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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Last Angry Man. 4.

Jack Klugman had, by almost any measure, a rather odd marriage to Brett Somers.
Odd, in that they spent extremely little time with each other.
At least by the time I knew him.
She appeared on "The Odd Couple" at least a couple of times.
They had married in 1953, and remained married until her death in 2007.
And they had two sons together.
But they spent about as much time with each other away from the set as he did with
I make no judgements.
Just reporting what I know.

There was only one time in history that Jack made the trek up to our office.
My writing partner, Lowell Ganz, and I, had just participated in the first table reading of an upcoming episode, and it led to a particularly vehement session of "What do I want?!!!" by Jack.
We valiantly attempted to point out to him what it was that he wanted.
It got particularly heated, and ugly.
It ended in a Mexican standoff.
Afterwards, Garry Marshall took Jack aside, and cajoled him.
Garry has always been a great cajoler.
He said "Jack, do you really want to leave things this way? I mean, these are your best writers. They can go work on any show in town"
Yes, I'm being particularly immodest, but again, I'm just reporting what he said.
Garry continued "Why don't you go up to their office and apologize to them."
This concept certainly went against Jack's grain, but he took up the gauntlet, and made the one-flight-up trek to our office to apologize to us.
We had no warning that he was coming, because our secretary was in our inner office along with us.
Playing cards with us.
On the floor.
It was the only time Jack ever came up to our office, and the only time any of us played cards on the floor.
And these two events coincided.
So Jack, with no secretary in our outer office to buffer us, walked right into our inner office, with an almost immediate triumphant look on his face.
"I KNEW you guys never worked!!
We, of course, were embarrassed.
But Jack apologized for the scene he made at the table anyway.
But not without reiterating that he was right all along.

Ever wonder how Jack got the part as Oscar?
Here's the story, as best as I know it.
My source is Garry Marshall.

The "Odd Couple" series was borne because ABC secured Tony Randall to play Felix.
He was the key to the package.
Every piece of approval stemmed from Tony: Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, the choice for Oscar, et al.

Tony and Garry sat down together, and Garry asked the magic question: "Who do you
want for Oscar?"
Tony didn't even hesitate.
He had done the play with Mickey Rooney in Las Vegas.
He told Garry that Mickey Rooney was sensational.
Garry stopped him with "Write down your second choice on this piece of paper, and
sight unseen, I will say 'Fine.' But please! No Mickey Rooney!"
It's not that Garry didn't think Mickey Rooney wasn't talented.
Or that he wouldn't make a great Oscar.
But Garry had worked with Mickey Rooney on a TV-Movie, "Evil Roy Slade", and found him to be the most obnoxious asshole he had ever spent any time with.
And he didn't want to spend any more time with him.
So perhaps if Mickey Rooney had been any less of a shmuck, he would have been Oscar.
And since I owe so much of my career to Jack, perhaps I wouldn't have had any career to speak of.

So long, Jack.
You will be sincerely missed.


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.



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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."