I was six years old, living in my parents’ apartment on the third floor of the building in New York City.
The Bronx, to be specific.
Directly beneath us lived Morris and Ann Teplitsky------- and their son, Harvey, my contemporary, also six.
I was much taller than, as the late Jimmy Stewart would have called him,
“My friend, Harvey”. I don’t know where Harvey is today, if anywhere, but I’m sure that if he IS anywhere, I’m still much taller than him.
In 1953, I didn’t know what a homosexual was.
Hell, in 1963, I didn’t know what a homosexual was.
But Harvey was the first example in my conscious life of a male who was extremely, extremely, extremely effeminate.
And also, he was effeminate. A dead ringer for Pee Wee Herman---------even at six, when no one had heard of Pee Wee Herman.
So one Saturday afternoon, I am invited down to share the day with the Teplitskys. Particularly Harvey.
I have no idea what is on his mind, but who am I to question?
It seems that the purpose of my visit was to listen to a record he wanted to play for me on his phonograph. They called them Victrolas then.
This is when records were 78 RPM .
He showed me the album cover.
I never heard of him.
I had never heard him sing.
Harvey starts playing the record while I sat in front of him.
Not having a particularly musical ear at six, I did not appreciate Mr. Jolson’s endeavors.
I, in fact, made a face.
Harvey notices this and says to me “What’s the matter, don’t you like it?”
And I replied “What’s with all of this “Mammy”and Alabammy”?
Harvey took umbrage.
He rose up, all four-foot-six of him, looked down at me, and said, in very somber tones----“The MAN is DEAD!”
I, of course, was immediately humbled.
“Gee, I’m sorry. I didn’t know”
Actually I hardly knew of anyone who was dead in 1953.
Only Babe Ruth.
And now Jolson.
These days, just about everybody is dead.
And that incident pretty much began a life long obsession I've had with death. I’ve become an expert on each and all celebrity death.
I’ve been able to tell people when any celebrity died, how they died, and how old they were WHEN they died.
This is a talent that has lost it’s value, if in fact it ever had any.
As we now know, anyone with the Internet can summon up the information by the touch of a finger.
So there are plenty of places to go to find straight obituary information.
This has all led to me tossing up another book at the Amazon Kindle Store, titled
appropriately enough, "The Man Is Dead"
It is a collection of obituaric (yes, I believe I invented that word,) commentaries culled from, and then removed from the blog.
It is about all things, and particularly people, dead.
Reflections and opinions about the deceased that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else.
That’s all I offer.
There is also another new book available from me at the Amazon Kindle Store.
I will talk about that one more extensively next time.
But it can also be perused and purchased now.
I’m sure "The Man Is Dead" will be funnier than regular obits, and not nearly as tasteful.
Take a look, and if you purchase it, I'd certainly appreciate your feedback.
Here’s to all of us survivors!
My book,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store. Along with "The Man Is Dead", and another new one, "Report Cards".
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."