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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Old New Thing.

In 1990, I taught a few theater classes as a favor for a friend.  He couldn't pay me  anything.
In lieu of that, he offered me the use of their TV studio, with a camera and student crew.
I found actors who worked for free by having them sign waivers.
You could do that with professional actors, in 1990.
I don't know if you can do that now.
But I did it then.
And I called in a lot of favors from a lot of wonderful actors.
I had a half-hour pilot script that I had co-written with a very good writer.
And I think it is very funny.
But I couldn't sell it.
It is basically "A Chorus Line" about actors.
We see them audition, and talk about themselves a little.
The play is the worst play ever written.  A drama.
It is bad Tennessee Williams, and is a vanity production financed by it's fading star.
If it had gone on to be a series, we'd have followed the play and it's cast on it's out of town
tryout. then eventually all the way to New York, where it is perceived as comedy, and becomes a success.
It would then settle in to being a backstage comedy about the actors.
It has never been seen, until today.
My friend, Stu Shostak, uploaded it to YouTube, where it can now be seen after 27 years.
Considering that no money was spent on it, I consider it a triumph.
And I think it holds up well.
Maybe the lighting could have been a little better, but I think I'm quibbling.
I do know that it is very funny.
And I hope you seek it out.
Go to YouTube, and type in "Mark Rothman Moonlight and Magnolias" (pilot).
Let me know what you think:.  https://youtu.be/Gpya2K9YLa8  This is a link to get directly to the pilot.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Danny Kaye.

JLTV, the Jewish Live Television Network, a cable station which comes with my cable package, and
features all things Jewish, a la the original Goldbergs  with Gertrude Berg, Soupy Sales (a jew),
Candid Camera (Allen Funt was a Jew) That Show (Joan Rivers' first syndicated talk show, before she had any work done, Lord knows she was a jew.  Jack Benny.  Notice a theme?
With much fanfare, they just added "The Danny Kaye Show", his variety series from the 1960s.
I consider this a major gift.  
I never got to see it much when it was first on.  Now I'm able to go back and watch the whole series. After 50 years. 
And it is wonderful.
Danny Kaye was a great entertainer.
You really can't tell what an asshole he was in real life, which in fact he was.
He hid it well.  And I am able to separate his TV persona from his real life.
He has wonderful guests whom you don't get to see very often elsewhere.
Imogene Coca was on frequently, at the top of her game.
Diahann Carroll, underappreciated for the singer that she is, shows off her singing chops
magnificently.
All the guests are used to really show them off to their best.
And Danny sings a lot of his wife's (Sylvia Fine's) material.  It was hilarious
And is unmatched anywhere else.
It's reason enough to seek it out on your cable.
If your carrier doesn't carry it,  it's time to bellyache.
It's worth the trouble.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Wildly Inconsistent Billy Wilder.

Here is a list of the movies that Billy Wilder directed.
He made quite a few great ones.
He also made quite a few awful ones.
And he wrote a whole lot of movies in Germany, in German, that never show up anywhere.
He also wrote a few great ones here that he didn't direct.
"Ball of Fire"
"Ninotchka"
"Bluebeard's Eighth Wife"
They were directed by his idol,  Ernst Lubitsch.
I'm going to attempt to separate the ones he directed into great, so-so, and awful.
Beginning with awful.

Director (27 credits)

Awful:                                              So-so:                                     Great:

1981 Buddy Buddy

 1978 Fedora
                                                          1974 The Front Page
 1972 Avanti!
                                                           1961 One, Two, Three
                                                                                                            1960 The Apartment
                                                           1959 Some Like It Hot
                                                                                                           1957 Witness for the Prosecution
                                                                                 
                                                                                                           1957 Love in the Afternoon

                                                           1957 The Spirit of St. Louis

                                                            1955 The Seven Year Itch

                                                                                                            1954 Sabrina

                                                                                                            1953 Stalag 17

                                                                                                            1951 Ace in the Hole

                                                                                                             1950 Sunset Boulevard
                                                            1948 The Emperor Waltz 

                                                                                                                 1945 The Lost Weekend

                                                                                                             1944 Double Indemnity
                        
                                                             1942 The Major and the Minor

Now, I know that this is all subjective, but I think I have good reasons to back up all of my 
decisions.
Eight great ones are pretty good on anybody's resume.
But they were mostly made when he was younger.
He had a prime, and that was it.
Let me give you an idea of how one of the bombs went wrong:
"A Foreign Affair" took place in post-war Berlin.  A comedy.
The female leads were Marlene Dietrich and Jean Arthur.
It was made by Paramount.
They needed a male lead for them to fight over.
Dietrich and Jean Arthur must have been pretty expensive, so Paramount probably told Wilder to pick anyone he wanted from Paramount's contract players as the male lead.
You know who Wilder ended up with?
John Lund.
John fucking Lund.
As in "Has there ever been a bigger stiff in front of a camera than John fucking Lund?"
He was best known as Grace Kelly's fiancé in "High Society".  That guy.  Get it now?
You know who else was under contract to Paramount at the time?
Robert Preston.  Mister "Ya got trouble right here in River City".  That Robert Preston.
But this was 9 years before he exhibited that he had that kind of charm.
But if the alternative was John fucking Lund, wasn't Preston at least worth a screen test?
This requires imagination.  
Imagination that Wilder did not have.
Wilder must have known what a stiff Lund was.  If that was his best option, you've got to be smart enough to close down the picture.
That's just one example:  Ray Walston for Peter Sellers in "Kiss Me Stupid?"
Keep looking, or bale.
I'm just saying that this brings Wilder down a few pegs among the all time greats.
Too many failures.
We can argue about all this in the comments section.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Being On The Same Page With Woody Allen.

I'm not talking about all things.
I don't think I'd marry someone who's more than thirty years my junior.
The jury is probably still out as to how creepy this is.
I'm confining my remarks to our mutual taste in movies.
Particularly those of Billy Wilder's.
There is an interview of Woody Allen on his Facebook page.
He talks extensively about the disparity between how well a movie does at the box office, and
how good it is.
With Billy Wilder, he singles out two films:
A 1951 movie called "Ace In The Hole".
It is spectacularly dramatic, containing maybe Kirk Douglas's greatest performance.
It must be seen.
Woody Allen essentially said "You can't do better than this".
And he's right.  You can't.
It is one of the great movies.  Perhaps Wilder's best.
And it completely tanked at the box office.
It tanked so badly that they attempted to re-release it under a different title: "The Big Carnival".
How often did that happen?  It didn't help.
It also did not garnish good reviews.  It was considered too sardonic, too mean-spirited.
I guess for 1951, maybe it was.
I first saw it in the early 60's.  It wasn't too mean-spirited for me.  It was just awesome.
Woody also singles out "Some Like It Hot", which did great at the box office.
A lot of people consider it the greatest comedy ever made.
It is very well-crafted.  Particularly the work of Ms. Monroe. 
She is capable of breaking your heart in it.
Only one problem:  It's not funny.
It never makes me laugh.
A lot of movies do make me laugh.
The greatest comedy ever made has to at least make me laugh at least once.
Hell, at least five times.
But this one, not once.
And Woody Allen agrees.
I've never expressed this out loud before, but Woody Allen has given me license to.
This is much akin to saying the emperor is naked, but at least now I feel free to say it.
More about Billy Wilder next time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Podcast Aftermath.

I thought the podcast went very well, except for a few minor technical glitches.
We showed a couple of my unsold pilots, which are terrific, and a couple  of clips from my short-lived series, which I chose, and also loved. 
If you missed it, and want to see it, it will be on YouTube for about a week.
Then the host takes it down, and you have to pay to see it.
The YouTube link is   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv98I21Lcgo
It runs about 2 and a half hours, and I think it's worth your time.
Also, pretty soon, we will be uploading on YouTube my episodes of my series "Busting Loose"
and the short-lived "Ted Knight Show".
Along with the two pilots that aired last night.
These are all about 40 years old, and I think they hold up pretty well.
I will provide more information about this as it happens.
I talked about my two plays, which are now in the hands of Broadway Producers.
I am currently at their mercy.
It also provided me the opportunity to sell my novel, "I'm Not Garbo".
I've already gotten a nice response about that.
You are welcome to take me up on my offer there too.
I hope you do.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Live Podcast Tomorrow,

Today is Tuesday.
Tomorrow, Wednesday,  I will be doing a live Podcast from 4pm to roughly 7pm, Pacific Time,
which translates to 5pm to 8pm, Mountain Time, 6pm to 9pm, Central Time, and 7pm to 10pm,
Eastern Time.
It's called Stu's Show, and can be found at Stusshow.com, or just Google it.
I've done the show twice before, the difference now is that the first two times, they were just audio  podcasts.  
This will be audio and visual.
This will be all about my career post-"Laverne and Shirley"
We will be airing a couple of my unsold pilots, which were at least as good as some that were sold, also some clips from sold shows that haven't been seen in about forty years.
These were shows that I also wrote the theme songs for.
If you like my work in general, I think you'll be highly entertained.
Also, of course, you'll get to take a gander at my adorable face.
There will also be several surprises along the way.
Enjoy!
You know, I still haven't figured out how to fix the boldface type problem.
It just seems to do what it wants.
Oh, well....

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Getting Even Worse At Something I Used To Be Great At.

I've mentioned before that, prior to the internet, I used to be the world champion of death:
When someone famous died, how they died, and how old they were when they died.
I was very proud of this talent.
Then, the Internet came along and leveled the playing field.
With the touch of a finger, everyone else is as smart as me.
I certainly felt humbled, but after some minor licking of my wounds, I pretty much got over it.
But the Internet has now taken a further toll.
Along with my advancing age, and the lessening of value of this former "gift",
I now no longer remember as much as I used to.
In searching for a name I used to know all the details of, I now even flounder when I do a search.
I used to be a world-class crossword puzzle-doer.
Now, I can't do a New York Times puzzle without the aid of Wikipedia.
It's no longer a matter of who has the bigger dick, but rather a source of information.
Last week I had a clue "_____Cameron, from "Charlie's Angels"
I was never a fan, but I thought Kate Jackson? didn't fit.  Jaclyn Smith? Didn't fit.
It never even occurred to me that they made a movie out of it.
And Cameron Diaz was in it.
An entire generation of music has happened under my radar.  I'm clueless.
Welcome to hard times.
I can't even figure out how to get out of this bold typeface.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

One More, Somewhat Rather Niggling, Report From Doctor Rothman, Tune Detective.

This one involves the song "Bloody Mary", from "South Pacific".
It involves the lyric that goes:
"Her skin is tender as DiMaggio's glove"
The problem is that, in every cast album I have found, and every production that I
have seen, the accent is consistently on the wrong "SYLABBLE".
It's always performed as "Her skin is tender a-a-s Dimaggio's glove".
Always two syllables on a-a-s.
And running "Dimaggio's" as closely as possible.
Isn't it a lot more natural to make "as" one syllable, and stretch
"Di-Maggio's" this way.
It scans just as well, and any baseball fan of that era would pronounce
Joltin' Joe's name that way.
The way it's done now is a pure unnecessary contrivance.
Obviously, Oscar Hammerstein was no baseball fan.
I'm sure Richard Rodgers was no help, and no baseball fan either.
"What ever you say, Oscar."
I said it was niggling, but it still bugs the hell out of me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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.
IThe 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Yet Again, The Return Of Dr. Rothman, Tune Detective.

It's been a while.
I hope I've been missed.
Let me get right to it.
"Hello, Dolly!" has been a landmark musical.
It is wonderful on so many levels.
The score, in general, is gorgeous.
Jerry Herman is perhaps our greatest living melodist, and he outdoes himself with "Dolly".
Louis Armstrong's recording of the title song is perhaps the greatest recording of all time.
With the exception of Streisand's movie soundtrack, which was overblown, underblown, and let's face it, simply blows, there have been several cast albums that are more or less wonderful, and completely capture that which is wonderful about the show.
Thus, it is with great sadness that I must report that the new Bette Midler cast album recording  is eminently avoidable.
I have most often been a fan of Ms. Midler, but there is a fatal flaw in this recording.
All of her vocals are set in a key that is too low for her.
She does not allow herself to soar to the wonderful high notes that are there within her grasp.
Instead, she goes under them, as if afraid to approach them.
The effect is dismal.
Could it be that she has lost the upper end of her pipes?
Is that why she gives up Tuesday nights to Donna Murphy?
Also, the original orchestrations have been jettisoned for what seems to be those that are far more rinky-dink and shoddy in nature.
It's like they went out of their way to save money on instruments.
None of it is lush.
It demands lush.
The Original Cast Album, with Carol Channing, gets the most out of what can only be described as
an unusual voice.
It's easy to see how fistfights can break out about Channing's talent.
Some might call it an acquired taste.
Well, I've acquired it, and am utterly charmed by it.
Also, she has the best supporting cast on her recording.
David Burns as Vandergelder, Charles Nelson Reilly as Cornelius, and Eileen Brennan as Irene Malloy.
I just re-listened to it and it holds up great.  Loaded with charm and fun.
Pearl Bailey then did her all-black version, which at first I thought had no reason to live.
I thought it was complete fantasy that there were all those upscale blacks going to fancy restaurants in New York in the 1890s.
But there were, and they did.
So you are left with Pearl, probably the most talented performer, and easily the best singer to perform the role.
She infuses so much of her great personality, particularly in the title song, where she essentially kibitzes with the waiters, adding her usual asides.
Cab Calloway plays Vandergelder and it's on one level: to show how cute he can be.
He's not about playing his character.
Emily Yancy is wonderful as Irene Molloy, and sings great.
The others all sing great too but don't leave that much of a character impression.
Pearlie Mae more than makes up for it.
They made a cast album of Mary Martin's London company.
She's just fine, and never gets too cutesy.
Marilyn Lovell is an asset.
The rest of the cast is a bunch of foreigners who occasionally let their English accents slip.
But it's very pleasant.
The only production I actually saw was in the original Broadway production, when Ginger Rogers
took over for Channing.
I found her to be rather stiff, going through the motions.
But she did keep moving forward, and her skirts were so long that I couldn't see if she was wearing high heels.
That's at least better than working with Fred Astaire.
Back to Midler, David Hyde Pierce plays Vandergelder, and doesn't seem to add much.
They resurrected a song that was dropped from the original tryout.
A very trivial song called "A  Penny in My Pocket", which describes how Vandergelder acquired his wealth.  It was dropped because they realized that nobody gave a crap about that.
Also, this song is a more rhythmic, less jazzy version of Sinatra's "Learning The Blues".
You know---"The tables are empty, the dancefloor's deserted". That song.
Now that it's resurrected, there could be a successful lawsuit.
It's much closer to "Learnin' the Blues" than "Sunflower" was to "Hello Dolly".
And there, Jerry Herman settled out of court.
Okay, so you've been warned.
But who knows?  She certainly doesn't sing the hell out of this show, but maybe she acts the hell out of it.
At this point, she already has to play catch-up.  At these prices, that's a lot to ask for.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day Memory.

He was a member of our greatest generation.
Although I'm pretty sure he never served his country in any capacity.
He was somewhat older than my parents, and I only knew him when I was a child.
He lived on the same floor as we did at our apartment building in the Bronx in the 1950s.
He was named Joseph Pullman, and was known by all that knew him as "Yussel".
What set Yussel apart from most others was that Yussel was a dwarf, or a midget.
I'm not sure which term was more appropriate.
But he was maybe 4 feet tall.
There was no mistaking him for a normal sized person.
He was easily the most interesting and colorful person in the Bronx in the 1950s.
And everybody seemed to know him.
He would often invite my parents to come to his apartment to look at "French Pictures".
When I was a little kid, Yussel adored me.
He would call me "MisterMarkRothman", running the names together like that.
It was Yussel who first exposed me to alcohol.
He had an open bar in his living room and he was always offering me a "highball".
It was a cherry coke with just a little bit of sherry in it, but it made me feel like just a little bit
more of an adult.
And my parents were fine with it.
When I would occasionally try to ask my parents what Yussel did for a living, they would fumpher and do whatever they could to change the subject.
It wasn't until many years later that they would confess to me that Yussel was a very successful pimp.
It certainly fit.
What else would he have been?
His apartment had a terrace.
Ours didn't.
In the warmer months,  Yussel could often be seen parading on his terrace in his bathing suit, in tribute to the fact that we all had rent-controlled apartments, and yelling "Do you know how much I pay for this place every month?  Fifty-five pennenas!  Fifty-five shmulliattas!!  He said this with great pride.
To this day, whenever my wife and I refer to money denominations, it's always in terms of shmulliattas.  Yussel was not without influence.
Yussel also carried around a very large portable radio, which was the only kind they had in 1956, and always brought it with him when he went to the local beach club, where all the women played
mah-jonng, and adored Yussel.  And the radio was covered with risqué sayings.
Not quite dirty, but not quite clean either.
Then in one day in 1957, it all changed.
That was the day that I had grown taller than Yussel.
And Yussel then completely lost interest in me.
I felt like I had lost a little brother.
According to my parents, this was a  pattern with him.
He loved kids, until they outgrew him.
We shortly thereafter moved to Queens, leaving Yussel behind.
I'm glad he didn't see what happened.
I got very tall, very quickly.
He couldn't have taken it.
I had no reason to want to shatter Yussel.
Anyway, Happy Memorial Day to you all, and particularly to Yussel wherever you are.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Week Tony Randall Completely Lost It, And Then Completely Regained It.

Generally, Tony Randall was a very well-behaved person.
Except when it came to day-players, (supporting actors hired for the week.)
He was usually barely civil to them.  Usually worse than that.
But he knew what side his bread was buttered on, and thus was always nice to Garry Marshall, and all the other writers, of which I was one.
But, there was one script that we had sitting on our shelf, having once been read at the table, that Tony so hated, that nobody wanted to give it another airing.
This all took place before I started working there.
So I saw no reason to even look at it.
It was called "The Frog Show".
And it only became an issue because Garry was convinced that it could be salvaged.
This led to our taking it down off the shelf, and reading it.
It was your typical poorly written first drafts, that needed a lot of work, but had a basically appealing storyline.
Felix's son had a pet frog that he wanted to enter in a Frog Jumping contest.
We thought that all it needed was better dialogue.
We had at it.  And turned it into what we thought was a typically appealing "Odd Couple'" episode.
Garry kind of blindsided us, leaving us unaware of Tony's initial negative reaction to this story.
I always liked the idea of showing Felix as somebody's father.
We did it so infrequently, and I thought it humanized and grounded him.
Tony couldn't give a shit about that.
He was just looking for ways for Tony to be funny.
So "The Frog Story" hit the table, having been extensively re-written, certainly to our satisfaction.
Tony didn't even want to acknowledge its re-existence.
After much arm twisting, Tony at least agreed to read it out loud, in front of everyone.
He still hated it.
Garry made the pronouncement that we'd be shooting it next week.
He believed in it and appreciated the rewriting we had done.
He was not to be talked out of it.
This led to two full weeks of pissing and moaning by Tony.
Cut to:  The Friday dress-rehearsal before the filming.
We finished it and we all thought it went pretty well.
Except for Tony.
He went on an unprecedented rant, to the tune of "Why are we even bothering to give notes?  This
thing is hopeless"
He then singled out every writer for abuse.
He had never done anything like this before, and never did it since.
Then, over dinner, he went around to every single writer he had wretchedly insulted, and delivered the sweetest apology one could ever imagine.
And you couldn't help but love him for it.
He still hated the script, but, pro that he was, he realized that he took it as far as he could, and it was up to him to carry the burden.
So he went out and performed the hell out of it.
Maybe his best performance ever.
I think it was one of our best shows ever.
Maybe it wouldn't have been if Tony didn't hate it so much.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Attention Must Be Paid.

If you like great live cabaret performers, and are often in the New York or L.A. areas,
I feel like I must call your attention to two outstanding, outrageously talented performers.
One is a fellow named Mark Nadler, a comedian/concert level pianist who works primarily out of New York City.
And the other is Jason Graae, primarily out of L.A., a great singer/dancer who, besides his cabaret act, has done an extensive amount of musical theater.
Both are extremely witty. 
It is impossible to not enjoy and appreciate their work.
Unless you are completely put off by the fact that they are both completely openly gay.
I have mentioned before that I believe that I might be the heterosexual with the most homosexual taste of anyone I've ever met.
I think that just speaks to my good taste.
Gays with a sardonic wit are way funnier than straights.
Maybe that's a generalization, but I believe it.
And you won't find more sardonic than Nadler and Graae.
I don't know if they ever met each other, or even know each other's work,  but its readily apparent that they are cut from the same piece of cloth.
If Nadler did more theater, he would be interchangeable with Graae.
They could easily do each other's parts.
They are both in their late fifties, and could both easily pass for younger.
You don't have to take my word for it.
There are plenty of wonderful performances of both of them on YouTube.
Let me call your attention to Nadler's rendition of 50 songs from the year 1961 (the year he was born)
which he performs maniacally in about three minutes.
He is like Victor Borge on speed.
There was a Tony-Award winning musical in 1989 called "Grand Hotel".
It has a great score, including a tremendous number called "We'll Take A Glass  Together".
It was staged by Tommy Tune and featured Michael Jeter and David Carroll.
It is joyous, funny, and touching.
Joyous and funny because of the nature of it, and touching because both actors died not long after, of AIDS related illness.
In the case of Carroll, he didn't even survive to record the Original Cast Album.
There is another clip much later of the same number, in a production done in Burbank, with
Jason Graee in the Michael Jeter part. 
Without the emotional baggage of the earlier production, it is only hilarious.
That's a good place to start.
But there is so much more to explore with both of them.
And if the opportunity comes up to see either one of them wherever you are, don't pass it up.
To paraphrase Linda Loman, Mrs. Willy Loman, at Willy's gravesite, from "Death of a Salesman", "Attention must be paid to such men."
I'm just sayin'.
------------------------------------------------------------------

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Binge- Watching "Highway Patrol", Part Two.

Further thoughts about "Highway Patrol".

It was the year of the Edsel, as brief as it was.
You never saw an Edsel on" Highway Patrol".
You would have thought that the Edsel people would have loved to have their vehicles as cop cars or even the villains cars on  "Highway Patrol".
Just to give the cars some character. 
But it was such a joke right off the bat, that It would make the show look foolish.
And the producers knew it.
There were no blacks on "Highway Patrol"
No cops, no criminals
I have a feeing that they used mostly blacklisted writers.
I'd read the credits, and most of their writers had very few other credits than "Highway Patrol" 
They must have been the most.cheaply-made  script-writers particularly by the word.
It was primarily a fast paced action show but thy still managed to give Broderick Crawford at least 50 pages of dialogue a week.  And he always signed off on his microphone with 10-4.
The producers sure got their money's worth from the "Highway Patrol" writers. 
Just about everybody on camera wore a hat.
Giants of the industry, like Quinn Martin and Gene Roddenberry, began their careers as lowly producton assistants on "Highway Patrol". 
The cars were very well cast.  Plymouths, Dodges, Desotos and Mercuries were the cars of choice for the villains.  Usually a little more upscale.
With huge tail-fins.
It was the age of the tail-fins.
This was somewhat ironic.
The cars back then were so distinguishable from any other make.
Today, all cars look the same.
But in 1957, they'd get the call to be on the lookout for a '56 sedan.
Never identifying the car by brand.
And in those days, that information would be so helpful.
I never understood this.
Bare-boned Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Chevies were used for the cop cars.
Most of the supporting actors had no other career to speak of.
Sometimes their one-shot appearance was their only TV appearance.   
There were exceptions:  Leonard Nimoy did three episodes.
Paul Richards did a great episode as a mental patient.
Ted Knight played a crusading newspaper reporter.  He tried playing it intelligently.  I didn't buy it.
Joe Flynn played a sleazy con-man.  He was quite believable.
Ed Nelson did like six different guest shots.  He was a great villain every time.
Stuart Whitman rode shotgun along with Dan Mathews about seven or eight times.
Paul Burke showed up once.
They even found room for a couple of the original Dead End Kids: Bobby Jordan and Billy Halop.
Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall, both pushing fifty, were still attempting to milk what was left of  the Bowery boys franchise, so we never saw them.
One of my hobbies when binge-watching "Highway Patrol" was to watch an episode, then check the IMDB to see if the women were still alive. Particularly if they were babes. Usually they were long gone.
There were a preponderance of episodes that featured close-up shots of money: kidnapping ransom,
bank robberies.
They never went to the trouble of using money that looked like real money.
It was all Funny Money.
It could have been used to play Monopoly.
My wife got into binge-watching "Highway Patrol" with me.
Just like with "Columbo" there was always a moment where we turned to each other  when we both realized when Peter Falk was going to nail Dick Van Dyke , and we'd say and we'd simultaneously "He's got him."
Same thing with "Highway Patrol"--that moment when Crawford would know that he's got his man,
we'd say he's got him. 
And he always did, in 24 minutes.
Imagine how fast he'd get 'em if they had cell phones back then.

When "Highway Patrol" went off in 1960, the same production company almost immediately threw Crawford into another series. "King of Diamonds"
He played Johnny King, a globe-hopping  Diamond insurance investigator.
It was an attempt to turn Crawford into a romantic figure, something they never did on "Highway Patrol".
There was a lyric to the theme song:  It contained the immortal line----
"When...Johnny King breaks a door down, he's not saying 10-4 now, he's romancing a Queen"

I'm not kidding.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Binge-Watching "Highway Patrol". Part One.

"Whenever the laws of any state are broken, a duly authorized organization swings into action it may be called the state police, state troopers, militia the rangers or the highway patrol.  These are the  stories of the men whose training skill and courage have enforced and preserved our state laws."

This was the opening narration to one of the great series of the 1950's, by one of its greatest voice-over narrators, Art Gilmore.
And he provided running narration throughout the show.
That only made it better.
I used to watch "Highway Patrol" when I was a kid in the fifties, but wasn't blown away by it as I am now.
I rediscovered it because the  "Decades" channel started running episodes of it.
This led me to seek it out on YouTube, where all 154 episodes reside.
I could put them up on my big 60" screen and watch them the way they were always meant to be seen.
Why was it so great?
It certainly wasn't the production values.
I understand that the entire budget for an episode was about $20,000.
Actors must have gotten paid in the dark.
What it had was a great star.
Broderick Crawford.
He was magnificent and compelling..
Probably the toughest cop ever portrayed on television.
If there was trouble anywhere near a highway, that's who you wanted to handle the case.
And he never let you down.
He always got his man.
In 22 minutes.
I am given to understand that he was also a raging alcoholic, and the only way they could stay on schedule was to shoot all his scenes in the morning
I don't think they ever did any night shooting.
That would have involved paying for lights.
And what they had was very tight storytelling.
And great cars.
The police cars were generally '55 through '59 Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Chevys.
The villains cars were usually 57 Plymouths, or 58 Mercurys.
Lots o' tail fins.
What's better than that?
In it's way, it was the exact opposite of "Dragnet", which was soft-spoken and deliberate.
And "Dragnet" had little or no violence.
"Highway Patrol" was always high energy and extremely violent.
Crawford's character, Dan Mathews, was never gun shy.
He must have shot and or killed at least one criminal at least every other week.
The shootings were all justified, but you had a sense that Mathews almost reveled in it.
And nobody ever talked as fast.
I'm given to understand that the later in the day, and the drunker he was, the faster he talked.
He and Joe Friday had virtually nothing in common.
Much more about this show next time.

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

My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lou Carter

I may be one of only a handful of people who remembers Lou Carter.
He was a show business veteran when I was a kid.
He would show up on the Jack Paar "Tonight" Show, which I was fortunate enough to see when my parents thought I was asleep, and a bunch of appearances on "The Perry Como Variety Show" in the sixties.
Lou Carter was hilarious.
He was a songwriter, and his songs were of the parody variety, although they were totally original, music and lyrics.
And he was also a pianist and arranger for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
But when he appeared on TV, it was under the guise of a character he created called
"Louie The Cabbie".
He dressed like a New York cab driver of the fifties(when they were all Jews), and wrote and sang some wonderful songs.
He put out a couple of albums, one of which, "Louie's Love Songs" requires your attention if you value your sense of humor.
One of the cuts on "Louie's Love Songs" begins with the lyric 
"Whattsamatter wit' me? 
Whattsamatter wit' choo?
Whattsamatter wit' all a you guys?
Why don't you get over there?"
They certainly don't write 'em like that any more.
Maybe they never did.
But here are the complete lyrics to my favorite Lou Carter song:

I got a rose between my toes
from walkin' barefoot tru the hothouse to you
pretty baby
I got a t'orn right near my corn
from walkin' barefoot tru the hothouse to you
And when I fell into the tomatoes
I seen her heart skip a beat
I knew that love was born
when she pulled the t'orn
of the flower out of my feet
I didn't even feel no pain
because there wasn't any rain in the sky
pretty baby
I didn't need no iodine
because the sun began to shine upon me
For now my feet feel glad and gay
ever since that lucky day
I got a rose between my toes
from walkin' barefoot tru the hothouse to you
(musical interlude)
I didn't even feel no pain
because there wasn't any rain in the sky
pretty baby
I didn't need no iodine
because the sun began to shine upon me
For now my feet feel glad and gay
ever since that lucky day
I got a rose between my toes
from walkin' barefoot tru the hothouse to you
It was as funny as it sounds.
Lou Carter died in 2006.
"Louie's Love Songs" can be found on "Spotify" and YouTube.
Do yourself a favor and check them out.
In the early 80's, Billy Crystal briefly attempted to resurrect Lou Carter's career when he had him appear on Crystal's short-lived variety show.
In a major production number, he enlisted Nell Carter and Robert Conrad to form a trio to perform
"I got a rose between my toes...",  as Lou looked on from his piano bench.
It was heaven.
Even Robert Conrad.
I am fortunate enough to own a copy of this video.
It's one of my more priceless possessions.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Erin Moran.

Whenever I'm asked in public to talk about people I've worked with, the name that has seemed to come up most frequently is Erin Moran, who, as most of you know, played Joanie on "Happy Days".
Most of them were aware of what amounted to a very troubled drug-related, occasionally homeless life after "Happy Days" ended.
Some have even asked me if I could have given her any advice on how to straighten herself
out and avoid her ill-deserved or perhaps much-deserved fate.
The jury might still be out.
In her darkest, leanest days, she might have been a most grateful beneficiary of  "The Costco Buffet".
But that's all I've got.
During my entire working relationship with Erin, spanning about six years,  she and I never even exchanged greetings with each other.
Most of that time, she was a child.
But, I never gave her an acting note.
I don't recall anyone ever giving her an acting note.
She never seemed to need one.
Her work always seemed to me to be exemplary.
She was quite talented.
That even extended to out-and-out trash like "Joanie Loves Chachi".
Whatever creative problems existed there, and they were awesome, I'm guessing that very few were of her making.
That would leave Scott Baio and the writing.
Scott Baio has now become a punchline for bad sitcoms, and bad actors who support Trump.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
She certainly deserved better than that.
In her next life, I hope she gets it.
Anyway, don't ask me about Joanie anymore.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Costco Buffet.

With Passover having just passed, it reminds me of when I was a teenager living in an apartment building in Flushing Queens.
There was no Costco at the time.
This severely pre-dated Costco.
I consider Costco perhaps the greatest advancement of the Twenty-First Century.
But back in the sixties, pre-Costco, annually, we were besieged by an ancient, Jewish man dressed with the ancient payiss and all forms of orthodoxia, would come to our door, and invariably open the conversation with "Money for Yontiff?" which was his way of begging for money, and using the Jewish holiday as the excuse.
If I was alone , I would simply turn him down, figuring that if he made it this long without my help ,the money I didn't have, he wouldn't miss.
If my sister was home, I would immediately pass him off to her, saying "a friend of yours is here".
She's still never forgiven me.
I've never wanted to see anybody go hungry, but he was never thin, so I never that concerned about him.
He must have long since passed, but it has occurred to met  that nobody enjoys the prospect of having to beg for food.
I am offering up a long term solution to the poverty problem, one that is totally self-sufficient in nature.
If you find yourself with that problem .these days, just scuffle up enough to acquire a Costco membership card.
Good for a year.  Over the course of a year, sell a few pints of blood.
That should pretty well set you up for life.
It will allow you to participate in the daily Costco buffet, which mostly consists of ladies in hairnets, passing out free samples of delicious well prepared, gourmet food samples.
You can eat enough daily that you'd simply be a glutinous pig if it wasn't enough to fill you up during the course of the day.
And you can keep coming back everyday.
You'll eat standing up, but it's a small price to pay.
You can look as raggedy as you care to, as Costco has no Dress Code.
That's half the battle.
Finding a place to live is up to you.
I can only do so much.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Top 17 Things That Make Me Laugh Harder Than Anything Else.

Whenever I'm looking to upgrade my mood, for whatever reason, these are the things that come to mind most often.
They can pretty much all be found on YouTube.
Some will be quite familiar to you.
Some might be rather obscure.
Why sixteen entries?
It's a rather arbitrary number.
I played around with other numbers, but none were just quite as funny.
Maybe I can be coaxed.
Anyway, by their nature, the list is in no particular order.

1) The last scene of the second "Newhart" series, when he wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, only to realize that everything about his second series (Larry, Darryl, and Darryl, etc.) was a dream.

2)  Sid Caesar and "The Haircuts" singing "You Are So Rare To Me" and the accompanying crazy dance.
Most Caesarian's would opt for "This is Your Story", but for me, it's diminishing returns.

3)  Jay Thomas making his annual appearance on "Letterman" to tell his "Lone Ranger" story.
     Boy, am I going to miss that.

4)  The "Gin Rummy" scene in "Born Yesterday".

5)  The Stateroom Scene from "A Night At The Opera"
      Aunt Minnie's Niece:  Is my Aunt Minnie in here?
      Groucho:  No,  but you can prowl around here if you wanna. You'll probably find somebody
      just as good!

6)  The Weenie King.  The world's oldest actor in one extended hilarious scene in Preston Sturges'
      "The Palm Beach Story".

7)   "Harry Speak-Up".  Bilko's salute to the trials and tribulations of drafting a monkey into      
        the Army.

8)  A scene from the series "Joe and Sons" ,wherein Jerry Stiller performing a eulogy, refers to the
     deceased's favorite Tuesday night parlor game, performed right after bowling.  It was called---
     "It Ain't Necessarily Beer"

9)  "The Chef of the Future".  Gleason and Carney.  The first fifteen minutes are a waste of time.
      Go right to the TV studio.  "Oooohh, it can core a apple!!!"

10)  "Who's On First?"  From the 1952 filmed Comedy Series they did.  Accept no substitutions.

11)    Stan Daniels.  Was a writer on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."  They would always have him
         get up during audience breaks, introduce him as one of the great actors of the Yiddish Theater.
         He would sing his rendition of "Ole Man River".  Check it out on YouTube.

12)    The original "In-Laws".  Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.  The keyword is "Serpentine"

13)   Jack Carson and Betty Kean in a 1950 episode of "The Four Star Revue"  November, 1950.
         It's in the second half hour.  Three telephone booths. That's all you need to know.

14)   "The $65 Funeral.  Nicholas and May.  As funny and as smart as it gets.

15)    Bob and Ray.  "The Slow Talkers of America".  I'd be just as happy with "The World's Most
       Beautiful Face Contest".

16)  Ernie Kovacs performing "The Nairobi Trio".

17)   Last and certainly not least,  Jack Benny and Gisele Mackenzie's violin duet of "Getting To
        Know You",  where she constantly upstages him.
        He was such a master of timing.

If you think I left out something on the same level,  comment on this page, and I'd be happy to consider it, or berate it, depending on my mood.
I'm just here to guide you.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rickles.

We lost Don Rickles today.
He made it to ninety.
A lot of people don't.
Rickles was officially a legend.
I'm going to attempt to backtrack about him some of the things I said that were less than complementary when he was alive, even though they still apply.
Rickles was at his best working opposite Carson, or Leno or Letterman.
They all brought the best in him and vice-versa, and would all roll over and play dead for him whenever he appeared with him
Even at his advanced age.  When all he had going for himself was '''hockey puck", and being stooped over.
No wonder they all loved him.
In Martin Scorcese's documentary about him, you saw a much smarmier side of him.
He was stooped over, and spent his whole act making fun of tourists.  Usually Japanese or blacks.
This is not a fair fight.
He'd shlep some of them up on stage and perform some semi-lewd acts upon them in the name of "good fun"
I witnessed this in person on casino comps, and he did it every time.
That was usually my cue to leave..
He had a reputation for being a "nice guy", but how nice could he have been when the last time I saw him, he had an opening act, the extremely talented Lorna Luft, who came on and did a tremendous first 45 minutes.  Without billing.  Nobody knew she was appearing.
But he did enough legendary things, at least before he was 70 years old, and made me laugh often enough to deserve his place as a show business icon.
I know I've made this rant before, but I felt it bore repeating.
But, after all, the man is dead.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Victor, We Hardly Knew Ye.

So, I've been watching this mini-series on FX, "Feud: Bette and Joan".
I've found it to be highly entertaining.
It entails the shooting and aftermath of the film "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?".
There is much fun to be had here.
Aside from Susan Sarandon, who is doing a great star-turn, and Jessica Lange, doing likewise,
they have an actor portraying Victor Buono, who had a major supporting role in "Baby Jane".
His name is Domenic Burgess.
I had never heard of him.
Sarandon, as Bette Davis, objects to the casting of Buono, because he is a flaming homosexual
And that's how Burgess plays it.
To quote Seinfeld, not that there is anything wrong with that.
However, I worked with Victor Buono three times.
Twice on "The Odd Couple" TV series, and once on a pilot I produced with Rita Moreno.
He was brilliant and never mincing on any of these occasions.
I had no clue about his personal lifestyle when I was around him, and always found him to be supportive. 
He was always making suggestions to improve the writing, and they always did.
It was like having another very talented writer around to draw from.
I went to Wikipedia to see what I could learn about this, and it said that he lived a totally open
homosexual lifestyle. 
So okay.  I believe it.
But I have a feeling that he never flounced it, or minced it in public, particularly in 1962.
A far less tolerant time.
Perhaps it wasn't fair to portray him this way.
I'm just sayin'.....

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Great Weekend.

I had a great time at the Hollywood Celebrity Show over the weekend.
I sold a shitload of books (I'm Not Garbo, and one of my essay books).
People seemed very glad to see me, and me them.
I had a table next to Ed Asner and we hit it off immediately.
He has agreed to read one of my plays.
I ran in to Dawn Wells who did my other play twenty years ago, and still looks young enough to
do it in a new production.
And she has now grown into one of the older characters in my other play.
Thirty years ago, that part was done by Mitzi McCall.
Time plays funny tricks.
As I am now wheelchair bound, it was a great way for me to get out of the house.
And I can still direct either one of them by way of Skype.
I've proven that this can be done, and that I can do it.
I also met a major macher who works for Mayor Rahm Emanuel who is also reading the two plays, and professes to have major connections in Chicago theater.
We shall see.
Whatever happens, it was an extremely pleasant weekend.
If nothing happens from it, that's okay, too.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Leaving Astaire and Rogers in the Dust.

I never thought I'd ever hear myself saying this, but on at least one occasion,  I saw two people out-dance, out-sing, and outperform,  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
It was only once, but direct comparisons could be made in the same number.
The pair in question are Karen Ziemba, one of my all-time fave Broadway dancer-singers, and
Scott Wise,  whom I didn't know by name, but had seen several times on Broadway in several musicals.
The number in question is "My One And Only Highland Fling".
From the movie "The Barkley's of Broadway".
Ziemba and Wise performed it at a gala 100th birthday party for Ira Gershwin, who wrote the lyrics for it.  The music was by Harry Warren.
This was twenty years ago.
The movie was produced by the top of the line MGM musical producer, Arthur Freed.
And written by the top of the line scriptwriters, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green.
It was nobody's finest work.
And it was originally written for Judy Garland.
I don't think it would have made much difference.
"My One And Only Highland Fling" is a lovely number.
It has, to nobody's surprise, a Scottish motif.
The problem with it, was, unless they gave the script a re-write, it did not belong in this movie.
It has the highly inventive "Shoes With Wings On", and very little else to recommend it musically except "My One and Only Highland Fling".
The problem with the number in the movie was that the characters that Fred and Ginger were playing, a married couple, was that they were the cinematic equivalent to the radio's The Bickersons.
The squabbled about everything,
From the beginning to the ending.
The most disagreeable couple you'd ever come across.
Only, of all things, Oscar Levant's bitter acerbity made it at all palatable.
So Fred and Ginger performed "Highland Fling" contemptuously toward each other.
Perhaps her less than him, but still, no joy, no exuberance.
Now, they're both on YouTube.
Go and watch Ziemba and Wise perform it.
Who knew this number had that kind of potential?
Utterly uplifting.
Utterly exuberant.
Ziemba has spent her entire career in New York, winning Tony's, and always deserving them.
And of course she does guest shots on "The Good Wife", and at least three "Law and Order's"
She was one of the great dancers.
At 59, she probably can't do what she did 20 years ago, but with the magic of YouTube, you can at least see what she was then.
And Wise is probably still a great dancer.
There's another parallel to be drawn.
At that same concert Ziemba and Wise performed "Put Me To The Test", which Gene Kelly and
Rita Hayworth performed in the movie "Cover Girl".
Now, nobody left anybody in the dust here, but the fact of the matter is that Rita Hayworth never did her own singing.
She was always dubbed.
Let's call this one a draw.        

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My Semi-Immediate Plans.

In  exactly two weeks from today and tomorrow,  March 25th and 26th,  I will be appearing at the Hollywood Celebrity Autograph Show in downtown Chicago.
I will have my own table, where I will be happy to meet you, sign autographs, and offer my books for sale, autographing them personally with each purchase.
The books are "I'm Not Garbo", my novel,  my one work of fiction, and the best thing I've ever written, and Mark Rothman's Essays, a collection of essays that have long been removed from the blog, and which you've probably never read.
If I'm not enough of an attraction for you, consider this:  Angie Dickinson will be there.
Stephanie Powers will be there.  Ed Asner will be there.  Dawn "Mary Ann" Wells will be there.
Larry Thomas, the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, will be there.  Charlene Tilton from "Dallas" will be there. Richard Chamberlain will be there.
I don't know about you, but I want to see ALL of these people.
There will be many others. 
You can check out the whole list and get all the info at hollywoodshow.com/Chicago.
I look forward to seeing all of you,  whether you buy a book or not.
Now, there's no baseball yet, no football, it's a week before the NCAA Championship.
Those will be day games, so they can be Tivoed and watched at night.
So what better is there to do that weekend in Chicago?
I can't think of anything.

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

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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

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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."