View My Stats

Sunday, April 17, 2016

F. Lee. Part Two.

Last time, I alluded to F. Lee Bailey when I described the funniest "Odd Couple" joke I ever wrote.
This time I will allude to something almost as funny.
In the early 80's (according to Wikipedia, although I could swear it was earlier) There was a daytime syndicated TV
show called "Lie Detector".
It was hosted by F. Lee Bailey.
It was, in its way, one of television's first "reality" shows.
It was a half-hour show during which someone had a claim ,to make, usually his or her innocence regarding a crime,
told his or her story, and then was hooked up to a polygraph, with a legitimate polygraph tester supervising it.
There were usually two interviewees per show.
It seemed like the interviewee almost invariably failed the polygraph test.
F. Lee's role was to listen to the interviewee's story, usually with some overt skepticism, and when the polygraphee failed the test, F. Lee would overtly subject the polygraphee to his unique, humorless brand of scorn.
Along with the warning that you simply can't fool the polygraph.
This, of course, has since been disproved, although there is certainly a high degree of effectiveness.
But it's been supplanted by DNA evidence.
"Lie Detector" is now a product of the Stone Age.
It's a shame, though.
I remember a small-time judge, who was literally on his way to the slammer. I think he had a cab outside the studio
with the meter running, making the case for his innocence. Guilt just dripped from this guy's face.
Of course, he failed the polygraph.
This was simply a Hail Mary Pass.
And then, Bailey simply and piously heaped abuse upon him.
I found it hilarious.
It was consistently hilarious.
What he did has since been taken over by Maury Povich, whom I recall, used to have a somewhat respectable career before he turned his show into a DNA dominated version of "Who's the Real Father?"
F. Lee could have certainly brought his brand of mock-gravitas to something like that.
He represented O.J.
He's proven that he's certainly not above it.


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. I dimly recall Zsa Zsa Gabor, in a promo for the show, being asked if she marries for money. I never saw the actual show, so don't know her answer or if she was telling the truth.

  2. Welcome to the return of "More Than You Wanted To Know!"

    The polygraph measures heartbeat, respiration, and skin perspiration; variations in these are an indicator (one of many, admittedly) of whether the subject is telling the truth or not.

    The guy who invented the machine, Dr. Leonarde Keeler (that's how he spelled his name), hated the term "lie detector", which was a press coinage; his preference was "truth detector", because he felt that showing how well a subject handled the pressure of interrogation was an indication of honesty rather than deception.

    To show what the polygraph could and couldn't do, Dr. Keeler and his friend Erle Stanley Gardner devised a kind of "demonstration show", which they employed when they covered murder trials together.
    At one such trial, Gardner and Keeler would set up for a group of reporters, mainly middle-aged men.
    Keeler would announce that he could tell any man there his age, using the polygraph to make his judgment.
    How that worked: Keeler would hook the guy up, run through a ten-year range of ages, and tell the gut how old he was.
    The trick was that the guy would tense up as his age came up in the count, then relax after the number was passed. Thus, Keeler always won.
    One reporter figured this out, though.
    He thought he could beat the machine simply by keeping cool and unemotional, so the pens didn't wiggle.
    Mr. Cocky took the stage, Keeler strapped him in, started reading off a ten-year age range in the 50s,
    and - no result.
    He'd beaten the machine.
    Dr. Keeler took it well, at first.
    Then, he asked Mr. Cocky if he'd like to try it again.
    Of course, Mr. Cocky jumped at the chance to show up the Magic Machine twice in a row.
    As he hooked up Mr. C to the polygraph for the second round, Dr. Keeler suggested that they make it interesting this time.
    Dr. K bet Mr. C $50 that he couldn't beat the polygraph twice.
    (This was in the '40s, when fifty dollars was still a lot of money.)
    Mr. Cocky took the bet - and lost.
    Once he had $50 at stake, he tensed and relaxed, just as anyone else would do.

    Once the polygraph became well-known, a lot of amateurs glommed onto it, to Dr. Keeler's dismay.
    Erle Stanley Gardner shared this feeling, and campaigned for standards in the operation and use of the polygraph (he hated the term "lie detector" as much as Keeler did).
    But the amateurs prevailed, and to this day, the polygraph is still not allowed as evidence in court trials.

    I remember 'Flee' Bailey's "Lie Detector" show from its brief syndie run.
    The principle above applies; substitute "$50 bet" for "national TV exposure" and "cross-examination by a professional trial lawyer", and Mr. Average doesn't stand a chance against the Machine.

    Side note:
    Do you recall a few years before this, when David Susskind tried to sell Flee Bailey in an updated version of "Person To Person"?
    One of the legendary flops of its year (1967, as I recall).
    At least Ed Murrow was able to fake being friendly when he had to; Bailey always came across as Hamilton Burger, trying to convict the poor schlep.
    Those were the days, my friend ...

  3. You could be eligible for a complimentary $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

  4. You might be eligible to get a free Apple iPhone 7.



Blog Archive

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."