The late Garry Marshall--creator of "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley," among many other entertainments--once told me a few funny stories for a Rolling Stone article about studio executives. This comes from our taped conversation:
"The Odd Couple, remember the Odd Couple? Well, they told me, we need two stars. Big stars. Dean Martin and Mickey Rooney. My partner and I said, "We don't like that, we don't want to do it." They said, "Alright: Who do you want?" I said, "Jack Klugman." They said: "Who?" I said, "Jack Klugman, he did a show, 'Gypsy,' in New York." "We'll check him out, we'll check him out," they said. Then they come back: "Are you crazy? He can't do a funny show--he won an Emmy for 'The Defenders!'" "So that means he's not funny," I asked? "No, not exactly," they said. I said, "Please look at this tape, I'll get you a tape--look at him, he can be funny; he did a 'Twilight Zone,' he was funny. They said, "OK." Then they looked at him, and this was Paramount: "We looked at him and we don't like his mustache." I says, "What? He has no mustache." "Yeah, we looked at him," they said. And so then I find out who they looked at. They looked at Jack Kruschen. Who was that?
Then one day, and this was during Vietnam, they told me that the perfect show to do would be about recruiting troops on 42nd street in New York City. An Army, Navy, and an Air Force guy. "It'll be funny," they said. So of course, I wrote a pilot. This is what we did in middle of the Vietnam War. People are burning their draft cards, and we're writing a show called "The Recruiters?!"