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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Abe Vigoda

Two things about Abe Vigoda:

I lost an actor who I wanted for the lead in a pilot we were going to shoot in the seventies.
He gave a great audition and we wanted him badly.
But the series "Fish" had sold and the actor in question was offered the third lead in "Fish".
The actor was torn.
He knew that our pilot script was better than what they were doing and what he would be doing with "Fish".
But "Fish was a guaranteed thirteen on the air.
We were just a pilot that might or might not sell.
For him, it was a virtual no-brainer.
You don't turn down a guaranteed thirteen on the air.
And he didn't. And we lost him.
They ended up shooting thirty-five episodes.
Our series also sold, and we ended up shooting twenty-seven.
In retrospect, I'm sure he felt he made the wrong choice.
I know we thought so.
And the ghost of this other actor lingered over our set during the entire run.

I always thought that Abe Vigoda worked much better in small doses, like on "Barney Miller".
I don't think they ever gave him more than one line to say at a time.
And he always scored.
Same thing with Jack Soo.
I watched 'Fish" once.
They gave him a far bigger load to carry.
He really couldn't.

My other memory of Abe Vigoda, which for the life of me, I can't fathom why I remember it, was that at around 1969, when I was making the rounds in
New York, trying to get work as an actor, I would get the trade papers every week.
Show Business and Backstage.
And in both of them, during one week, there was an ad taken out announcing that actor Abe Vigoda had changed his name to "Gabe Vigoda".
I'm not kidding.
I had heard of Abe Vigoda at the time.
He was a working, or at least semi-working actor.
This was before "The Godfather" and "Barney Miller".
This flirtation with "Gabe" couldn't have lasted more than a few months.
Did he really think it was going to change his life?
Who the hell knows?


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. If the actor you lost is the one I'm thinking of, he ended up on Archie's Bunker's Place. Not a good show (certainly not as good as the show it evolved from) but I remember finding him mildly amusing in it.

  2. He was a very good child actor having appeared in "A Thousand Clowns" with Jason Robards.

  3. He also did one of my plays in Los Angeles, and was terrific.

  4. There is a chance you're qualified to receive a Apple iPhone 7.

  5. There's a chance you are qualified 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."