MAUdie is here

Bea Arthur (Fanpop)

Hello again, I’m finally paying attention to my WordPress world. I’m wrestling with my 3rd book on the TV Sitcom Maude, which means I have not been able to share much here. When I wrote my first book about my father I did not know as much about him as I did after I wrote the book. But he was my father, and over the course of his life a lot was written about him in the newspapers because he was a rising star in Entertainment and people liked him as a person. I learned about his personal character through articles and of course, through my mom. In writing about Maude I am wanting to get to know more about the person who played the character, Bea Arthur, to understand how Arthur was able to so completely BE Maude.

In an article in the Nyak New York Journal, 1974, titled “No, I’m Not Maude”, she stated: “Although I can rant and rave as much as Maude does when the need arises. I don’t have her persistence. If someone calls my bluff and yells back at me. I usually back down. In all honesty. I’m afraid the tiger in my tank is really a pussycat. And I can’t identify too closely with the women’s lib movement, either, because I’ve always felt liberated.” Arthur, when she is at home, likes browsing in antique shops, watching old movies on TV, and doing family activities, dogs and all.

In a way, I identify with Bea Arthur. Because as I’ve listened to her interviews and talked with people who met her she does seem rather complex. I came across a 1968 article that was written while Arthur and her husband Gene Sax were making a movie titled “A Mother’s Kisses,” she was urged to accept the
leading role. She said yes — if her husband could direct. “After all,” she says in her familiar tones of authoritative femininity, “I’m the power behind the throne.” So it seems that though she is a pussycat, she also has an authoritative side, according to the person who witnessed her “authoritative femininity.”

Bea Arthur as Maude was Maude to her viewers, she received many letters attesting to that fact. After reading her statement in that 1974 article I believe she knew that maybe a bit of her own personality was injected into her character, this is what she was quoted as saying: “You see, it was my intention from the beginning of the series to show that there is a soft spot or two in Maude’s armor of steel, and its’ gratifying to know that viewers see her as I do.”

I could see these two personality traits when Cousin Maude was introduced into All in the Family. She was asked by Edith to come and help with the family as they were all down with the flu. Archie did not like Cousin Maude and sent her a letter telling her not to come. She came. At the beginning of the episode, while comforting Edith, she looks at Archie with a scathing look and says: “MAUdie is here.” Towards the end of the episode, she has a sweet smile on her face while assuring Archie that “Maudie is here.”

MAUdie is here
Maudie is here

Bea Arthur, a consummate actor. She brought her all to Maude. Looks like I am going to have to bring my all to the writing of my take on the sitcom. Thanks for hanging in here with me. You are all a part of my “becoming” a writer.

Thanks, for stopping by 🙂


Study War No More

What does today’s war news have in common with the fact that I am writing a new book about the 1970s TV Sitcom “Maude”? Well, I’ve been trying to write a positive post this week about the sitcom but I just could not see how to try and insert positivity into such a sad world situation. Then I went online and typed in “1970s” just to get some ideas. First thing that popped up was about the anti-Vietnam war protests, a colossal movement to say the least.

Then there was the women’s movement as women gained success in business, politics, education, science, the law, and even the home. As far as television went Maude’s producers and creators were right on time as she was portrayed as a strong, independent, liberal feminist.

Then, as I was going through my social media sites I found the perfect post giving a brilliant explanation of this latest war that I think has a much deeper relevance to Life (with a capital L). I cannot credit the writer as I do not know who it is but I can give you the gist of what it said: She (one side of the war) was in an abusive relationship but she fed him, let him use her car, etc., until she built up the confidence to call it quits. She began working on herself, becoming a strong, independent woman with help and support from her friends. She was single for a number of years. Then The toxic ex (the other side of the war) showed up and wants her back. He started sitting outside her house, her friends tried to warn her that he might do her harm, but he said her friends were lying to her. Then the ex broke into her house and beat her up and dared her friends to do something about it.

I identify with a lot of this explanation. For me, it is about the fact that there are wars going on somewhere, every day. It may not get plastered all over the news media, but it’s there. And we need to somehow learn to love and care for each other in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in the market, on the roads. As countries. We must learn to help each other simply because we don’t want to do away with our existence on Planet Earth, or do we?

Of course, it was not all doom and gloom in the 1970s. Which, thank heavens, let’s me write about something truly positive. There was Disco. Donna Summer, babee. The beginning of rap – The Sugarhill Gang with “Rapper’s Delight”. Gil Scott – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. At the movies we saw Star Wars, Jaws, Grease, The Exorcist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Godfather. And, as for the women’s movement, Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and even won Helen a Grammy Award.

Which brings me back to Maude. Uncompromisin’, enterprisin’, anything but tranquilzin’, right on Maude. What I heard Mr. Norman Lear call a “leaning into life” character. Strong, outspoken, no-nonsense, liberal wife and mom. Played beautifully by Bea Arthur. Arthur said herself that the only thing that she had in common with her character, Maude, was that they were both tall and had deep voices. But Bea Arthur was such a good actor you forgot that Maude was a TV character. In one episode “The Analyst” Bea does a 22 minute monologue to a psychiatrist (actually an empty chair) that blew me so far away it wasn’t funny. The writing, by Jay Folb, read like parts of my own life. I was Maude laying on the doctor’s couch, crying and crying. She was so good. Mr. Folb received an Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series nomination for this episode.

There is an article about the episode at the Paley Center for Media in New York on line. The Paley Center for Media explores how media influences attitudes, behaviors, and actions, as well as shapes public discourse, on important social and cultural issues.

I hope we can all Study War No More and lay our burdens Down By The Riverside. I love you all, thanks for stopping by.

Lady Godiva Couldn’t Hold a Candle

Beatrice Arthur was born Bernice Frankel. She became known as Bea Arthur, actress, comedian. These days she gets a lot of notice as one of The Golden Girls, a TV sitcom from 1985-1992. However, this post and my new book are putting a light on Bea and her TV Sitcom, Maude, which ran from 1972-1978. Bea Arthur is no longer with us in person, but you can catch her in re-runs and read about her here over the next months as I post about my ongoing book writing journey.

The theme song of Maude mentions such women as Lady Godiva and Joan of Arc, but then it says: And then there’s Maude. Maude was evidently something else, something bigger, something more formidable; and to top it off, she was funny. Bea Arthur was given her own TV sitcom after she appeared as Edith Bunker’s Cousin Maude in the TV sitcom All in the Family. Her character was meant as the antithesis role to the Archie Bunker character and she was so good in that role, well, I’m sure you get the point.

Maude was a larger-than-life liberal broad. Bea Arthur, other than being tall, was not. According to a video Bea did which can be seen on Youtube her one great desire had been to not be so tall, to be a small, blond marvelous actress. Of course, her height was an asset to her career and once she realized how funny she could be her career blossomed.

In 1954 Bea Arthur performed as Lucy in Three Penny Opera, a German Musical by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. Yep, she was a singer. Her deep voice was great for those low notes. There is a Bea Arthur Pirate Jenny video on Youtube if you want to see her singing.

Bea Arthur was a professional at work. She was an actress. She became her character. Bea Arthur at home was a private person. You might say she was a homebody. I’ve been able to talk with a few people as part of my book research. What I am learning about the successful person is that they put in a lot of work to earn that success. Home ought to be a place where you can let your hair down, take your shoes off (which she did) and just be yourself.

Hey, I love you guys, thanks, for stopping by.

And don’t forget to buy my first book for yourself or a friend, adults and young people, Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. My Jeffersons book is being finalized.


Maude, starring Bea Arthur, was an American sitcom that aired from 1972 until 1978. Maude was married to her 4th husband, Walter Findlay, played by Bill Macy. Her next door neighbor Arthur, played by Conrad Bain, called her Maudie. Sounds like she would have been a “little” woman. But she was not. Maude was a tall, outspoken, overbearing and sometimes domineering, politically liberal woman with a deep voice. Bea Arthur once said when talking about her height: “My dream was to become a very small blonde movie star.” I loved that her sitcom buddy called her Maudie.

I tuned into Maude quite often. I was a Bea Arthur fan and a Bill Macy fan, but for some reason I really liked Conrad Bain, and this was before Diff’rent Strokes, where he played the father of two adopted African American boys. I just thought he seemed like a nice, calm person even in real life, though I had no clue about his “real” life.

My next book is going to be about this sitcom. My Jeffersons book will be off to my publisher for scrutiny soon and I am anxious to delve into this next book writing adventure. This adventure started off as a journey and because of the people I have met, the interviews I have conducted and been the subject of, and even because of the days I had my doubts, I now see this as a life adventure. Almost every day something happens as a direct result of my writings that causes me to smile. A new follower, someone sends me a hi five on social media, someone finally decides to buy my first book, a “special” person I have reached out to actually replies – I love this.

I have already spoken with people involved in the making of Maude, such as the writer of the theme song. But I have much more to do. I will share here about this and I will probably still share about my father and the biography that I wrote about him, because it is the closest to my heart.

We look forward to your visits.

You are always welcome. 🙂 and thanx, for stopping by.