I've had a few personal encounters with Johnny Carson over the years.
The first one was in the summer of 1959.
I'll help you with the math.
I was eleven years old.
Fairly tall for an eleven-year-old, but still an eleven-year old.
This pretty much translates to: I was a fetus.
My mother took me to a live afternoon broadcast of the game show "Who Do You Trust?"
"Who Do You Trust?" was hosted by Johnny.
The show was done at the Little Theater on 44th Street, near Times Square, right next to the big
St. James Theatre on 44th Street.
The musical "Flower Drum Song" was playing at the St. James.
The things you remember.....
Ed McMahon had already been broken in as Johnny's announcer, and told the studio audience that if anyone would like to apply to be a contestant, to stick around for an interview after the broadcast.
Being the uncured and incurable ham that my mother was, she already began planning to apply.
As a contestant.....and applying an extra ton of makeup on an already made up face.
She figured that she would recruit my father, whether he wanted to be recruited or not, because
"Who Do You Trust" required couples.
The show ended, and my mother was attempting her mad dash from the balcony, where we were seated, to the lower level, to be interviewed.
I noticed that Johnny sat at the foot of the stage, graciously signing autographs.
I suddenly got my Jones on to get Johnny's autograph.
But, not being a writer yet, I did not have the requisite pen and paper needed to accomplish my mission.
This was a classic case of my mother having bigger fish to fry, and not wanting to be bothered.
But she indulged me.
At least to the point of giving me a pencil that barely had a point, and handing me an envelope that had already had some writing on it.
She at least took the time to tear off the part of the envelope that had the writing on it, and hand me the rest.
I, being a fetus, saw nothing wrong with this arrangement.
My mother went down for her interview, and she was selling like crazy.
And for whatever reason, they were buying.
It all had to do with the fact that my father was a cab driver, and at that precise moment, the New York City cab drivers were on strike.
So Mother and Dad were topical.
Meanwhile, I was waiting my turn patiently in line to get Johnny's autograph.
Finally, it was my turn.
I handed Johnny my pencil that barely had a point, and the torn piece of envelope.
Johnny, surrounded by a couple of female members of his staff, did one of his now famous takes, and summed up the situation with one word, as he smirked ".....neat!"
I was at least unfetus-like to realize that I had experienced utter humiliation.
By a master.
Next time, backstage at 'Who Do You Trust?", as my father went on to attempt to represent the cab drivers of New York City, and attempt to win lots o' money for all concerned.
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."