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Friday, August 2, 2013

No, I'm Not Done With The OTN.

Actually, I don't know if I'll EVER be done with the OTN.
The Obscure Television Network, for you newbies.
A fantasy network of my own making to provide opportunities to see TV shows that I think are worth your time, and for whatever reason have never been rerun.
New entries constantly cross my path and my mind.
Recently, my friend Bob, who is rapidly becoming my better and better friend Bob, sent me a couple of episodes of "The Practice"
No, not the ABC series about lawyers that evolved into "Boston Legal"
This one is from the mid-1970's, and was a sitcom starring Danny Thomas as a doctor who had his own office and still made housecalls.
Kind of like what Paul Muni was in "The Last Angry Man"
I remember watching it when it was first on, and really enjoying it.
What I didn't recall was how absolutely brilliant it was.
And it was.
The first episode of the ones he sent me was incredibly good.
It did something I had never seen before or since.
Danien shows up at the home of an old neighborhood friend just as Last Rites are being administered by the priest.
And then Danien spends the entire half-hour doing a monologue about death to the corpse.
He was brilliant.
The writing was brilliant.
They completely stretched the sitcom form.
The writer was the great Steve Gordon, who was best known for writing the movie "Arthur"
And Steve Gordon died only five years after this episode of "The Practice", at the age of 43.
This only adds to the irony of that monologue.

"The Practice" was also quite substantive.
The other episode dealt with the dilemma a Doctor faces when he is faced with attempting to save a life that really isn't worth saving.
In this case, a thug who sells drugs to kids.
The actor playing the thug was an actor named Carmine Caridi, whom I'm sure you'd recognize.
I know I did.
Perhaps that's because I had once cast him myself, and he was really good.
I thought that his work in this episode was a little sub-standard for him.
Then, watching the credits, I realized why.
It wasn't Carmine Caridi.
It was Vic Tayback.
You know.
The guy who played Mel from Mel's diner on "Alice"
A guy whose work I never liked.
An actor far worse than Carmine Caridi.
I had never been that badly fooled.
And I never realized how much Tayback and Caridi looked and sounded like each other.
Maybe they were the same guy.
No. They couldn't be.
Maybe they could have been twins.
Maybe they were.
Except one of them got all the talent.

"The Practice" belongs on the OTN.

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 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.



  1. I googled Carmine Caridi to find a photo & see he's still acting. I do recognize him from his photos on IMDB. Thanks for these OTN entries.

  2. How this for a life of crime.
    "A notable Italian American actor, Caridi was considered by Francis Ford Coppola for the role of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, but lost out to James Caan.[1] Caridi has appeared in every Godfather film, as a bystander to Sonny's beating of Carlo Rizzi in Part I, as Carmine Rosato in Part Two and as Albert Volpe in Part Three.
    Once a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was expelled for lending movies he had obtained as a voter to a friend who published pirate videos from the copies."

  3. Since Caridi didn't get the gig, does that make him an Ex-Caan?

  4. According to IMDB, Caridi played on an episode of "Alice" as Al Sharples, presumably Mel's (Vic Tayback's) brother. Apparently you weren't the only one to notice the resemblence. I do remember him as Bruno's dad from "Fame".

  5. You could be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  6. There is a chance you're qualified to get a Apple iPhone 7.



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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."