It was the early 1980s.
In 1979, my former writing partner had broken up with me.
As he got the credit for everything we did as a team, I ended up being smelly fish in Hollywood.
At least for a while.
I had no idea how long this was going to last.
L.A. is a terrible place to be when you're not working.
So to avoid stinking up the town any further, I took my family and moved to the Midwest.
While we were together, my writing partner and I co-created "Laverne and Shirley" for Paramount TV.
We expected to get fairly rich from this, as we were given profit participation as part of our deal to produce it.
But we kept hearing stories about how the studios were regularly screwing stars and creators out of any profits.
Or out of most of the profits.
So my visions of sugar plums were tarnished with these fears that the same thing would happen to me.
I knew that I wouldn't see a nickel until "Laverne and Shirley" had ended it's network run.
That was a given.
From 1979 to 1982, I was only making a relatively modest income writing a handful of TV episodes.
And it was not keeping up with our expenses.
We were dipping deep into our savings.
My wife at the time even went to law school to eventually create a career for herself.
That lasted one day.
We considering selling our profit participation back to Paramount.
They were happy to buy it back.
At roughly ten cents on the dollar.
We refused their kind offer.
But even the fact that they were willing to offer us anything was a good sign.
It indicated that they would eventually have to pay us something.
But how much, and when, was something we were still in the dark about.
So we were still in the world of considering selling our house, taking out a loan, and even moving in with my wife's folks until the smoke cleared.
Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, rumors started to float that James Garner was going to sue Universal Studios for the profits he never received on "The Rockford Files"
This gave us more than a glimmer of hope.
Enough so that we stuck to our guns, and attempted to ride it out.
Then, he actually filed suit against Universal.
It made the news.
This gave us more than more of a glimmer.
Soon, we learned that he made an out-of-court settlement with Universal.
And part of the conditions of the settlement was that he couldn't reveal the terms of it.
Which meant that he had them over a barrel, and they knew it.
And that he got paid off handsomely.
Pretty ballsy of him to do that in Hollywood, where the phrase "You'll never work in this town again!" is emblazoned over every studio gate.
But he did it, and he won.
And "The Rockford Files" was never nearly the big hit that "Laverne and Shirley" was.
So from that point on, I pretty much knew I didn't have anything to worry about.
And I wouldn't have to move in with my in-laws.
And pretty soon, almost like clockwork, I began receiving these huge profit participation checks from Paramount for "Laverne and Shirley".
But what if Garner had never made waves?
Or what if he sued, and lost?
What would that have meant for me?
But James Garner stepped up to the plate and did make waves, and he sued and essentially won, and that set the table for me, and gave me financial security for the rest of my life.
And that's why I thank God for James Garner.
And as I said before, he was a pretty swell actor.
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.
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.
Here's the link:
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- Thank God For James Garner. Part Two.
- Thank God For James Garner.
- The Original Trixie Norton.
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- Rothman's Take On The Emmy Nominations.
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- G'Bye Dere. Part Four.
- G'Bye Dere. Part Three.
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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."