The celebrities who showed up at the Hollywood Collectors Show essentially fell into three separate categories:
1) Those who looked extremely good, in spite of their advancing age----
I got to meet James Darren, "Moondoggie" from Gidget, who quite naturally looked like his own grandson.
It was astounding how young he looks.
I serenaded him with a chorus of "Goodbye Cruel World, I'm off to join the Circus", to which he replied "You wound me".
He was quite gracious.
Ron Ely, TV's original Tarzan, looked extremely dapper and distinguished.
As did Barry Bostwick.
As did my friends Dawn Wells and Leslie Easterbrook.
2) Those who were victimized by some bad plastic surgery.
No sense naming names here.
3) Those who Time decided to take into the back of an alley and beat the shit out of.
There were quite a few of them.
I sat directly across from James Hampton, whose foremost claim to fame was as the fifth lead in "F Troop"
He wasn't Larry Storch, or Ken Berry, or Forrest Tucker, or even Edward Everett Horton as Chief Roaring Chicken.
He apparently was the bugler.
I never watched "F Troop" very often.
I had hired James Hampton on an episode of "She's The Sheriff", in which he was quite dandy.
I approached him and reminded him of this and my feelings about his performance.
You've never seen a more grateful man in your life.
It even made it palatable to hear him blowing on his bugle to attract attention to himself every once in a while.
As the second day wore on, and it was becoming apparent that the goods weren't being moved as quickly and as profitably as many had hoped, the celebrities representatives started hawking their client's wares at severe discounts.
It was rather sad to watch.
A minor mystery was solved on this trip.
The actress Diane Baker had her own table.
Diane Baker was stunning when she was younger.
She is still quite a handsome woman.
I have a cousin-by-marriage who is a wonderful actor.
His name is Michael Lerner.
The lineage is that he is my father's sister's daughter's husband's brother.
Michael has specialized in roles where he plays characters who are morbidly obese.
That is because he had always been morbidly obese.
I feel that I can talk about him like this because he is my Couisin. By marriage.
He played the morbidly obese version of Arnold Rothstein in the film "Eight Men Out", in which he was wonderful.
I've never seen him not be wonderful.
I have also never seen him not be morbidly obese.
When he was much younger, the word "pudgy" would have covered it.
But he grew into himself in later years.
Michael was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the film "Barton Fink".
He was magnificent in that.
I would have voted for him.
But the Award went to Jack Palance for "City Slickers".
Palance went up on stage to accept his award, and startled the audience by doing one-armed pushups.
Michael Lerner wouldn't have been able to do ANY pushups.
Along the way, Michael hired a publicist, and the publicist managed to wangle "Entertainment Tonight" to do "A day in the life of an Oscar nominee on the day of the event".
I got to see my actual cousin, who was married to Michael's brother, and when they got into the limo, there, sitting next to Michael, was Diane Baker.
Still looking stunning.
While Michael was still looking like Michael.
Not exactly a dreamboat.
This did not quite compute.
Maybe it was a studio-arranged thing?
I couldn't imagine that they were an actual item.
So when I met Diane Baker, I hit her with a barrage of questions about all of this.
According to her, she and Michael had been good friends forever.
Seemingly nothing more.
She informed me that Michael has since dropped over a hundred pounds.
Your proverbial drop in the bucket.
But at least it's a start.
I hope he's doing well, and if the family reads this, I hope they don't object to the fat jokes.
But as family can be, he has been merciless towards me in the past.
And probably will be again.
Let's hope for the best.
My book, "Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store, You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to 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 paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle. I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen & Beyond to find them if you're interested.
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- mark rothman
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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."