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Monday, April 22, 2013

THE Abram S. Ginnes.

I've been looking for a hook to write about "the TV series "Naked City", which is my favorite series that is currently appearing on MeTV.
And perhaps my favorite TV series of all time.
Certainly my favorite dramatic series.
And this morning, it was staring me in the face.
On the Google alt. obituaries website, there it was.
The obituary of Abram S. Ginnes.
Yes, THE Abram S. Ginnes.
It said that he died on Saturday at the age of 91.
Abram S. Ginnes was a blacklisted writer in the 1950's.
When the storm had past, he wrote a whole slew of episodes of "Naked City"
Under his own name.
Abram S. Ginnes.
"Naked City was a class act all the way.
The writing, the use of music, the great exterior photography capturing New York City in the early 1960s....
The writing was probably its classiest element.
In the obituary, it was mentioned that it was virtually an anthology series, with the police elements virtually crammed in.
I suppose this is true. But it was done seamlessly.
Ginnes in particular did some great cramming.
He also came up with very exotic titles for each episode he wrote.
As did the other episode writers.
"Naked City was known for its exotic titles.
Here are some that Ginnes provided:

"The Night the Saints Lost Their Halos"
"Let Me Die Before I Wake"
"The One Marked Hot Gives Cold"
"...And If Any Are Frozen, Warm Them!..."
"Memory of a Red Trolley Car"
"...And By the Sweat of Thy Brow..."
"Kill Me While I'm Young So I Can Die Happy"
"A Horse Has a Big Head - Let Him Worry!"
"King Stanislaus and the Knights of the Round Stable"
"Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, They Went Out With the Bow and Arrow"
"No Naked Ladies in Front of Giovanni's House!"

At 91, Ginnes outlived all the cops who were regulars on "Naked City"
Including Paul Burke.
The last time I saw Paul Burke on TV was really sad.
I was here in Detroit, watching TV, and there was this commercial for a local furniture store.
The spokesman doing the pitch for the sofas and recliners was Paul Burke.
Paul Burke, who was first billed in "Naked City" and "Twelve O'Clock High", had a receding hairline and was hawking furniture for this store.
And it wasn't like "Hi, I'm Paul Burke. You know, from "Naked City" and Twelve O'Clock High, and I'm here to tell you about this wonderful furniture that will be on sale through the weekend."
No, he just appeared.
As if maybe you didn't know who he was.
This was in the nineties.
He was a TV star in the sixties.
I guess you gotta eat.

I have since gone to Abram S. Ginnes's IMDB page.
There, it indicated that Abram S. Ginnes died in 2006. At age 91.
If so, I don't know why this obituary appeared today.
But it certainly has served its purpose.
Paul Burke died in 2009, so I guess the jury is out on who outlived who.
But at least Abram S. Ginnes had more longevity.
And he never had to do furniture commercials.
As far as I know.


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 paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. About Paul Burke:

    My father hated him.
    Mainly because he replaced Robert Lansing on "12 O'Clock High".
    That was my father's war - the Air Force in England.
    The original novel by Bernie Lay was probably his favorite book ever.
    The movie, with Gregory Peck, topped that list with him.
    So when the TV series came along, Dad was there every Friday night.
    He'd also loved Robert Lansing's previous series "87th Precinct", so there was half the battle.
    But after season one, ABC and Quinn Martin announced that next year, Lansing was out and Paul Burke was in.
    Something about the show moving to an earlier timeslot, and the need to appeal to a "younger audience".
    They sort of let that drop once it got out that Burke was two years older than Lansing.
    But the deed was done, and even though Dad never stopped watching "12 O'Clock High", he hated Paul Burke and said that he wrecked the show.
    Dad even made his dislike for Burke retroactive to "Naked City" - and he didn't like James Franciscus all that much either (his fave was Horace McMahon).
    Years afterward, Dad wouldn't buy anything at Radio Shack, simply because Paul Burke did their commercials.
    Probably just as well that Dad didn't buy furniture in Detroit ...

  2. Quick follow-up from yesterday ...

    I remembered reading in Paul Burke's obituary that he'd gotten into a legal tangle of some sort circa 1990, and that had derailed his Hollywood career.
    IMDb says that Burke was indicted on Federal racketeering charges, along with some guys he'd grown up with in New Orleans.
    One of those pals grew up to be the District Attorney of New Orleans - Harry Connick, Sr.
    You may have heard of his son.
    Anyway, they all stood trial; Burke and Connick were acquitted, the others not.
    Acquittal or not, Paul Burke's acting career ended then and there.
    I'm guessing that Burke hooked up with one of those small-time ad agencies that contracts out to do commercials for local companies all over the country; they provide a 'star' to do the pitch for the local company, which is flattered to get a 'star', who in turn is relieved to get even a discount fee for the gig.
    Very likely, Paul Burke could be found doing similar pitches for local furniture outlets in many cities - exact same pitch, different named store and locale.
    Enough of those, you can make a decent (if limited) living for a few years, while hoping your 'real' career kicks back in.

    Another installment of "More Than You Wanted To Know" - coming soon! (?)

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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."