Monday, August 3, 2009

Who's That Girl?

Back in 1973, I took my first trip to Los Angeles, to see if I could get myself an agent. Lorne Michaels, who was already established here, generously did the introductions. Through his auspices, I met a couple of agents – one of whom wound up representing me – as well as many successful television writers, whose names I recognized from their multiple credits.

Once, Lorne invited me to lunch with the writing staff he was currently working with, I believe it was on a Perry Como Christmas Special. We ate a Kosherama. Kosherama was a unique operation that served both deli and Chinese food, a great help to comedy writers who were unable agree on where to eat.

During lunch, a young woman came over to our table to say hello. The writers seemed to know her very well. After being introduced to me, the young woman – she couldn’t have been older than her mid-twenties – was invited to rattle off a list of her credits. The woman proceeded to mention virtually all the top TV shows of that era. Mary Tyler Moore, All In The Family, M*A*S*H, the variety hit, Sonny and Cher. It was a breathtaking resume. The woman then returned to her table. I sat there, flabbergasted.

“That girl must be the greatest writer in town,” I exclaimed, practically giddy with admiration.

It was then explained to me that the woman he had just met worked at “Barbara’s Place”, the most popular printing company in Hollywood. All the great shows she had listed? She didn’t write scripts for those shows.

She typed them.

And then she made copies.

They don’t call rookies “rookies” for nothing.

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