Last time, I promised you other ways that Lowell humiliated me in public.
I was once standing next to him when he was talking to some of the writers and other producers of one of the shows we were working on, and he said to them "Sometimes I really feel bad for Mark. I talk so fast that nobody gets to see what he does".
So he was aware of the problem.
But he never once asked me in private how I felt about it.
He simply implied to me and the others that it was the only way anyone could work with him, and he couldn't have anyone challenge him about it.
We were once returning from a Sunday afternoon softball game in a carload of other writers.
Lowell handed me a script, and said "Mark, whenever you're worried about what it would be like writing by yourself, just look at this script. This guy has major credits, it's the worst thing I've ever read, and he gets regular work."
Good. So now he was comparing my potential solo work to that of the writer of the worst script he has ever read.
In front of five other writers.
We would go to network meetings, where he would unravel his mouth and do a verbal tarantella on their collective heads.
We'd sell them the pilot idea that we were there to pitch, and they would figuratively carry Lowell around the room on their shoulders. As they were putting him back down, they would look at me and say, with utmost insincerity, "You were good too."
This was the beginning of my image being cultivated with the networks.
And on the way down, on the elevator, Lowell was always in a celebratory mood.
There was never any "Mark, I'm sorry I didn't let you say anything."
I'm saving the best for last:
We always had first cut screenings of the previous week's episode that was shot.
All the writers were invited to them, and they all came.
The shows usually came in at five minutes too long, and had to be pared down.
Lowell, of course, always gave the notes out loud, and I do mean loud, to the editors, with the script rolled up in his hand.
Again, I was relegated to the back seat.
We always booked the screening room for an hour.
It was always enough time to conduct business.
The rental of the screening rooms came out of the show's budgets, so we really couldn't linger too long in there.
Once, we had booked a screening room for noon.
Lowell had not shown up.
I gave him the courtesy of waiting twenty minutes, which is more courtesy than he ever would have given me.
He still hadn't shown up.
I then gave the projectionist the cue to start rolling the film.
I couldn't wait any longer.
I'd give the notes.
With the rolled up script in MY hand.
Finally, I was going to be able to at least show the writers that there is something I could do at least as well as Lowell.
Perhaps not as loudly, but as well.
A half-hour later, Lowell still not having shown up, I was now ready to give the editor my notes.
As I was about to begin, Lowell waltzed into the screening room.
I informed him that we already ran the film, and that I was about to give the editing notes.
Without responding to me, he pulled the rolled up script out of my hands and began giving the editing notes.
For a first cut that he hadn't seen.
Proving to all assembled that he could do a better job of editing a film that he hadn't seen than I could with a film I HAD seen.
And I didn't make a fuss.
I simply let him do it.
Because he held my career by a string more than ever before, and he would not accept being challenged.
As a gentleman, I will not tell you what I wanted to do to him with that rolled up script
This instance set the tone for my relationships with the writers and the editors.
So, did I have any reaction to these humiliations?
Being that I couldn't confront Lowell about them, I began to take it out on everyone else who worked for me.
I started yelling at people.
Mostly the other writers, who didn't think I could write, and thus hated me, and our secretaries, who then just hated me on general principles.
In retrospect, I couldn't blame them, and have made several attempts over the years to make amends.
Usually to no avail.
Next time, the beginning of my breakup with Lowell.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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."