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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why I Can't Stand Chris Matthews Anymore, Part 3 or 4, I've Lost Count.

I'll be brief with this one.
Not only is he still calling out his guests for mispronouncing the name "Cheney", insisting that the family pronounces it "Cheeney", which isn't always the case (I've heard them pronounce it "Cheney") but now he consistently pronounces the word "Holocaust" as "Holly-caust"
So Chris, shut up.

----------------------------------------------------
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have 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, July 28, 2015

Perhaps My Guiltiest Pleasure.

This is a truly embarrassing admission.
I am an unabashed fan of "Family Feud".
It's my favorite show.
I never miss it, which is almost impossible, as it is on almost constantly.
I have always loved the game itself, and have never claimed to be any better at it than anyone else, but I truly enjoy it when one of the contestants comes up with a particularly stupid answer.
This has been a truly long term addiction.
I've watched it from the 1980's in spite of Richard Dawson kissing all those women, through all the subsequent hosts who kept improving the experience.
Ray Coombs was quite entertaining before he committed suicide.
But nobody, I mean nobody is as good at hosting "Family Feud" as Steve Harvey.
He is as funny as anything.
In any context.
One thing that confuses me: they always offer the option to play or pass to whoever answers the tossup question.
I don't understand why anyone would opt to pass.
It is invariably a bad percentage move.
If that's your intent, why even try to answer the question?
You came to play, play.
I know that all the contestants are prompted to say "Good answer, good answer!" no matter how bad their teammates answers might be. And that's annoying, and only a small price to pay because they cop to it.
I'm constantly Tivoing it, so I always have at least twenty episodes on hand at any one time.
If you haven't checked in on it since Richard Dawson was kissing all the women, you all owe yourselves another go.
A word of caution: almost every question elicits some variation on the phrase "My dick" or My boobs" or both.
If this offends you, I suggest that you loosen up.
I promise you that it will be worth it.
And I say this with no shame.
That's how funny it is.

----------------------------------------------------
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 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.

*****

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Of The Great Jokes.

I am about to tell you what I consider to be one of the great jokes.
I would be surprised to learn that you are familiar with it, because I've never met anyone who has heard it before whenever I've told it .
Let me preface it by alerting you that it might be perceived as completely racist, sexist, with one of the filthiest punch-lines you'll ever hear.
If this puts you off, stop right here and come back next time.

Okay. Here goes.
It's Harlem in the 1930s.
Doctor George "Kingfish" Stevens is strolling down 125th Street.
As he passes the Apollo Theater, he encounters his good friend and colleague Andrew H. Brown.

Andy: Hello dere, Kingfish.
Kingfish: Ohhhh, hello dere brother Andy! It's been a while.
Andy: Yeah, I guess it has.
Kingfish: Are you feelin' all right, son?
Andy: Oh yeah. I feels fine.
Kingfish: Are you sure? Because you looks bad!
Andy: Well that's strange, because I feels good.
Kingfish: Well you may feels good, but you looks bad!!
Andy: This is beyond my comprehensiveness, because I feels good!
Kingfish: Son, you looks bad! And you can't take any chances with your health.
Look, my office is just a few doors down. Why don't you let me check you out.
So they head up to Doctor Kingfish's office and Andy gets a complete examination.
Kingfish can't find anything wrong with Andy.
Andy: I told you! I feels good!
Kingfish: That may be, but you still looks bad! Uh, maybe we's approaching this the wrong way.
Lemme look through the Encyclopedia of Medicine, dere. It's got all the answers!
Kingfish gets the Encyclopedia of Medicine from down off a high shelf.
He starts rummaging through it.
Kingfish: Let me see, dere...."Looks good, feels good"...
Andy: That's not it!
Kingfish: Oh yeah, you're right. Uh, "Looks bad, feels bad"...
Andy: That ain't it either!
Kingfish: Looks good and feels bad?
Andy: No, no, no! That's not it!!
Kingfish: You're right. It ain't. Oh wait a minute. Here it is. "Looks bad, and feels good"
Doctor Kingfish slowly lifts his head and stares Andy dead in the eye.
Kingfish: I wants you to brace yourself. Brother Andy...son...you a vagina!!
----------------------
If you liked it, tell your friends.
f you didn't, keep it to yourself.
But if you got this far, how could you not like it?
In any case, I don't want to hear any voices of protest.
You've all been warned.
And I just had a stroke.

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

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 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, July 17, 2015

When Life Imitates Art A Little Too Closely.

One more hospital story:

In my last hospital stay, I was easily placed in the coldest room in the hospital.
This was not by choice.
I was constantly asking for more blankets, and they were all thin ones, and never enough.
I was freezing every night.
Then, about two days before I checked out, everyone received warm, lush blankets.
The kind I wished I had for my entire stay.
I asked one of the nurses why, all of a sudden, we were getting these blankets.
I was told that there was going to be an inspection by someone who mattered, and after the inspection, they were going to be taken back.
I insisted that I keep mine, and they acquiesced.
This situation ran parallel to a scene in Billy Wilder's great "Stalag 17", where the Red Cross was going to inspect the American P.O.W. barracks, so the Nazis supplied the P.O.W.'s with fresh linens and blankets.
As soon as the Red Cross representatives left, the linens and blankets were removed, and the P.O.W.s were left to sleep in whatever lice ridden filth they had before.
Needless to say, I complained long and loud about it, and even offered up the "Stalag 17" analogy.
Comparing them to Nazis.
It pretty much fell upon deaf ears.
I think that I was very lucky to get out of there when I did.
That hospital did very much to advance my recovery, but I spent a whole lot of unnecessary frigid nights.

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

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 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, July 7, 2015

"You Are Cool! " Part 2..

The latter group of those about whom one can legitimately sarcastically say "You are cool!" contain several political figures, exclusively of the Republican variety.
I suppose a case can be made that all Republicans can be put in that category, and that there really isn't any variety among them.
I wouldn't say it about Rick Santorum, or Paul Ryan.
I don't agree with a word they say, but they both seem to handle themselves with at least some dignity.
On the far, other end of the spectrum is Bobby Jindal.
The idea that this man is attempting to run for President is so short-sighted.
Where does he think he's going to get people to vote for him?
Who on earth is going to vote for someone who so closely resembles Alfred E. Neuman?
It's not just his looks.
He seems to have the emptiest head of any politician out there.
There's not even any concept of cool.

Ann Coulter goes on TV whenever anyone lets her so she can hawk her latest book, where she yells and yammers and has nothing good to say about anyone.
Yeah, Ann, you are cool.

Bill Kristol, the political columnist, as opposed to Billy Crystal, the great entertainer, who appears far too regularly on "This Week With George Stephanopolous" as the representative of smarminess has another claim to the title----he is invariably wrong about everything.
He is often asked to offer up a prediction about something. He is never right.
I mean never.
What does it take to get this man off television?
The fact that he has the nerve to accept the check they give him is the epitome of cheek.
And the antithesis of cool.

I would have more than just to say in passing Dennis Miller, the King of Smarm.
But his career is essentially over, so I don't want to indulge in overkill.
But yeah, Dennis, you are cool.

And finally, Mandy Patinkin.
Mandy Patinkin is in many ways a great singer and performer.
But not all ways.
He has this regular tendency to go way over the top.
In a truly sickeningly way.
And you never know when it's going to happen.
And when it does, you wan't to yell out "Yeah Mandy, you are cool!"

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

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 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.

*****







Monday, June 29, 2015

"You Are Cool!" Part 1

When my sister was an adolescent she started berating me because I didn't like the Beatles.
She loved them.
I would stop her by saying, "Yeah, Les, you are cool, and that would infuriate her and shut her up.
I would do it often enough that at some point she would say to me, "Mark, I am cool."
At which point I would point out to her that anyone who would say "I am cool" is automatically not cool.
That would infuriate her even more.
It occurred to me with some current events that there are more and more examples of people who think they are cool and are far from it.
Another way of expressing this is, "You feel way too good about yourself!"

Exhibit A: Donald Trump.
From that entrance he made descending on the escalator as he announced his candidacy, to every warped thought he has about anybody liking him, he certainly feels waaaay too good about himself.
He is not cool.
I can't imagine anybody, including himself, making the case that he is cool.

Exhibit B: Jonathan Schwartz
I have often brought myself to saying about the D.J. who represents the Great American Songbook, "Yes, Jonathan, you are cool!"
Now he is very knowledgeable about the subject and tells some great stories, but there is always a major element of namedropping.
Just yesterday, on his radio show, he did a tribute to Richard Rodgers on his 113th birthday.
At what point did a 113th birthday become something to celebrate?
Jonathan used this as an excuse to tell a lot of anecdotes about Rodgers, or "Dick," as he referred to him, since he knew him as a child.
So it was "Dick" this and "Dick" that; you never heard so much Dicking in your life.
And his live studio audience were all current cabaret singers who were fawning over everything he said because they wanted him to play their records.
Yeah, Jonathan, you are cool!

Exhibit C: A group of not-cool people.
I love buying and wearing athletic uniforms from various teams.
I very much understand people who do that.
What I don't for the life of me understand is why people buy athletic uniforms that have some famous athlete's name on the back.
It's one thing to identify with a team; it's another to identify that specifically with that person.
It's as if you think you are him.
I think that what I do is fairly cool and what they do is not cool at all.
I'm embarrassed to be at a game with them.

I've got several more exhibits and it will have to wait until 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 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, June 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Hospitals

When they brought me to the first hospital I went to after my stroke, I experienced much dismay.
A dismay I did not express when previously writing about it.
They were helping me on the road to recovery to some extent,
but there were a lot of downsides.
The main one being the quality of the food.
It was, to put it charitably, institutional food, and I could not eat a drop of it.
I felt I needed all sorts of excuses to not eat their food.
I had my wife bring in boxes of shredded wheat and raisins and all I required of them was skim milk, which they provided.
Whenever I had dinner, it was because she brought it for me.
This hospital is considered the premier hospital for the kind of illness I had.
So, of course, I considered this inexcusable.
There was a great deal of impersonality from the therapists.
I knew they were helping me somewhat, but it seemed that they did not care particularly.
Again, I found this somewhat disconcerting.
My most vivid memory of that place is how many MRIs I had to go through.
Every time they did one I felt one I felt like I was reliving the opening credits of Ben Casey, where all you saw were the hospital lights overhead.
The only other upside was that I had a private room.
The next step was to move me to a sub-acute facility.
My attitude was "Oh, my God, how much worse can it be?"
As it turns out it was far better in many ways.
The level of caring by the therapists has been awesome and I am recovering much more rapidly than anyone had expected me to.
I am using a walker and I am just days away from being able to use a cane.
Which was kind of where I was when I had the stroke.
These people understand their reputation.
They know that they are Avis to the other hospital's Hertz.
So they are striving constantly to prove that they should be number one.
They also certainly accomplished that in terms of the level of food that they serve.
It is downright edible.
I know we are still dealing with food in an institution, but it is of far higher quality.
And it is served very attractively, making you think that it is far higher than it actually is.
Not that this place is without its dark side.
I do have to share a room with somebody; there are no private rooms here.
That is not really unpleasant, except for the fact that we share a very small bathroom,
and any time one of us makes a mess, no one is rushing to clean it up.
So I find myself in the awkward position of having to clean up his mess.
This shouldn't happen; that is their job.
As I do go to dinner in the dining room most of the time, occasionally there will be an experience where someone who really shouldn't be in public goes there too and behaves wretchedly.
Yesterday, one of the patients who I see there very often, and who spends most of his time coughing his brains out, hacking up phlegm, sat down at my table,where I was by myself.
He seemed to have no awareness that he was violating my rights.
Maybe it was like this at the other hospital, too, I just didn't get a chance to find out.
So I actually complained to the nurses about him and he was immediately placed at another table.
But, again, why did I have to complain? Why did I have to take the initiative?
They saw what was going on!
How did it become my responsibility to get rid of him?
At least no one thought I was out of line by complaining.
The nurses are usually very pleasant and usually try to please you.
Another chink in the armor --- there are all these little black foofies all over the place in the room.
They make the beds everyday.
New sheets and everything.
And I know I didn't bring them with me from home.
We don't have any little black foofies at home.
It's something this hospital provides.
I don't know why, and I don't know how to get rid of them.
The other one didn't have them.
It's really been starting to bug me.
One last fly in the ointment: there is a woman who works here whose job is the job of a professional cheerleader.
She talks to the patients as if they were nine years old.
Now a lot of people need a person like this; they need to be talked to as if they were nine years old.
But I am not one of them.
The only reason I put up with her is that she bought both of my books.
That buys a lot of good will.
They actually let me do one of my "library appearances" here.
Which I needed to do to test out my voice, which is coming back strong.
It went over very well.
I expect to get out of here and go home in about a week and a half.
I am doing everything I can to accelerate the process.
The end is in sight, but I am beginning to feel like a prisoner here.

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

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 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, June 9, 2015

One Of The Most Delightful Sundays I've Ever Spent.

Yes. After having a stroke and everything.
A great day betting on baseball.
And then, I had a dilemma.
The Tony Awards were on that night.
Head-to-head against the NBA finals.
Game One was one of the great games.
And I have money on the Cavs for the series.
And I am still in the hospital, where I don't have access to TiVo.
So whatever choice I made, it meant I wasn't going to see the other one.
My wife was going to sit here and watch it with me, whatever one I chose.
And I was generally more inclined to watch the Tony Awards, as was she.
So the decision was made.
We watched the Tony Awards with occasional flipping to the game during commercials.
I was immediately taken with what I saw on the Tony Awards,
realizing that there were so many shows that had not opened yet the last time I was in New York,
and that I wanted to see all of them, with the occasional passes of seeing the game during commercials,
did not give me the flavor of the game.
I am sharing the room that I am in with one other person.
And he had his TV set tuned to something completely other.
I didn't feel I had the right to say to him:
"Hey, how about putting on the game, so I could see that, too?"
Then, in the second quarter, purely on his on volition, he turned on the game.
At which point I separated the curtain between us, and was able to see both the game and the Tony Awards at the same time.
This is something I never would have done if I was home.
If I was home, I would have TiVoed the one and watched the other live.
So this, in fact, was even better.
No, not worth the stroke. I'm just saying...
Did I mention that the Tony Awards was uniformly fabulous?
Just about every musical number they did from every show was magnificent.
Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming were wonderful hosts; there was humor everywhere.
And there was practically no appearance by Nathan Lane, even.
But Larry David was there, and was totally hilarious.
I am planning my next trip to New York as soon as I am well enough to go.
It was a gift when I really needed one.
Yes, there were glitches.
You couldn't see the Memorial Reel. It was too small. But I'm just quibbling.
And after Tony's ended, I was able to concentrate solely on the NBA Finals.
which they went into overtime for the second time in a row.
Except, this time, the Cavs held on and pulled it out, something that nobody expected to happen.
Another gift.
That's some lot of gifts over the course of about three hours.
So we were able to turn a liability into an asset.
I can only wish you those kind of days.

P.S. I am feeling better day after day and able to do more things by myself.
Just today I was able to stand in the bathroom and shave myself
without having to hold on to anything.
This is major.
I appreciate all of your thoughtfulness and your kindness, and, once again, I will try to keep up the communication at this source.
Watch This Space.

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

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 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.

*****

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Burying Another Lead

When I started talking about the stoke, I realized that there is key information I didn't tell you up front that is significantly more interesting than the stoke itself.
The stroke happened about a month ago at the end of April.
It was on a Saturday morning.
I'd had an MRI scheduled at the local hospital that morning for a minor backache that had practically vanished at that point.
But I had the appointment anyway, so, like a good boy scout, I went.
My wife was on a flight on the way back from a trip to India on business, so I was all alone in the house, and feeling very strange.
I had almost no balance and walking was extremely difficult.
Any sane human being at that point would have called an ambulance to take them to the hospital.
But me, being the schmuck that I was, I had no real sense of just how damaged I was at the time.
I attempted to guts it out by driving the mile or so to the hospital.
So I got behind the wheel, opened the garage door, started the engine, and drove.
My driving was no worse than it usually is.
This is an extremely accurate comment on my ability to drive to begin with.
Horrible.
I parked in one of the handicap spaces, right in front of the hospital, and practically crawled to the main entrance, where I virtually flopped down in front of the people who admit you.
They immediately saw the problem.
I didn't even get to mention the MRI to them.
It was certainly not high on my priorities at that point.
They glommed on to what the problem was, and I was quickly diagnosed with having had a stroke.
I was also met with incredulity, because I had driven myself to the hospital without any assistance.
That in itself in their eyes should have left me for dead.
As it turns out, I have been very lucky, and the stroke was a very minor one.
My speech is practically fully restored.
My walking is a work in progress, but we are all very optimistic about it.
Around here, I am considered to be this week's walking miracle. Or at least hobbling miracle.
I'll be happy to accept that title.
I am improving every day and the prognosis is very good for a full recovery.
I am still in a hospital, not the one I was in a few weeks ago, but a sub-acute facility.
Next time I am going to write about this facility, because I am very content with what they are doing here, and I need to describe the difference between where I started out and where I am now.
I hope to be writing more and more frequently as things improve.

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

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 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.

*****





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 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 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 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.

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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."