Sunday, May 14, 2017

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, Kim -- the mother of my granddaughter.  And to all YOU mothers -- we salute you on this most deserved (although commercially manufactured) holiday.


Anonymous said...

"Call your mama. I wish I could"
- Bear Bryant

blinky said...

That's really a wonderful story, Ken. But once again it proves it's who you know that counts. Of all the jobs I've had over the years almost every single one was due to somebody I knew or a friend of a friend.

Jason Roberts said...

That is a great story Ken. I have one very similar. When I was fourteen years old I became interested in writing. Specifically for TV sitcoms. Being from LA, I began taking UCLA Extension classes in TV writing at the time and was able to write a few specs. This was 1984. That year my mom went on a trip to China. Back then it wasn't as open of a country as it now. So basically she was on a single tour group for thirty days with the same people. On that trip she met a writer named Murray Schisgal. When she found out what he did, she said the same thing. She told Murray that "My son is going to be a writer too". I'm sure for the next thirty days she pestered him like any good Jewish mother. When they got back to the states he agreed to read my stuff. While it was very cringe-worthy, he took his time to meet with me and became one of my early (and life long mentor and friend, going thirty-two years strong). It pushed me into the entertainment career I have today. Albeit not as a writer but ensconced in the business where I feel like a creative partner to those I am working with.

Happy Mother's Day to all our wonderful Moms!

ScottyB said...

Your story just illustrates the thought that all us souls are first and foremost all down here to help each other, and when we go back home, the main question we get asked during our life review is how well we've fulfilled that. BTW, Ken: Thanks for a tribute totally different from the scads of others we're all being subjected to today. Yours actually meant something.