When I was a teenager, growing up in Queens, New York, "Petticoat Junction" was a staple of our TV viewing.
Actually, it was a staple of my mother's TV viewing.
But, as we only had one TV set, it was also absorbed into my consciousness.
I can't actually say that I had more than one eye on it at any one time.
But when my mother was watching "Petticoat Junction", it was accurate to say that all was right in the world.
Or at least, in her world.
I left, or more accurately, escaped, this home environment at about the time that Bea Benaderet passed away, and "Petticoat Junction" made whatever changes were deemed necessary to accommodate this sad event.
I knew that they schlepped in June Lockhart.
This seemed like a good fit.
At least to the untrained eye.
But once I had evacuated the premises, I never looked back as far as "Petticoat Junction" was concerned.
Imagine my horror, then, when, a few days ago, after watching a Tivoed episode of "Make Room For Daddy", it then bled into the opening credits of a post-Bea Benaderet episode of "Petticoat Junction".
The music and singing sounded similar.
But then, it "went off the track".
You had to pay close attention.
Something I never thought I'd ever say about this show.
Edgar Buchanan now received top billing.
And not only was there no indication in the lyric that his "Uncle Joe" was movin' even remotely kinda slow, but we were informed that the Shady Rest was now "run by Joe".
"Run by Joe"?
So what was it?
Did he have a hip replacement?
And who the hell was he to be runnin ' a hotel?
They didn't shlep in June Lockhart to replace Bea Benaderet to run the place.
According to the lyric, she was "A lady M.D. who was pretty as can be".
It doesn't seem to me that the Shady Rest needed any kind of M.D. when Bea was doing the cooking.
So was Joe not only runnin' the place but apparently also doing the cooking.
Lockhart may have been needed to handle the many cases of ptomaine poisoning that must have ensued.
On the shot of Edgar Buchanan, under his credit, he actually got up from his chair, headed for the door, and slyly beckoned you to check in at the Shady Rest.
And with the look on his face, you had the feeling that you could rent a room by the hour if you wanted to.
No questions asked.
And that all transactions would be handled off the books.
The place had no doubt gone to seed.
And the girls in the water tower?
They no longer received billing.
How was one to keep track of the many cast replacements for these parts?
How must they have felt?
I was distressed.
I was outraged.
Imagine how my mother felt.
All things could not have been right in the world any longer for her.
Not being a woman of particularly good taste, I became aware of the extremely good taste my mother had shown in not subsequently sharing her undoubted rancor with me.
She deserved better than that.
* This one is dedicated to the memory of the great Charles Lane.
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.
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The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
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And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube, and my 4-hour interview at the Television Academy's Emmy TV Legends Website.
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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 email@example.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."