This was from Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing, Colossal Podcast.
I never miss it.
It is always hilarious.
This one was a practically double crap taken on me.
I first met Gilbert Gottfried when he appeared in a pilot that I served as one of the Executive Producers for.
It was called "The Further Adventures of Wally Brown".
This would imply that there had been previous adventures of Wally Brown.
There hadn't been.
This was 1980.
The sole reason for its existence was that an NBC executive named Stu Sheslow thought it would be a good idea to turn the song "Charlie Brown",
(you know, "fee, fee, fi, fi, fo, fo fum! I smell smoke in the auditor-i-um! Charlie Brown! Charlie Brown! he's a clown! That Charlie Brown")
into a sitcom.
It certainly wasn't my idea.
This is why some people should never be allowed to be in show business.
But we never had a relationship with NBC, and this was our way in.
And they didn't want to pay for the use of the song, so they had us change the name to "Wally Brown".
My involvement in the project was quite peripheral.
I didn't even write it.
I don't even know if Gilbert knows my name.
I don't think we ever spoke to each other.
My former partner, Lowell Ganz, directed it, and Gilbert made reference to him.
I never saw any of Gilbert's now trademark volatility that he displayed on stage.
He was just this quiet guy.
When I first saw Gilbert's onstage persona, I thought he was doing an imitation of Lowell Ganz.
And on one of his Gilbert's podcasts, he takes a major crap on this pilot.
And I really don't blame him.
It was a major piece of crap.
My only major involvement was making sure that the guys attempting to re-create the sound of the Coasters on the original recording sounded enough like the
Coasters. At first they didn't. After I gave them some notes, they did.
That was the extent of my creative involvement.
That, plus I gave Peter Scolari his first job.
It wasn't nearly enough to remove the crappiness.
So Gilbert was right.
I don't know if there was anything that could have improved it.
Maybe if I was more hands on with the writing....
I don't think so.
As it was once said in William Goldman's wonderful book, "The Season", "The only problem with washing garbage is when you get done, it's still garbage".
On that same podcast his guest was actor-writer Tom Leopold.
I had cast Tom to play Ted Knight's son on our six episode run of "The Ted Knight Show", which was borne out of CBS's desire to cash in on the current trend of "jiggle comedy" a la "Three's Company"
Leopold referred to it as a "horrible experience, and a horrible show"
Ted played the owner of an escort service, not a front for prostitution, but a legitimate escort service.
And we hired a group of very attractive actresses to serve as the escorts.
We also had a few extras to appear as male escorts.
Tom treated this as something that could never happen.
In fact, the story for the pilot was something that actually happened to Lynn Redgrave's husband.
I saw him talking about it on the "Tom Snyder Show"
Working for a legitimate escort service, he was hired to act as a complete boor.
The girl who hired him invited him to have dinner at her parents' house, where he was to be as obnoxious as possible, so that her parents would consent to the girl marrying her real boyfriend.
Ted played the complete boor, and was hilarious.
The audience loved it, and completely bought into it.
As I said in part one, the live audience tells you. And they loved it.
Individually, they're all idiots. Collectively they're a genius.
So these places do exist, and that's what we were depicting.
As for Tom Leopold, we never gave him much to do on those six episodes.
He made no impression.
And Ted didn't like him.
He had suggested Fred Travalena for the part which was fine with us, but we thought Ted knew him and was going to set up our meeting with him.
Turns out he didn't know him.
We figured that Fred didn't want to do it, and we proceeded with the regular casting process.
It was a communications breakdown.
As I was in charge of casting, Ted blamed me for not getting Travalena.
So, no. The show wasn't borne out of any real inspiration, but it was always really funny.
And not at all because of Tom Leopold.
It was not at all horrible.
Not even Tom Leopold was horrible.
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 email@example.com
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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."