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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Old Bread, Old Rolls. Part Two

There will be no further mention of "Old Bread, Old Rolls" in this post.
You might be wondering why the last post and this one bears that title.
It will become more than apparent when we reach part three.

As in part one, this post also relates to Jewish anti-semitic "Immie Mistrust", and also relates to my upstairs neighbors, the Freitags, when I was a kid growing up in the Bronx.

It also intrinsically involves my mother, Bella.
I don't recall if I mentioned this previously, but perfect casting if someone were to make a movie about Bella would be Estelle Harris, the brilliantly funny actress who played George Costanza's mother on Seinfeld.
The spitting image, in every detail.
Looks, voice, character, everything.

Estelle appeared in my first play in Los Angeles in the late 80's, before anyone knew who she was.
Many members of my family attended opening night of this highly autobiographical play.
When Estelle made her entrance and began speaking, my family members were absolutely stunned.
Bella had died about five years previously, and it was as if Estelle had brought her back to life.
So as I relate this story, it helps if you picture Estelle Harris as Bella.

As I mentioned previously, Bella had this attitude about "Immies", particularly the Freitags. Particularly Tamara, Mrs. Freitag.
But it also extended to their son, David.
David, as I mentioned, was one of my closest friends.
Mainly because I found him to be very good natured, and extremely funny.

But Bella, for no apparent reason at the time, except for the fact that he descended from "Immies", considered him a bad influence on me.

As even the best of friends do, David and I got mad at each other for some insignificant reason that I can't even remember.
We were at least momentarily on the outs with each other.
During this very brief period, a note was slipped under our apartment door.
It read "Tomorrow, your house will be bomed"
That was the spelling.
And immediately, based on absolutely nothing, save "Immie-Mistrust", my mother suspected David of placing that note under our door.

Now I had gotten into lots of fights with other friends of mine, and I'm sure if I was on the outs with any of them, my mother wouldn't have jumped to a similar conclusion.
And there were certainly more than a handful of genuine Anti-Semites who lived in our building who who easily more likely suspects.

I know this because I remember when the Rabbi from my Hebrew School sent us all out to sell raffle tickets for the upkeep of the shul to people in our building, only for me to be met more than once with "Get away from me, you dirty Jew"
That put an end to my Door-To-Door salesman career.
I told the Rabbi as much.
It was like talking to a wall.
But I stuck to my retirement guns.

Also, David was far from illiterate, much less a bad speller.
It just didn't make any overt sense that he was the culprit.

But this didn't stop my prejudiced, lunatic mother from trying to prove David's guilt in the matter.
She approached it much in the same way that Captain Queeg tried hanging the Caine Mutiny on the theft of the strawberries.
With Geometric Logic.
She decided to ostensibly "Patch things up" between David and me by having us sit down together and write out "Peace Treaties" that my mother would dictate.
Yes, Peace Treaties.
I'm paraphrasing, but here's the gist:

"I promise that we will never fight with each other about anything ever again.
And that we will be brothers under the skin. Always together.
Through thick and through thin.
We will always remain together.
Even if we were in one of our houses and it was BOMBED, we would man the fortress together..."
Pretty subtle, hah?

So this whole charade, right out of a bad episode of "I Love Lucy", was designed to prove that David would misspell the word "Bombed".

But of course, he didn't.
It failed.
Just like Captain Queeg.

In Philip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint", one of Alexander Portnoy's complaints to his psychiatrist is that he was raised by Hottentots
and Zulus.
I think I should be joining Portnoy on the couch.


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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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."