LIFE ARNOLD MARGOLIN STYLE
If you keep your eyes peeled and watch the world around you you can learn a lot of lessons: It makes it easier when you have inspirational people to learn from. For over twenty years I have had a friend named Arnold Margolin, he has taught me a lot. Arnold has been a writer all his life. He created and worked on endless TV shows. He is probably best known for creating the boomer classic Love American Style. I knew of Arnold long before I was ever to know Arnold.
When I was thirty I got what was called an “over all” deal at Sony Studios; it was so long ago they still called it Columbia Sudios. An over all deal has pretty much gone the way of the record store. They were deals where they paid you – well- to be honest too much money to do too little work. They were very popular for many years, especially with the writers who got them.
When I was 31 and knew very little about what I was doing I was offered several. I picked Sony because they had some of the great show creators working there and I wanted to learn from them. They had people like Arnold; I got to work with Bruce Paltrow, someone I learned a great deal from. They had two old guys called Turtletaub and Orenstein who ran That Girl for years. I wanted to work for them because they were the only ones on the lot who got their writers home by six and I always wanted to be That Girl. They had my great friend Sheldon Bull who was the co-creator of Coach and worked and ran endless TV shows. The halls were brimming with men who had worked successfully for decades in TV. I was the youngest around and I if memory serves me the only female: In TV Comedy that is not uncommon.
As soon as I got there I was blessed to work with Arnold. He chose me to write an episode for a remake of Love American Style. I was beyond thrilled. The show didn’t get picked up, welcome to TV, though Arnold and I became friends and still are.
The important thing, one of the important things in my relationship with Arnold, and he lets me talk about this, is I watched his TV career slip away, and it was because of age. He hit his mid fifties and they were no longer interested in having him around. In fact many of the men who were cornerstones in the TV of my youth were let go in my tenure there. One by one I watched them all march away and oddly I stayed on. I was grateful for the paycheck, yet confused and frustrated to see ageism in action. I had one credit to my name, some of these guys had worked on All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Newhart. I had created a sitcom that lasted a year called BABES. You have to dig deep to remember it, even I do. But I was young-ish and they were old-ish, and the powers that were felt as they still do, younger was better.
Arnold and I used to talk about it, a lot. And I knew then that if it could happen to Arnold, it could and would happen to me – eventually it did. And though I was upset, thanks to Arnold, I was not shocked. And thanks to Arnold I knew I could go on and make other things work.
Over the years I watched Arnold reinvent his life time and time again. I watched him never give up. He did have to give up TV, everyone does: But he kept writing and working. At one point he went up and worked on shows in Canada, they didn’t care he was “older.” He wrote plays, he ran a theatre, he wrote books, he was always doing something and he was always content. He was always engaged, he was always interested in just doing it, not matter what it was. He was and is always moving forward. By watching him I learned the right way to move forward when the world puts up walls. He has been a wonderful role model for me and hopefully if you listen to what he has to say here, he could be for you too. He is about to do something amazing and very exciting.
Meet my friend and life mentor Arnold Margolin.
Now for a Boomer trip down memory lane. How many of us spent Friday nights watching this? Remember Karen Valentine???? Even the names in the credits will take you back. And the song!!!!!!