I'm guessing that most, if not all of you have seen the movie "The Maltese Falcon", starring Humphrey Bogart as Private Detective Sam Spade.
It's a movie that Lowell and I must have seen at least twenty times.
Probably at least five times together.
In it, Spade's partner, Miles Archer, played by Jerome Cowan, is killed off in the first reel.
Spade then becomes consumed with finding out who killed Miles.
Along the way, he runs into a group of people seeking the whereabouts of "The Black Bird".
One of these people is Brigid O'Shaughnessy, who becomes Spade's love interest in the film.
Brigid O'Shaughnessy is played by Mary Astor.
Eventually, Spade figures out that Brigid herself is the person who killed Miles.
Pardon my lack of a spoiler alert, but if you've never seen this movie and you read my blog, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Spade is torn about turning Brigid over to the police, in which case, more likely than not, she'd "Hang by her pretty little neck".
Brigid, pleading for her life, plays the "You love me" card, to which Spade replies "It doesn't matter who loves who. When you have a partner, and something happens to him, you've got to do something. I don't know why. You've just got to. It's part of the Code."
And he turns Brigid over to the cops.
I've always thought of myself as someone who adhered to Sam Spade's code.
Lowell Ganz never did.
Whenever anything ever happened to me, and things happened quite often, Lowell never lifted a finger.
He was no Sam Spade.
I made several efforts to show him that he should be.
What he was, in fact, was Brigid O'Shaughnessy.
I've always felt that he was looking for ways to rub ME out.
When we worked on "Laverne & Shirley", and early on, everyone was looking past me to look at and listen to Lowell, we had a first table reading of a script.
Lowell and Cindy Williams had "Major artistic differences" about it, which led to a major shouting match between the two of them, which led to Lowell and me getting very publicly fired.
Me, who hadn't opened his mouth during the entire proceedings.
Because the show was such an enormous hit, everything that took place was in a fishbowl, that everyone could look into.
So our firing made the newspapers.
Not only the trade papers.
The actual newspapers.
A reporter from the L.A. Times called our office, as we were in the process of cleaning out our desks.
Actually, there was only one desk.
We always only had one desk.
Lowell didn't want to take the call from the reporter.
I took the call.
And in an attempt to be Sam Spade when something happened to his partner, I defended Lowell, and blamed the entire debacle on Cindy and Penny, referring to them in very unflattering terms.
I didn't believe a word of what I was saying.
Lowell knew that he was wrong in his argument with Cindy.
I knew he was wrong.
But he was my partner, and I had to do something.
That's the code.
And the article in the L.A. Times quoted me accurately.
Lowell never thanked me for this.
He never even knew that he was SUPPOSED to thank me.
There were other instances of him needing me to cover his back.
And he subjected me to it, without any warning, putting me on the spot.
As if he expected me to do it.
And I always came through.
With never an acknowledgement, or a word of thanks, by him.
It was a one-way street.
He and I then went on to do another series, "Busting Loose", during which he was asked to come back and run "Laverne & Shirley"
The girls hadn't forgiven me for trashing them in public.
I tagged along as a "Consultant", after pointing out to him that I was still his partner, and that he owed me for my publicly deflecting the blame for our getting fired from there in the first place, and being left to twist in the wind for it.
He initially resisted, saying that only HE was asked to come back. Not me.
But he relented.
And upon our return, Lowell had admonished me that I was not to ever address the girls personally.
Like I ever had the opportunity to do that in the first place.
Based on past and subsequent history, I am convinced that this was his idea.
So I was now being subjected to working on two series at the same time where everyone was looking past me to look at and listen to Lowell.
Cindy and I are now very good friends, and after participating in a staged public reading of one of my plays, she is now dazzled by my writing, has provided the Forewords for most of my books, and looks directly at me.
Next time, several examples of how Lowell seemed to go out of his way to humiliate me in public and not be Sam Spade, that were all considerably worse than what I have already described.
If I sound like a crybaby, I'm sorry.
But sometimes, dredging up the memories of this stuff still makes me cry like a baby.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- 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 email@example.com. 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."