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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Second Acts.

I left New York City to live and start working in Los Angeles to work on "The Odd Couple" in 1972.
And very rarely came back, even to visit.
One thing that was always sure, when I lived there, was that I was broke.
Totally financially insolvent.
Oh, I had jobs.  Mostly jobs that required no notable skills.
That was my specialty.
My favorite of  those was as a page at the ABC Television Network.
A monkey could do it.
I just happened to fit into the suit better than most apes.
As I lived at home until I was 24, I was besieged to contribute much of my income to help support he household.  Not that they couldn't have gotten along without it.
These were upper middle class Jews who raised me.
When I was Bar Mitzvah'd, my mother insisted on throwing me the swankiest one that could be had in all of Forest Hills.
One that we all knew would throw them into debt for the longest time.
And my mother successfully convinced me that she was doing this for me.
If I had been able to be at all objective about this, I would have realized that this was not being done for me, but instead, for keeping up with the Goldsteins, or the Silverbergs, or name the Jewish family of your choice.  It was done purely and extensively for her.
But I let her keep up this ruse.  And as I did, I knew that whatever Bar Mitzvah gifts I would receive
(the going rate back then was usually a $75 savings bond), I would never get my hands on.
And it didn't matter how swanky the event would be, the gifts would be the same.
You don't downgrade the gifts based on how shabby the event is.
So, we had a first-class bash.
Surely enough, just a few months later , my parents came to me, pleading poverty, and can we cash in the bonds?
Me, simultaneously being the good son and knowing that I'd never see that money again, relented.
And I never confronted them about it. And, of course, they never apologized.
Consequently, I was always broke.
But my bitterness grew and grew unexpressed over the years.
My one salvation was, living in New York, was that I could go to the theater.
Not as often as I wanted to, and as reasonably as ticket prices were, I was still totally broke.
So what to do?
There was a very common practice that I took advantage of quite often called "Second Acting"
It involved waiting for a play or musical to break for intermission, mingle with the crowd, and finding a seat for the second act.
Usually you could figure out what happened in the first act.
I considered that my first writing lessons.
It was quite helpful.
Or I'd read the play.
Most of them were available from the library.  Remember them?
So in the sixties, I saw almost everything in one form or another.
I have come to learn that at some point after I left, the Nederlanders and the Shuberts have cracked down on this practice.
Second Acting is now a thing of the past.
And it's not that the plays are any better these days.
If anything, they are only far more expensive.
Just another way that the past was better.
And then, the more successful I got, the more my father resented me.
Otherwise, to quote one my of my second-acters , life is a Cabaret, old chum.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Upgrades on "Decades"

First, they have  brought back reruns of "The Ed Sullivan Show".
It's far less than perfect.
It's poorly edited.
They show them in  2 back-to-back half-hours usually from the  same episode.
They replace most of the music that accompanies the jugglers and acrobats, and the unicyclists,
and the guy spinning the plates with generic music that they don't have to pay for.
It seems cheesy and it is.
But where else are you going to see Totie Fields these days?
So you overlook the crappy production values and revel in the overwhelming nostalgia of it.
I'm addicted to it.
But the main thing they trot out are wonderful episodes of the original live episodes of the great anthology series "Studio One". 
They are not edited at all, and easily recapture what was great about Live Television of the 1950's.
They are on almost every day.  Always new episodes.  And they're all in black and white. 
Get used to it
They're on at odd times, so just set your DVRs..
This is rare stuff, and we owe a great debt to "Decades".

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Animal Acts, Part Two.

I'm going to talk about the funniest animal act 1 ever saw.
In the fifties and sixties there was a very funny man named Bob Williams.
In the 50's, he trained a dog named Red Dust.
He showed up on many variety shows.
Red Dust was and old, big floppy -eared mutt, who was trained to do absolutely nothing.
I don't mean that he wasn't trained.
I mean he was deliberately trained to do absolutely nothing.
They would bring out a big table, and Red Dust would be requested to jump on to it.
The dog would just stand there.
And not just stand there.
He would appear to not be able to move.
Bob apparently tried to get him to sit.
He had his legs positioned so that the front and back legs were inverted towards each other.
Bob would try to push him down, but couldn't get him to budge.
In the mid-to-late 60's Red Dust re-emerged as "Louie".
It would appear to be the same dog, but simple math would dictate that this was a second generation
of Red Dust. 
Red Dust must have been dead by then.
I mainly remember the act as "Bob Williams and Louie".
The joke was whatever Bob would ask Louie to do, Louie would just stand there.
Or sit there.
Or lie there.
But Williams drove the act.  He was hilarious.
Half of why it was funny were the things he asked Louie to do, and the manic desperation he would display when Louie would do none of it:

"he's thinking about it"
"he sees me now"
"don't get excited boy"
"you can do it boy"
"a little higher boy"
"you got your breath back, boy"
"a year ago, he couldn't do a thing."

Maybe it doesn't sound like much on paper, but in context it's hilarious.
And to think of how hard it must have been to train a dog to do absolutely nothing.
And Bob Williams did it twice.
It was amazing.
There are several clips of Bob Williams  and Louie on YouTube.
I recommend the approximately 9 minute clip of them appearing on "The Hollywood Palace Christmas show, hosted by Bing Crosby.  Just type in Bob Williams and Louie.
I don't know what became of  Bob Williams and Louie.
I'm pretty sure they are both long since gone.
Bob was no spring chicken then.
And dogs don't live all that long.
But I don't want to end on a downer.
So don't let anything dissuade you from checking out Bob Williams and Louie on YouTube.
You'll thank me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Animal Acts. Part One.

Going back to the Ed Sullivan Show days, I have always been a sucker for animal acts.
Ed Sullivan, beginning next Monday, is beginning an extended run with his reruns on the Decades channel.
The unicyclist, Topo Gigio, the guy spinning the plates, I loved them all.  but mainly I loved the live animal acts.
Berosini's Orangutans, the dog acts, Bertha The Elephant, who would balance precariously on a little ball, the performing seals, the Marquis Chimps, I couldn't get enough of them.
It never occurred to me that these animals were perhaps all being uniformly abused in order to get them to do their tricks.  It might have affected my enjoyment of them.
The first story I'm going to tell you, I recently overheard Andrea Martin reading from her book of memoirs, tell it to Nathan Lane on a YouTube interview. 
I'm only telling you this because I have known this story over twenty years, and have always intended to tell it here.  It has been sitting in my files ever since I started this here blog.  I'm sure I knew about it first, so I claim prior ownership to it.
Here goes:  The Marquis Chimps were booked to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 50s.
Sullivan was  very controlling about the content of his show.
Once, in masterstroke of showmanship, he decided to cut three minutes out of their eight minute routine.
If that's what the boss wants, that's what he gets.
How would you like to be the stage manager who has to tell Mr. Marquis that he has to tell his
Chimps that they have to cut three minutes?
Stage Manager:  Mr. Marquis, you have to tell your apes that they have to cut three minutes.
Mr. Marquis:  Are you crazy?  I can't just have them cut three minutes!
Stage Manager:  Why not?
Mr. Marquis:  Why not??!!  Why not??!!  These are apes!!  They're not human beings!!  Their entire
act is based on repetition.!!  They only know how to their act one way!  They can't just cut three minutes!
Stage Manager:  Well, what do I tell Mr. Sullivan??
Mr. Marquis:  Tell him that, while I sympathize, we're still dealing with apes, here!
Stage Manager:  Oh, he's not going to like this.
Mr. Marquis:  No, I don't suppose he would....Wait, I may have an idea!
Stage Manager:  Anything!  I'm desperate!
Mr. Marquis:  Well, this is pretty desperate.  Can we have the curtain closed three minutes before
the Chimps appear?
Stage Manager:  Sure.  They're going on right after Tony Bennett.
Mr. Marquis:  Gee...I always liked him...can I have The Chimps start their act behind the curtain
three minutes before you raise the curtain on them?
Stage Manager;  Sure.
Mr. Marquis:  Okay.  Just make sure that Tony finishes his song exactly on time.
That's something a human being can handle, right?
Stage Manager:  Consider it done.
And that's what they did.  When they opened the curtain on the chimps,  they were somewhat dazzled by the sudden glow of extra light,  but being the troupers that they were they just continued their act from that point, it  and it went off without a hitch.
Next time another "animal acts" story totally from my own memory.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

All Herbed Up.

The actor and radio personality Jay Thomas died today.
This makes me very sad.
He was hilarious.
He was perhaps best remembered for his annual Yuletide appearances with Letterman, where he told his oft-praised story of having had to shepherd Clayton Moore, TV's Lone Ranger.
This was in the 70s.
He was a local deejay, I think in North Carolina.
He was covering the opening of a car dealership and Clayton Moore, in full Lone Ranger regalia,
was on hand to sign autographs.
At the end of the event, Clayton was expecting transportation back to The Red Roof Inn.
But he was left stranded.  Jay and his a friend, of his, a hippie looking type, offered assistance.
The two of them got into a brouhaha with another driver.
Jay described them both he and his friend as being all herbed up.
That line particularly made Letterman laugh.
And, as usual, The Lone Ranger came to their rescue and saved the day.
I can't do justice to the story, much less tell it as well as Jay Thomas did.
Letterman always referred to it as the best story ever told on television .
You need only go to YouTube, where many year's worth of this story are told.
Go get a good laugh and check it out.  Particularly today.
It was always the highlight of the Christmas season for me
That, and Paul Shaffer doing his annual impression of Cher singing "Oh, Holy Night".
The year that Letterman announced his retirement, and Thomas told his Lone Ranger story, Letterman turned to Thomas and said "I'm never going to see you again, am I".
And Thomas said "Nope.  You never will."
And he was right.
I met him once, and had lunch with him, trying to twist his arm to appear in my play.
He liked the play a lot, but he was out of my price range.
I needed him to work for free.
That wasn't good enough.
I guess I can't blame him.
I miss him already.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jahlouyish!

That was the way my grandfather, of heavy Yiddish extraction, pronounced the name "Jerry Lewis".
And it was always said with oodles of affection.
My Grandpa Joe loved him some "Jahlouyish".
Nobody could make him laugh harder that Jahlouyish.
At least until I was twelve, at which, at which point, in 1960, he died.
And he made me laugh almost as hard at 13..
In many respects, he still does.
What was funny about him has always been funny.
And it included absolute genius.  He was a pioneer of what could be done wih the camera.
He was an extraordinary physical comedian, with unmatched timing.
I was always impressed with the way he could raise the level banality of conversation to an art form.
Creating and adding new levels of nonsense to the language.
In the movie "The Errand Boy", my personal favorite by a lot.  (There isn't even a close second.),
there is a sequence where the wonderful actor Del Moore plays the announcer at a movie premiere.
He rattles off a series of recent "Paramuitual Pictures" hits.
They are "Hot Heat", "Heaven is Far", and "So?.
The last one accompanied by a wonderful arm shrug.
Jahlouyish was capable of letting other actors let laughs.
What is also wonderful about "The Errand Boy" is that it is never hampered by a plot.
It is a series of bits.
The same is true of "The Bellboy", but that suffered by Mr. Louyish deciding to not to speak.
"The Errand Boy" introduced us to the wonderful names Mr. Wobbidnotley.  Mr. Bape Wosenthal,
Mr. Fermidnin, and of course, Jah's characters name, Morty S. Tashman, a send-up of Frank Tashlin.
His previous frequent director.
Probably the best and most notable charcter name was given to the well known opera singer Helen Traubel, who played the proprietress of the Girls boarding school in "The Ladies Man".  Her name was Mrs.Helen Wellenmelon.  If you don't think that's funny, there's no hope for you.
There are unfortunate comparisons to be drawn between Jahlouyish and Donald Trump.
This is a sad thing to contemplate.
There seems to be almost no middle ground between those who hate Trump, and those who hate Jahlouyish.  Of course, those who hate Trump are right.  I am certainly aware of his flaws, and I realize that Louyish wasn't perfect.  But we know that at least he was funny. So I fall somewhere in the middle.
Jahlouyish is guilty merely of personal excesses, and perhaps mistreating his staff.
His movies with Dean don't hold up well.  Dean was usually cast as the oily villain who was handed a series of forgettable songs to be sung to the leading lady, driving all of us 9 year olds to get refills on popcorn at the refreshment stand.  Dean was  not treated well in those movies.
I've already had the thought that if Jerry and Dean meet up in the afterlife, would Dean still not want to talk to Jerry?
But their appearances on "The Colgate Comedy Hour hold up great
"The Nutty Professor" is very uncomfortable to watch.  It cuts a little too close the bone.
He seems a little too close to his alter ego, Buddy Love, in real life.
He certainly made his share of forgettable movies, and not everything in The Errand Boy" is great, but there is so much that is: his typewriter pantomime which with his death makes the typewriter totally obsolete, his Count Basie pantomime, pretending to be the boss is brilliant, his other great character names in other movies, Herbert H. Heebert, Stanley Belt, Professor Julius Kelp, Willard Woodward, Wilbur Hoolick, Norman Phiffler, this all reflects a body of work.
If you haven't seen "The Errand Boy" and need convincing, please reserve judgement and seek it out.
Oh, and did I mention "Hey Lay-dee!!!!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Best Dolly Levi and the Best Shirley Maclaine I Ever Saw.

The year was 1958.
So it doesn't involve the musical "Hello, Dolly!"
That didn't exist until 1964.
There was a movie based on its source material, "The Matchmaker".
With a lovely score.  But no songs.
You didn't need them.
There was no Carol Channing, no Pearl Bailey, and certainly no Bette Midler.
No, before all of them there was the "The Matchmaker".
And its star "Shirley "Hazel" Booth."
And she was better and the movie was better than any production of "Hello Dolly" ever was.
As those of you who know my general feelings about Ms. Booth, and how I couldn't bear to watch
"Hazel", it came as more than just a mild shock to witness just how wonderful she was in
"The Matchmaker".  There was no shortage to her charm.  And the supporting cast was dazzling.
Paul Ford as Horace Van Der Gelder, who had far more to do than any of the Van Der Gelders in the musical, and every moment he had was great.
Anthony Perkins was Cornelius Hackle and almost stole the movie.
Robert Morse was Barnaby Tucker.  Pretty hard to beat.
If she wasn't busy doing "Hazel" she should have done "Hello Dolly".
There was wonderful use of "breaking the fourth wall".
Having the characters directly addressing the audience.
Preceding "House of Cards" by about fifty years.
Ms. Booth had done two previous musicals on Broadway.  I have both cast albums, and she was marvelous in both of them.
Check out the cast album of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"  The whole score is sensational and Ms. Booth is even better.
But Shirley Maclaine was, in "The Matchmaker" at the top of her game as Irene Molloy.
Every scene she had made you want to cry for her.  Absolute perfection.
And in the same year,  she was equally superb in a movie called "Some Came Running".
Wow, was she good in that.  She played a tramp who was in love with  Frank Sinatra.
It was mentioned by Ms. Maclaine herself that Sinatra had James Jones' novel re-written so that Shirley's character would be murderded at the end, in order to guarantee her an Oscar nomination.
She didn't get one, Martha Hyer got one for the same picture.  Were they watching the same movie?, Martha Hyer was a cold fish, and played it ,that way.  And it  certainly didn't require her getting murdered to get it. It just required her to be married to Hal Wallis who was a major big shot in Hollywood..
All of her Shirley's earlier scenes warranted a win.  Not just a nomination. She got neither.
Talk about breaking your heart.
Wendy Hiller won for "Separate Tables".  Who remembers her or it?
I used to live in Malibu, in a condo complex.  I knew that Shirley Maclaine  lived there too.
I'd always hoped I'd run into her at the pool, so I could tell her how much I loved what she did in
"Some Came Running".  That never happened.
Anyway, 1958.  Quite a year.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When Is A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago, Not A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago?

When I was in college, I got involved in writing sketches for annual college shows that were very well attended.
In 1970, it was our task to write a takeoff on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour.
The sketch included a glee club performing a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.
The joke was that each member of the glee club simultaneously sang a different Rodgers and Hammerstein song.
It was pretty funny, and as far as I know, original.
Even then we always prided ourselves on being original.
There had to be a winner, and the winner that night was a soloist who, on slide-whistle, performed
Schubert's Unfinished  Symphony, with the finish that he himself wrote just for this occasion.
He played Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with a flourish, and ended with "Shave and A Haircut,
Two Bits".
It brought down the house, and we were very proud of ourselves.
For 47 years.  It was a great joke.
Little did I know that five years previously, on the Danny Kaye Show, when he played the German
Conductor, he did the exact same joke.  "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
They run the old Danny Kaye show on JLTV, a cable station, here, and I saw it for the first time last
week.
I didn't see it in 1965,  I used to watch "I Spy", which was on opposite Danny Kaye.
So I couldn't have seen it then.
52 years ago.  "Unfinished Symphony" and "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
We must have come about it independently.  But he did it first, with a full orchestra.
As he announced the set-up for the bit, I held my breath hoping that they paid it off a different way.
But no chance.  And it was just as funny.
So was my version original?
Well at least his didn't have a slide-whistle.  And I think that made it funnier.
That's all I have to cling to.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Return Of "Hold The Shoes".

The death this week of Frank Sinatra's widow, Barbara (the former Mrs. Zeppo) Marx, at age 90, immediately brought to mind the funniest story about Frank that I know of.
In the early 90's, a very good friend of mine worked as an airplane mechanic at LAX, specializing.
on Lear Jets.  Those owned by celebrities, or chartered by them.
My friend, Rick, was always regaling me with stories about whose lives he was responsible for, being in the enviable position of never having to take any shit from
any of the celebrities whose services he rendered for them. 
He witnessed a lot of arrogant behavior from many of them, but none of it was directed towards him.  It seems that however arrogant  they were, they all smart enough not to mess with the guy who was fixing the plane.
Thus, when Fran Drescher, who was then starring on "The Nanny" was about to take off on one of those Lear Jets, and realized that she had packed her suitcase and by mistake, left her Louis Vuitton handbag packed in her suitcase, and asked her very gay assistant out to ask Rick if he would retrieve it for her, Rick responded that unless it was right on the very outside of the very full, luggage compartment, he was not about to unload an entire compartment to retrieve it.  He opened the
compartment and said "Do you see it?"  The assistant said "No. Wait here."  He then re-boarded
the Jet, a moment later he came back out and said  "The Nanny said she needs her Louis".
Rick said, and I quote "Tell the Nanny what she can go and do with her Louis" 
And he continued to close the luggage compartment, leaving The Nanny Louis-less, at least
for the length of the flight.
There was no further confrontation after that.
Some times, it's just great when you can essentially tell a big star to go fuck herself.
I tell you all this, because it always makes me laugh to think about it, in the light of how many
times I've wanted to tell a major star to go fuck him or herself.
I've told this story on the blog before, and have since removed it and planted it in one of my e-books.

And now, the one about Sinatra: Whenever he flew into LAX,  Rick  provided maintenance for and unloaded the luggage for Frank's Jet.  It was usually a two-man job.
And he had done this many times.
According to Rick, every time he encountered Sinatra, Frank was a major crab. Always towards his wife , Barbara, and usually towards the guys unloading the plane.
This was not a man who seemed to have the world on a string, sitting on a rainbow.
No, he seemed to still be pining for Ava.
So as the bags were being hauled off the plane the last time, Rick chose to rattle off what seemed to be the contents of each bag, and he got to Sinatra's golf shoes.
Rick called out "Golf Shoes" to which Sinatra replied to his wife  "Goddammit, I told you not to pack the Goddam Golf Shoes!!"
She held her tongue, which according to Rick, was the usual case.
Rick responded, in a too low key manner" "Hold the Shoes".  And put them back on the plane.
Rick said that Sinatra suspected that he was being mocked.
But he said nothing, and Rick is alive and well to this day.

Again, this is a recycled post, that I just thought was very timely, now that Babs is gone.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Things That You See On TV, And Can't Avoid.

Besides Trump.
And you're right.
That's too easy.
I'll try not to do it again.

No, I'm referring to a commercial that is currently running on the MLB Premium Channel between innings.
It's for AT&T and its various plans.
It features Mark Wahlberg. 
And some of them also feature Angelica Huston dressed in an evening gown, with huge green dollar signs covering her front and back.
I don't care about Mark Wahlberg, but I for one, do not want to see Angelica Huston traipsing around
in an evening gown with huge green dollar signs covering her front and back.
And they show it between every half-inning.
I most often am exposed to it with the sound off, because I am usually watching more than one game at a time.
You can watch up to four at a time.
I often do.
There is nothing more or less offensive with the sound on.
It's much too much trouble to keep trying to turn off games.
I've tried, believe me, I've tried.
And I'm not giving up watching baseball.
I don't remember whether or not Angelica Huston is introduced by name.
It makes no difference.
I've also seen it on regular TV.
Does this one-time Oscar winner really need to do this for the money?
I'd hate to think so.
I'm sure the ad executive who came up with this thought it would a riot.
Trust me.  It's not.
It is just sad.
I mean, this is someone who is Cinematic and Theatrical Royalty.
John Huston's daughter, and Walter Huston's grand-daughter.
I have an AT&T phone.
I'm thinking of switching to Sprint.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Old New Thing.

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Danny Kaye.

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Wildly Inconsistent Billy Wilder.

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

Director (27 credits)

Awful:                                              So-so:                                     Great:

1981 Buddy Buddy

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

                                                           1957 The Spirit of St. Louis

                                                            1955 The Seven Year Itch

                                                                                                            1954 Sabrina

                                                                                                            1953 Stalag 17

                                                                                                            1951 Ace in the Hole

                                                                                                             1950 Sunset Boulevard
                                                            1948 The Emperor Waltz 

                                                                                                                 1945 The Lost Weekend

                                                                                                             1944 Double Indemnity
                        
                                                             1942 The Major and the Minor

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Being On The Same Page With Woody Allen.

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Podcast Aftermath.

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Live Podcast Tomorrow,

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
IThe paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

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

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

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

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day Memory.

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

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

My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

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

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

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

My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Attention Must Be Paid.

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

My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Binge- Watching "Highway Patrol", Part Two.

Further thoughts about "Highway Patrol".

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

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

I'm not kidding.

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

My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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

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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."