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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When Is A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago, Not A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago?

When I was in college, I got involved in writing sketches for annual college shows that were very well attended.
In 1970, it was our task to write a takeoff on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour.
The sketch included a glee club performing a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.
The joke was that each member of the glee club simultaneously sang a different Rodgers and Hammerstein song.
It was pretty funny, and as far as I know, original.
Even then we always prided ourselves on being original.
There had to be a winner, and the winner that night was a soloist who, on slide-whistle, performed
Schubert's Unfinished  Symphony, with the finish that he himself wrote just for this occasion.
He played Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with a flourish, and ended with "Shave and A Haircut,
Two Bits".
It brought down the house, and we were very proud of ourselves.
For 47 years.  It was a great joke.
Little did I know that five years previously, on the Danny Kaye Show, when he played the German
Conductor, he did the exact same joke.  "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
They run the old Danny Kaye show on JLTV, a cable station, here, and I saw it for the first time last
I didn't see it in 1965,  I used to watch "I Spy", which was on opposite Danny Kaye.
So I couldn't have seen it then.
52 years ago.  "Unfinished Symphony" and "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
We must have come about it independently.  But he did it first, with a full orchestra.
As he announced the set-up for the bit, I held my breath hoping that they paid it off a different way.
But no chance.  And it was just as funny.
So was my version original?
Well at least his didn't have a slide-whistle.  And I think that made it funnier.
That's all I have to cling to.

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.



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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."