Last time, when I described the episode of "Busting Loose" that Linda Lavin
attended the filming of, I did not describe the brouhaha that preceded
The episode, depicting Adam Arkin's character, Lenny, getting dumped by
an old girlfriend who now wants him back, was borne out of one of our
female writers' desire to find a good part for one of her friends,
an actress who was part of the original ensemble cast of a legendary
prize-winning musical on Broadway.
I saw this actress in that show, and she was very good, as was everyone else
I encouraged the writer, whom I understand has recently passed away, to proceed,
bearing in mind that the actress in question would still have to audition.
The writer took this as sort of a slap in the face, but I insisted.
I'd only seen this actress in one part.
I needed more evidence that she'd be right for this one.
The script started taking shape, and sight unseen, I was starting to have
my doubts about this actress, based on what I was seeing in the script.
The actress in question was not what you'd call beautiful.
In fact, in the musical, she sang a song about how she wasn't beautiful.
She had sort of a Streisand-ish nose, which wasn't a help.
The problem with hiring this actress was not only that she came across
as too nice, but that she simply wasn't worth the candle.
Lenny was supposed to be wooed by her.
It was to have been almost successful, and then fail.
With this actress, there was too much likeability, and no wooing potential.
I told the writer that for these reasons, I was inclined to hire somebody else.
Knowing my partner's (I had a partner) reputation for never having my back,
she did an end-run around me and appealed directly to him to get me to
change my mind.
But it didn't work.
Purely on the basis that he knew that I'd made the right aesthetic decision.
Of course, it never should have gotten that far.
If someone had tried "Divide-and-Conquer" on me about him, I would have
defended him to the hilt, right or wrong.
That's what partners are supposed to do.
But maybe the fact that he actually agreed with me on his own volition carried
more weight with the writer and the actress.
And maybe the hatred was spread around a little bit.
So we hired a much prettier actress who had no problem playing a bitch,
and it worked great.
It was simply the writer's fault that she wrote a part for her friend that she
wasn't right for, and no amount of hatred was going to change that.
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'd like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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."