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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Odd Couple Unexpectedly Meets Bilko. Part Five.

We're at the top of the stretch with this story now.
One more post after this, and it will be wrapped up.

We shot and aired the Odd Couple Theatre Critic Show, with a wonderful assist
from Sergeant Bilko, and it's great Show Runner, Nat Hiken, in 1974.

Eight years later, it suddenly became 1982.
I was living in Ohio, for the sole purpose of trying to keep a marriage together.
It was a marriage that wasn't worth keeping together.
I knew it then, I know it now.
Chalk it up to "Idiocy"

When you don't live on either coast, your career becomes a disappearing act.
People quickly forget you're alive.
I had a relationship with the great comedian Alan King, who was also a producer, and
had a sitcom development deal with CBS.
Alan King did this great routine called "Survived By Widow", which was written by my friend, the late, great Harry Crane.
It was all about how women invariably outlive their husbands.
He would continually read from actual Obituaries of men, the last line of which would always be "Survived by widow"
Alan was no exception. He died at 76, survived by his widow, Jeanette.
Several years earlier I had a sitcom development deal with CBS.
And Alan didn't.
Now, he did, and I didn't.
I saw him as a way to shoehorn my way back into CBS.
I had a pilot that I wanted to pitch to him.
A pilot, by the way, that bore no resemblance to anything done on either "The Odd Couple" or "Sergeant Bilko".
Alan King's offices were in New York City.
Alan King was quite receptive to meeting me to hear my pilot, so I didn't have to make up a reason to get on a plane to leave that hellhole I had in Ohio, at least for a day.
The meeting was set up for 3pm on an afternoon in August.
My flight got in at noon.
And I knew that 3pm meant that no food would be brought in.
Too late for lunch, and too early for dinner.
So I went to the Carnegie Deli, the best of many fine New York Delis, certainly better than anything you could find anywhere else.
And it was rush hour for lunch, and there were lines to get in, and there were panhandlers working the street right outside, and I endeared myself to them by saying things like "No accosting!!"
This was in the pre-Giuliani days, when the city was quite slovenly.
Then you got in, and were jammed next to total strangers, and hustled in and out by the rudest waiters imaginable.
And it was all worth it, because that's how good the food was.
I had the best Pastrami Sandwich in the world, with it's perfect accompaniment,
Dr. Brown's Diet Black Cherry Soda (like that's going to help.)

So I show up at Alan's office at 3pm, and pitch my pilot.
Alan is very receptive.
We make plans to schedule a meeting with the Brass at CBS.
So around 4:30, rush hour, I head back to Newark Airport.

I get there, with just a little time to spare.
On what was a spectacular day weather-wise, storm clouds were starting to develop.
It immediately became ominous.
Thunder and lightning ensued.
I'm not good with flying in general, even if it does mean leaving  Ohio.
But I was heading back to Ohio.
So I was even worse with flying in general.
Then the hand of God took over.
Deus ex Machina.
And it led to an event so astounding, so unbelievable, that it shook me to my very foundation.
This will be reported 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.
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.
If you like one, contact me at
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen and Beyond 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."