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Friday, May 17, 2013

A Couple Of Variety Shows For The OTN.

As you may recall, last time was "Wally Cox Day" on the OTN.
For those of you who don't remember, George Gobel was a somewhat countrified, somewhat musical, somewhat devastatingly funny version of Wally Cox.
He was the only other actor that I could ever imagine playing "Mister Peepers"
He was more of a monologist, and much more of a singer and musician than Wally Cox.
Thus, hosting a variety show seemed like a natural for him.
And it was.
He won an Emmy Award for "The George Gobel Show, which first appeared in the mid-50s.
The award was richly deserved.
I remember watching the show when I was a kid, and loving it, and him.
There are a couple of episodes of it on YouTube, so you can see what all the shouting is about.
And I will happily do the shouting.
The head writer was the extremely gifted Hal Kanter, and I think that the Gobel Show was the height of his work.
Both Gobel and Wally Cox were regulars on the original "Hollywood Squares"
I don't know if they ever appeared simultaneously, but any questions that the writers there came up with which would have been suitable for one, would have been suitable for the other.
I don't know if any of the kinescopes of the Gobel Show exist, other than the two on YouTube, but I'd sure like to find out.

George Gobel and Garry Moore, who I also briefly mentioned last time, had several things in common:
Charm, crewcuts, their own variety shows, and a penchant for heavy drinking.
Gobel appeared often on Garry Moore's Primetime variety show.
One time, so the story goes, Moore stopped by George's dressing room before the show to wish him well, and found George drinking a tall one. Moore chastised him: "George, do you really think you should be drinking before the show?"
Gobel responded "You mean, you don't?"
Moore replied "Never before a show."
Gobel then asked "You mean you go out there alone?"

I think Garry Moore was underrated as a comic talent.
This is perhaps due to his close association with Durward Kirby, who was never underrated about anything.
I may have mentioned this once before, but Woody Allen was one of the writers on "The Garry Moore Show"
Watching Moore and Kirby in rehearsal, he commented to one of the other writers "They're button salesmen."
This was perhaps a little harsh, at least as far as Moore was concerned.
Moore certainly held his own as Jimmy Durante's partner on radio, in a show titled, appropriately enough, "The Durante-Moore Show"
Moore's greatest strength was his charm and graciousness as a host.
He also hosted the game show "I've Got A Secret"
The great Henry Morgan, who was a regular panelist on "I've Got A Secret", in his autobiography had only the nicest things to say about Garry Moore.
He also delineated the difference between Moore and the subsequent host of "I've Got A Secret", Steve Allen.
He said "Steve Allen was there purely to make jokes. To serve himself. Sometimes at the contestants expense, sometimes at the panelists' expense. Garry Moore was the world's most amiable host. He was there to make the contestants, the panelists, and the audience welcome and comfortable."
And that's what he essentially did on his very entertaining variety hour.
Plus, he was the one who seriously unleashed the brilliance of Carol Burnett as a great sketch comedienne.
What more can you ask for?
Well...if you're me, you can ask for more than the two rather primitive kinescopes of the Garry Moore Show" that appear on YouTube.
You can only ask....

Mark Rothman, CEO of the OTN.


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. Many years ago George Gobel appeared in my town in a summer theater production of "Play It Again, Sam."

    I wish I could say I saw him, especially considering that the venue was literally up the street from me, but I stupidly didn't ask my parents if I could. Especially stupid because after each show he'd come onstage as himself and do one of his monologues. (That dull, repetitive thud you hear is me kicking myself.)

    My older sister was an apprentice at the theater that season, and she recalled seeing a lot of bottles in his dressing room, which is how I found out about his drinking....

    Thanks very much for the comments on Garry Moore, who I think has been unjustly forgotten. During the 1970s I liked watching him host To Tell the Truth -- he might have been the greatest host ever.

    On YouTube I think you can still watch the last episode he hosted. He'd been off the show for some time because of cancer surgery, with Bill Cullen and maybe someone else filling in. The health problem convinced Moore he should retire, but he did one last show to explain to the audience why he was leaving and hand the baton to Joe Garagiola. A really classy performance.

    A while back I read an interview with the late Judy Crichton, who was on the I've Got a Secret staff. She said that CBS at one point wanted to get rid of the show's longtime stage manager, a guy named Joe, because of his leftist leanings.

    Whereupon Moore went to the brass and said, in effect, "No Joe, no Garry."

    Joe kept his job.

    Joe's last name, by the way, was Papp.

    Yep -- THAT Joe Papp.

    1. Thank you for your Joe Papp story. I am a huge Papp fan. In my years in NYC, 1957-1976, Papp was one of the crown jewels of the city and of theatre everywhere. Among many many accomplishments he gave Raul Julia his start in Two Gentlemen of Verona.

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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."