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Tuesday, November 1, 2011


My mother fancied herself quite the interior decorator.

This was quite fancy on her part, as nothing in our apartment when I was a teenager, or any other time since, ever matched anything else in it.
And her taste ranged from gaudy to gaudiEST.

And she didn't react well to criticism about her handiwork.
When we lived in a medium two-and-a-half bedroom apartment in Flushing Queens, there was a dining area.
Not quite a dining room.
And my mother decided that what the dining area table needed over it was as large and as glitzy a chandelier as could be found.
And she found it.
And she hung it over the table.
And there was this constant fear among the rest of us that the weight of it would cause it to come crashing down
on us during the main course.
Alluding to it, my sister said one of the funniest things ever attributed to her:
"This thing should be hanging in the lobby of the Loewe's Valencia".

This is a line that plays best in New York, where the Loewe's Valencia was known as the most lavish movie palace this side of Grauman's Chinese.
But you get the idea.

The emitting of this line from my sister's mouth not only caused me to do a spit take with my potato latkes,
it also reduced my mother to tears.
So my sister, of course, had mixed feelings about saying it.

Shortly after that, undaunted, my mother offered to have my sister's room repainted.
There was nothing spiteful about this.
She was simply looking to exercise her creative muscles once again.
And she had a concept.
Knowing that my sister was a young teenager, and aspired to be "cool", she offered up the bold notion
of having two of the opposing walls painted stark black, and the other two walls painted stark white.

My sister, in spite of my mother's track record, indulged her.
This may have had something to do with feeling bad about the "Loewe's Valencia" remark.

So, much as Picasso approached a canvas, my mother approached the bedroom walls.
Once again, the word "monstrosity" would have been charitable.
My sister was appalled.
But the deed was done, and she lived with the horrendous result.

And I only added salt to the wound by, upon each and every entrance to my sister's room, saying "In-tuh-gray-shun".
The natural implication that this was a heavy-handed statement about
racial equality.

Recalling this, and posting about casting as I have the last few outings, reminded me of some ongoing racism that I don't think you hear too much about in public, but I used to hear about all the time in private.

It is not a particularly well-kept secret in Hollywood that actors, particularly actors who haven't broken through to stardom, but are working on regular series, would much rather be the only black actor on a predominantly white show, or the only white actor on a predominantly black show.
Simply because there is a better chance that they'll get noticed.
Their agents were always advising them that if they had a choice, to go with the one with the racial contrast.

Think about it: Would Jim Carrey have broken through after kicking around all those years if he wasn't Fire Marshall Bill on "In Living Color"?

Would Sherman Hemsley have become a star after kicking around all those years before George Jefferson on "All In The Family"?
What about Esther Rolle? Around forever until she was Florida on "Maude".
You might notice that they weren't offering any spinoffs to Rue McLanahan or Adrienne Barbeau.

For most working actors, the most they want is token In-tuh-gray-shun, where they are the tokens.

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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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 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."