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Monday, June 11, 2012

More about Linda Lavin.

It's a shame she didn't win the Tony last night.
She was great.
What I found interesting was the comment left by one of
my readers: about how wonderful she has always been, and how
she and the rest of the cast of "Alice" were not served very well
by their writers.
I found it interesting because that's exactly how I felt, and what
I had intended to write about.
I also found it interesting because that's apparently exactly how
SHE felt about it.
She once attended a filming of one of my sitcoms, "Busting Loose".
She was a friend of one of the cast members.
Not only was she bowled over by the level of the writing, but also
by our imaginative use of sets.
In this particular instance, I am going to take full credit.
The script involved our hero, as portrayed by Adam Arkin, hooking
up with an old girlfriend who had unceremoniously dumped him
The two staff writers working on the script were looking for an
exotic, yet affordable location for the former lovers to relive
old times.
I suggested underneath the stands at the high school football stadium.
I then suggested that the scene take place at night, during an actual
This meant hiring a lot of extras where we'd only see their legs.
But they'd be able to drop stuff like popcorn and soda through the
openings in the bleachers onto the two former lovers.
An expensive joke, but one I felt was well worth it.
When I met Linda Lavin later that night, she was effusive in her
praise. Particularly about how great having that football stadium
set was. She then got particularly wistful and said "If only I had
writers who would think like this. Who would think about ANYTHING"

The Show Runners on "Alice" were Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Davis,
primarily known for their work on "I Love Lucy", where their primary
job was trying to figure out how to get Lucy locked in the freezer,
or how to get that trophy stuck on her head.
Stuff like that.
This is who they got to turn a sophisticated movie like "Alice Doesn't
Live Here Anymore" into the TV sitcom drivel that was "Alice"
I disagree with my reader that the rest of the cast was also badly served.
The rest of the cast, the ones that Linda Lavin had to play straight to,
all played it way over the top.
But who knows? Maybe that was also the fault of the Show Runners.
And maybe they just couldn't figure out a way to get Alice locked in the freezer.

More about that episode of "Busting Loose" 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'd like one, contact me at



  1. Vic Tayback was in the movie. He played Mel much more broadly and, as you said, over-the-top, in the TV version. I can't help but think he was just doing what was expected of him. There's been a lot of dumb TV comedies over the years with actors who are quite good when you see them in other things. I guess they go where the work is.

  2. I think a better indication of Linda Lavin's sitcom performance would be her semi-regular appearances on Barney Miller. Better material, much funnier performance.

  3. There's a chance you're qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  4. There is a chance you're qualified for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.



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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."