As advertised, today I will reveal why the last two posts have had this somewhat cryptic title.
One of my friends from college, a Jew, told me this story from his childhood:
He and his family lived in Queens, as I did.
In the summer, for the entire summer, every year, they would go to a Catskill bungalow colony known in Yiddish as a "Kuchalein"
I'm not sure of the exact English spelling.
I'm not even sure that there is one.
"Kuchalein" literally meant that you had your own kitchen facilities in your bungalow.
You cooked alone.
That was the literal translation.
It wasn't like Grossinger's or the Concord, where the main object was for the management to stuff you with as much food as humanly possible, and for the guests, to be stuffed with as much food as is humanly possible.
For the younger female guests, another main goal was to meet a doctor who she could convince to marry her.
On an episode of "The Odd Couple", where Rob Reiner played Penny Marshall's boyfriend and felt the need to go on retreat, we had him go to a Kuchalein called, appropriately, "Cucky's Lane".
That name didn't make it past the Wednesday run-through.
It was replaced with a name with far less character---"Imglick's Lodge"
Our efforts at tribute went unappreciated.
So these Kuchaleins were definitely somewhat downward on the social scale, and far more family oriented.
There was a somwhat primitive quality to them.
Not the best plumbing facilities in the world.
Nobody had their own telephones in their bungalows.
The way the denizens of the Kuchaleins were able to make contact with civilization was with the one telephone available to all, which was located in Mr. Lipschitz's "Canteen", which was another way of referring to what was basically a General Store.
The Canteen was the 7-11 of it's time.
With overinflated prices to match.
And the bungalow guests were at Mr. Lipschitz's mercy, pricewise.
Mr. Lipschitz also had a microphone, attached to a public address system, so that if anyone received a call, they would be paged by Mr. Lipschitz over the loudspeaker.
Now Mr. Lipschitz was an "Immie".
A Concentration Camp survivor with tatooed numbers on his arms.
This, as in the other instances I related, caused the first generation American born Jews to resent him, along with his generally foul nature.
Mr. Lipschitz had a first generation American-born son named Warren, whom Mr. Lipschitz, with his thick foreign accent, called "Vodding".
As did everyone else there, usually mockingly, behind his back.
On what turned out in retrospect to be a typical day at the Canteen, "Vodding" cautioned his father that the expiration dates had been reached on many of the baked goods Mr. Lipschitz offered for sale.
Vodding suggested that they be replaced by the new shipment that had not yet been put on display.
Lipschitz countered with "Old bread, old rolls, they won't know the difference".
What Lipschitz was not aware of was that the microphone was turned on and that last sentence of his was heard over the P.A. system by everybody in the bungalow colony.
Within a matter of minutes, the entire population of the colony amassed in front of the Canteen, shouting "Old Bread, Old Rolls, they won't know the difference!"
Over and over.
Now I really don't know that this was "Immie Bashing".
It coulld just mean that Lipschitz was simply a contemptuous old cuss.
The bungalow denizens went on strike, never to enter the Canteen until it was "Under New Management"
This took place in about a week after Lipschitz had fled.
He probably beat a hastier retreat than he had when he fled the Nazis.
Stay tuned for Part Four, next time.
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.
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 email@example.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."