Back to more Report Cards next time.
This week, we lost two of the most talented people who ever lived.
I mean two of THE most talented.
Shirley Temple, aside from brightening up the lives of an entire generation who desperately needed it, did it in a manner so incandescently that the word "dazzling" is a major understatement.
Talent just oozed out of her.
Singing, acting, making you care about her, making you feel that she cared about you, and most interestingly, dancing.
Witness when she shared the screen with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson to dance with him.
He taught her what he knew, and she instantly caught on.
Robinson himself was astounded.
Then, she grew up.
And it was all over.
What was there as a child wasn't really there as an adolescent or an adult.
But her talent as an adult wasn't a creative one.
It was a talent for living an honorable, successful life.
My favorite song that she sang in one of her movies is "I Love To Walk In The Rain".
Someday soon, I hope that it will be raining outside, and I will have the opportunity to walk in it.
When network television was in it's absolute infancy, one man made it almost instantly enormously popular overnight.
That man was Milton Berle.
And he caught the excitement and immediacy of live television, and rode that wave for several years.
But talent-wise, Berle was no more than a middleweight.
The Berle Show was basically shlock.
A couple of years later, one other man single-handedly turned television into an art form.
He was easily the most sophisticated, glib, physically gifted, and gut-busting funny sketch actor.
He was also the most sophisticated and gut-busting pantomimist.
I'm including Chaplin here.
He was the best interpreter of written material.
The better the material, the better he interpreted it.
Even to the point of improving it, in an improvisatory way.
In front of America.
It literally became Comedia Del' Arte, in the best sense.
That man was Sid Caesar.
He did satires of foreign movies in very convincing phony Italian, German, Japanese, and Russian gibberish, when most of his audience had never even SEEN a foreign movie.
Jackie Gleason attempted some artfulness, but was a distant second, and far more broad.
Then, people started getting TV sets in Wyoming.
And they weren't interested in art forms.
NOBODY in Wyoming had seen a foreign movie.
They were interested in Lawrence Welk, who knocked Caesar off in the ratings.
And it was over.
Caesar never lost his creative talent, but never recaptured his success.
And I understand that it embittered him.
And he never again had a talent for living a contented life.
Sid and Shirley both lived long lives chronologically, but their losses, in the same week, are staggering.
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 and 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 not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at email@example.com.
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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."