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Friday, September 20, 2013

Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Five.

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"
Without me.
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.
Not theirs.
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
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. Don't perceive you as a crybaby at all. It feels cathartic to post such stuff. I've had similar experiences in my radio career and getting (to quote the late Paul Harvey) "The Rest of the Story" out there is a must. I recently had a radio program director who was jealous of any attention paid to us, his on-air staff, and would ridicule us in public and on-air to aggrandize himself (totally missing the point that a popular airstaff is a big win for him). If we had ratings higher than his, we could always expect to be in his crosshairs for the next few weeks. Crybaby? Hardly. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. In other words, the only thing this radio program director was able to find in the word "team" were the letters "ME."

  3. Mark we have all been there at one time or another in our lives. It is particularly hard to recover from when our contribution has been misunderstood or overlooked and especially when trust has been violated. Your feelings are very valid.

  4. I concur with R. Whether professionally or in private life, we've all been betrayed at one point or several. Some of us have reached a certain age where we shouldn't care any longer whose feelings are hurt by the truth (or at least our side of a story!). Keep right on "catharsizing", Mr. Rothman, you've earned it.

  5. Though I enjoy reading your writing, I've often wondered whether I would like you if I actually met you in person since there's sometimes an I-shall-not-suffer-fools-gladly streak to these essays that could be intimidating in another context. But now it seems you've suffered the ultimate fool, or maybe jerk, and that makes you a much more sympathetic figure.

  6. Kirk, I am the first to admit that my writing style on the blog is a bit cut-and-slash. But it is primarily done for effect. I think it makes the writing more interesting. I always believe what I say, and could easily be gentler about it. But sometimes I am attempting to accumulate style points. I am a lot more self-revelatory in this series of articles than I have ever been before. And most people who really know me seem to like me a lot.

  7. Yup. I know him and I like him a lot.

  8. You might be eligible to receive a Apple iPhone 7.

  9. You could be eligible to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.



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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."