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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tony Randall Day On The OTN.

As you probably know by now, there can never be enough Tony Randall to suit me.
And there are two series that he did, two seasons each, both post-Odd Couple, that have been unfortunately missing in action, and belong on the OTN.
Because they were both wonderful.
And Tony was, of course, wonderful in them.

The first was "The Tony Randall Show", which immediately followed the demise of "The Odd Couple"
He played Philadelphia judge Walter Franklin.
As good as John Larroquette was on "Night Court", "The Tony Randall Show" was far better.
For several reasons.
"Night Court" virtually never left the courtroom.
On Tony's show, we got into his personal life far more.
And Allyn-Ann McLerie gave John Larroquette a run for his money as a supporting player.
She played Miss Reubner, his sneering, pompous secretary, to a fare-thee well.
Mostly known for playing ingenues on Broadway when she was younger, she showed an unexpected major flair for scene-stealing and high comedy.
Somebody knew something.
Also, Harry Anderson, the judge on "Night Court", was an uninteresting cipher.
Tony's show was easily the best courtroom sitcom ever done.
And it had great writers:

Tom Patchett and Jay Tarses, who guided the Bob Newhart Show,

Gary David Goldberg, who ran "Family Ties", and

Hugh Wilson, who ran WKRP in Cincinnati.

Heavyweights all.

Tony's other post "Odd Couple" sitcom was "Love, Sidney"
In that, he played an openly gay artist who shared his apartment with a single mother and her young child.
The young mother was played by Swooosie Kurtz.
This was before she got old enough to be Molly's eternally wine-drinking mother on "Mike and Molly"
"Love, Sidney" was not as well written as "The Tony Randall Show", but it had many fine moments.
Usually because of Tony's fine work.
I was, and am, always in awe of his talent.

These shows should unquestionably be on the OTN.

One more thing about Tony:
As much as I loved him and his work on "The Odd Couple", he was not the best Felix Unger I ever saw.
He was the second best.
Next time, taking a break from OTN submissions, I will tell you who the best Felix Unger I ever saw was, and why.

Until then,

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 and 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.



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  3. I never saw "Love, Sidney," though I remember seeing a promo for an episode that featured Myrna Loy. This was when I was working nights, and I don't think I had a VCR, but I at least would have liked to see that episode.

    As for "The Tony Randall Show," I'm in complete agreement. I especially remember one episode where Randall, as the judge, was teaching a night school class and had a smartass student named Zeke who was extremely funny -- the first time I ever saw Michael Keaton.

    Ms. McLerie was wonderful, and I believe Barney Martin was in it, too. One odd thing: Randall's daughter was originally played by Devon Scott, daughter of George C., who was eventually replaced by Penny Peyser.

    And who could forget Mario Lanza?

  4. Is there room on the OTN for dramatic tributes?

    I'd like to pyt together an anthology of guest shots on dramas by comedic actors.
    And I'd lead off with two by Tony Randall.

    - A "Checkmate" episode called "The Button-Down Break".
    Tony Randall played an advertising man named Luther Gage, who has his boss murdered.
    Sebastian Cabot busts him, and he gets sent to prison.
    From prison, Gage sends Cabot messages threatening to escape and get revenge.
    So Cabot sends one of the younger Checkmate guys undercover to stop him.
    Been awhile since I've seen this (the DVD is on order), but I do remember the credit for the original story - which I won't spoil.
    Tony Randall didn't play villains often; he seemed to having some fun with this one.

    - "Hangover" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour".
    Randall's an ad man again, this one named Hadley Purvis.
    Purvis is a heavy drinker, and as the story starts, he awakens from a bender in a strange hotel room - with Jayne Mansfield next to him.
    He can't remember any of the previous day, and spends the whole episode trying to put it back together.
    Very dark show; Randall has a lot of drunk flashbacks, which are funny and chilling at the same time.
    The story ends tragically.
    Afterward, Alfred Hitchcock (himself a heavy drinker) bypassed his usual patter in favor of a speechlet against alcoholism.
    When this show first aired, it was promoted as a reunion of Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield, who starred in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" on Broadway and in the movie. They both got good reviews for this completely different turn - something neither one of them got again.

    Late in his life, Tony Randall said in some interviews that he sometimes wished he'd played more serious roles than he had, rather than making "too many silly movies".
    He definitely had the chops for them.

    Do you suppose that at some level he might have envied Jack Klugman, whose pre-"Odd Couple" reputation was in straight drama?

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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."