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Friday, March 20, 2015

The "Pippin" Battle-Axes.

The Broadway musical "Pippin" has had several major productions.
It is primarily a show geared for young people.
But, pretty much for demographics sake, the creative team added one old crone, a character named Berthe, to fill out the cast.
You might call her a battle-axe.
She has the best song in the show.
An upbeat sing-along called "Oh, it's time to start livin'".
It regularly brings down the house.
The first house-bringer-downer was in the original production, Irene Ryan, better known as the noted battle-axe "Granny" on
"The Beverly Hillbillies".
I saw a TV production, taped from a stage production, in which Martha Raye played Berthe.
Although Martha Raye was a great comedienne and singer, she had certainly earned her battle-axe credentials.
There was this movie that regularly aired on Million Dollar Movie in New York City called "Navy Blues", made in 1941.
In it, Jack Oakie played the hen-pecked boyfriend of Martha Raye. She was hilarious, with her enormous mouth very much in place.
Her performance probably did much to delay our entry into World War 2.
This, was ostensibly what we were fighting for.
Around the same time, she co-starred opposite Bob Hope in several movies, in which she lusted after him, while he was out chasing somebody like Dorothy Lamour.
No "Thanks For The Memory" there.
As Berthe, she sang her number probably better than anyone else ever did.
In a much more recent production, Andrea Martin played Berthe.
Andrea Martin was probably best know for her long stint as a regular on SCTV, where she played many hilarious characters, and actually invented the first satire of a battle-axe, with the creation of Edith Prickley, the eternally leopard-skin outfitted
shrew who was the station manager.
As she got older, she grew into almost exclusive Broadway-type battle-axe roles.
We have not heard the last of Andrea Martin.
More will be heard about Ms. Martin as we continue.
'Til next time.....


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 remember Martha Raye on multiple variety shows and she was always introduced as "The Big Mouth".

  2. She used to do commercials for Polident, in which she referred to herself as "The Big Mouth"
    It was the first and only time that I can recall a woman admitting that she wore dentures.
    Her talent was enormous.
    As enormous as her mouth..



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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."