Mark Rothman

Writer / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Mark Rothman talks about becoming enthralled by television at an early age, and meeting his writing partner Lowell Ganz in college. He describes his first big break writing for The Mike Douglas Show, and how he and Ganz came to write for The Odd Couple. He recounts his time as a staff writer on The Odd Couple, and working with demanding stars Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. He tells of moving over to Happy Days to help it transition from a single camera show to a multi-camera show, and speaks of the break-out success of Henry Winkler's "Fonize" character. Rothman discusses spinning-off Laverne and Shirley from Happy Days, and having it become number one the week it debuted. He outlines personal conflicts on the set of Laverne and Shirley, and the great windfall he received when the show went into syndication. He speaks of other shows such as Busting Loose, The Ted Knight Show, and The New Odd Couple and his break-up with longtime writing partner Lowell Ganz. He concludes by discussing his blogs and numerous projects, including plays and a Laverne and Shirley feature film script he has written. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on September 27, 2013 in North Hollywood, California. 

"In 'Double Indemnity' Edward G. Robinson said, 'You know why I'm so good at this? 'Cause I got this little man inside me and he can always spot a phony claim.' Well, I have little man inside of me and it has everything to do with knowing how an audience is going to react to material if it is performed right. The little man has never let me down."

Highlights
Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show
05:01
Mark Rothman on inventing the Happy Days catchphrase "Sit on it!"
02:18
Mark Rothman on being hired for The Odd Couple
09:11
Mark Rothman on his favorite episodes of The Odd Couple
13:32
Mark Rothman on the highlight of his career
02:02
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his interest in television growing up; on meeting his writing partner Lowell Ganz
14:22
On his good instincts as a writer; on his first professional writing job with Mike Douglas
09:18
On being hired to write for The Odd Couple; on being fired and then returning to The Odd Couple writing staff
19:48
On his contribution to The Odd Couple scripts; on working with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman
14:36

Chapter 2

On his favorite episodes of The Odd Couple
13:32
On going to write for Happy Days; on Happy Days switching from single-camera to multi-camera; on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
16:28
On "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days; on inventing the Happy Days catchphrase "Sit on it!"; on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
12:05
On the cast of Happy Days; on the inception of Laverne and Shirley
17:06

Chapter 3

On the inception of Laverne and Shirley; on developing the characters of Laverne and Shirley; on the physical comedy of the show and problems on the set
14:41
On the cast of Laverne and Shirley; on tensions between the writers and the actors on Laverne and Shirley; on his favorite episode of the show
16:13
On his favorite memories of Laverne and Shirley; on Garry Marshall's involvement in Laverne and Shirley; on the legacy of the show
11:38
On creating The Ted Knight Show; on creating the series Makin' It; on the ill-fated series America 2100
16:27

Chapter 4

On producing The New Odd Couple; on producing She's the Sheriff
20:23
On his post-television career; on his blog; on advice to aspiring writers
15:18
On career highlights and regrets; on his television legacy
14:27
Shows

Happy Days

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Mark Rothman on going to write for Happy Days
01:18
Mark Rothman on switching Happy Days from a single camera show to a multi-camera show in front of an audience 
10:15
Mark Rothman on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
04:55
Mark Rothman on "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days
02:24
Mark Rothman on inventing the Happy Days catchphrase "Sit on it!"
02:18
Mark Rothman on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
07:23
Mark Rothman on Ron Howard as "Richie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:34
Mark Rothman on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
02:43
Mark Rothman on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:53
Mark Rothman on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:02
Mark Rothman on Donny Most and Anson Williams as "Ralph Malph" and "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
02:57
Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57
Mark Rothman on the inception of Laverne and Shirley
03:26

Laverne & Shirley

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Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57
Mark Rothman on the inception of Laverne and Shirley
03:26
Mark Rothman on developing the characters of Laverne and Shirley
02:46
Mark Rothman on coming up with the names of Laverne and Shirley
00:54
Mark Rothman on the characters of Laverne and Shirley
01:16
Mark Rothman on the physical comedy of Laverne and Shirley and difficulties on the set
05:04
Mark Rothman on the writing team of Laverne and Shirley
01:15
Mark Rothman on Michael McKean and David L. Lander as as "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne and Shirley
02:28
Mark Rothman on Eddie Mekka as "Carmine Ragusa" on Laverne and Shiley
01:06
Mark Rothman on Phil Foster as "Frank DeFazio" on Laverne and Shirley
03:02
Mark Rothman on Betty Garrett as "Edna Babish" on Laverne and Shirley
01:01
Mark Rothman on tensions between him and Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on Laverne and Shirley
03:12
Mark Rothman on his favorite episode of Laverne and Shirley
01:18
Mark Rothman on his favorite memories of Laverne and Shirley
01:14
Mark Rothman on Garry Marshall's involvement in Laverne and Shirley 
08:38
Mark Rothman on his contribution to the legacy of Laverne and Shirley 
00:58

Mike Douglas Show, The

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Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show
04:56

New Odd Couple, The

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Mark Rothman on producing The New Odd Couple
09:34

Odd Couple, The (1970-75)

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Mark Rothman on being hired for The Odd Couple
09:11
Mark Rothman on being a staff writer for The Odd Couple
02:43
Mark Rothman on being let go from The Odd Couple
01:50
Mark Rothman on returning to The Odd Couple writing staff
06:04
Mark Rothman on his second stint on The Odd Couple
04:30
Mark Rothman on his contribution to Odd Couple scripts
09:58
Mark Rothman on his favorite episodes of The Odd Couple
13:32
Mark Rothman on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
04:55

She's the Sheriff

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Mark Rothman on producing She's the Sheriff
06:01
Mark Rothman on working with Suzanne Somers on She's the Sheriff
04:48
Topics

Advice

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Mark Rothman on advice to aspiring writers
07:52

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Mark Rothman on inventing the Happy Days  catchphrase "Sit on it!"
02:18
Mark Rothman on "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days
02:24
Mark Rothman on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
07:23
Mark Rothman on developing the characters of Laverne and Shirley
02:46

First Big Break

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Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show
05:01

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show
05:01

Pop Culture

View Topic
Mark Rothman on inventing the Happy Days  catchphrase "Sit on it!"
02:18
Mark Rothman on "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days
02:24
Mark Rothman on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
07:23
Mark Rothman on developing the characters of Laverne and Shirley
02:46

Television Industry

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Mark Rothman on advice to aspiring writers
07:52
Professions

Writers

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Mark Rothman on his good instincts as a writer
04:17
Mark Rothman on advice to aspiring writers
07:52
Genres

Comedy Series

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Mark Rothman on writing for The Odd Couple
34:16
Mark Rothman on writing for The Odd Couple (Part 2)
13:32
Mark Rothman on writing for Happy Days
45:39
Mark Rothman on writing for Laverne and Shirley
42:32
People

Jerry Belson

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Mark Rothman on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
04:55

Tom Bosley

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Mark Rothman on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:53

Mike Douglas

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Mark Rothman on his first professional writing job on The Mike Douglas Show
04:56

Phil Foster

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Mark Rothman on Phil Foster as "Frank DeFazio" on Laverne and Shirley
03:02

Lowell Ganz

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Mark Rothman on meeting and writing with his first writing partner Lowell Ganz
06:18
Mark Rothman on being hired for The Odd Couple
09:11
Mark Rothman on being a staff writer for The Odd Couple
02:43
Mark Rothman on tensions between him and Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on Laverne and Shirley
03:12
Mark Rothman on the ill-fated series America 2100
07:29
Mark Rothman on his biggest regret
05:58

Betty Garrett

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Mark Rothman on Betty Garrett as "Edna Babish" on Laverne and Shirley
01:01

Ron Glass

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Mark Rothman on producing The New Odd Couple
09:34

Ron Howard

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Mark Rothman on Ron Howard as "Richie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:34

Jack Klugman

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Mark Rothman on his contribution to The  Odd Couple  scripts
09:58

Ted Knight

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Mark Rothman on creating The Ted Knight Show
05:21

David L. Lander

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Mark Rothman on Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne and Shirley
02:28

Garry Marshall

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Mark Rothman on working with Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson
04:55

Penny Marshall

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Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57
Mark Rothman on the physical comedy of Laverne and Shirley  and difficulties on the set
05:04
Mark Rothman on tensions between him and Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on Laverne and Shirley
03:12

Michael McKean

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Mark Rothman on Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne and Shirley
02:28

Erin Moran

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Mark Rothman on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:02

Pat Morita

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Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57

Donny Most

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Mark Rothman on Donny Most and Anson Williams as "Ralph Malph" and "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
02:57

Tony Randall

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Mark Rothman on his contribution to The  Odd Couple  scripts
09:58

Marion Ross

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Mark Rothman on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
02:43

Suzanne Somers

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Mark Rothman on working with Suzanne Somers on She's the Sheriff
04:48

Cindy Williams

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Mark Rothman on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days and the inception of Laverne and Shirley
06:57
Mark Rothman on the physical comedy of Laverne and Shirley  and difficulties on the set
05:04
Mark Rothman on tensions between him and Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on Laverne and Shirley
03:12

Anson Williams

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Mark Rothman on Donny Most and Anson Williams as "Ralph Malph" and "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
02:57

Demond Wilson

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Mark Rothman on producing The New Odd Couple
09:34

Henry Winkler

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Mark Rothman on "Fonzie" becoming the central character of Happy Days
02:24
Mark Rothman on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
07:23

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