Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Mothers' Day story

How important are moms?   I might not have a career were it not for mine. 

David Isaacs and I were writing spec scripts at night, trying to break in, going nowhere.  We had written a spec pilot that was an amateurish mess that would have cost more to produce than AVATAR.  We then wrote a spec MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and RHODA.  Our ersatz agent submitted both scripts and received two rejection letters (actually three -- the RHODA was submitted to two different producers on the show).   We were going nowhere fast.

And then one day my mom went to play a round of golf and got assigned to a foursome that included a gentleman named Gordon Mitchell.  She asked what he did, and when he said he was the Story Editor of a new show that just premiered called THE JEFFERSONS, she said, "Oh, my son is a great writer."  I'm sure he cringed, but he was a mensch and said he'd read something we'd written. 

So I got in touch, sent him our spec MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.  He liked it, invited us in to pitch stories.   They bought one and that was the start of our career. 

But we never would have had an in to THE JEFFERSONS had it not been for Mom. 

So thanks, Mom.  For everything.   I miss you everyday.  Thanks also to Debby, the mother of my children.  And to all YOU mothers -- we salute you on this most deserved (although commercially manufactured) holiday.

6 comments:

VP81955 said...

My mother briefly took up golf in the late 1960s, but I doubt she would've met many in the industry in Syracuse, N.Y.

Paul Duca said...

"Turner 85. Mitchell 23"

Ralph said...

Friday question: You've often mentioned how you got your start on The Jeffersons. But I don't recall you writing much about the actual show. What did you think of it? (Not just your episode, but in general.) How would you critique it? Was it a pleasant experience? What is your behind-the-scenes perspective on the cast and crew?

Anonymous said...

Ken Said:

"And then one day my mom went to play a round of golf and got assigned to a foursome that included a gentleman named Gordon Mitchell. She asked what he did, and when he said he was the Story Editor of a new show that just premiered called THE JEFFERSONS, she said, "Oh, my son is a great writer." I'm sure he cringed, but he was a mensch and said he'd read something we'd written. "

Wow. I think that's something all of us writers can relate to.

Happy Mother's Day, Unselfconscious White Privilege!

- Duke of Earl

Pete Grossman said...

Bravo to your mom!

Ron Rettig said...

And they kid about Jewish mothers! Great story Ken.