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Friday, March 13, 2015

Back To Battle-Axes.

We will center on two battle-axes today.
Their careers barely overlapped, as one was much older than the other, and died much sooner.
But the parts they played were so similar in nature that it has been confusing to determine who played which part in which movie.
One in particular was "Tugboat Annie".
I had a devil of a time trying to determine whether it was Marie Dressler or Marjorie Main.
And I felt ashamed having to look it up.
But, shame or not, I did.
It was Marie Dressler.
It was made the year before she died.
If it was a year later, they could have slipped Marjorie Main right in there, and very few people would have noticed the difference.
That's how similar they were.
Marie Dressler was best known for appearing opposite Wallace Beery in films where she'd clop him over the head with a rolling pin.
According to Wallace Beery's personal reputation, I'm sure that this was a role that she relished.
Marjorie Main was never as big a star as Marie Dressler.
Her biggest claim to fame, after playing a series of housekeepers and schoolteachers, was as Ma Kettle in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series of movies turned out by Universal Studios.
Hatched by a movie called "The Egg and I", Ma and Pa were big moneymakers for Universal.
These were movies with a rural background.
Ma and Pa Kettle were farmers, and were such big hits in "The Egg and I", that they were spun off.
In the late fifties, there was a TV version of "Tugboat Annie".
The title role was played by an actress named Minerva Urecal.
Here's the irony: Minerva Urecal was a dead ringer for Marjorie Main, who, as recently noted, did NOT play "Tugboat Annie".
That was Marie Dressler.
We have not heard the last of Minerva Urecal, who was a major battle-axe unto herself.
Her name will re-appear in at least one more subsequent article.
But they were all major additions to the comedy landscape, and we are lucky that they all graced our presence.


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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
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.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
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. I will always associate Marie Dressler with Tillie's Punctured Romance, the first full length film comedy she made with Charlie Chaplin in 1914.

  2. I once wrote an episode for the series "It's A Living" that I titled "Cassie's Punctured Romance".
    Nobody there got the reference.

    1. Marie Dressler does that wonderful double-take stumble upon hearing that Jean Harlow once read a book in Dinner at Eight.

  3. Although Marjorie Main is justly famous for her comedy performance (aside from Ma Kettle, I remember a scene from "Another Thin Man" that she pretty much steals from Powell and Loy, though I suspect with their complicity), I remember her even more from the only serious performance of hers that I know about -- as Bogart's mother in "Dead End." I believe she also played the role on Broadway. Anyway, she has maybe two scenes in "Dead End," and really showed how well she could play drama. Her reaction to Bogart's killing still sends at least half a chill up my spine.

    Looking forward to the rest of the "battle-ax" series.

  4. You might be qualified for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.

  5. There's a chance you're qualified for a complimentary $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."