows were of a very high standard.
Goodson and Todman, particularly Goodson, who was the brains of the outfit, were enormously influential on the tastes and the viewing habits of the American public.
In some ways, they still are.
I'm going to attempt to weave my way through this list, and comment on some of these shows.
This will be my go-to topic when I have nothing else of significance to write about.
I wrote a little about "To Tell The Truth" last time, when I wrote about Polly Bergen.
It was easily the most clever, well-crafted, and interesting game show ever.
Some of their shows created catch-phrases.
"To Tell The Truth" had one.
When they were ready to reveal the non-liar, Bud Collyer, the host, would say "Will the real ______ ________ please stand up?!
In the early 60's, in California, there was this noted Death Row inmate at San Quentin named Caryl Chessman.
He was eventually executed in the gas chamber, and subsequently cremated.
Shortly after this occurred, my sixteen year-old cousin Howie, with his usual flair for showmanship, set up three filled ashtrays on his kitchen table, and announced "Will the real Caryl Chessman please stand up?!"
Ahh...memories....

On the other end of the spectrum was "Beat The Clock", easily the most stupid game show ever.
It was all about stunts, and making the contestants look foolish.
And giving away clock-radios. Occasionally a black-and white TV.
Bud Collyer was the host there, too.
The premise was way simple: perform the stunt in the allotted time given you by the clock.
Maximum of sixty seconds.
I knew one of the "writers" on "Beat The Clock"
Writers. He was paid to come up with the stunts, and try them out in his office with the other "writer" to see if it could be performed in the allotted time.
The stunts usually involved balloons and gyrations.
In an office.
Grown men.
This was one step up from elephant-shit shoveling on the show business spectrum.
Albert Brooks, at parties, used to break out a piece of material called "Bud Collyer's funeral".
Collyer had passed away in the late 60's, so this was a re-creation.
With the clock ticking, the pall-bearers would attempt to get Bud's coffin planted in the ground in under sixty seconds.
They succeeded, and all received clock-radios.

"Til next time....


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Polly Bergen: I Miss Her Already.

Polly Bergen died this past week.
She was an enormously attractive and talented woman.
I'm sure most of you know who she was.
But then, most of my readers are over forty.
Anyone under forty has trouble remembering who Bob Hope was.
Polly Bergen was a great singer.
She was a great actress.
And she was a great game-show panelist.
When she was a regular panelist on Goodson-Todmsn's "To Tell The Truth", which is where I first saw her when I was ten years old, she combined those latter two talents.
Aside from being lovely to look at, and theoretically delightful to know,, she was the only panelist ever to appear on that show to create a persona for herself.
Every other panelist was essentially an extension of his or her personality, with the possible exception of Robert Q. Lewis, who, on the air, was merely unctuous, but off the air, was a total prick.
Polly Bergen, on "To Tell The Truth", played it totally flighty and ditzy, something I'm given to understand she was not at all.
Goldie Hawn, on "Laugh-In", played it totally flighty and ditzy, something she was not at all.
Polly Bergen was to "To Tell The Truth" what Goldie Hawn was to "Laugh-In"
And was just as adorable at it.
She left "To Tell The Truth" after only a few years, to be replaced by Peggy Cass, who was exactly what she seemed to be.
And I don't think she ever did a game show again.
I think she thought she was on the verge of a budding movie career.
She had a starring role in a piece of fluff called "Kisses For My President", playing, of all things, the first woman president.
And it was all played for laughs and silliness.
That seems appropriate.
I mean, really.
A woman president?
"To Tell The Truth was a really well constructed game show.
It required the panelists to be mentally alert at all times.
It required the "liars" to be mentally alert at all times.
It created a fascination for the audience for them to figure out who was lying.
I, of course, being the worst poker player in the world, could never have been a "liar" on "To Tell The Truth".
And I could never figure out who was lying.
It was one of those rare game shows that I thought was smarter than I was.
Goodson and Todman were such major purveyors of entertainment in the twentieth century that it is not fair to dwell on just "To Tell The Truth".
Next time, and perhaps the time after that, I'm going to take a more extensive overview of Goodson and Todman's output over the years.
R.I.P. Polly.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rothman's Guide To Hotel Etiquette. Part Two.

Picking up from last time:

If you want to sleep in, make sure that you put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, so you can provide the non-English-speaking housekeeper the opportunity to ignore it, bang on your door, and yell "Housekeeping!!", which, of course is the only word she knows in English, waking you up at the ungodly hour of 10 AM.
This forces you to yell back "Later please!!!!.
That is, if you want to be polite.
If you don't, it is certainly acceptable to leave off the "please".
Then, at 1 PM, when the front desk calls you to ask if you want your room cleaned, you have every right to say "Of course!
Whaddya think? That I'm a slob or something?? Send 'em right up!"
Then, when they still haven't showed up at 4pm, feel free to call down again and say "I'm still waiting!!!
This reminds them that your room hasn't been cleaned yet.
Then, when the housekeeper shows up at 4:45pm, feel free to rant that if she had shown up at 4:05, I would be leaving the room and be out of her way.
But since it's 4:45, I have to stay here to watch Keith Olbermann. So it's your fault.
Don't worry about hurting her feelings.
Not only can't she speak English, she can't understand it either.
So, no harm, no foul.
One of the reasons I want to sleep in late is that they serve a very early free hot breakfast downstairs, which I get up for and avail myself of, before I go back to sleep.
Now some of these hotels have very good hot breakfasts.
They have an omellete station, and a waffle machine.
Or at least one of the two.
Of course, the one I'm currently staying at has neither.
This gives me the opportunity, already knowing the answer, to ask the front desk, "Where's the waffle machine?" and "Where's the omellete station", and enjoying their sheepish grins as they tell they don't have them.
Then, when you tell them that you've stayed at cheaper hotels that do, you know they're not going to say "Then why don't you stay there?"
Because, as I indicated, they're trained to smile and shrug, and nothing else.
Back to the ones that DO have omellete stations.
This matters to me, because I don't want to put the cholesterol associated with egg yolks in me.
At omellete stations, they invariably have egg-whites or Egg Beaters available.
As opposed to the mushy, bland, cholesterol-loaded scrambled eggs available where I'm currently residing.
There is a downside to omellete stations, but merely a minor one.
Each one that I have encountered has a tip glass on the counter.
And there are always a few bucks already in it.
This is, of course, a scam.
He put the few bucks in the glass himself to encourage other poor saps to kick in.
I have proof of this.
I am often the first one down there for breakfast.
And there are already a few bucks in the tip glass.
So where did they come from?
Of course I find this offensive.
I mean, this is the man's job.
To make omelletes.
At a buffet.
A buffet I'm already paying good money for.
He's simply frying the omellete, putting it on a plate, and handing it to me.
He's not bringing it to my table and serving it to me.
Just handing it to me.
Unlike the "waitresses" whose only job is to pour me coffee, who I don't tip either.
But of course, I hold my tongue.
Because I am always multi-tasking.
Getting my juice, making a waffle (Okay, so I'm not a fanatic about cholesterol.), and if I say something about the tip-glass-scam, I leave myself open to the omellete-maker spitting in my eggs.
So I hold my tongue.
I do make a minor attempt at not holding my wrath when some slob waiting for his omellete ahead of me puts a couple of bucks in the tip glass, and hearing the omellete maker say "Thank you, sir."
Then, when the omellete maker turns back to work on my eggs, I boldly sneer at that slob because he is about to make me look cheap for NOT doing it.
Back to where I am staying now.
Most hot breakfast buffets at these places have conveyor belt toasters, enabling everyone to toast their bread or bagels at the same time.
This is very good.
Where I'm staying now, there is this one four-slice toaster.
It means that you have to wait for others to finish their toasting before you can start yours.
This is very bad.
Yesterday, I had a bagel that needed toasting.
I went to the four-slice toaster.
There were four bagel halves filling it, being toasted.
So I waited.
And I waited.
The bagel slices had stopped toasting, but they hadn't popped up.
I waited a full fifteen minutes.
I think that fifteen minutes, under the circumstances, is more than enough waiting time.
Then, I popped up the slices.
They were about two-thirds toasted.
Enough to satisfy me.
So I took them.
I appropriated them as my own, and placed my soggy scrambled eggs upon them.
I began to eat them.
About five minutes later, a ten-year old girl went to the toaster, and discovered that her bagels were gone.
I discerned this because she came rushing back to her table, coincidentally located next to mine, and exclaimed to her mother, "Mommy! Somebody took my bagels!!"
She was willing to let her bagels sit in that four-slice toaster a full twenty minutes, for Chrissakes!
I was pleased to see that it was a little girl.
It at least meant that she was young enough to learn an important life lesson:
When there is only one four-slice toaster, it is inconsiderate to leave your bagels unattended.
Most adults, excluding myself, of course, are far too set in their ways to learn anything.
As I was eating the kid's bagels, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
So you can turn lemons into lemonade.

I guess that's about it.

Once again, I'll close where I left off in the song:

"When the steeple bell
Says "Good night, sleep well,"
We'll thank the small hotel together

And when the steeple bell
Says "Good night, sleep well,"
We'll thank the small hotel......together!!!


********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rothman's Guide To Hotel Etiquette. Part One.

My wife and I are in Chicago, staying at a hotel, and living out of suitcases.
This is a condition that will last for several weeks.
I will get into the whys and wherefores at a later date.
I have spent much time in my life in hotels, and thus, I feel eminently qualified to offer helpful hints on how to conduct yourself to maximize your pleasure when staying at such establishments.
First, when you make your reservations make sure they have precisely what you are looking for.
That way, there will be no unpleasant surprises once you arrive.
I have become somewhat handicapped within the last year.
I use a cane when I walk, or hobble.
I have practically become a full-time hobbler.
So I make sure I ask for a room near the elevator to cut down on the hobbling.
Thus, when I check in, there is no reason to even ask the clerk whether or not the room is near the elevator.
It would be unseemly and embarrassing to ask, only to be met with "Heck, you asked for it didn't you?".
No sense bestowing that kind of shame on either one of us.
So after my wife loads up several of those luggage carts that are strewn about in the lobby, (I can't help, I'm too busy hobbling. And it's mostly her stuff anyway. She over-packs.) we go up to the room on the elevator.
And trudge our way all the way down to the end of the hallway, as far away from the elevator as one can get, where our room awaits.
When this situation arises, and it often does, loud expletives are appropriate in the hallway.
The walls are pretty thick.
The other guests can't hear you anyway.
You get to the room, and the question arises: Do we want to stay here, or force them to move us to a room closer to the elevator?
As my wife would have to shoulder the move, I leave it to her to make the decision.
And she usually opts for staying in the room we were given.
She and I both know what this will lead to: My immediately getting on the phone with the Front Desk, and chewing that person out for assigning us this room, even though he or she was probably not given the memo.
They will usually ask "Would you like us to change your room?
I, knowing the answer before the question is asked, say "No. It's too inconveeeenient! We'll just have to make do!!"
This begs the question "Then why bother to make the call in the first place?"
Simply because it makes me feel better.
As I said going in, the idea is to maximize your pleasure.
One of the supreme pleasures is berating the help.
They are trained to keep smiles on their faces while being berated, which makes it even more fun.
Sometimes when you make the reservation, there are some things you just assume.
Like that there is free Wi-Fi.
Then, when you find out that there isn't, which has become a rarity, you have a GREAT reason to berate the help.
"Eleven bucks a day just for Wi-Fi? What's so special about your God-damned Wi-Fi that it's worth eleven bucks a day?
Hell, you can go to any Starbucks and get free Wi-Fi.
And they're making a fortune!
With rotten coffee!
How do you expect to keep up with that?
You can't!
Keep charging eleven bucks for Wi-Fi and this place will be out of business!
And you'll be out of a job!
And standing on breadlines!"
This is just one example of how you can handle the non-free Wi-Fi situation.
Next time, more pointers.
Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a song, with a nod to Rodgers and Hart:

"There's a small hotel
With a wishing well
I wish that we were there together
There's a bridal suite
One room bright and neat
Complete for us to share together

Looking through the window
You can see that distant steeple
Not a sign of people -- who wants people?......."

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****

















Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Nomination For The Worst TV Commercial Of At Least The Last Three Decades.

This leaves me open to exclude "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."
Not that I necessarily need to.
This one is probably worse.
"Charmin", with Mr. Whipple, bad as it was, was merely grindingly annoying.
The one I will nominate is openly, actively, mind bogglingly offensive.
And even more pointless.
At least "Charmin" sold a lot of toilet paper.
At least to my mother.
I can't imagine that this commercial helps sell anything to anybody.

With Tivo, at least I am capable of zipping through most commercials.
So my level of exposure to them is relatively minimal.
But I'm given to multi-tasking when the TV is on, which leaves me far too vulnerable.
So here goes:
There are quickly moving abstract images on the screen.
Quick cuts.
There are pictures of cars..
And the soundtrack is a British-voiced vocal, performed by what sounds like a punk-rock singer, accompanied by a loud, loud punk-rock band, singing a version of the song "My Way"
You know. "My Way".
Frank Sinatra.
Written by the world's worst successful lyricist, Paul Anka.
That "My Way".
Actually, the first few times I heard it, I didn't even realize that it was "My Way" that was being sung.
That's how distorted it was.
This may have actually been an improvement, but only in that regard.
In discussions with people I know who are younger than myself, I learned that this soundtrack was not recorded specifically for this commercial.
It turns out that this was an enormous hit record for Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols, recorded over thirty years ago.
And that's what I heard.
It is a complete assault on the ears, and has turned me into a quick-draw artist with the remote.
About the original 'My Way": The story goes that when Anka first played and sang it for Sinatra, Sinatra mulled it over, knowing that it was complete shit, but also knowing that it would be a zillion seller for him, and give him a permanent way to close his act when he made personal appearances.
That it would be his self-described personal anthem.
So Sinatra, being right on all counts, recorded it.
Anka also created another set of lyrics for it, so he could sing it himself, about Sinatra: "His Way".
It contained the lyrical phrase "not in a whiz way" to get to "He did it his way"
I swear to God.
Imagine Sinatra's distress when he heard Sid Vicious's version of it.
"How dare he?"
"This is MY god-damned song!!"
It was probably worse than my distress when I first heard it.
And here's the kicker: Until the very end of it, we didn't know that it actually was a commercial for a car.
The Acura.
Considered to be by many the most white-bread car of all.
So who was this commercial aimed at?
Kids who listened to Punk Rock Music in the seventies and eighties who are now white-bread older adults.
This commercial preaches to the choir.
People who already have Acuras, or would buy one anyway.
It's not going to get kids or black people to buy an Acura.
So what's the point?
And here's an even better kicker:
The voice-over at the end of the commercial, saying something like "Acura. You should buy one." was done by Jonathan Schwartz.
He can deny it if he wants, but it was him.
I know this because I have listened to him on the radio for many, many years.
I know that voice.
He does many voice-overs.
He has been the voice for the Sinatra station on Sirius Satellite Radio.
He is the foremost authority on all things Sinatra.
He loves all things Sinatra, except Sinatra as a human being.
He has been quoted as thinking he was a monster.
He had personal run-ins with Sinatra when he openly criticized Sinatra's Trilogy Album.
It was rumored that Sinatra even sent his goons after him.
He probably thought that "My Way" was shit too, but was smart enough in this instance to keep his mouth shut.
Schwartz has been the Keeper of the Flame of the Great American Songbook.
His father was Arthur Schwartz, who wrote wonderful popular music from the forties and fifties.
And Jonathan worships him.
So I envision one of two scenarios about Schwartz taking this voice-over gig, neither of which making him look or feel good about himself:
1) He saw the commercial that he was to apply his voice to, sold out and took the check, or
2) He just came in, not seeing the commercial, got in the recording booth, said his two lines, took the check, and went home, having no idea what he was lending his voice to.
I prefer to think it was the latter.
And I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he saw the commercial for the first time.

********

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
Here's the link:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/mark-rothman

*****














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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."