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Monday, May 20, 2013

Navy Day On The OTN.

I've been getting e-mails making suggestions for the OTN that have been missing the point.
They have suggested shows like "The Fugitive"
"The Fugitive" has been in reruns for many years.
MeTV is showing it now.
It's time to reiterate: The OTN is the Obscure Television Network, devoted to shows that have virtually never been rerun anywhere, and deserve to be.

Two candidates will be offered up today.
Both from the naval branch of our Armed Forces.
And no, I am not referring to "Broadside", which was a distaff version of "McHale's Navy", and is technically qualified, but does not deserve a place here.
This is because it was never funny, and had no funny people on it.
With the possible exception of Sheila James.
But her presence was not enough to turn things around.

The shows that I am referring to is first, "Ensign O'Toole", which starred Dean Jones in the title role.
It ran two seasons, 1962 and 1963.
There are shows that can be described as "fun", rather than "funny".
This usually means that they tried for funny and failed.
But "Ensign O'Toole was genuinely fun, and made the occasional leap into funny.
I was around fourteen when it aired, watched it every Sunday, and enjoyed it immensely.
There was an actor named Jack Mullaney, who was a regular on it, who was extremely funny.
Much like the way Bob Denver was funny on "Dobie Gillis"
I'd really like to have the opportunity to see it again on a regular basis.

Second is a wonderful show called "Hennessey".
It starred Jackie Cooper as a navy doctor, and Abby Dalton as his nurse and romantic interest.
It too was only occasionally funny.
It was more like fun.
But what it was, was classy, and low-key, and realistic.
Jackie Cooper, in his autobiography, took a major piss on his earlier series, "The Peoples Choice"
You know. The one where he had a basset hound whose thoughts were expressed by the actress Mary Jane Croft.
In a very droll way.
I thought "The Peoples Choice" was VERY funny.
However, it has been rerun quite a bit.
Cooper heaped praise upon praise upon "Hennessey".
And it WAS a better show.
And it's worth our attention now.
Why it has vanished is one of life's mysteries.

Until next time.

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. In which I try to be helpful:

    I believe I've mentioned in the past that what keeps many series out of syndication are disputes over who owns the rights to distribute.

    I'm just back from IMDb, because I couldn't recall who exactly owned HENNESEY.
    It turns out that HENNESEY was a co-production of CBS and Jackie Cooper's indie company - I think.
    I'll double check Cooper's autobiog tonight.
    I already knew that ENSIGN O'TOOLE was a Four Star show.
    CBS and Four Star are major contributors to the MeTV inventory.(There may even be equity involved.)
    So all it would take (theoretically, at least) would be for interest to be shown at a buyer's level.
    If there were a real OTN - one with assets to buy stuff - it would have to approach owners with a wish list of shows from the past and a wide-open checkbook to finance a restoration.
    And that's gonna happen -
    - ah nuts.

    In re BROADSIDE:
    So you didn't think Edward Andrews and Arnold Stang were funny?
    OK, maybe not in this show, but still ...

  2. For OTN consideration -- how about "Mr. Novak"? I was very young when it was on, but I remember it as one of those classy, well-written dramas of the era, like The Defenders and The Fugitive. Don't think I've ever seen it run again.

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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."