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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Progress Report

I imagine that many of you out there are wondering how I am.
Considering what I have been through the past few weeks I would have to say I am in pretty good spirits.
The schedule now is to release me from the hospital next Saturday.
Even though the nursing staff has been first rate I can't wait to go home.
Most of the staff have been very nice to me.
Quite a few are very attractive.
Which is a bonus.
I look around and I see people in far worse shape than I'm in.
I was thinking recently about several well-known people who have died or have been on the verge of dying for quite a while and their varying outlooks towards death as it approaches.
One of them is Sam Simon who was one of the main creators of THE SIMPSONS.
He spent the last few years of his life attempting to give away all of his money to charitable causes.
Valerie Harper, who apparently has terminal cancer, has been relentlessly optimistic about it and has outlived her diagnosis considerably.
Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the book and lyrics for My Fair Lady, spent opening night of My Fair Lady wracked in sobs because he felt that he had peaked as far as anything he might do again in his life.
The person who discovered him sobbing like that was his wife at the time. Her name was Nancy Olson. She was best known for playing Betty Schaefer in the movie Sunset Boulevard.
Even though Gigi and Camelot were soon to follow, I suppose to him they still did not top My Fair Lady; apparently it didn't matter to him.
And my attitude about all this used to be:
You know, I kinda get it. Yeah, it's pretty impressive to have written My Fair Lady. But if you can still not appreciate it for what it is then you live with the consequences and perhaps your life is the lesser for it.
However, with my stroke I now have more of an opinion about Alan Jay Lerner.
I think he was full of beans.
And it was really much more of a case of being grateful for what you have and what you have accomplished than what you haven't.

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

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 me.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 it.
They can be downloaded on IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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.

*****





Saturday, May 16, 2015

Coming Full Circle with Garry Marshall

It has been customary by just about everybody in show business to only say nice things about Garry Marshall.
I am about to break that tradition.
Up until very recently, I have had no reason to break the mold followed by others.
As you may have heard, over the weekend I had a stroke, which has kept me away from posting on the blog, but something has happened which has caused me to say "what the hell" to this topic.
I was watching the most recent episode of the new Odd Couple on TV. The one with Matthew Perry and the other guy whose name I can't remember.
It now lists Garry as executive producer. His title has been growing and growing since the series has continued.
This was of little concern to me until the episode this past week, which was a direct rip-off of an episode written by me and my former partner, Lowell Ganz.
I doubt that anybody, including Lowell, gives a crap about this, but I do.
And if Lowell wasn't filthy rich, he probably also would care.
But I am not filthy rich, and I have not at all been consulted about this new show since it began.
This leads me to wonder why.
Garry's attitude about arbitration has been well-documented on this blog before. He doesn't believe in it.
All this has accomplished is taking money out of my pocket.
I know this sounds like major crabbing, but, in the days when we wrote this script, there was such a thing as breaking scripts down into story credit and teleplay credit.
Story credit was pretty much chump change compared to what it is now.
Now, story credit is worth at least as much as what I would have gotten for teleplay credit.
And since it has been quite a while since I have done any TV work, I feel this is a major slap in the face and something should be done about it.
So the first thing I am doing about it is mentioning it here.
I'll probably get around to filing a formal complaint with the Writers' Guild.
I hope it won't have to get that far, but if it does, I hope that they will see my point, and that I will be compensated roughly akin to about $25,000.
I hope you don't take this as personal bellyaching, but the case must be made by me.
Garry over the years has done many very nice things for me, but, by the same token, I have done very nice things for him, and I feel the scales are about even.
Garry is pushing 80 at this point. I don't know which side he is pushing from, but I don't really feel like picking on anybody in that condition anyway.
Of course I never heard anything from Garry since my stroke, which has been a little disconcerting.
I even got a nice text from Lowell, wishing me well, which was a surprise.
I am recuperating to some extent, but I am still a very sick boy. Someone else is typing this for me. I would like to get back to the typewriter myself soon.

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

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 me.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 it.
They can be downloaded on IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, May 5, 2015

I've Had Better Weekends.

Okay, I'll get right to the trivia question.
Nobody came close to getting the entire answer.
There were some nice tries, and there were lots of things that could be looked up.
Only Nick had one set of correct answers. He identified "Sheldrake" as the last name used in three Wilder movies: "Sunset Boulevard","Kiss Me, Stupid", and "The Apartment".
The other two answers are as follows:
In "Double Indemnity" Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson worked for the Pacific All-Risk Insurance Co.
In "Ace In the Hole" (a.k.a.) "The Big Carnival", Frank Cady, the bald guy from "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres", was
interviewed by a local reporter. When asked where he worked, he replied "The Pacific All-Risk Insurance Company.
And last, the theme music for "Stalag 17" is "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".
In "The Fortune Cookie", Jack Lemmon's wife lands a local TV singing commercial for Lindenbaum's Linoleum.
It's to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".
So that's that.
The rest of the weekend was a lot more ominous.
Saturday morning, I had a stroke.
My speech is slurred, and my walking is almost non-existent.
I may have to take a vacation from the blog.
I'll try to keep you posted. In the interim feel free to e-mail 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 me.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 it.
They can be downloaded on IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, May 1, 2015

Re-Climbing Mount Everest.

Once upon a time, before there was such a thing as an Internet, I was the King of Trivia.
I was the Sir Edmund Hillary to Trivia's Mount Everest.
And I knew who HE was without having to look it up.
But the Internet has now completely levelled the playing field.
ANYONE can be just as good a Trivia player as me just by pushing a couple of buttons on the computer machine.
Or, even more humiliating, the IPhone machine.
I had a major talent that no longer means anything.
But here I am today, making one last effort to scale Everest, with a Trivia Question, the answer to which can not be found by pushing
any amount of buttons on the computer machine.
I tried looking it up, and could not find the answers anywhere.
But I know them to be right.
AS usual, for me, they fall under the heading of Show Business Trivia.
You might consider this a revival of "This Week's Game", which I used to offer up regularly on weekends around here.
In order to get the correct answers, you either have to wrack your brain to come up with them, or you simply have to know it
through life experience.
This one ain't gonna be easy.
Okay, here goes:

Billy Wilder made at least three movies in which he made oblique references to three OTHER Billy Wilder movies.
They are all in the nature of "inside jokes'.
One each per movie.
Name each of the three movies.
Provide the oblique reference to the other movies.
Name the movies referred to.
And provide the oblique references.
Here's a clue: You won't be able to find it by Googling "What movies did Billy Wilder make where he referenced other Billy Wilder
movies?"
I tried that.
It wont help you.
Feel free to post any responses or questions in the Comments section.

As when we used to play "This Week's Game", I will offer a prize for the winner(s), not that I expect there to be any:
The same thing Jackie Gleason, on his variety show, as Stanley R. Sogg, the commercial pitchman on the Late, Late, Late, Late, Late, Late, Late Show, used to offer to his audience:
As he put it,
"......and last but not least, a three-pound wedge of Fatchamarra's Matzaroni Cheese."
But there's no shipping.
You'll have to come to Chicago to pick it up.
And you have to say, out loud, and with expression, "I want my cheese!"

If I stump you all, I am re-claiming Everest.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 28, 2015

A Shout-Out To Mountain View, California.

I have this thing at my disposal called a Stat Counter.
It tells me all about my readership on the blog.
How many hits I'm getting per day, per week, where the hits are coming from, how long the reader is lingering on the article, and which article and/or articles they are lingering on.
Now, this isn't an exact science.
There is no accounting for what happens if the reader has a page of the website on, neglects it, and then goes back to it.
There is no way to actually determine how long an individual is actually lingering religiously on the blog.
But an interesting and unprecedented thing has happened.
There is this one reader, or perhaps one family, or two readers, or whatever, hailing from at or around Mountain View, California.
This is apparently near Salinas California.
And he or she or they are constant readers of the blog.
By constant, I mean hours at a time.
And this has been going on for at least several months.
Now don't get me wrong.
I don't feel like I'm being stalked.
I find it all very flattering.
Articles are constantly being read and re-read.
There are certain books that I have found to be consistently re-readable.
"Yes, I Can", Sammy Davis's autobiography, was one.
My sister and I would constantly read passages out loud to each other from "Yes I Can".
And it was very quotable.
The same thing pertains to Philip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint"
I'm pleased to think that there are people out there who find my stuff re-readable.
But there is a point to my bringing all this.
You citizens of the Mountain View environs, how many of you that this applies to, are missing out on something.
You don't have to continually re-read things you've already read.
My e-books at the Amazon Kindle Store each contain roughly 500 pages each of articles that haven't been on the blog in quite some time.
"Show Runner"
"Show Runner Two, the sequel"
"The Man Is Dead"
and
"Report Cards" (This last one is closer to 300 pages.)
And I'm guessing that you haven't read any of them.
Just go there and type in my name
Now, I don't want anyone to think that this is just shameless pluggery on my part.
With the Kindle Books, Amazon makes most of the money anyway.
I only receive a mere pittance.
I'm simply trying to reward my Mountain View readership for their loyalty.
And I would like to hear from you personally.
Here is my e-mail address: macchus999@aol.com
Come in, Mountain View!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 24, 2015

For Daily Use.

Lately, it has been more and more difficult for me to filter out commercials from my Tivo.
This is because I have been doing a lot more multi-tasking while having the TV on.
I'm not usually watching it.
I'm listening to it.
So I hear the commercials.
One that has gotten my attention is the one for Cialis.
Cialis is one of them boner pills.
I don't know if it's any better than any of them other boner pills on the market.
I don't have the need to indulge in the product in general.
But according to where I find these commercials, I seem to be the target audience.
In the Cialis commercials, it is repeatedly referred to as "Cialis, for daily use".
I think they are trying to create a catchphrase, and I think it's working.
This has all caused me to do some ruminating.
When my sister and I were kids, and we shared a private language.
One of the expressions that my sister created was "For days!"
Or, as she pronounced it, ""Fiddays!"
As in "How long did you have to stay at that wedding?"
"Fiddays!"
After one recent viewing, or listening, to the Cialis commercial, it occurred to me that my sister might have also been exposed
to it.
This led to me wondering if she remembered having added "Fiddays!" to the lexicon.
And if she had, whether it caused her to respond to the TV screen, "Cialis, Fiddaily Use!!
Or, at least, ""Cialis, Fiddays!!"
This prompted me to call her, and get to the bottom of all of this.
She had not seen the commercial.
She did, in fact, remember "Fiddays!!"
And she immediately saw the wisdom of matching the two together.
There was some debate as to whether it was funnier to say "Cialis, fiddaily use!!", or Cialis, fiddays!!"
It was a tossup.
She has now seen the commercial for the umpteenth time, and now, without exception, says, after the announcer says "Cialis..."
out loud, and with expression, "Fiddays!!", or upon occasion "Fiddaily use!!.
I have repeatedly mentioned that I consider my sister perhaps THE funniest person in the world.
Perhaps she is an acquired taste.
In any case, I must admit that I am not without influence.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 21, 2015

Last But Not Least....

The big Kahuna of all Battle-Axes---(drum roll, please...) Ethel Merman!
Mainly known as the great Broadway Musical Star that she was, she also made some indelible forays into battle-axedom.
Ethel never had much of a movie career.
The moguls deemed her too big for the movie screen.
They were wrong.
Whenever she made a movie, she was glorious in it.
Her approach to acting: When she was standing in the wings, waiting to go on for one of her opening nights, she was asked if she was nervous.
She replied "What do I have to be nervous about?? I know my lines!!"
She played a great battle-axe as Donald O'Connor's mother in "There's No Business Like Show Business", when he came home drunk one night, and she submerged his head under the a bathroom sink filled with water, almost killing him in the process.
She was the first Mama Rose in "Gypsy", and from all indications, played it totally one-dimensionally battle-axe.
Those who succeeded her in the role, some of whom I saw, Bernadette Peters, Tyne Daly, Patti Lupone, Angela Lansbury, Rosalind Russell, each added subtle three dimensional shadings.
None were battle-axes.
Ethel was.
But her Coup de Grace was her role in Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".
She played Milton Berle's hen-pecking mother-in-law.
To a fare-thee well.
No matter who else was in the picture, she hen-pecked them.
She was as funny as anyone could imagine, and was alone, worth the price of admission.
Until Ethel came along in that movie, there was a mold that needed breaking and she took it upon herself to break it.
She stands alone.

Okay. I'm done with this topic.
I'll bet some of you thought I'd never get here.
Perhaps it was a bit self-indulgent.
Perhaps I have been playing to the band.
But it amused me, and that has become the main reason I write this blog.
From the beginning of this series, I asked you to not offer any suggestions of those I have left out until the last entry.
Well, this is it.
If you feel that there is anyone I have egregiously left out, now is the time to make yourself heard in the comments section.
I hope to hear from 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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 17, 2015

Mopping Up With The Battle-Axes.

We're almost home.
This is the next-to last Battle-Axe entry.
It consists primarily of those who would be considered Honorable Mentions.

Elvia Allman: Primarily remembered as Lucy and Ethel's supervisor when they worked on the chocolate candy conveyor belt line.
Elvia was the one who called out "Speed it up a little!!.
She played Oscar's mother on an episode of "The Odd Couple", and she was nobody to mess around with, in character, and in life.

Reta Shaw: Leant her formidable presence to many hard-edged women roles.
She was a regular on Mr. Peepers, and played an Army Sergeant style maid on the Odd Couple.

Doris Packer: Mostly known as Chatsworth Osborne's mother on "Dobie Gillis"---Nasty, nasty boy!!"

Hattie McDaniel: Won an Oscar as the battle-axe 'Mammy" in "Gone With The Wind"
She excelled.
There were three actresses who played "Beulah" on the TV series.
She was the only one who played the role as a battle-axe.

Roseanne: I don't think she'd object to the label.

Patsy Kelly: Hilariously unfeminine. Teamed with Thelma Todd, who was hilariously feminine, in many comedy shorts in the early 1930's.

Jo Van Fleet: Great actress. Best known as James Dean's mother, who he didn't know he had, in "East of Eden".
Always a formidable, threatening presence.

We'll wrap up the entire series next time, much to the relief of many, I'm guessing, with a tribute to the all-time Battle-Axe Queen.
After that, I will welcome your comments if there are any battle-axes that you don't think I gave their proper due.

'Til then.....

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 14, 2015

Some Of Your More Benign Battle-Axes.

These were actresses who were never really laff-riots, but definitely, consistently, played women you didn't want to mess with.

Maudie Prickett: Usually played spinsters. Had a recurring role as Jack Benny's secretary.
Jack seemed to have a penchant for finding battle-axes to play off of.

Nora Marlowe, Connie Gilchrist: Usually played charwomen with hearts of gold.
Connie's was a lot more gold than Nora's.

Audrey Christie: Henpecked her way through "Fair Exchange", where Eddie Foy Jr. was the victim.
She was also Billy Bigelow's nemesis and owner of the Carousel in the movie of the same name.
You always had the impression that she had the hots for Billy.

Nancy Kulp: Scored big on two Paul Henning series, "The Bob Cummings Show"e where she played bird-watcher Pamela Livingstone, pronouncd "stone", who continually lusted after Bob, to no avail.
Then, she became Mr. Drysdale's right-hand "man", where she spent the entire series lusting after Jethro, again, to no avail.
But she was totally hilarious.

Conchatta Ferrell: If but nothing but "Two and a Half Men", she belongs here.

Florence Stanley: Played Fish's wife opposite Abe Vigoda. Also replaced Bea Arthur as Yente the Matchmaker in Fiddler.

Kay Medford: Great, funny character actress. One strange piece of casting: She showed up as Andy Griffith's wife in Kazan's
""A Face in the Crowd". She must have been twenty years older than him. This might be explained by Kazan's original pursuit of Jackie Gleason for Griffith's part, then realized that he had to go younger.
And that he simply had to fire Kay Medford, but didn't.

Eileen Brennan: Except for "Private Benjamin", I always considered her to be a musical comedy performer.
But she earned her "stripes" with Private Benjamin".

Elsa Lanchester: Earned her place in battle-axe history by playing "The Bride of Frankenstein", and Charles Laughton's nurse in
"Witness For The Prosecution", where I think Laughton actually referred to her as a battle-axe.

Marcia Lewis: Another one of those actresses who played Mama Morton, the prison matron in "Chicago"
I allways found her to be a little sweeter than the usual battle axe.

Doris Singleton: A very attractive woman, who appeared in everything, and henpecked everyone.
Perhaps best known as Carolyn Applebee, who Lucy was always trying to impress.
It always helped Lucy to have a bitchier actress on stage than she was.

Next time, more shtarker actresses, leading up to the grand dame of them all.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 10, 2015

THE Funniest Battle-Axes. Part Two.

More great, great, hilarious battle-axes:

Verna Felton: Best known as easily the funniest performer on the sitcom "December Bride" as Hilda Crocker, Spring Byington's best friend. EVERYBODY played straight to her, as she delivered sledgehammer punch-lines that never missed.
She also scored big as Dennis Day's mother on "The Jack Benny Show".
It was an inspiration to have someone play Dennis Day's mother.
And casting Verna Felton to play her was a bigger inspiration.

Beatrice Pons: Utterly hilarious as Joe E. Ross's hatchet-faced wife on both ""Sergeant Bilko" and "Car 54, Where Are You?"
I had never seen her in anything else before or since, but lately she has shown up in the original "Goldbergs" series, where she played straight to Gertrude Berg.
Gertrude Berg seemed to decree that no other actress get laughs besides Gertrude Berg.

Amanda Randolph: Absolutely owned the stage as Danny Thomas's maid, Louise, on "Make Room For Daddy".
Same deal as Kingfish's mother-in-law on "Amos 'n Andy.
A major hoot.

Nancy Walker: A great Battle-axe before she was ever Rhoda's mother.
Usually on Broadway. She was a great physical comedienne.

Honorable Mention: Frances Langford. She carved a major battle-axe niche for herself as Blanche Bickerson on "The Bickersons"
Only problem was that they very rarely gave her the punch-lines.
Don Ameche got all the punch-lines.
So Langford did all the straight set-ups.
It became one-note, and repetitious.
I don't know where the blame lies.
But the show itself was extremely funny.

Next time, more benign battle-axes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 7, 2015

THE Funniest Battle-Axes.

Last time, when I discussed the movie "Caged", I neglected to mention that it was a relentlessly grim movie.
The seven, count 'em, seven battle-axes in "Caged" were not the type that you would hire because of their comedic abilities.
They were, in general, menacing, scary women.
As they should be.
This week, I'm going to talk about women who would have been totally miscast in "Caged"
Because they were all hilarious.
And all one-dimensionally funny.
Their mere presence would make you laugh.
They'd at least make ME laugh.
As soon as they'd show up.

The first time I saw Iris Adrian show up was in the very first episode of "The Abbott and Costello" TV show.
Right off the top.
Bud and Lou emerged from their brownstone apartment building, and stopped on the landing.
Iris Adrian came storming up the stairs, took one look at Costello, and, wlelding her folded umbrella, bellowed in her shrill voice,
"How dare you remind me of somebody I hate!!", and clopped him over the head with her umbrella.
And we were off to the races.
She made an impression.
She graduated to the Jack Benny Show, where she played a succession of waitresses, manicurists, secretaries, and as a last resort, Jack's date for the evening.
When Barbara Nichols was busy.
Benny knew he was slumming.
Whatever job she held, she could be counted on saying to him "Hiya, Mac!, to which Benny would respond "That's JACK!!"
She showed up to audition for me, and, delighted to see that she was still alive, put her to work in three different series.
Her work in "The Ted Knight Show" was exemplary.
The main reason I started this series was that a friend of mine sent me a DVD that contained a hilarious episode of "My Friend Irma". Iris Adrian had a major role in it.
On the same DVD was an episode of the series "Angel"
It was uproarious.
Primarily because because of that hilarious battle-axe, Bella Bruck.
Bella Bruck can best be described as Doris Roberts if Doris Roberts was funny.
There is no room here for Doris Roberts.
Doris Roberts was way too three dimensional.
She always wanted you to feel sorry for her.
I didn't. Ever.
We used Bella Bruck three times on "The Odd Couple"
Once, as Oscar's extremely slow secretary.
She consistently made Jack Klugman laugh during rehearsals.
It was always the highlight of our yearly gag reels at the rap party.
Bella Bruck would have been a much better version of Raymond's mother.

Estelle Harris: George Costanzas mother. 'Nuff said.

Honorable mention; Clara Peller---"Where's the Beef??"

There are more hilarious battle-axes that I will address 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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, April 2, 2015

THE Great Battle-Axe Movie.

1950.
A movie came out called "Caged".
It contained at least seven, count 'em, seven battle-axes.
Figures.
It took place in a women's prison.
Sort of an "expose" on life in a women's prison.
There were even some whom you ordinarily wouldn't think of as battle-axes:
Ellen Corby, better known as Ma Walton in that series.
Jane Darwell, better known as Ma Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath".
Both got to show their fangs in "Caged".
Lee Patrick, known to many as Henrietta Topper, Cosmo's wife in that wonderful series "Topper".
But that was an excursion for her.
She usually played hard-boiled dames, like Bogart's secretary in "The Maltese Falcon".
And like in "Caged".
Then you had your usual gang of traditional battle-axes:

Agnes Moorehead, as the Warden.
Hope Emerson, that six foot four inch monster of a "woman", who was the chief enforcer of prison policy.
She was also well remembered for her appearance in "Adam's Rib", where in a show of women's equality, she lifted Spencer Tracy over her head with one hand, by his one heel.
She went on to play "Mother" in Peter Gunn", in a desperate attempt to make that show interesting.
I think she died during the run, and was replaced by the afore-mentioned Minerva Urecal.
The afore-mentioned-Betty Garde, very scary, was also in "Caged"
Jan Sterling battle-axed her way through "Caged".
Maybe you didn't consider Jan Sterling to be a battle-axe.
I call your attention to Billy Wilder's great "Ace In The Hole", where, as the wife of a miner stuck in a cave-in, she was ready to drop her drawers for Kirk Douglas, who was there to revive his career as a big-shot reporter.
There was also an episode of "Naked City" where she badgered her small-time ex-con husband, Jack Klugman, to kidnap a little girl, and then to try to force him to kill the child when things didn't pan out well.
That's battle-axe enough for me.
"Caged" is pretty impressive.
Seven battle-axes, seven.
In one movie.
Ya can't beat it.
I don't want to scare you or anything, but we're not nearly done with the subject matter.
If you're completely sick of it, you might want to come back in about three weeks.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 31, 2015

The "Annie" Battle-Axes.

Since my last post, I had a major head-smacking moment.
I'd said that I thought I was done with "Battle-axes from Broadway".
I forgot about Miss Hannigan.
The Queen of the Battle-Axes.
"Annie" has probably provided us with more battle-axes per capita than any other show, considering all the productions and road companies there have been.
I know this because I asked my Siri "Who were all the actresses who played Miss Hannigan?
It directed me to a website called abouttheartists.com.
It had a section devoted totally to Miss Hannigan.
Every replacement, every road company, even every community theater production.
It's a fairly new website, so it's still incomplete.
But it's thorough.
Dorothy Loudon originated the role, and I never previously thought of her as a battle-axe.
But it turns out that she sort of WAS one in real life.
At least to the extent that she hated kids.
Hated being around them, hated sharing the stage with them.
So she has earned her wings.
Here are some of the better-known Miss Hannigan battle-axes that show up on the website:
Jane Lynch--who better?
Ruth Kobart---won a Tony for playing David Burns' hen-pecking wife in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum".
Born for the role.
Sally Struthers---really wasn't one on TV, but I've heard stories.
Wanda Sykes---Boy, I would have loved to see that.
Nell Carter---I once sat at the next table from her at a restaurant in Atlantic City.
She had one of the hugest meals I'd ever seen sitting in front of her.
And she must have been pushing four hundred pounds at that point.
She downed every bite.
I was afraid that she was going to reach over and grab some of MY food.
I started guarding it very closely.
She was impressive, but I thought "At this pace, maybe she's got about six months left".
To quote Colonel Hall about Private Doberman, "he's got to be about three hundred calories away from exploding".
Nell Carter died about eight months later.
I guess you could say she beat the spread.
JoAnne Worley---right on the money.
Kathleen Freeman---one of my all-time favorites. I'll bet she was great.
I worked with her once, and have a great story to share with you about her.
But that's for another time.
So, to sum up, "Annie" is the Broadway Battle-Axe Champeen.
Next time, filmdom's all-time Battle-Axe movie.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 27, 2015

The "Fiddler" Battle-Axes.

"Fiddler on the Roof" certainly had it's share of battle-axes.
At least three per performance.
Tevye's wife Golde, and Yente the Matchmaker are two of them.
Maria Karnilova, the original Golde, certainly seemed like a battle-axe.
My father was Zero Mostel''s limo driver during his entire run in "Fiddler".
According to Zero, Karnilova was THE battle-axe.
Yente was played by Bea Arthur, certainly no less formidable in the battle-axe world.
Word was, that as "Fiddler" was previewing, on it's way to Broadway, Bea's part got more and more cut down.
And she never stopped complaining about it.
I'm guessing that cutting down Bea's part was probably a good thing.
A little of her always went a long way.
Witness "Maude", where she had w-a-a-a-y too much to do, and "The Golden Girls", where she was only needed to slam home the punch-lines, which she did with aplomb.
In the Dream Sequence, there is the character of Frumah-Sarah, Lazar Wolf's late wife.
One song, which she bellows, Ethel Merman style.
Three battle-axes, in one show. My God, Jewish men were hen-pecked.
An entire entry will be devoted to Ethel Merman, who brought the battle-axe to new heights, or depths, according to your attitude on the subject.
And, once again, as Golde, we had Andrea Martin.
'Nuff said.
And, as Golde, we had Rosie O'Donnell.
Once again, 'nuff said.
As far as battle-axes go, "Fiddler on the Roof" was replete.
We are far from done, but I think the rest of them are not featured specifically in any Broadway show.
What they are, are some of my all-time favorites.
And a few are why I decided to go on this trek to begin with.
'Til next time.....

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

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 24, 2015

The "Oklahoma" Battle-Axes.

The 1943 Broadway musical "Oklahoma!" begins with the curtain going up revealing an old woman sitting on a stool, churning butter.
In 1943, this was considered revolutionary.
Before "Oklahoma!", virtually every Broadway musical began with the curtain going up revealing a group of singing and dancing chorus girls.
Not "Oklahoma!".
An old woman, sitting on a stool, churning butter.
Then a young cowboy ambles onstage and sings "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'"
To the old woman, sitting on the stool, churning butter.
The simplicity of this overwhelmed it's 1943 audience.
The old woman was named Aunt Eller.
She was "Oklahoma!"'s battle-axe.
The first Aunt Eller was an actress named Betty Garde.
Betty Garde was a formidable figure.
She was nobody to be messed with.
I was way too young to see Betty Garde as Aunt Eller.
But I know that she was nobody to be messed with.
Because I remember her in a memorable episode of "The Honeymooners", in which the Kramdens hired a maid, because Ralph got laid off from the bus company, and Alice got a job, leaving Ralph unable to handle the housework.
That maid was played by Betty Garde.
Ralph Kramden decided to mess with her by requiring her to respond to any of his requests with "Very good,sir".
He never got his "Very good sir".
All he got from Betty was "O-kay", which made Ralph fume.
It was priceless.
The battle-axe who played Aunt Eller in the movie of 'Oklahoma!" was Charlotte Greenwood, who was quite charming in "Oklahoma!"
She was noted as a singer and dancer.
Particularly for her high kicks.
Where she was really a great battle-axe was in the 1943 movie "The Gang's All Here", where she played the hen-pecking wife of Edward Everett Horton, who was not at all resistant to the wiles of Carmen Miranda.
The scenes the three of them had were a major hoot.
She was also a great battle-axe Juno, in the Broadway musical "Out of This World", where all the characters were Greek Gods and Goddesses.
This made her the only battle-axe Goddess on record.
Andrea Martin played the same role in the City Center revival.
The 1979 Broadway revival of "Oklahoma! had Mary Wickes play Aunt Eller.
Mary Wickes.
Tons of battle-axe credits.
Nurse Preen in the play and movie of "The Man Who Came To Dinner".
Miss Cathcart on the "Dennis the Menace" TV series.
Liz, Danny Thomas's press agent on "Make Room For Daddy".
Tons of credits.
All battle-axes.
She kind of phoned it in with "Oklahoma!"
At least the night I saw it.
She was also the "Meet Me In St. Louis" battle-axe.
Not the movie or the stage show.
In life.
Years ago, I was changing planes at the St.Louis airport, on my way to Los Angeles.
I get to my gate,and immediately spot Mary Wickes sitting across from me, also waiting to get on the plane.
I immediately approach her and introduce myself, knowing her name, and using it, "Mary Wickes!!", complimenting her on her career profusely.
She looked up at me and literally, derisively, replied "Hhmmpphh!!!!
I didn't brandish myself for invading her privacy.
I simply regarded her as a major battle-axe, and actually far worse.

Andrea Martin also played Aunt Eller on Broadway.
I told you that you haven't heard the last of her.


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

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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 20, 2015

The "Pippin" Battle-Axes.

The Broadway musical "Pippin" has had several major productions.
It is primarily a show geared for young people.
But, pretty much for demographics sake, the creative team added one old crone, a character named Berthe, to fill out the cast.
You might call her a battle-axe.
She has the best song in the show.
An upbeat sing-along called "Oh, it's time to start livin'".
It regularly brings down the house.
The first house-bringer-downer was in the original production, Irene Ryan, better known as the noted battle-axe "Granny" on
"The Beverly Hillbillies".
I saw a TV production, taped from a stage production, in which Martha Raye played Berthe.
Although Martha Raye was a great comedienne and singer, she had certainly earned her battle-axe credentials.
There was this movie that regularly aired on Million Dollar Movie in New York City called "Navy Blues", made in 1941.
In it, Jack Oakie played the hen-pecked boyfriend of Martha Raye. She was hilarious, with her enormous mouth very much in place.
Her performance probably did much to delay our entry into World War 2.
This, was ostensibly what we were fighting for.
Around the same time, she co-starred opposite Bob Hope in several movies, in which she lusted after him, while he was out chasing somebody like Dorothy Lamour.
No "Thanks For The Memory" there.
As Berthe, she sang her number probably better than anyone else ever did.
In a much more recent production, Andrea Martin played Berthe.
Andrea Martin was probably best know for her long stint as a regular on SCTV, where she played many hilarious characters, and actually invented the first satire of a battle-axe, with the creation of Edith Prickley, the eternally leopard-skin outfitted
shrew who was the station manager.
As she got older, she grew into almost exclusive Broadway-type battle-axe roles.
We have not heard the last of Andrea Martin.
More will be heard about Ms. Martin as we continue.
'Til next time.....

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

My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 17, 2015

The "ShowBoat" Battle-Axes.

There are a handful of Broadway Musicals that require the producer to go out and hire a battle-axe.
She can have a husband, in which case her function is to be the hen that pecks him.
Such is the case with Parthy Hawks, wife of Cap'n Andy Hawks, in "Showboat".
The tradition started back in 1927, with the original Broadway cast.
Parthy was played by Edna May Oliver.
She was a wonderful character actress who resembled Margaret Hamilton, but was not as nice looking.
She had a hatchet-face.
She was a child-frightener.
Someone once asked her if she had ever sung.
She replied "With a face like mine, who's going to ask me to sing??!!"
Thus, Parthy had no songs in "ShowBoat"
The thing about battle-axes is that they almost always know why they were hired.
Edna May was asked to re-hone her face for the mid-1930s Broadway revival of "Showboat".
The first movie version in 1936 had someone playing Parthy who I can't remember, and was never famous.
But in the remake, in 1951, Parthy was Agnes Moorhead.
This was a role that was right in her wheelhouse.
From her very first appearance in film, in "Citizen Kane", as young Charles Foster Kane's mother, who gives her son away to tycoons who raise him, over the very meek objections of her husband (the beginning of her hen-pecking career), she was a battle-axe, but she very shrewdly underplayed it, to devastating effect.
It wasn't until later on that she became the first campy battle-axe as Endora in the "Bewitched" TV series.
Not that long ago, in a Broadway production that I saw, Harold Prince hired Elaine Stritch to play Parthy.
For the first and perhaps only time, Parthy was given a song.
They put a little baby in her lap, and had her sing "Why Do I Love You?" to it.
I don't know whose idea it was, but it was very effective.
Stritch, a well-known battle-axe in real-life, perhaps had to be coaxed into playing the role, lest the Broadway crowd start saying "Well, there's Elaine in real life".
So maybe the conversation went something like:
Stritch: Hal, I ain't playin' no friggin' battle-axe.
Prince: But Elaine, everyone thinks you are one anyway!
Stritch: So let 'em! I ain't playin' her!
Prince: Well...how about this? We give you a friggin' baby. And you sing to it. And they'll love you for it.
At least they won't think you're SUCH a battle-axe!
Stritch:....I'm in.

Then, as she grew more and more comfortable wearing the mink stole of battle-axedom, she enlisted to play Alec Baldwin's total battle-axe mother on "30 Rock".
I'm given to understand that even Baldwin was afraid of her.

Next time, more Battle-Axes of Broadway.

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

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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 13, 2015

Back To Battle-Axes.

We will center on two battle-axes today.
Their careers barely overlapped, as one was much older than the other, and died much sooner.
But the parts they played were so similar in nature that it has been confusing to determine who played which part in which movie.
One in particular was "Tugboat Annie".
I had a devil of a time trying to determine whether it was Marie Dressler or Marjorie Main.
And I felt ashamed having to look it up.
But, shame or not, I did.
It was Marie Dressler.
It was made the year before she died.
If it was a year later, they could have slipped Marjorie Main right in there, and very few people would have noticed the difference.
That's how similar they were.
Marie Dressler was best known for appearing opposite Wallace Beery in films where she'd clop him over the head with a rolling pin.
According to Wallace Beery's personal reputation, I'm sure that this was a role that she relished.
Marjorie Main was never as big a star as Marie Dressler.
Her biggest claim to fame, after playing a series of housekeepers and schoolteachers, was as Ma Kettle in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series of movies turned out by Universal Studios.
Hatched by a movie called "The Egg and I", Ma and Pa were big moneymakers for Universal.
These were movies with a rural background.
Ma and Pa Kettle were farmers, and were such big hits in "The Egg and I", that they were spun off.
In the late fifties, there was a TV version of "Tugboat Annie".
The title role was played by an actress named Minerva Urecal.
Here's the irony: Minerva Urecal was a dead ringer for Marjorie Main, who, as recently noted, did NOT play "Tugboat Annie".
That was Marie Dressler.
We have not heard the last of Minerva Urecal, who was a major battle-axe unto herself.
Her name will re-appear in at least one more subsequent article.
But they were all major additions to the comedy landscape, and we are lucky that they all graced our presence.

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

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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, March 10, 2015

Doctor Rothman, The Play Doctor.

I'm aware that many of you were expecting more battle-axes today, and perhaps there will be disappointment that there won't be.
I'm sure that THEY will be miffed, considering that they are battle-axes and all.
We will most-likely return to them on our next outing.
That oughta' shut 'em up.
But something more pressing time-wise has come up, and I need to address it.
Chicago has become somewhat of a Broadway tryout town.
As they charge full Broadway prices, I feel like I have every right to review "The First Wives Club---The Musical", which I saw last Saturday.
This is for the creative forces in charge of this incoming musical, who still have time to do something about it.
I am going to try to approach this surgically.
So I get to take out the scalpel.
This is generally a very entertaining show, along the lines of "9 to 5---the Musical", and Menopause--the Musical".
The second act "The First Wives Club" is very clever, funny, zips along, and has very good songs.
The whole show should be that way.
The problem is the first act.
It is leaden, predictable, and doesn't set up the premise quickly enough.
These are virtually two separate shows.
We all know, based on having seen the movie on which it was based on, that a First Wives Club will be established, to exact revenge on the husbands who divorced them.
Yet the establishment of the First Wives Club is the revelation of the first act, and how it ends it.
Everybody knows it's coming.
It's got to come sooner, with perhaps one of the three wives not being faced with getting divorced yet.
The other two women consider her a vital cog in getting the plan to work, and perhaps their misgivings about her marital status can be played to comic effect.
Then, when her husband serves her with papers, you have a legitimate act break, as she climbs on board.
The first act is way too top-heavy.
It's a two-hour and forty minute show, and all the length is in the first act.
Specifically the three soliloquies that each of the women have after being dumped.
They are all of the "Woe is me, my man dumped me" variety.
And they are all dreary.
They should have been more on the lines of comic songs like "Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iggins, Just You Wait".
This is a musical comedy, and should never stray from that.
But they were just dirge-like, and commented after the fact on something we had just seen.
That's where the time should come out.
Eliminate those three songs.
One for each of the principals.
It's very democratic.
There are plenty of songs left over.
Keep it light.
And move up the Act Break.
Let the first successful, funny "sting" happen.
Formulate that as the Act Break.
This show has every chance of being successful, whether my advice is taken or not.
Hell, the New York Times critic just moronically took a crap on Larry David's new play, so what the hell do they know?
I know that they don't know how to make an incoming show any better than it is.
That's why I've hung up my shingle.

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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Friday, March 6, 2015

I Miss The Battle-Axes. Part One.

According to the Wikipedia Dictionary:

A "battle-axe" is a term, generally considered pejorative, for an aggressive, domineering and forceful woman.
The prime example was the militant temperance activist Carrie Nation, who wielded a hatchet and made it her symbol, living in Hatchet Hall and publishing a magazine called The Hatchet.
She became involved in the suffragette campaign for votes for women and this campaign further established the archetype.

Synonyms, according to the Thesaurus: Hag, Harridan, Old Bag, Biddy, Fishwife, Harpy, Shrew, Crone, Beldam....
That pretty much covers it.

The "Battle-Axe" has pretty much been a staple of movies and television since the beginning of talkies.
They have been exclusively female.
I can't, for the life of me, think of a male battle-axe.
Battle-axes have become a dying breed.
Almost extinct.
Perhaps they have become politically incorrect.
God, I hope not.
They have been God's gift to comedy.
When Carol Ann Susi, who provided the unseen voice of Mrs. Wolowitz on "The Big Bang Theory", recently passed away, and Chuck Lorre killed off the character, it may have marked the death-knell of the battle-axe as we know it.
I loved Mrs. Wolowitz.
Just as I loved every battle-axe who preceded her.
This series of articles will be an extended traipsing down Battle-Axe Memory Lane.
I'd like to ask you to please refrain from posting suggestions of anyone I've left out until I announce that the series of articles has ended.
Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

Where to begin? Chronologically, I guess.
The earliest notable example of a battle-axe in the movies that I can recall is Mae Busch.
Mae Busch was probably most popularized as the punch-line for Jackie Gleason's character, Stanley R. Sogg, the pitchman for the Late, Late, Late, Late Late, Late, Late Show.
As it went to "commercial break", Gleason would say something like "We'll return to our film, the classic "Hello,Annapolis",
starring Dick Foran, Larry Parks, Thurston Hall, El Brendel, and the ever-popular Mae Busch".
"The ever-popular Mae Busch" always got a huge laugh.
Then Gleason would go into a litany of pitches for various products, invariably ending with "For each order you place, you will receive, at no extra charge, a three pound wedge of Fatchamarra's Matzaroni Cheese".
If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Johnny Carson directly stole this routine, almost verbatim, when he did Art Fern, the host of the "Tea-Time Movie".
Gleason even had the equivalent of the Matinee Lady.
Except I think he had like three or four of them at once.
Mae Busch specialized in being the battle-axe wife of Oliver Hardy, her hen-pecked husband, in the Laurel and Hardy movies.
Most notably "Sons of the Desert".
She was the hen who did the pecking.
After being particularly miffed at him, for good reason, she would hurl crockery at him that smashed all around him.
She'd hit him over the head with a rolling pin.
Hardy was never injured by any of this, which is what made it palatable.
And hilarious.
There was absolutely nothing soft or sensitive about Mae Busch.
That's what made it work. Big time.

Even before she was the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton played hatched-faced, battle-axe schoolteachers, housekeepers, telephone operators, and secretaries, playing the foil to W.C.Fields on a couple of occasions.
Her battle-axe status was so ingrained that, in the late seventies, when I saw the L.A. company of Sondheim's "A Little Night Music", and Hamilton appeared in the role created by Hermione Gingold, it was an utter travesty.
Hermione Gingold may have been many things, but she was never a battle-axe
Could you imagine Hamilton and Maurice Chevalier singing the duet "I Remember It Well" from "Gigi"?
Neither could I.
And that was the equivalent of what I saw when she was in "A Little Night Music".
But boy, when she played the hatchet-faced battle-axe everywhere else, she was in a class by herself.
She was virtually untouched.
And she did it in scores and scores of movies.
We have many more battle-axes to discuss as we proceed.
Again, please no suggestions until I finish the entire series.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Report Card---"A Most Violent Year"

The first sign of spring: This is the last Report Card of the winter season.
'A Most Violent Year" was the last DVD that I watched from the slew that were sent me.
It came out too late to be considered for this past season's awards.
If anything, they're aiming for next season's.
The Year in question is 1981.
Everyone had big cars.
It is similar in tone to the great Scorcese and Coppola gangster films: Goodfellows, The Sopranos, On The Waterfront, the Godfather...
It is an intelligently made and played story about big-time corruption in the oil heating business in the 1980's.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Very.
A.

Compelling even?

Occasionally.
A.

Is it controversial?

It's a morality play, with the lead character having to make controversial decisions.
B.

Is it a story worth telling?

Very much so.
A.

Is it good storytelling?

Very.
A.

Is it well written?

Very.
A.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Yes on all counts. Albert Brooks, looking considerably older, is very good in a supporting part.
A.

Well shot?

Extremely.
A+.

Is it too long? Too short?

Just right.
A.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, and very much.
A.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

There are surprises at the end.
A.

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

There are haunting images.
A.

Is it funny?

Not really. Albert Brooks being there and not getting laughs underscores that.
C.

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

I wouldn't feel the need, but then, I'm cheap.
B-.

Is it impressive?

Very.
A.

Overall grade: A.

Movies like this should definitely keep being made.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****

Friday, February 27, 2015

Report Card---Love Is Strange"

I stated, before I began my Oscar picks, that I still had a couple of Report Cards to attend to.
This is one of them.
It went under everyone's radar.
It wasn't nominated for anything.
Nor did it deserve to be.
Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone involved in it's production would have enough confidence and pride in it to even send out DVD screeners for it.

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are two homosexuals who are married to each other.
Their marriage has caused legal problems that has cost one of them his job.
This is all established in the first fifteen minutes.
You'd think that the rest of the movie would be devoted to them attempting to fighting the system, to getting the job back.
It isn't.
The rest of the movie is about nothing.
Just mutual consolation.
This is what is known in movies as a "character study".
It can also be referred to as "contemplating one's navel".

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Only in the first fifteen minutes.
C-.

Compelling even?

Never.
F.

Is it controversial?

It has the potential to be, but it isn't.
F.

Is it a story worth telling?

There really wasn't one.
F.

Is it good storytelling?

A "character study" means that there were characters worth studying. They weren't.
F.

Is it well written?

The dialogue was fair.
B.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Lithgow and Molina are wonderful actors. This one really tested their craft.
Within the limitations of the script, they were fine.
B+.

Well shot?

Nothing fancy.
B.

Is it too long? Too short?

The time didn't just fly by.
D.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, and not a lot.
C.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I really kind of thought that something was going to happen. I was surprised when nothing did.
D.

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

Very little thinking was involved at all.
F.

Is it funny?

No. A little light relief might have helped.
F.

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

No bucks.
F.

Is it impressive?

No impressiveness.
F.

Overall grade: C-.

It was a shame to see talent like this wasted like that.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why "Birdman" Didn't Deserve It's Oscars---Spoiler Alert!!

When I did my Report Card on "Birdman", I did not reveal the story hole at the end of the film, because of a potential "spoiler alert".
Now, everybody and their mothers are doing spoiler alerts.
After all the spoiler alerts on the Oscar telecast, my feeling is that the gloves are off.
But at least I'm telling you about it up front.
So if you don't want to know what the spoiler alert is, stop reading now.
Otherwise, continue.
I think it's worth it.

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

A film, as fantasy oriented as it is, must adhere to it's own reality.

Keaton wants his play to succeed.

You can't do a one-eighty and have him not care whether his play succeeds or not.

That would be a violation of it's own reality, no matter how much he flies around as a version of Superman.

That can be dismissed as a figment of Keaton's imagination.

The audience is led to believe that, out of despair, Keaton is going to kill himself onstage on Opening Night.

But he has other plans to save the show.

The play that Keaton is starring in gets great reviews, and is going to have a sustaining run for only one reason:

Keaton actually daringly shoots his nose off. Intentionally.

That's the happy ending.

Everyone, including Keaton, is thrilled that they have a hit play.

My question is "What do they do from the second night on?"

It's never addressed.

How is it going to have a sustainable run?

Keep sending Keaton out there on stage to have him keep shooting his nose off?

It's already gone.

He has no nose.

Do you have his understudy go on and shoot HIS own nose off? If he's willing?

Okay. Then what do you do the third night?

Do you just keep rounding up actors to take over the role for one night each?

Including two matinees?

That would be my solution.

Have the question addressed, have someone else remark that "We're getting calls from agents from both coasts, representing actors who would LOVE to step in for one night to shoot their own noses off. That's how desperate actors are for the work. And for the attention."

This may seem pretty far-fetched, but at least it addresses the problem.

And it would have made me laugh.

Getting the award for Best Screenplay was an abomination.
But it was otherwise a pretty good movie.
At least it didn't get nosed out by "Boyhood"
And Michael Keaton got robbed.
"The Imitation Game" was a perfect movie.
Or 'Whiplash".
They had no holes of any kind.
They were about something meaningful.
Either should have won.
A Best Picture should not have such a major story hole.
I don't think there ever was one before this that 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".
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, February 20, 2015

Rothman's Picks For The Oscars. Part Four.

Okay.
Best Picture.

· “American Sniper”---A warmed over version of "The Hurt Locker". Didn't like that either.

· “Birdman”--Wonderful moments, but wildly inconsistent.

· “Boyhood”---I am the little boy who sees that the King is naked. Horrendous.

· “The Imitation Game”---I knew nothing about this story, and I think it helped me enjoy it tremendously.

· “The Grand Budapest Hotel”---Masterfully artful, but perhaps lacking in substance.

· “Selma"---Didn't see it, but I have a feeling that I'd react to it the way I reacted to "Lee Daniels' "The Butler", or or "Twelve Years a Slave", or whatever else Oprah turns out, striving for nobility, and perhaps futzing with the truth about LBJ.

· “The Theory of Everything”---Didn't care about Hocking's personal life. Wasn't overwhelmed by Redmayne's performance.

· “Whiplash”---I loved everything about this movie, Particularly J.K. Simmons.

To me it's a three horse race. I would vote for "The Imitation Game". There's what to be said for substance.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a very close second, mainly because of it's technique. But there is really no substance.
"Whiplash"---I just really enjoyed the hell out of it.
If any of these win, I'd be very happy.
If any of the others win, I'd be very sad.

Enjoy the show!!


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

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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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, February 19, 2015

Rothman's Picks For The Oscars. Part Three.

Best Director:

In general, one never knows what the director's true contribution is to a film, unless he also wrote it.
Bearing that in mind---

Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game- Seems well-directed. He didn't write it. God knows what to make of it.

Alejandro G. Inarritu - Birdman- DID write it. Gets the credit and the blame.

Richard Linklater - Boyhood- Wrote it, if there was in fact, writing. Gets all the blame.

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel- Doesn't matter whether or not he wrote it (he did). The directorial mastery is all over the screen.

Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher- Didn't write it. Didn't seem worth writing. The direction added nothing to it.

My choice (Surprise!): Wes Anderson.

Next time, Best Picture.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Rothman's Picks For the Oscars. Part Two.

Continuing:


Best Actor

Steve Carell - Foxcatcher---A prosthetic nose and whispering does not a performance make.

Bradley Cooper - American Sniper---Yes. The acting doesn't show. Neither does the interesting.

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game---Really good, but anyone could have played this part just as well.

Michael Keaton - Birdman---A force of nature who supercharged this inconsistent film. It's a lot harder to be great in a not-so-great movie.

Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything---This year's Daniel Day Lewis from My Left Foot. I wouldn't have voted for him either.

My choice---Michael Keaton. By far.


Best Actress

Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night---Didn't see it. Don't know who the hell she is.

Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything---Okay, I suppose.

Julianne Moore - Still Alice---Tremendously soul-baring, touching, and effective.

Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl---Nothing special.

Reese Witherspoon - Wild---Very impressive. Maybe her best work.

My choice---Julianne Moore. No contest.

Next time, Best Director.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rothman's Picks For The 2015 Oscars. Part One.

Once again, this is not a reflection of who I think will win.
It reflects who I would vote for, having Seen most of the nominated films and performances, except "Selma", and "Two Days, One Night", which were never sent to me. Most Academy voters have seen far fewer of the films than I have, so I feel that my opinion is no less worthy than anybody else's.

We'll begin with:

Best Supporting Actor.

There are really no bad nominations here.
But some are better than others.


Robert Duvall - The Judge---Your typical first-class wonderful performance from Duvall. I think he raised the level of the film by his mere presence.

Ethan Hawke - Boyhood---Very effective in a thankless part. And he certainly convinced me that he was aging.

Edward Norton- Birdman---Pretty much along for the ride.

Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher---See Edward Norton.

JK Simmons - Whiplash---Easily unsurpassed in this category.

My choice--J.K. Simmons


Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood--Rather effective. Interesting watching her age, but not an acting asset.

Laura Dern - Wild---always affecting. In a weaker field, I'd vote for her.

Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game---Didn't add all that much.

Emma Stone - Birdman--I found most of her scenes tedious.

Meryl Streep - Into the Woods---Absolutely incredible. Still the best we have.

My choice---Streep, running away.

Next time---Best Actor and Best Actress.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Report Card---"Inherent Vice"

This will only be half-a-Report Card, as my wife and I were only able to make it through the first hour of this movie.
At the precise moment, we turned to each other and said "Have you had enough? Yup."
And we turned it off.
I understand that Martin Short was in this movie.
We love Martin Short.
We didn't even make it to his scene or scenes.
This was Paul Thomas Anderson's foray into 70s film noir.
I don't think the 70s lends itself easily to film noir.
He was better off with 70s comedy, Boogie Nights"
This wasn't that.

On to the scoring:

Everything pertains to the first hour.

Is it interesting?

Never.
F.

Compelling even?

A yawner.
F.

Is it controversial?

It wasn't anything.
F.

Is it a story worth telling?

If it was, it became one in the second hour.
F.

Is it good storytelling?

It is only boring.
F.

Is it well written?

It is stultifyingly bad.
F.

Is it well cast? Well played?

It once again brings up the question "Was Joaquin Phoenix ever good in anything?"
F.

Well shot?

Everything is shot in the dark.
F.

Is it too long? Too short?

I'll never know.
F.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

I didn't believe or care about anything.
F.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I'll never know.
F.

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

Only about how Anderson got a Best Screenplay nomination.
F.

Is it funny?

It's not anything.
F.

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

Someone would have to co-sign a loan to get me to see it in the movies.
F.

Is it impressive?

I won't dignify that one.
F.

Overall grade: F.

A lot of people were fooled by this one.
This was the last Report Card before Oscar Night.
Last was certainly least.


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

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@aol.com.

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

*****



Monday, February 16, 2015

Report Card---"Nightcrawler"

"Nightcrawler" is an extremely riveting, thoroughly entertaining movie.
It is about "newsgatherers": the guys who follow crime with their cameras and mikes to get the most gruesome stories for the local TV news shows.
It depicts them as at least one step below paparazzi.
It seems accurate.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Constantly.
A+.

Compelling even?

Thoroughly.
A+.

Is it controversial?

Moral lines are constantly crossed.
It raises many issues.
A.

Is it a story worth telling?

Absolutely.
A+.

Is it good storytelling?

Great storytelling, all the way through.
A+.

Is it well written?

The dialogue is exceptional. Reminiscent of Aaron Sorkin's.
A-.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Jake Gyllenhall, buttressed by the great dialogue handed him, deserved an Oscar nomination.
A+.

Well shot?

Very.
A.

Is it too long? Too short?

Right on the money.
A+.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Considering the contempt I have for Local News, it was totally believable.
I cared about the characters whenever it was appropriate. .
A.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Not predictable, and surprising.
A.

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

There are many haunting images.
A.

Is it funny?

More clever than funny, again, like Aaron Sorkin.
A.

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

If that's the only way to see it, then yes.
A.

Is it impressive?

Extremely.
A.

Overall grade: A.

It definitely deserved its nomination for Best Original Screenplay.


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

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@aol.com.

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."