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Saturday, October 31, 2015

" The Squeaky Wheel...."

Al Molinaro died yesterday.
He was a lovely man.
I did two series with him.
He could always be counted on to get his laughs.
Mainly on the strength of his extremely funny face.
It used to drive Tony Randall crazy how effortlessly Al could get laughs.
Penny Marshall used to refer to Al as a shtick-tician.
He worked shtick like nobody's business.
Al had virtually no formal training.
He made an entire living with his face.
At one of the wrap parties, Garry Marshall said "there are graduates of Yale Drama School working as boxboys at
Ralph's supermarket, and Al Molinaro gets work."
I waited until his passing before telling this next story:
About five years into the run of "Happy Days" Al grew discontented that there were no stories being developed about his character.
He was an adult on a show about teenagers. As if anyone cared about stories about Al's character.
This was a man who should have been counting his blessings that he had a steady gig on an enormously successful show.
But it apparently wasn't enough.
Undaunted, he publicly pitched a story about the unrequited love of his life, Rosa Coletti.
He was totally indulged (not by me, I was merely an observer at that point.) and a script was shortly developed where Rosa Coletti appeared on stage, and in his life, but just once.
I didn't believe a word of it.
But it didn't hurt the show.
Nothing could. It was done purely just to mollify him.
But it was a tribute to the concept of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.
If Al hadn't brought it up so brazenly, we never would have seen Rosa Coletti.
As if this made any difference to Al Molinaro's career.
I guess you do anything at your disposal to call more attention to yourself, but all that Al will be remembered for is how funny he was.
Maybe I'm telling tales out of school, but Al was not above engaging in that particular underbelly of show business.
I never would have had the nerve to attempt something like that.
This was the only chink I ever saw in his other-wise spotless armor.


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. 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. My dad and I saw Al(along with Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, and the rest of the TV show cast)perform in the play "The Odd Couple" at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago back in the mid '70s. Afterwards, we went to the Blackstone Hotel coffee shop for sundaes. Al was at another table with his wife. I approached him and told him we had just seen the play and enjoyed it and asked him if would sign my program. He couldn't have been nicer. He thanked us for seeing the show, said he loved doing it and playing Murray The Cop and thanked me for stopping by his table. Just a real nice guy.

    I can't really fault him for asking for one episode(out of close to 150 he was involved in)centered around him. I was always more of a Murray The Cop guy than an Al guy. But between those two roles and the On-Cor spots, he had a show-biz career many would have killed for. And a career many wouldn't have been such nice guys in pursuing and holding-on to(cough-Lowell Ganz-cough).

  2. I just thought at least it should have been done in private.

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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."