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Saturday, November 17, 2012

What Are You, Da Hostess?

For me, the highlight of the movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", and also the
highlight of Buddy Hackett's rather miniscule movie career, was the scene that took
place in the airplane.
Jim Backus was the pilot, who got loaded up on at least one too many Old-Fashioneds, leaving Hackett and Mickey Rooney, who had both never even been in an airplane before, in charge of the controls.
Actually, Hackett was in charge of the controls.
Rooney was in charge of crabbing, bellyaching, and panicking as their lives were seeming to be coming to an end.
Hackett, having had enough of this, cried out "He's passed out in the back, I'm flying da plane, what are you, da hostess?
I thought that this was the funniest line of a very funny picture.
And it transcended itself into my sisters and my daily life.
Any time we were in the supermarket and passed the packaged baked goods section, one of us would point to a Hostess product and say "What are you, da Hostess?"
This extended to when we brought one of said products home, opened the refrigerator,
got the others attention, and said "What are you, the Hostess?"
During that era, with rare exceptions, we loved Hostess baked goods.
Particularly their chocolate items.
Hostess creme filled cupcakes was my favorite.
I also was fond of Hostess Sno-Balls, which consisted of chocolate cake, creme-filled, covered with marshmallow, and coconut sprinkles, two to a package, one white, the other pink.
I couldn't eat the pink one, even then a little wary of what went into the dye that turned it pink.

My sister was a little less discriminatory.
She would knock down everything chocolate.
The more icing, the better.
Ho-hos, Ding dongs, Yodels.
All loaded with icing and creme filling.
Notice that I spell it creme, because that's how they spelled it.
Probably because it was something ersatz other than cream.
The thing that neither of us could hack was Twinkies.
Tasteless, creme filled, no icing, and not any chocolate.
And then, they started cocking around with orange cupcakes.
Thing were getting out of hand.
Too much branching out.
And it was all junk food to the nth degree, before we were even aware of the term.

So I was saddened when I started hearing that Hostess was shutting down operations.
It was the end of an era,
It also occurred to me that it had been at least fifteen years since I had sampled any of their wares.
I think this is because, even though they contained enormous nostalgia value, the product got worse and worse.
The cupcakes got smaller and didn't taste as good as they used to.
So I'm saddened on an aesthetic level, but not on a culinary one.
And I'll have no further opportunity to say "What are you, da Hostess?"


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. Buddy Hackett was one of the funniest men, telling stories in his understated manner. I recently found a clip of a conversation he had on the Dean Martin show in the 1960s, describing his experiences in live theatre. I laughed out loud during the original broadcast: and just as loud seeing it again. It's timeless.

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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."