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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Still Relevant?

As Jimmy Durante was wont to say, "Stop the Music! Stop the Music!"

I know I was going to start the series on my favorite movie themes, but something else came up that perhaps deserves your attention.

I have a reader who has purchased all of my e-books, and e-mails me regularly on her reactions to whatever articles she has just read.
She was reading the first "Show Runner", and was about to get to an article entitled "The Claude Rains Moment"
I warned her that it might seem a little dated, because it is political in nature.
It talks a lot about McCain and Palin.
She read it, and corrected me.
She said that it was overwhelmingly relevant.
She said it is probably more relevant now than ever.
Just substitute any Republican for McCain.
Or particularly any Republican named Mitt Romney.
As this article is no longer available on the blog, I'm going to reprint it in its
entirety and let you decide.


I'm sure you all remember Claude Rains.
One of our great movie actors.
Not really a movie star, although he did occasionally play leads.
He was usually remembered for his great supporting roles in movies that starred others.
Most notably, "Casablanca", as Louie, the corrupt Prefect of Police.
When he conducts a mock "raid" on Bogart's backroom casino at "Rick's", he says
"I'm shocked! Shocked, to discover that gambling has been going on in this establishment!"
At which point, the croupier approaches him and says "Your winnings, sir".
He hands him his winnings and Rains says "Thank you very much."

For a lot of people, that is their favorite Claude Rains moment.
For others, it is the very end of "Casablanca", when Rains and Bogart walk arm-in-arm away from the camera as Bogart says " Louie, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship".

Most movie actors don't even have one memorable moment like those two.
This is the kind of thing that immortalizes you.

But neither one of these is my favorite Claude Rains moment.
Nor are they the ones that have consumed my thoughts lately.

My favorite Claude Rains moment is from the movie "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington".
In that movie, he plays Senator Joseph Paine, the well-meaning but ultimately corrupt Senator who is under the thumb of political boss Jim Taylor, played with utter oiliness by Edward Arnold.
Jimmy Stewart, who becomes the Junior senator from Paines' state, idolizes Paine.
Circumstances force Stewart to filibuster the Senate.
Probably the last good filibuster we've had, even though it was fictional.
Paine is forced to stand by as Taylor's political machine steamrollers over Stewart, trashing him in the press, nearly defeating him.
Until Paine abruptly rises from his seat in the Senate and says the equivalent of "I don't deserve to live! That boy is right! Everything he's saying is right!"
He storms out of the Senate and attempts to take his own life by shooting himself.
For whatever reason, he fails at this attempt.

With all that has gone on in the Healthcare and the Debt Ceiling debate with Republicans, the bystanding as the President is being called a Nazi or a Socialist or a foreigner every day, and all the baldface lying , such as not denying the concept of death panels, calling global warming a hoax, claiming that there were no terrorist attacks under Bush-Cheney, that the economy hasn't improved when it has, pouncing on everything constructive just for the sport of it, I keep waiting for some responsible Republican to have that Claude Rains moment.
To have that moment when they exhibit that moment of conscience that you know they have, but don't want to show because possibly saving their own political skin is more important.
To jump out of their seats and say "Yes! We're full of shit! Don't listen to us! We're just looking to line our own pockets!

I'm not talking about the Limbaughs or the Becks or the Palins or the Jim Bunnings, or the little FOXes. Those with absolutely no consciences.
I guess I'm thinking more about someone like Mitt Romney.
Someone who passed a Healthcare bill in his own state, and is now trying to disavow it.
But it's probably too much to expect there.
I mean, this is a man who might possibly actually have a chance to be elected President.

I guess who I'm really thinking about is John McCain.
His chance came and went, and he knows it.
He was, at one time, highly respected. Just like Joseph Paine.
But then, he was in the primary fight of his life to be elected Senator from Arizona for the umpteenth time.
For this goal, he was willing to sabotage anything that might get done in the Senate, deny his entire history as a "Maverick", piss on the country and the Constitution, just so he might hold on to his goddamn Senate seat.
This is the man who kept saying "Country First".
Maybe he'll even deny that he was a war hero if he thinks that would help him.
Maybe he needn't bother.
From what I hear, he was a rotten pilot, which is why he crashed and was captured.
And that his fellow prisoners weren't too keen on him either.
But giving him the benefit of the doubt that at least some time in his life he was brave,
how important can that fackockta Senate seat be to him at this point?
His wife is loaded.
He can retire handsomely.
And if he goes out with the Claude Rains moment, without the gunshots, he can retire with dignity.
And really be a hero.



My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
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
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. As it happens, I watched "Mr. Smith ..." just the other night.

    This is what happens:

    - Smith vows that he'll continue, no matter what - and then collapses.

    - Paine gets up and leaves the chamber - without saying anything.

    - The other Senators crowd around Smith to see if he's all right.

    - Just as they determine that he is, a shot rings out from the hall.

    - Then, we see Paine in the hall, being disarmed by some others, and then he comes back into the chamber and makes the "I don't deserve ..." speech.

    - Chaos ensues, and VP Harry Carey pops in a stick of gum.
    Fade out - roll credits.

    Hey, Mark, you told me to keep you honest ...

  2. I remember Harry Carey eating an apple at the end, but it's been a while since I've seen the film.

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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."