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Friday, November 29, 2013

There's Johnny. 4.

Okay.
Cut to: seventeen years later.
I am in my "Odd Couple" office on the second floor of building H on the Paramount lot.
Downstairs, offices were set up for Carson Productions, Johnny's production company.
On my way to lunch, every day, I'd pass by the Carson Productions offices.
Never seeing hide nor hair of Johnny.
Months into the process, as I was headed for the commissary, I passed right by the entrance door to Carson Productions, and coming out of it, big as life itself, was Johnny.
This was a rare sighting.
He almost never came to his production office.
I figured that I had a story to tell him that he might find interesting and amusing.
So I engaged him in conversation, told him about the time when I was an eleven year old fetus and I asked him for his autograph and presented him with my mother's torn envelope and stubby pencil, and he, upon receiving these items, replied "....neat!"
I thought I told it rather engagingly.
He seemed interested.
He seemed amused.
He seemed very much like Johnny Carson.
He was very pleasant about it.
I came back from lunch.
Johnny was long gone.
A couple of hours later, one of Johnny's production company assistants, who knew me, and from Johnny's description had no trouble putting two and two together, confronted me.
"You talked to Johnny, didn't you?!"
I admitted that I had.
"Well, you know what it is that you did?!"
I had to admit that I didn't.
"You just simply depressed the hell out of Johnny! That's what you did!"
At that moment, I searched my soul, and couldn't for the life of me figure out what I could have said that would have depressed the hell out of Johnny.
She continued----"Here you are, this fully grown adult (She was being kind. I was a fully overgrown adult.), and you tell him how you asked him for his autograph when you were a child! (I almost corrected her and said "fetus", but in the state she was in, I didn't think that would help.) You made him feel ancient! Like he was a hundred years old!"
All I could say was that it was certainly not my intent to do that.
And I figured, however famous I'd ever become, I'd blown the only chance I ever had to appear on "The Tonight Show"
My best shot would be one of those nights that David Brenner was hosting.

In reference to my father appearing on "Who Do You Trust?", a couple of ironies:
Four years later from about 1963 to 1966,, my father became Johnny's limo driver on the Tonight Show.
"Who Do You Trust" had never been brought up again.
And a couple of years after that, he did most of the limousine work for The Merv Griffin Show, which was broadcast from the Little Theatre on 44th Street, where "Who Do You Trust" had been broadcast from.
Show business can be a small town.

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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 macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

******

5 comments:

  1. I doubt that Carson sent anyone to complain (not that you said he did). This was probably a case where he mentioned something that made him feel old and an overzealous assistant decided to "protect" Johnny from ever dealing with even the slightest melancholy thought, and somehow impress her boss. A bit like Elvis saying he'd like a soda and then smiling to a friend when all the guys would run to get it first so they could be the one to hand it to him. Carson didn't like being babied and the book mentions it. And from what I've seen, Mark, you're so tall and big it would be depressing to anyone to imagine how long ago it was when you were a kid. We'd all feel old at that thought. Carson was probably much more sensible than his assistants.

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  2. Okay, here's my Carson story, which isn't even a tenth as good as Mark's, but here it is. When I was in junior high school, in the early sixties, I used to go to the drug store once in a while and pop for 15 cents, to buy a TV Guide. For some reason, I kept them into my adulthood. Years later, I was looking at them, and realized that I had one that listed the broadcast of the Tonight Show on Monday night, indicating that "Johnny Carson begins tonight as regular host of the Tonight Show," or something like that. Cut again to a few years later, and it was announced that Johnny would soon be retiring from the Tonight Show. So I wrapped up the TV Guide and mailed it to him in care of NBC Burbank. A few weeks later I received a nice signed note from him thanking me for it, and saying that he would add it to his collection. Now cut ahead a few years more, and I heard a radio interview with a guy whose job it had been to answer Johnny's mail. Thousands of letters and all kinds of stuff had arrived at the studio every week, and this guy had to deal with it by replying to as much of it as he could. Of course, Johnny rarely saw any of it! POOF! Now go back a couple of years, when I was still believing that I was in possession of a signed note from Johnny Carson, and TV Guide ran a cover story about Jay Leno starting his run on the Tonight Show. I made a point to go out and buy the issue. I still have it. Jay recently retired. It didn't even occur to me to mail it to him. BUT this story has a nice ending. Miss America 1988, Kaye Lani Raye Rafko, is from my home town, and I had purchased a TV Guide back then with her on the cover. Happily, she still lives here, and I have become slightly acquainted with her in recent years. So, I had a chance to present her with her cover issue in person, and she sweetly and graciously accepted it.

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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 macchus999@aol.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."