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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pushin' Forty.

When I wrote the article "The Match Game", a few weeks ago, about Cosby, I mentioned that one of my plays, set in the 1980s, contained a throwaway reference to him, which I felt I had to change, due to current circumstances.
In the same play, in order to give myself the flexibility to use an older (than mid-to-late thirties) actress in the role, I provided extra additional dialogue to cover it.
The character is an actress who was just barely nosed out for the Jaclyn Smith part in "Charlie's Angels" ten years previously, and has never gotten over it.
When an older actress is cast, dialogue is needed to explain her age.
So the characters, Earl and Patty, have this exchange of dialogue:
Earl: Uh, forgive me for bringing this up, but weren't you a little old for "Charlie's....?"
Patty: Remember Elly May?
Earl: Elly May? "The Beverly Hillbillies"?
Patty; Uh huh. When she got that part, she was pushin' forty!
Earl: Really?
Patty: Yup. (Gesturing) P---forty!
Earl: oh-h-h! So when you were up for "Charlie's Angels", you were...
Patty: Pushin' F-thirty-five!!

And at the time, Donna Douglas WAS pushin' forty.
It may not seem like much now, but in 1962, when I was fifteen, and Donna Douglas was pushin' forty, forty seemed ancient.
Forty hadn't yet become the new twenty-five.
It was still the old forty.
If I had known that at the time, it really would've freaked me out.
A lot of people were surprised when they learned of actress Donna Douglas's death last week that she was 81, or 82.
Nobody in the preaa ever gets it exactly right.
I wasn't surprised.
I knew it.
And I knew I was being accurate when I wrote that dialogue.
I don't remember why or how or when I knew, but I knew that I knew.
She was at least four years older than Jethro.
In a way, I was kind of sad when they showed very recent pictures of her on the news.
She did not age well.
As one who found her to represent the first erection of many of my generation, it did not sit particularly well.
But at least she didn't seem to have any plastic surgery done to grotesquely stretch her face.
We take our small blessings where we can find them.
R.I.P., Donna.


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.



  1. Donna Douglas was, at most, 30, when she landed the BH gig.

  2. Yeah. And women, particularly actresses, have never been known to lie about their ages.
    Don't believe everything you read.
    Including, perhaps, me.
    But I know she was older than 30.

  3. I used to date a very well-known actress, At the time, she confided in me that she was a couple of years older than me..
    If you look at her IMDB or Wikipedia pages, they both state that she is a full five years younger than me.
    Just sayin'....

  4. If Douglas was born in 1922 (or thereabouts) instead of 1932 (as is listed by various sources) she was almost 50 when Beverly Hillbillies went off the air in 1971 and over 90 when she died!

    Here's my problem: even at 30 she probably would have been at least a decade older than the character she was playing when the Beverly Hillbillies began its run in 1962. True, the show never told us Elly May's exact age, but she was supposed to be younger than Jethro, who himself was supposed to have only recently graduated school (OK, the sixth grade, which he repeated more than once, but still) I have an easier time believing a 30-year old actress thinking she could pass for 20 (in 1962) than one who was 40. And if she was a 40-year old who could pass for 20 and was willing to lie about it, why not just claim she was born in 1942? Are you sure you're not confusing her age at the end of Beverly Hillbillies run (39 in 1971) than at its beginning (30 in 1962)? Either way she still would have been older than most people would have imagined.

  5. I didn't say she was forty. I said she was "pushin' forty". I think "pushin'" begins at 36.
    If you looked that good at 36, and you wanted THAT part, why wouldn't you think you could get away with that lie?
    Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
    As, I think, did she.

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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."