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Friday, October 3, 2014

The Return Of "Ticky Tock"

Quite a few months ago, I wrote an article here called "The Saga Of Ticky Tock".
Here is essentially what I wrote:

Woody Guthrie once wrote an recorded a song called "Ticky Tock".
That's not what I am referring to here.
I mentioned after seeing the preview to "The Sound of Music" that there were charlatans in the Metropolitan area of New York who took advantage of kids in our neighborhood, convincing their starstruck mothers that their kids had the talent to send them into the stratosphere, if only they had a little coaching, which these crooks would provide.
This led to the mass auditions and rejections of these moppets for the original production of "The Sound of Music", which starred Mary Martin.
But there were other charlatans out there.
Those who took advantage of very young little "composers and lyricists", convincing them that for a fairly hefty fee, they could get their compositions published and recorded by major artists of the time.
Two such "composers and lyricists", actually I don't know who contributed what, were these two ten-year-olds named Debbie and Diane.
Their composition, which we in the neighborhood heard incessantly, was a little ditty called "Ticky Tock".
As I'm sure they had never heard of Woody Guthrie, and since I have heard his "Ticky Tock", I can assure you that they were not the same song.
I will attempt to recreate Debbie and Diane's "Ticky Tock" as best I can, considering that you can't hear the music on paper:

"When my baby left me,
I didn't know what to
When my baby left me, I was sad and
blue oo

So I looked at the clock, said "Ticky Tock"
Ticky Tah
When my baby left me.....(and then the whole thing was repeated. Over and over.)
It never ended.
It was a song without end.
It's like it was on a loop.
Now you might think that the lyrics to "Ticky Tock" were inherently stupid.
And maybe they were.
But so were many hit records at the time.
What was more inherently stupid than "Ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang"?
Not much, but at least it had an ending.
"Ticky Tock"'s lack of one did not stop at least one shifty entrepreneur from getting Debbie and Diane's mothers to part with a significant amount of cash to see their budding geniuses handiwork wind up on the hit parade.
It never did.
But it has lived on in our memories.
Whenever my wife, or my sister, or I say a sentence that ends in the word "clock"
One of the others can be counted on saying "...said 'Ticky Tock'?"
My sister, when she was eight, actually came up with an absolutely appropriate ending to "Ticky Tock"
She sang "So I looked at the clock, said 'Ticky Tock", and started all over again."
This was to the tune of "Pick myself up, dust myself off..."
Pretty hip for an eight year old.

Fair warning, the following might appear to be more curmudgeonly and tasteless than usual, even for me.
I was born a curmudgeon, the very first post on this blog was curmudgeonly, and I'm sure I'll die a curmudgeon.
And my taste has always been questionable.
So if this sort of stuff is starting to wear you down, I suggest that you skip the rest of this, and come back next time.
You've been warned.
Last Christmas, I had Christmas dinner `with some relatives.
After consuming way too much food, I developed what can most politely describe as a case of the trots.
Actually, it was a case of the full out runs.
So there I was, in the bathroom, sitting where one sits, in the midst of agonizingly exploding.
I hope this isn't too graphic for you.
During this cacophony, I heard my nephew, in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom where I was doing my damage, singing a lullaby to his one year old daughter, trying to induce her to fall asleep.
His lullaby of choice was Brahms' Lullaby.
Or at least his version of it.
He did not know any of the words to it, so it was all "Da da dum, da da dum, da da dum dum, de dum dum"
Here are the lyrics to Brahms' Lullaby:

"Lullaby and goodnight, with roses bedight
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed

Lullaby and goodnight, thy mother's delight
Bright angels beside my darling abide
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast
They will guard thee at rest, thou shalt wake on my breast"

The way my nephew did it, he never got past the equivalent of the first line, which ends with "roses bedight"
One line.
And he da da dummed it that way for a good half-hour.
Like it was on the same kind of a loop as "Ticky Tock"
Another song without end.
And without lyrics.
With the added aggravation of my inability to escape the situation because of my exploding bowels.
My nephew is a very nice, intelligent guy, and can't help the fact that he has no musical sense whatsoever.
Thus, I never confronted him about it, regardless of how much added pain he caused me.
I can only encourage him to have good nights, sleep tight, and not to let the bedbugs bite.


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
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:



  1. When I was in the 5th grade, my friend Billy composed a beautifully ridiculous 6-verse song entitled "Two Lovers Boiled in Oil" as we sat on our bicycles in the neighborhood bank parking lot. We wrote down the words, memorized them, and now, more than 50 years later, I can still sing it. As far as I know, he didn't even lift the melody or lyrics from an existing song.
    Also, Mark, your "trots" story was priceless. It's the kind of thing that happens to us, but we feel we can't repeat it, because some might be offended. But you had the courage to tell it, with the appropriate warning. This is why I read your column, because some of the stuff you write cannot be matched anywhere else. Keep curmudgeoning!
    -Lee Markham

  2. You might be eligible for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.

  3. You could be eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.



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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 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."