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Friday, January 30, 2015

Why I Can't Stand Chris Matthews Any More, Part 3, And Why I Can't Stand Dick Cavett Any More, Part 2

Dick Cavett appeared on Chris Matthews' show last night on MSNBC.
You know.
Chris Matthews.
The idiot.
Cavett was there to plug 'Brief Encounters', his "new book"
"Brief Encounters" is a collection of essays.
Nowhere during the interview was it mentioned that these essays were already printed in his column for the New York Times over the last few years.
Did Cavett not want to tell this to Matthews?
Did Matthews not do his homework?
All he seemed to want to do was fawn over Cavett at every opportunity.
This is not the first time Cavett has tried to put one over on his readers and viewers.
He had another "book", 'Talk Show', that was assembled the same way.
I am going to reprint what I experienced when I ordered THAT book from Amazon, with some slight updating.
At least I'm telling you that this is a reprinted article:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I should warn you up front that in todays post, the rant level will be ramped up significantly.
I will be capitalizing words for loud emphasis.
That's the kind of mood I'm in.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Amazon.com, inviting me to pre-order Dick Cavett's new book, "Talk Show".
Whenever you order a book from Amazon, they e-mail you to inform you that there are books that you might like based on previous books you've ordered from them.
I like when they do this.
I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH.
I LIKE WHEN THEY DO THIS.

I have read Dick Cavett's blog on the New York Times website since it began.
He writes very well, even though a lot of what he writes there are things he has written in his other books.

Amazon was offering a very good discount on "Talk Show".
So good that it required me to order something else to get the order over $25 to qualify for free shipping.
There was another book that also offered a good discount that sent the order over $25.
So I took a flyer and placed the order, hoping that Cavett wouldn't be repeating himself too often.

The blurb for Cavett's book was:
"Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets."

Now I like confrontations as well as the next guy.
More, even.
And who doesn't like pointed commentary?
Off-Screen Secrets?
I live for them.

I received the e-mail informing me that the order was on its way.
In the interim, I read Cavett's current entry on his N.Y. Times blog.
It's an entire blog devoted to bellyaching about having to go out to the hinterlands to promote this book.
As someone has worked on turning my blog into several books, I would kill for the opportunity to go wherever necessary to hawk the shit out of my books.
If I wouldn't, I simply wouldn't make the effort to turn them into books.
In this current column he mentions, in passing, that this book is a compilation of his blog articles.
You know.
The ones that I have already read.
And I'm now paying more than twenty bucks to have in my possession.
A word to Cavett: an off-screen secret can not still be a secret IF IT HAS ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED!!

So he's complaining about having to promote a book he didn't even have to WRITE.
Only COMPILE.
From the Motion Picture "Boy, He's Got It Tough".

There was no indication on the Amazon page about the book being a compilation of the blog articles.
Nor is there one now.
For Brief Encounters, you have to hunt down the One-Star reviews to find this information.
Now I must make it clear that I don't blame Amazon for any of this.
For two simple reasons: I have since published four Kindle books there, and I don't want to piss them off.
And I don't want any problems with my customer account.

No, I place the blame purely on the little shoulders of Dick Cavett.
I don't care if I piss him off like crazy.
It behooved him early in the process to place the information on the Amazon Page prominently that THIS IS A COMPILATION OF ARTICLES HAVE BEEN READ ALREADY BY MANY!
That MANY people have read these articles already!
ALREADY!

I can't believe that I am alone in this dilemma.
I imagine that many of his potential pre-order readers were culled from the people who read his blog regularly.
His blog appears on the N.Y. Times website, where there are many, many readers.

I have now had to deal with Amazon to try to get a refund.
Finally after several jousts, where conflicting information was offered, I was able to return the package.
And of course, I couldn't open the package to retrieve the other book that was in the same box, so I had to return that too, and have to re-order it.
Somewhat of an inconvenience.
But, again, I' M NOT BLAMING AMAZON!
I DON'T WANT TO PISS OFF AMAZON!
THIS IS PURELY DICK CAVETT'S FAULT!

I undersand that my complaining about what Cavett did might seem as insignificant as Cavett complaining about having to hawk his book in the hinterlands.
At least to him.
The difference being that if I don't get my refund from Amazon, Dick Cavett owes me twenty four bucks.

----------------
So I didn't make the same mistake twice.
I advise you regular Cavett blog-readers to not make the same mistake once.


*****

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Report Card----"American Sniper"

"American Sniper" is another version of "The Hurt Locker", which, if you might recall, I hated.
I didn't hate "American Sniper" quite as much.
Probably because I had the low expectations of it being another "Hurt Locker"
It's point of view seemed to be all over the place.
It condemned war.
It glorified war.
Apparently, it also futzed around with the truth.
This is something that has become something of a hallmark of Clint Eastwood.
That, and talking to empty chairs.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Only occasionally.
C.

Compelling even?

Never.
F.

Is it controversial?

The incompleteness of the details and the ending is somewhat controversial.
That it made 90 million on opening weekend is controversial.
D.

Is it a story worth telling?

Not to me.
C-.

Is it good storytelling?

It consistently rambles.
C-.

Is it well written?

No.
C-.

Is it well cast? Well played?

I've never gotten what all the shouting is about Bradley Cooper.
James Lipton had him on "Inside The Actors Studio, and spent the whole hour practically blowing him.
Cooper added nothing to this.
C-.

Well shot?

Eastwood basically photographed a shoot-em-up, and did nothing to advance the form.
C.

Is it too long? Too short?

Way too long.
C-.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

I don't know what to believe. I don't know what to care about.
C-.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I didn't know what to expect. The ending seemed to be left deliberately unclear.
C-.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Only with dismay.
C-.

Is it funny?

Never.
F.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

I can't imagine that it would, knowing that I'm in the vast minority.
F.

Is it impressive?

No.

Overall grade: C-.

It was just another empty chair for Eastwood to talk to.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Underinflated.

Okay.
Here's an opportunity for Roger Goodell to redeem himself.
Bill Belichick obviously cheated the Indianapolis Colts by deflating his team's footballs.
To me, this is far more egregious than Pete Rose betting on the Reds, thus being banned from baseball.
I'm not suggesting that Belichick be banned for life from coaching, although I'd consider it, because he has an extensive track record for doing this kind of thing.
He is a cheat, and always has been.
But it's not fair to take it out on the Patriots.
It's also not fair to take it out on the Colts.
My first reaction was that the Patriots should forfeit the game to the Colts, but perhaps that's too severe.
So I'd stop short of that.
But if I were Goodell, here's what I'd suggest.
Not suggest. Demand.
Reschedule the Colts-Pats game this Sunday.
There would still be a week to go before the Super Bowl.
Hold the game in Indianapolis.
Foxboro had it's chance.
Make sure the balls aren't underinflated.
Don't let anyone on the Patriots touch them.
Let the Colts do whatever they want to THEY'RE balls, so to speak.
And the winner of THAT game goes to the Super Bowl.
Think of the ratings!
If Belichick doesn't accept these conditions, the Patriots will forfeit the game, and the Colts then waltz their way into the Super Bowl.
If I was Roger Goodell, that's what I'd do.
But then, I have balls.
Roger Goodell most-likely doesn't.
He's never shown any in the past.
And MY balls are not underinflated.

-----
P.S.---I just watched Keith Olbermann, and he echoed virtually all of my sentiments.
He elaborated by quoting the NFL Rule Book, which gives Goodell the authority to do ALL of this.

------
Thursday---Things are going predictably.
Not a word from Goodell, except that it's all "under investigation".
The clock is ticking.
What's there to investigate?
Who actually deflated the footballs?
Isn't it enough to know that they WERE and that it's CHEATING?
We know it wasn't anyone on the Colts.
So today, we were treated by the media to a medley by Belichick and Brady of "There Ain't No Flies On Me"
It all happened under Belichick's watch, so there ARE flies on him.
So it looks like Goodell's just running out the clock.
I know that he's in the pocket of Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner, but don't both of them realize that the integrity of the Super Bowl is more important to all concerned than whether or not the Patriots get into it?
Goodell is worth over $44 million.
Is he really worried about losing his job and having to stand on a breadline?
To quote a line from the film "On The Beach", "There is still time, brother!"

-------
Friday---The media discussion on this subject has now degenerated into extended double entendre "balls" jokes.
Nobody is taking the Cheating issue seriously.
I believe that I was the first person to deliver a "balls" joke.
But it was part of a more serious discussion.
And now, it's just descended into "balls" overkill.
The media is no better than Roger Goodell.
Particularly NBC media.
Because they're hosting the game.
Bob Costas and Lawrence O'Donnell were particularly disgraceful about "balls" last night.
We're all screwed.

---------
Saturday---Belichick addresses reporters and blames the whole thing on the weather.
Weren't the Colts and their balls on the same field, playing in the same weather?
Belichick then took some questions, and none of the esteemed members of the press asked him that one.
Sheeesh!!!


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Report Card---"The Grand Hotel Budapest"

"The Grand Hotel Budapest" is, in fact, grand.
It is, to quote Forrest Gump, a box of chocolates.
A box of Godiva Chocolates.
This isn't Hershey's, or Nestles.
This is a very fancy movie.
It is a lovely gift for the audience.
It is simply this delightful chunk of whimsy.
If you're looking for more than that, go someplace else.
Accept it on it's own terms, and fall in love with it.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Always. Mainly because you are dazzled by the look of it.
A+.

Compelling even?

It's really not designed to be taken that seriously.
No Grade.

Is it controversial?

It is a glorious soufflé. No room for controversy.
No Grade.

Is it a story worth telling?

Absolutely.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

Superb.
A+.

Is it well written?

Extremely.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

There are a lot of big names doing virtual cameos. That only adds to the fun. And WILLEM DAFOE is in this one too!
A+.

Well shot?

That's where this really shines. Wes Anderson is an utter master of using the camera to tell visual jokes, much like John Hughes used to. And even better, to paint stunning pictures with it.
A+.

Is it too long? Too short?

Just right.
A+.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Believable enough. And I cared totally.
A.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Slightly predictable, but it never mattered.
A-.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Only about how so many inferior directors are given so much more credit than Wes Anderson, who is, unlike the others, a true visionary.
A+.

Is it funny?

Hilarious.
A+.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

Yes. And don't watch it on a little screen.
A+.

Is it impressive?

Visually, unsurpassed.
A+.

Overall grade: A+.

I'm glad to see that there is at least some room at the Oscars for a soufflé.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Friday, January 16, 2015

Report Card---"The Fault In Our Stars"

"The Fault In Our Stars" is about two young cancer patients who fall in love as life is slipping away.
Sounds like pretty depressing stuff, huh?
NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST!!!
It never succumbs to that.
It is warm, touching, caring, and contains many delights.
I have only the highest praise for it.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

It can't help itself. You are consumed by it.
A+.

Compelling even?

Totally.
A+.

Is it controversial?

Very.
The characters continually wrestle with their prospects for immortality, or whether everyone whoever was anyone will imminently turn into dust.
It made me ponder the same questions.
A+.

Is it a story worth telling?

Unquestionably.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

There is a bit of a sag at the two-thirds point, but it rallies tremendously at the end.
A-.

Is it well written?

Extremely.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

The two kids were wonderful. Laura Dern played the girl's mother. You can't go wrong with that.
Willem Dafoe has a key part in it, and is terrific, and for the life of me, while I was watching him, throughout the movie, I couldn't think of his name. I kept thinking "C'mon!! He played Jesus in that Scorcese movie!! The man's a star!!
I needed the end credits to tell me it was Willem Dafoe. Then, a half-hour later, I was in bed, and the name flew out of my head again!!
In the film, there is an exchange of dialogue where one character says to another "Pretty soon, nobody will remember Cleopatra, or
Muhammad Ali. And I've already forgotten Willem Dafoe twice in two hours!
A+.

Well shot?

Very.
A+.

Is it too long? Too short?

A tad long. But just a tad.
B+.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

I believed it totally, and I cared totally.
A+.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Some of it is predictable, but it takes a very satisfying left turn at the very end.
A+.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

It leaves you with all sorts of thoughts swirling around your head.
A+.

Is it funny?

That's the thing of it. Considering what it's about, it is EXTREMELY funny.
This is not a comedy, but it's far funnier than many that purport to be. (See "Report Card---"Bridesmaids")
A+.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

I could have waited, but was glad I didn't have to.
A+.

Is it impressive?

It is an outstanding movie, and what movies should be.
A+.

Overall grade: A+.

WILLEM DAFOE!!! WILLEM DAFOE!!!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Report Card----"Get On Up"

This is the one about James Brown.
I was never that big a fan of James Brown.
My intelligent college friend, the one with the Barbara Walters lisp, was once quoted as saying "People buy James Bwown wecords to wisten to him dance."
I understood totally.
Watching this movie doesn't wequire buying any of his wecords.
There is pwenty of dancing and singing.
And the combination is vewy entertaining.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Very. I knew almost nothing about him beforehand. Now, I do. It is a gritty, gut-level show business story.
A+.

Compelling even?

Occasionally.
B+.

Is it controversial?

Not really, but it doesn't matter.
No grade.

Is it a story worth telling?

Why not?
B.

Is it good storytelling?

Pretty good.
B+.

Is it well written?

Not bad
B.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Chadwick Bozeman, formerly known for playing Jackie Robinson, showed enormous range playing Brown.
He displayed an equal amount of incoherency as Brown did.
A+.

Well shot?

Very. It added to the dynamism of the proceedings.
A+.

Is it too long? Too short?

Maybe a tad long.
B+.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

I believed it, and I cared.
A.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

All I knew was that he died at the end. I didn't know how he got there.
B+.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Not really.
C.

Is it funny?

Not really.
C.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

It may have been more impressive that way, but not thirteen bucks worth.
C+.

Is it impressive?

It is an overwhelming movie, with tremendous entertainment value.
A.

Overall grade: A-.

I still wouldn't buy any of his wecords.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Report Card----"The Imitation Game".

"The Imitation Game" is an incredibly wonderful, intellectually and emotionally stimulating movie, that has you hooked from the get-go, and never lets up.
It is easily the best movie I have reported on this season, which isn't saying much, and knowing what I'm going to report on in the near future, is saying even less.
But in any year, it can easily be the best film.
As of now, it gets my vote.
It is about the trials and tribulations of a young genius Britisher who attempts to break the Nazis code machine, Enigma, during World War II.
And that's all you need to know going in, if that much.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Constantly.
A+.

Compelling even?

Almost constantly.
A+.

Is it controversial?

Extremely.
A+.

Is it a story worth telling?

Undoubtedly.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

It is GREAT storytelling, on all levels.
A+.

Is it well written?

Excellently written.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Uniformly excellent on all scores.
A+.

Well shot?

Very.
A+.

Is it too long? Too short?

Not even an issue.
A+.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

It's a true story, and there is overwhelming caring.
A+.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Only one element is predictable. He's going to crack the code. If he didn't, there would be no point in making the movie.
So that's a given, and it doesn't matter. But so many surprising things happen after that.
A+.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

So far, often.
A+.

Is it funny?

It doesn't aim for that too much, and it isn't missed.
No grade.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

Whatever it takes.
A+.

Is it impressive?

I was ten pins, and it was a bowling ball.
A+.

Overall grade: A+.

Don't have the bad taste to miss it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pushin' Forty.

When I wrote the article "The Match Game", a few weeks ago, about Cosby, I mentioned that one of my plays, set in the 1980s, contained a throwaway reference to him, which I felt I had to change, due to current circumstances.
In the same play, in order to give myself the flexibility to use an older (than mid-to-late thirties) actress in the role, I provided extra additional dialogue to cover it.
The character is an actress who was just barely nosed out for the Jaclyn Smith part in "Charlie's Angels" ten years previously, and has never gotten over it.
When an older actress is cast, dialogue is needed to explain her age.
So the characters, Earl and Patty, have this exchange of dialogue:
Earl: Uh, forgive me for bringing this up, but weren't you a little old for "Charlie's....?"
Patty: Remember Elly May?
Earl: Elly May? "The Beverly Hillbillies"?
Patty; Uh huh. When she got that part, she was pushin' forty!
Earl: Really?
Patty: Yup. (Gesturing) P---forty!
Earl: oh-h-h! So when you were up for "Charlie's Angels", you were...
Patty: Pushin' F-thirty-five!!

And at the time, Donna Douglas WAS pushin' forty.
It may not seem like much now, but in 1962, when I was fifteen, and Donna Douglas was pushin' forty, forty seemed ancient.
Forty hadn't yet become the new twenty-five.
It was still the old forty.
If I had known that at the time, it really would've freaked me out.
A lot of people were surprised when they learned of actress Donna Douglas's death last week that she was 81, or 82.
Nobody in the preaa ever gets it exactly right.
I wasn't surprised.
I knew it.
And I knew I was being accurate when I wrote that dialogue.
I don't remember why or how or when I knew, but I knew that I knew.
She was at least four years older than Jethro.
In a way, I was kind of sad when they showed very recent pictures of her on the news.
She did not age well.
As one who found her to represent the first erection of many of my generation, it did not sit particularly well.
But at least she didn't seem to have any plastic surgery done to grotesquely stretch her face.
We take our small blessings where we can find them.
R.I.P., Donna.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Report Card----"Chef"


"Chef" is your classic "little" movie.
It is amiable, and harmless, and just lopes along for major stretches.
As the title indicates, it is about food.
As such, it is probably more effective if you watch it when you're hungry.
I watched it after dinner, which didn't help.
It is also about the yearning for independence.
It is written, directed and starring Jon Favreau, whose work I've always been partial to.
The problem between Favreau, as the chef, and the food critic, who reviews his restaurant, is similar to the problem between Favreau, the film-maker, and me, as the film critic.
His latest work is simply not up to his earlier work.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Not often.
C-.

Compelling, even?

For a couple of brief moments.
B.

Is it a story worth telling?

I don't think so.
C-.

Is it good storytelling?

The ending, once we get there, is nice. But there is an awful lot of boring before we get there.
C-.

Is it well written?

Not great, not bad.
B.

Is it controversial?

Not at all.
F.

s it well cast? Well played?

Favreau must have called in a lot of markers on this one.
Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, and Robert Downey Jr. have throwaway parts in this.
They weren't needed.
They must have been doing Favreau a favor. Hoffman was the only one who made an impression.
C+.

Well shot?

Nothing exceptional.
B.

Is it too long? Too short?

The lulls in the action makes it feel very long.
C-.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, and just barely.
B.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

The very end is surprising and rewarding, and almost redeems the tedium that precedes it.
A-.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Not at all.
C-.

Is it funny?

Occasionally. It could have been funnier.
B-.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

This one is pure HBO.
F.

Is it impressive ?

Not hardly at all.
C-.

Overall grade: C.

Go back and watch "Swingers"


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Report Card----"Birdman"

"Birdman" is a surrealistic view of show business, and it's successes and failures.
It's imagination is endless.
The intensity of it's performances can be overwhelming at times.
So much so, that when it isn't, the film tends to drag a little.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Mostly. But there are chatty respites between characters that are relatively less than interesting.
B+.

Compelling even?

Often.
A+.

Is it controversial?

Only to people directly involved in show business.
B.

Is it a story worth telling?

I think it is.
B+.

Is it good storytelling?

For the most part, but there is this major, MAJOR story hole that happens near the very end of the film that nearly brings it down entirely.
In fantasy based TV shows, in order for there to be some semblance of working, you have to stay within the framework of whatever fantasy has been set up.
You have to buy into the fact that Samantha Stevens has witch-like powers. But everything else had to adhere to that reality.
In "My Mother, The Car", you had to make the buy that Jerry Van Dyke's mother was in fact, a car.
And what makes that show the worst thing to ever hit the airwaves is that they consistently violated their own reality.
Now, "Birdman" is certainly a far cry better than "My Mother, The Car", but it makes the same transgression.
I won't turn it into a spoiler alert but anyone who wants to e-mail me about it at macchus999@aol.com can hear me sound off about it in relative privacy.
C.

Is it well written?

The dialogue is thoroughly superb.
A+.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Michael Keaton is kinetic and awesome. A fabulous choice.
Edward Norton is more impressive every time I see him.
A+.

Well shot?

Very.
A+.


Is it too long? Too short?

The lulls in the action makes it feel a little long, but not very.
And soon enough, we're back to the intensity.
B+

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Within it's frame work, it is, and I do, until, like I said, almost the very end.
B.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Constantly unpredictable, and utterly surprising, though not always in a good way.
B.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

As I have experienced some of the things depicted, it truly resonates.
A+.

Is it funny?

Often.
A.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

It didn't need any more than my 60 inch plasma screen.
F.

Is it impressive ?

I was taken with the ambitiousness of it all.
A+.

Overall grade: B+.

If you can get past the quizzical ending, it's certainly worth your 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.

*****

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Report Card----"Unbroken"

Yet another reason why I can't stand Chris Mathews anymore: He spoke about this movie on his last show, saying something like "I don't know what all the shouting is about. I just couldn't get into it. I mean, I LOVED the book. Maybe it's because the movie had a feminine sensibility (You know, because it was directed by Angelina Jolie.)."
"A feminine sensibility".
Right.
It was just chauvinistic for this shmuck to say that.
The reason he couldn't get into the movie was probably BECAUSE he loved the book, and thus was totally familiar with the story.
There is probably a correlation to be made with how familiar you are with the story going in, and how blown away you'll be by the movie.
Fortunately, I had not read the book, and was totally unfamiliar with this story of a survivor of torture in a Japanese POW camp during World War II, Louis Zamporini.
And I was blown away.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Overwhelmingly.
A+.

Compelling even?

Constantly.
A+.

Is it controversial?

What with torture being in the news every day, absolutely.
A+.

Is it a story worth telling?

Over and over.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

Excellent, although I understand that Zamporini was actually much more of a juvenile delinquent than he was portrayed.
A-.

Is it well written?

Yes. Very.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

The Japanese actor playing "The Bird" was totally compelling.
We did fall into the trap of two key actors looking a little too much like each other, causing you to say, on more than one occasion, "Is that him, or the other one?"
This is so easily remedied.
A.

Well shot?

Very.
A.

Is it too long? Too short?

Probably too short. I saw an interview between Tom Brokaw and Jolie, where she discussed the post-war dramatic stress disorder that Zamporini underwent that almost destroyed him as much as the prison camp did.
I would have liked to see that depicted more.
B.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

It was true. It behooves you to care about the characters.
A+.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I was one of the fortunate ones to never see what was coming.
A+.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

It makes us realize what we can be if we have to be.
A+.

Is it funny?

It's not really about that.
No Grade.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

The immensity of it is that much greater in a filled movie theatre.
It's the best way to see it.
A+.

Is it impressive ?

Constantly.
A+.

Overall grade: A+.

Somebody please tell Chris Matthews to shut up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why I Still Love Letterman.

Yes.
The ending of the last episode of "The Colbert Report", where he found every celebrity in town, and probably some who made a special trip in, got them on stage, and led them in a sing-along to the tune of "We'll Meet Again", was most-likely the greatest thing on TV in at least the last few months.
It was spectacularly done.
And there was an overlay of true sadness.
But something that was on the next night, very similar in nature, was a very close second in terms of greatness.
I have found a lot of reasons lately to not particularly care whether or not I would watch Letterman.
He repeats the same jokes over and over.
He does the first five minutes purely for the studio audience, at the expense of the home audience.
You can always tell when he is bored with a guest, which is way too often.
A lot of times, he seems to be phoning it in, and is off his game.
But Letterman revives several "traditions" around Christmastime that are usually spread over several shows.
For the first time that I can recall, he did all four on the same show, which only enhanced the impact of each.
He began by having Paul Shaffer do his hilarious impression of Cher singing "Oh Holy Night" as she had done it on the old "Sonny and Cher Variety Hour", preceded by his introduction to it, which is at least as funny as the impression itself.
It would not be Christmas for me without it.
Then, Dave brought out actor-deejay Jay Thomas, as he has annually for 22 years, to tell what Dave always announces as the greatest talk-show story ever.
It involves Jay's personal encounter with Clayton Moore, who was working a car dealership opening as his signature character, The Lone Ranger.
Jay was also working the gig as the local deejay on radio.
It is, indeed, the greatest talk-show story ever.
Then they segued into the annual "Quarterback Challenge", where Jay and Dave took turns attempting to knock a meatball off of the top of the very tall Christmas tree on the set.
As usual, Jay was the winner.
As Dave led him offstage with a sincere goodbye, Jay said to him "This is it. I'm never going to see you ever again, am I."
And Dave said "Nope. You never will."
And once again, there was this overlay of sadness.
He won't ever see him again.
We have all witnessed this for the last time.
Oh, it's all on YouTube.
Many years of it.
But it will never be new again.
This is sad.
Then, Dave brought out Josh Brolin, who seemed hopelessly out of place in the proceedings.
He dispensed of him shortly, and then brought out the last tradition, Darlene Love, to sing her classic "Christmas", recreating the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" with a slew of musicians and backup singers.
And it, too, was glorious.
And it, too can be found on earlier incarnations on YouTube.
It was a great, great show, and, unfortunately, the last of it's kind, as Letterman won't be around next Christmas.
Let's all be glad we had him around as long as we did.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Friday, December 19, 2014

Report Card----"The Judge"

Robert Downey Jr. is an unscrupulous Chicago hotshot lawyer.
Robert Duvall is his estranged highly-scrupulous small-town judge father.
Logical circumstances force the two of them together, where their estrangement is tested.
This sets the movie in motion.
And it does it very well.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Very.
A.

Compelling even?

Here and there.
B.

Is it controversial?

There are moral questions that are interestingly dealt with.
A.

Is it a story worth telling?

It is a ripping yarn.
A.

Is it good storytelling?

Basically, yes.
B+.

Is it well written?

Yes. Very.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

You've got Downey, and you've got Duvall.
You can't hardly do better than that.
And Vincent D'Inofrio, a "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" fave, a little older looking, and a little chubbier, does a nice turn as Downey's brother.
A+.

Well shot?

Very.
A.

Is it too long? Too short?

A little long.
B.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes.
A.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

At first, there seemed to be about four endings, which made it seem long first, and predictable.
Then, they hit me with the fifth ending, which totally blindsided me, and wrapped up the movie really well.
A.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

It's self contained, and not really provocative.
But not all of them have to be.
No Grade.

Is it funny?

Here and there.
B.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

I could have waited for HBO.
B-.

Is it impressive ?

On several levels.
A.

Overall grade: A-.

This one has a lot going for it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Report Card----"The Theory Of Everything."

This is the one about Dr. Stephen Hawking, whom I admit I didn't know that much about.
It was mostly about the relationship between him and his wife.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Not nearly enough.
C.

Compelling even?

Never.
D.

Is it controversial?

Not in the slightest.
D.

Is it a story worth telling?

Maybe there was a story in him, but this wasn't it.
C-.

Is it good storytelling?

It concentrated on the rather soap-opera-ish "Do they love each other enough to stay together?" tale, rather than on his work, which I wanted to hear more about.
I guess I wanted it to be more like "A Beautiful Mind"---a much better movie.
D.

Is it well written?

Nothing stands out.
B-.

Is it well cast? Well played?

The guy playing Hawking looked like him, and I guess sounded like him.
He certainly didn't make himself easy to watch.
Other than that, I got nuthin'.
C.

Well shot?

I'll give them that.
A.

Is it too long? Too short?

Way too long.
D.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, and no.
C.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Not predictable,and it surprises me, but I blame my ignorance for that.
B+.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

No.
C-.

Is it funny?

Almost never.
D.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

It wouldn't, and it isn't.
F.

Is it impressive ?

Not to me.
C-.

Overall grade: C.

Another one of those "Let's see if we can rack up awards for nobility."


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****

Friday, December 12, 2014

Once Again, The Return Of "Report Cards".

It's that time of year again.
I have over a dozen DVDs sent from the West Coast studios, waiting for me to view and review them.
With many more anticipated.
I will review them with my usual "Report Card" process, designed to tell the readers no more than they need to know in order for them to determine whether or not they should want to see the movie in question.
Because I don't want to know the plot of a movie before I see it, I assume you don't either.
I said that I had more to say about the recent production of "Peter Pan"".
I've decided to take it on in Report Card fashion.
Jackie Gleason once described a TV critic as "One who describes an accident to an eyewitness."
As there have been an awful lot of eyewitnesses to this production already, I will, in this case, loosen my restrictions about discussing the plot.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Only rarely. Only intermittently.
C-.

Compelling even?

On rare occasions.
C.

Is it controversial?

Often, due to "political correctness", futzing around with the score, adding and removing things...
B-.

Is it a story worth telling?

With all the significant things that they did wrong, they still got me to cry during the last ten minutes.
That makes it a story worth telling.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

It's been told better.
C.

Is it well written?

Yes. No damage done here.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Now, we're getting down to the nits and grits.
You've got to start with Allison Williams.
I've never seen her in anything else, but here, she only displayed one arrow in her acting quiver: serious sincerity.
This eliminates a lot of other arrows that one needs to play Peter Pan: impishness, compassion, naivete, humor, joy.
All missing.
As a result, she was way too stiff.
You didn't care about her (him).
This made for a mostly tedious evening.
I kept thinking about all the possibilities for better Peter Pans that existed rather than Allison Williams.
One of them was right there on the stage: Kelli O'Hara, who played Mrs. Darling.
She's had a history of sliding into Mary Martin roles.
She is nine years younger than Mary was when she did "Peter Pan", and looks at least fifteen years younger.
And is adorable.
Hell, BRIAN Williams would have made a better Peter Pan.
He has the charm, the youthful looks, and the boyishness.
After all, he was once an actual boy.
Christopher Walken, though, WAS the compelling element.
Any time he appeared on the screen, I was hooked. And not just by his hook.
He was delightful.
You consistently can't wait to get back to Walken, who isn't on-screen nearly often enough.
The same is true of Kelli O'Hara.
Walken also accomplished something I had never seen before.
He made you care about Captain Hook.
So when you care about Captain Hook, and don't care about Peter Pan, something is out of whack.
B-.

Well directed?

If that was the best Rob Ashford could get out of Allison Williams, then no.
And Christopher Walken appeared to be uncontrollable, so no again.
D.

Well shot?

It looked gorgeous.
Much was made about the difficulties of attempting and pulling off such a complicate project.
But to me, it didn't look any more difficult than any of the last ten Super Bowl Halftime Shows.
All just as live, most involving people flying around on wires. That you didn't see.
B+.

Is it too long? Too short?

Way, way, way too long. Without Tivo, it would have been interminable.
F.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

It's fantasy, but with all it's flaws, I cared about the characters.
B+.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Too much previous awareness makes it very predictable.
But the shift in concern between Hook and Peter Pan was certainly surprising.
B-.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

It was an event. It requires you to think about it.
B+.

Is it funny?

Only Walken was funny. Very funny. For the rest of it, a lot of funny was missing. They managed to take all the humor out of Tiger Lily.
C+.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies, or for a DVD?

It was dreary from beginning to end. It's hard to put a price tag on that. Actually it isn't.
F.

Is it impressive ?

Only visually.
A-.

Overall grade: C-.

I think I've pretty much covered it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

*****


Monday, December 8, 2014

Once Again, The Return Of Doctor Rothman, Tune Detective.

Okay.
So I caught up with the new production of "Peter Pan" on Saturday Night, due to my trusty Tivo.
I'll give you my general impressions of it later in the week, but today, I'd like to concentrate on one specific element.
An element that I haven't seen anyone in the blogosphere comment upon.
So in that regard, I'd like to be the first kid on my block.
There has always been a checkered history about the Music and Lyrics credits for "Peter Pan".
First, the very talented team of Moose Charlap and Carolyn Leigh churned out eight of the surviving songs.
Then, the powers that be felt that more help was needed, and Jule Styne and Betty Comden & Adolph Green were brought in to mop up, and provided four of their own songs.
I think that the quality in both cases was comparable.
Here is the breakdown:

"Tender Shepherd" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"I've Gotta Crow" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Never Never Land" Jule Styne Betty Comden and Adolph Green
"I'm Flying" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Pirate Song" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Hook's Tango" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Indians" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Wendy" Jule Styne Comden and Green
"Hook's Tarantella" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"I Won't Grow Up" Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh
"Oh, My Mysterious Lady" Jule Styne Comden and Green
"Ugg-a-Wugg" Jule Styne Comden and Green
"Distant Melody" Jule Styne Comden and Green
"Captain Hook's Waltz" Jule Styne Comden and Green
"We Will Grow Up " Moose Charlap Carolyn Leigh

It's roughly eight to four, in favor of Charlap and Leigh.
I didn't realize that it was so heavily weighted that way.
So I'm watching the production, and they get to Captain Hook's tap dance number, a song called "Vengeance"
And my jaw drops about three feet.
It was a song written about fifty years ago, for a Broadway Musical called "Do-Re-Mi", which starred Phil Silvers.
It was called "Ambition".
Also by Comden, Green, and Styne.
It was a list song, during which Phil tried to convince Nancy Dussault, our heroine, that she could have everything she ever dreamed of by utilizing her wonderful singing voice by cutting a record for him.
And it was turned into "Vengeance".
All new lyrics.
Another list song, where Captain Hook mused about all the pleasures he'd derive by destroying Peter Pan.
"Vengeance" was very entertaining, and certainly gave Walken an opportunity to strut his stuff.
But, I kept asking myself, why did they have to rip off the melody to "Ambition" to accomplish this?
My first thought was that it was a song originally written for "Peter Pan", and got cut along the way, so they tossed it into "Do-Re-Mi" five years later.
As it turned out, this theory didn't hold that much water.
I had also Tivoed "The Making of Peter Pan Live", which I didn't watch until I finished watching "Peter Pan" itself.
Sure enough, there was a discussion about this song.
It involved Amanda Green, Adolph's daughter, and a somewhat prominent composer and lyricist in her own right.
Her mother is the actress Phyllis Newman.
A graphic appeared by her name---"Lyricist for Peter Pan".
With the rather large menu for the composers and lyricists for "Peter Pan" in it's opening credits, it was rather easy to overlook a credit which read "Incorporating Additional Lyrics by Amanda Green".
But it was there.
I went back and checked.
Amanda Green has gigantic teeth, considering the size of her face.
It's not a deformity, and this is not an insult. Her parents both had gigantic teeth, so it sort of makes sense.
It must have made for some interesting kissing in the Green household.
There's nothing inherently wrong with having gigantic teeth.
Dinah Shore was quite attractive with hers.
Amanda Green is rather attractive with hers.
So why am I bringing this up?
Because when asked about "Vengeance", she said it was a "New song".
Oh, the lyrics were new, I suppose, and perhaps written by her.
But who knows when they were written?
They showed the sheet music for "Vengeance"
It read "Music and Lyrics by Styne, Comden & Green, and Green.
Styne, Comden, and Green (the elder) are all long since dead.
So my question is: Just what was Betty Comden and Adolph Green's contribution to "Vengeance"?
They were only the original lyricists.
They didn't seem to have the time to write any of the lyrics to "Vengeance", being dead and all.
So why are they on the sheet music?
Maybe they did write it for the original "Peter Pan", and Amanda was just trying to keep it in the family.
Why wasn't anything lifted from the Charlap-Leigh catalogue?
Moose's son Bill is a major musical artist.
Why wasn't he asked to collaborate with Amanda?
Wouldn't that have been more fair?
Did he not get jobbed out of this?
In any case, the melody for "Vengeance" was written at least fifty-four years ago.
Some lying is going on.
A lot of children watched that interview.
So she was lying to children.
What's worse than that?
The song is not exactly new.
I think we were entitled to know that.
So she was, in effect, lying through her gigantic teeth.
Makes you wonder why she pursued and got this gig.
Maybe she was at a position to hold them at gunpoint.
But "Vengeance" wasn't enough for Amanda.
She also added two other melodies from earlier Styne, Comden, and Green shows, and set new lyrics to them:
One more from "Do-Re-Mi", which was originally "I Know About Love", changed to "Is It Only Pretend?".
The only hit song from "Do Re Mi" was "Make Someone Happy".
It was re-popularized many years later by Jimmy Durante on the soundtrack of "Sleepless In Seattle".
And bizarrely enough, Jimmy's rendition of "Make Someone Happy" showed up in one of the commercials in "Peter Pan"
Maybe if it didn't, Amanda would have ransacked that too:
"Make pirates happy,
Make just one pirate happy...."
I'm just sayin'
There was another song from another Comden, Green, Styne show, "Say Darling", "Something's Always Happening On The River", and it was turned into something weaker.
Maybe they were ALL written for and cut from "Peter Pan".
She was definitely ravaging the Styne, Comden, and Green Songbook.
I mean, she is supposed to be a composer in her own right.
Why couldn't she come up with original melodies for these songs?
Is she nothing more than a hack? A nuchshlepper?
(Boy, I haven't used THAT word in a while.)
Or maybe that was part of the deal to get permission to do any of this.
There has always been a history of dropping songs from some shows and having them turn up in others.
Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a song for "South Pacific" for Lt. Cable to sing called "Suddenly Lucky".
The director, Joshua Logan, heard them play and sing it, and immediately pronounced it "The worst song he ever heard".
Undaunted, for their next show, "The King and I" they re-wrote the lyrics, and it became "Getting To Know You".
Nobody's idea of the worst anything.
When Lerner and Loewe wrote "My Fair Lady", they had this song written for it called "Say a Prayer For Me Tonight".
A lovely song.
There was no room for it, so they dropped it.
It showed up intact in their film "Gigi".
Nothing wrong with any of this.
But Styne and Comden & Green egregiously stepped over the line.
On at least one occasion.
They took a song from a show they did for Carol Burnett called "Fade Out, Fade In", a song that had seen the light of day, changed the lyrics, and re-inserted it into a show called "Hallelujah, Baby!", which starred Leslie Uggams.
It won the Tony that year for Best Musical.
Admittedly, there was very little competition that year.
Okay. They stole from themselves.
But it's still thievery.
So as far as Amanda is concerned, it's likely a case of apples and trees.
Maybe with Peter Pan, she tried to balance the books between Styne, Comden, and Green, and Charlap and Leigh.
After dropping "Mysterious Lady", a less than sexually appropriate or stellar effort of Comden and Green's, and adding the three that Amanda added, that pretty much evened the score.
And maybe it's even more crass and mercenary than that.
The CD for this show is probably going to sell in the gazillions.
It's a real stocking stuffer.
Amanda, who was given billing at the beginning of the show as "Incorporating Additional Lyrics by Amanda Green" would surely be entitled to a sizeable chunk of royalties.
And we've already established that she has the teeth to handle it.
So in a show about pirates, apparently lots of piracy is going on.

********

You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
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
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, December 5, 2014

My Poohpie Boy.

It's fascinating to me how it's never too late too learn something new about yourself and your life as you think you know it.
This happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
I've mentioned a website called Spotify.
It contains almost every record album one can imagine.
I've downloaded many that interest me.
Usually stuff that would be regarded by most of you as "old".
I recently did a search there for "Spike Jones".
No, not the movie director.
The old bandleader.
His band was known as the City Slickers.
His approach to music was a humorous one, supplying raucous sound effects to such dignified melodies as "Cocktails For Two".
The closest comp to Spike Jones was Victor Borge.
The approach to music was the same, but Borge's was a lot more subtle.
He never had his trombonists play the slide with their feet and with their pants rolled up.
Jones did.
So I was scouring Spotify for Spike Jones albums, and started playing one.
And one cut completely stopped me in my tracks.
It was called "My Pretty Girl", and was sung by a male chorus.
The lyrics went something like:
"My Pretty Girl
My Pretty Girl
My Girl is Very Pretty"....and went on from there.
There was nothing particularly funny about "My Pretty Girl"
At least not "funny ha-ha".
But it sure was "funny peculiar".
It happens to be the same tune as a song my mother used to sing to me when I was four.
Only my mother's version was called "My Poohpie Boy".
And when I was four, I clamored for it.
I couldn't get enough of it.
Her version went:
"My Poohpie Boy
My Poohpie Boy
My Poohpie is a shmoohpie"
There was a middle part, or release, to it, and it too was the same as "My Pretty Girl".
Yes, I remember that, as well.
That's how weird I am.
I think that one of the reasons I always clamored for it is that I thought that my mother had composed it.
She never indicated otherwise.
And now, over sixty years later, I find out that she was merely ripping off Spike Jones.
What a rude awakening.

********

You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
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
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, December 2, 2014

LAURIE METCALF!!!!!

You all know who Laurie Metcalf is, don't you?
She's that wonderful actress who is on TV all the time.
She has a flair for playing comedy in a unique way, differently as she goes from role to role.
And right now, she is going from role to role weekly, as she stars in two, count 'em, two different TV series currently on the air.
CBS's "The McCarthys", and HBO's "Getting On".
Both brilliant shows.
Both made even more brilliant by her glowing presence.
Laurie Metcalfe is to comedy and television what Meryl Streep has been to drama and movies.
Except I've also seen Laurie Metcalfe be stunning playing drama.
And I've never really seen Streep, great as she is, be stunning doing comedy.
I think that Laurie Metcalfe is rapidly assuming, or has already taken over the mantle of The Best We Have.
The word ""nuanced" could have been coined to describe her approach to acting.
I can't think of anyone whose work is as nuanced.
There certainly is no one's work that is more nuanced.
So why do I have her name in capital letters at the top of this page?
Followed by five exclamation points?
Is it because of my already expressed enthusiasm for her?
Well...to some extent.
But there's a much more important reason:
I simply cannot remember her name.
Let me amend that.
I cannot easily remember her name.
When I try to summon it up, I usually have to start with "that actress who was on 'Roseanne'", which is odd, because I never watched "Roseanne".
I suppose you'd think it has something to do with someone my age typically beginning to forget people's names.
And I do.
But not usually actors.
Or ballplayers.
Particularly those who I am a fan of.
So continually having to fish for Laurie Metcalf's name in my head is a particularly peculiar aberration.
One I'm not at all proud of.
She deserves better than that from me.
I mean, after all, she has two, count 'em two great shows on the air.
So I have put her name in capital letters, followed by five exclamation points, in the hope that it will force me to remember her name without ever having to fish for it ever again.
And I may have to constantly re-refer to this article.
I hope not.
This was a problem I never had with Meryl Streep.
I'll give her credit for that.
That name's pretty unforgettable.


********

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 28, 2014

I Think The Andy Williams Estate Has A Case.

There's this commercial running currently during the holiday season.
It's for Infiniti.
The car.
About how there are all these wonderful deals to be had if you decide to buy an Infiniti now.
Dominating the commercial is Andy Williams' recording of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town".
Only it isn't Andy Williams singing.
It's an Andy Williams sound-alike.
Infiniti paid some guy who sounds a lot like Andy Williams to sing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town".
How do I know this?
Well, for one, I have an extremely good ear.
For another, I remember Andy Williams' recording.
It's much better than what's in this commercial.
What's in this commercial is a really cheesy version.
Not up to Andy's very high standards.
I know Andy Williams when I hear him.
And this is pretty close.
Similar orchestral arrangement and everything.
But it's not Andy Williams.
And it's not as good.
Andy Williams was a GREAT singer.
Even if he did end up in Branson.
The guy they got is pure ersatz.
Yet, another case of "Old bread, old rolls, they won't know the difference".
(See "Old Bread, Old Rolls", parts one through six.)
So why would Infiniti do this?
Ya think money has anything to do with it?
I'm sure it's a lot cheaper to hire some guy who sounds like Andy Williams than to have to fork over bigger bucks to Andy's family for the rights to use Andy's recording.
I'm sure it's a lot easier to try to get away with this, figuring that even if Andy's family heard the commercial, they might not even be able to tell the difference.
And that maybe, as far as they knew, they WERE being paid for it.
And that at least it's worth a shot for Infiniti to try to pull this off.
No, it isn't as bad as knowing that you have airbags that don't work.
But if you're willing to do that, it's certainly no major leap to try to cheat Andy Williams' family.
And if they're nickel-and-diming Andy's family, imagine how they're nickel-and-diming to use cheaper parts for the cars that they're trying to sell you.
So not only are they stealing from the Williamses, but they're also trashing his memory.
They're trying to cash in on Andy's memory, so I guess they figure that people who might buy an Infiniti still remember him.
Being that it's a holiday commercial, it won't be around for that long.
But if you see it, trust me on this one.
It ain't him.
And if any of you out there happen to know Andy's relatives, you might suggest that they lawyer up.


********

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 25, 2014

The Match Game.

About a month ago, in connection with Polly Bergen's death, I wrote an article about Goodson and Todman, the game show producers who turned out "To Tell The Truth", where Polly shined as a panelist.
I implied at the time that I would be writing more about the Goodson-Todman output.
But I got sidetracked by other things.
One of their shows that I had planned to write about was "The Match Game".
With Gene Rayburn as the host.
Not the sleazy, double-entendre Charles Nelson Reilly vs. Brett Somers version from the 70's, where Gene Rayburn was the host.
No. The far more interesting, conservative version from the 60's.
With Gene Rayburn as the host.
That was a completely different and better game.
It was on NBC, Monday through Friday, at 4pm.
It had two celebrities, the same ones, on all week.
Each celebrity was flanked by two civilians, and they all, quite civilly tried to make matches to blanks that needed to be filled in.
Just like the 70s sleazy version.
Except it wasn't sleazy.
There was one week that provided what I thought at the time, was about the funniest thing I'd ever seen.
The guest celebrities were Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, who were at the height of their "I Spy"" fame.
It was a major coup for NBC to get them.
Culp and Cosby, at the time, the two coolest guys on the planet, decided to have their own peculiar brand of fun with the proceedings.
They played the game quite straight, but spent literally the whole week, from beginning to end, each placing an elbow on the table in front of them, and having it collapse out from under them.
This is better known as the "elbow take".
They spent the entire week doing elbow takes.
And it got progressively funnier each time they did it.
You'd think it would be diminishing returns, but it was quite the opposite.
It was done with considerable aplomb.
Until very recently, it made me laugh just thinking about it.
Now, it doesn't.

I have been reluctant to write about this whole Cosby thing because my point of view has continued to shift.
When that first woman came out and told her story, it seemed full of holes.
This was not her first drink of the evening.
She woke up to find Cosby taking off her underwear.
Why didn't she tell him to stop?
Why did she agree to see him again subsequently?
But then, other counties started to be heard from.
And still other.
And still other.
And more and more, they matched each other's stories.
So maybe the first one was less equipped to tell her story well.
But it still matched the others.
So I have joined the consensus.
I've been looking for the closest comp to Cosby in terms of potential Fall From Grace, career-wise.
First, I thought of Fatty Arbuckle, the biggest star of his time.
Then, he faced a rape and murder rap.
He went to trial, and was acquitted and apologized to by the court, but his career and his life was still toast.
He never had any sustained career.
He was only 46 when he died.
Then, I looked towards O.J.
It seemed to be a better fit.
There still seem to be pockets of people here and there who think O.J. is innocent.
At the time of the verdict, it was the entire black population.
But Cosby has had more than fifty years, making it all the way to age 77 unsullied, or as he might perhaps put it, "unscuttled"
This is unprecedented.
But I think the boat has sailed on him.
I know that nobody has ever gone broke underestimating the American public.
This will certainly put them to a test like they have never faced.

Anyway, they still come out.
More and more accusations.
Same modus operandi.
They all match.
I can't imagine that there can be any serious recovery for Cosby.
Down to the most minute level.
I have a line in one of my plays.
It takes place in the 1980's.
It's a throwaway line: It's only a quarter to eight. Cosby isn't even on yet."
Well, that throwaway line now has to be thrown away.
I'm changing it to "Who's The Boss?"
Because I don't want the audience to be distracted, even for a moment.
I don't want them to stop thinking about the characters on stage, and start thinking about Cosby, whatever it conjures up.
And the accusers still come out.
More and more accusations every day.
Same modus operandi.
They all match.
The same blanks are repetitively filled.
And no amount of elbow takes can put an end to it.
I don't think he can elbow his way out of this one.


********

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 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

*****

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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."