Thursday, September 24, 2015

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Sharon's Burn Notice colleague, Gabrielle Anwar, and our friend Shareef Malnik tied the knot last week and, since the event was all in costume and all on a gorgeous ranch in Montana, I suppose you could call it tying the lasso. 

We arrived at the Rock Creek Ranch on the Friday before Labor Day to meet up with the other over a hundred plus guests at a welcome to Montana party and then the first of 8 excellent meals over the extended weekend. 

Horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, rifle, pistol and skeet shooting were offered daily to guests after each morning's spectacular breakfast. Sharon took a whirl at the fishing thing while I opted for napping on our cabin's couch in front of a roaring fire. That, and always appearing in some pretty good looking costumes (courtesy of our Trials of Rosie O'Neill costumer, Ms. Leena Dunn), was my big contribution. Three years as producer of the Daniel Boone series and I bow to no one in the fire building category.

The two of us 

Gabrielle hosted a ladies' tea, Sharif had his last wild horseback ride (I passed), the couple was blessed by a Shaman from an American Indian tribe and a rabbi from Holland whose service concluded with the release of 70 stallions corralled by six wranglers. I have to tell you, it really tops sending doves skyward. The bride arrived at the ceremony by stage coach and that provided the transportation for the couple to exit when the vows were completed. My view: the most romantic and beautiful wedding I have ever witnessed.

Sharon as the madam

We are now out of the mountains and visiting LA for the USC football season and catching up with family stuff here on the West Coast. We will be here a while. My youngest daughter, Torrie, (assistant camera on The Trials of Rosie O'Neill and Associate Producer on the Cagney & Lacey reunion movies) has selected year end (actually January 1) as her wedding date here in Southern California. 

I hope to get a little business done while here. There is some renewed interest in a film I made many years ago called Who Fears the Devil (researchers feel free to read the 1972 Playboy article by William Murray Chasing the Bucks: Or Where Were You, oh ye of little faith, When Barney Rosenzweig Needed You?), there are rumblings from MGM regarding Cagney & Lacey and my hope of finalizing the deal to fully recapture the rights to The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. More on all of that as the fall progresses, but be patient. All this stuff can be a little like watching paint dry.

Monday, August 10, 2015


It was a huge week on American Television and I feel a blog coming on. Cagney & Lacey got a very nice ... if not totally accurate... break in the Huffington Post, Fox News and its founder Roger Ailes have proven themselves to be even bigger (and more important) than anyone really thought they were, and Jon Stewart exited the stage at Comedy Central.
I totally get Stewart's desire to get out while on top. But I now also better empathize with all those fans of Cagney & Lacey and The Trials of Rosie O'Neill who were disappointed at my decision to leave town at 58 years of age. Even so, "disappointed" doesn't nearly describe my sense of loss at Stewart's leaving The Daily Show. What an icon he is. What a fabulous career he has had. He literally redefined on-air genius in the performance category and was (perhaps) even greater as a producer of the show that has forever made its imprimatur on America and most of those who watched it over the past 16 years. Ave, Caesar, Morituri te Salutant.
Ailes and Fox News may take a little more time to explain. First of all, they totally obliterated the primary function of a major political party, which is to select the candidate to be its standard bearer. The Republican National Committee surrendered that prerogative (some might say duty) to a cable news channel and stepped aside while Roger Ailes and his minions all but arbitrarily set up rules of just who might be one of the two major candidates for the office of President of the United States and then didn't even adhere to those. That is only part of the tale. They then went on to produce a pretty good show(s) in the form of two separate (and unequal) debates, fed the candidates plenty of red meat for the right wing base of the party, and then (post show) proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's standard bearers (namely Megyn Kelly) have more support than any that were on that Fox Stage, including the acknowledged front runner-by far, none other than Donald Trump. Trump had gotten away with insulting a war hero in John McCain, the Governor of Texas and the US Senator from South Carolina ("Got away" did I say? It made him even more popular... Give 'em hell, Donald, seemed to be the cry). But then The Donald went a bridge too far. Insult Obama? No one cared... in fact they loved it. Hillary? They loved that even more. But Trump misplayed a hot hand. He thought he could trump Roger Ailes, Fox News and Ms Kelly and get away with it. Mistake. Megyn Kelly has been feeding the far right the Ailes substitute for sustenance for years. She is to the far right what Mother Teresa was to Catholics.... only prettier. Ailes set the stage by having his minions ask for a show of hands. Who would NOT pledge to support whomever was the official Republican nominee and assure the rest that he would not start a third party run for the White House? No one asked that question at the lesser debate that took place on the same Fox Network two hours earlier and why should they? No one cared about those folks and why tip off The Donald as to what he was in for? Right off the bat, that was question number one and the right wingers in the audience at the auditorium squirmed when it was asked, but booed when Trump gave his answer by being the only one to raise his hand. The We Shall Over Comb candidate never fully recovered, but some might say more or less held his own for the remainder of the two hours... almost. Not good enough for Donald Trump. He started tweeting in the wee hours of the morning... something right out of the Cagney & Lacey villains handbook: "Her time of the month or what?" That was the line that got even the CBS censors outraged and that was 1980. Holy smoke... Trump crossed that line of political ineptitude 35 years later and he has yet to fully get the impact of what hit him. Like I said... Big week in American Television.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Barney's Back...and better than ever!!!!

It has been a long time since I have written something ... anything... for this website. Too long. Maybe it is because folks refer to it as a "blog." It is such an off-putting noun. I digress. I will not attempt to update since my last effort, but will give out with a sort of current event(s) update in the hope that someone out there will find it interesting. Feedback is what is required, and I'll tell you why.

Several years ago I made a television series for the then-fledgling Paxton Network here in the USA. Jeff Sagansky  was the head of the thing and he asked me to get off the beach at Fisher Island and do him this "favor."  I felt fondly enough about this one time CBS chief (who had ordered The Trials of Rosie O'Neill based on a 45 minute breakfast-pitch session I had with him at the Beverly Hills Hotel) to be willing to break my rule about no more work. I plunged right in.

We made a pretty decent series called Twice in a Lifetime and it featured former Cagney precinct boss Al Waxman. We filmed it in Canada, our budgets were tiny and the crew was all new to me, but... as stated... we made a "pretty decent" show. I remember being asked by a member of the press how it felt to now be making a show that had an audience in the hundreds of thousands instead of the tens of millions who faithfully watched Cagney & Lacey? "It doesn't matter," I said at the time, "I am making the show for me and for Jeff Sagansky." I was wrong. It did matter. It mattered a lot. Paxton had no outlet in Palm Springs where I spent that winter. I couldn't watch it on my own TV. My mother had recently died and so there was no call from her after each show, plus the station was not altogether ready for prime time in LA either, meaning my kids never saw it.

That statement of bravado was wrong  because I quickly came to learn I missed the feedback from an audience. It is probably why I have not been all that constant a (God help me) blogger. The C&L website is small by my standards, but not, I have been told, too tiny for what it is. I have trouble making the adjustment to the tinier audience. I don't Link, Tweet, or Face. Sometimes, something I write gets tossed over to some Facebook page by either Ms. Danson or the tenacious Carole R. Smith, but I have nothing to do with that. So... point made (I hope). Feedback is essential.

Sharon and I have just returned from a week of theatre in NY and I will give you all some news about that. New York, however, was only part of the story. For nearly three weeks before that Sharon was in Bali... on a sort of spiritual quest... in the company of her niece, Bridget Gless Keller. Bridget does Facebook and would be a better reporter than I on that trip. Sharon, who already possesses more spirituality than her husband ever will, mostly enjoyed the time of re-bonding with her favorite (and let's face it,) only niece. She flew over 25 hours to rendezvous with me in NY so that we could attend the annual Ball celebrating a most erudite publication, The Latham Quarterly. Tyne Daly and Ralph Nader were at our table as well. It was great fun.The rest of the week was filled with theatre. Reviews/commentary follows in the order we saw the shows:

On the 20th Century starring Kristin Chenoweth who very well may be the finest comedienne anywhere near the Broadway stage or in America today. The show is nicely mounted, has a decent supporting cast, but the only reason for seeing this chestnut is Ms. Chenoweth. She sings beautifully, looks great and is simply too funny in this part for me to properly describe. Do not bother to see this show after she leaves.

The Audience starring Helen Mirren. Ms. Mirren is a great actress. No one disputes that, but I would guess there are others who could replicate what was accomplished here by her. What was quite impressive to me was the extraordinary job of staging and direction along with the miracle of costume and wig changes right on stage in full view of the audience into which Ms. Mirren would mold her body into the age of the Queen she was portraying always in sync with the author's concept of presenting Elizabeth, the Queen, out of any sort of chronological order. The end of act one, the coronation of Elizabeth, was stunning and surprisingly (to me) moving. I couldn't wait for act two to begin which brings to mind the cliché of being careful what you wish for. If only I had left the theatre at Intermission and not gone back for that long and repetitive second act, I would have/could have held The Audience in so much higher regard.

It Shoulda Been You stars Tyne Daly and a very good supporting cast. Sharon had seen it once before in rehearsals giving support to her "partner" pre-opening.  I had seen it over a year ago in an out of town tryout somewhere. Was it in New Jersey? Tyne, as the mother of the bride is, as always,  terrific. The show is charming. An old-fashioned solid evening's entertainment in the theatre. Both times I saw the show I have to confess to longing to see Sharon Gless as the mother of the groom, the nemesis to Daly's Mother of the Bride. I easily imagined (as perhaps only I can) how much more fun it would be to see those 30 years of history bouncing off each other, but this time live on stage. I mean no disrespect to the very competent Harriet Harris who plays the part beautifully... there is just noone, anywhere, who could bring more to this dueling duo as written than the re-teaming of Gless and Daly. Oh yes, Chip Zein, who plays Tyne's husband in the piece was our Assistant DA for a time in Cagney & Lacey.

Fun Home won the Tony for best musical. It is very smart and dark, very original, and if you can't make it to Broadway, buy the CD which has it all.... dialogue and songs...with nothing (that I could figure) left out. I am an old guy. This piece merits a lot of praise and a lot of awards, but if it's a musical then... well, I just don't know. It is almost more of an opera... and might actually be one if there were truly an aria rather than just recitative. Of course it could be a musical if there were truly a song... which there is not. I have a good ear for music. As a three year old child I could sing the entire score of The Mikado. I can still hang in there, over the past 50-60 years,  on a battle of the hit tunes from Broadway with Tyne or any number of other musical mavens. I have seen Fun House and I have listened to the CD. It is powerful, it is good, I cannot remember three notes of any of the "songs." I think that is a problem. Obviously the Tony voters disagree.

The King and I at Lincoln Center. Bartlett Sher, the director and the Center leaders and staff deserve the billing right there next to the title. The King and I is (arguably) the best musical ever...EVER... written. Lincoln Center does it proud. Instead of the 10 to 15 piece pit band prevalent all over the Great White Way, the not-for-profit Lincoln Center presents us with a veritable orchestra of over 30 pieces. The curtain is not your standard-use-for-every-show asbestos thing, but rather a massive silk screen in cardinal and gold depicting a Siamese-like scene. The cast, the sets, the costuming are all perfection. Kudos to the Lincoln Center. I did not think they could top what they accomplished (by the same director by the way) on South Pacific, They have, surpassing even themselves. Kelli O'Hara soars as the English tutor and the remainder of the cast hangs in there with her. I am not ashamed to say that I had my handkerchief in hand through the entire show and it was very damp with tears at the final curtain. Bravo to all ... and Brava Ms. O'Hara.

An American in Paris. We saw it the very next afternoon and it is probably most unfair to see anything after The King and I. The matinee was before a packed house at The Palace, the largest theatre on Broadway. The sets were imaginative in design and for the most part in execution, the Gershwin score includes some of the best American music and song ever composed. What then is wrong? Well, you have to begin with the script. The story is certainly solid so to what do I refer? In The King and I, the characters break into song because there is nothing left for them to say. They simply must sing... to evoke their emotions, to explain themselves, for... well, for whatever reason. It is organic. It is necessary, an essential part of the whole. In An American in Paris, people sing because there is a vast library of good Gershwin material that should be presented. It just doesn't come out of any real feeling or anything organic. It is, what they call in the trade, a juke box musical. Doesn't matter how good the juke box is, it is hard to get past this flaw in the play itself... especially when one has just seen perfection at the Lincoln Center. Later,  the same evening, we saw On The Town. Now this is interesting... vintage Leonard Bernstein. Not his best (West Side Story would have to take that bow), but damn good nonetheless. Unlike An American in Paris it is not a collection of song book hits, but rather a musical play with dialogue that leads the actors... oft times compelling them... to sing. And sing they do... and dance.... and act... and they accomplish all of that in a matter superior to what we had seen in the afternoon. I found myself wishing that An American in Paris had waited for On The Town to close so that they could take that cast on the rebound. Better yet... Give it to Bartlett Sher to stage it all at Lincoln Center.

Let me summarize Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. First was Rogers and Hammerstein at their best, next was Gershwin cannibalized by lesser talents and not at his best in any event, for that would have to go to Porgy & Bess, and then there was Bernstein. As stated, very good, but no West Side Story (although some of the rifts in this earlier work sound somewhat West Side familiar).  

Exhausted Sharon and I limped out of town the next morning, catching the Jitney to Bridgehampton and a few days with friends before hightailing it back to Miami and Fisher Island. Home sweet home.

Barney Rosenzweig, June 14, 2015




Friday, August 8, 2014


The announced demise of the DVD may prove to be a bit premature. Like so many others in the
I LOVE BEING A TV BINGE WATCHER club, I have been trying my hand at streaming TV series on Netflix.  House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and even belatedly catching up on my new
favorite guilty pleasure, the ABC television series Scandal.    Watching three to five episodes back to back at a single sitting has altered my life for the better.  If you haven't tried it, you simply must.  And don't forget to invite in the neighbors.  It's more fun than a book club.

These three shows (compared to Game of Thrones, Deadwood, True Detectives and even Boardwalk Empire all on HBO GO), are all very good, but they are not great.  One of the things keeping the Netflix product from that lofty pinnacle is, unlike HBO GO or even DVR, the sound is rarely in sync with the picture.  If there is a computer in the house that has been left on, or our Vonage phone rings,
it gets really bad.  All other times, it is just bad-to-not-good.  Netflix just hasn't figured out yet that sound travels at a slower speed than light.   Worse than that, they have sold us a system that is (at best) flawed.  And that brings me back to the DVD...literally.

Great picture, synchronized sound and it doesn't matter who is on a computer or a phone or if  it is a dark and stormy night.  DVD technology simply works.  Did I mention you can still buy the entire collection of Cagney & Lacey on DVD?...It's a great Christmas gift, it's still better than the copycats....and you can remind yourself what the world was like, and how the police did their work, before there were spy cameras on every corner or cell phones on every hip.  You'll also see what acting was like when actors moved their lips in sync with the words the were saying.

Barney Rosenzweig
August 6, 2014

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Assurances and disclaimers:

I have been led to believe that somewhere adjacent to this blog will be a banner, or some such thing, that will give you all the pertinent details you could possibly require allowing you to order the 30th anniversary Limited Edition of the complete oeuvre of Cagney & Lacey.

This last month has been frustrating. Our distributor operates out of Toronto, Carole R. Smith operates out of Miami, Jacqueline Danson operates out of London and I have been operated on in New York and Seattle while most of this has transpired.

There is something about anesthetics (and the drugs that go with them) that has a person giving less of a damn about such mundane things as their life’s work or their pride of authorship. Fortunately… much of that for which I am responsible, was completed before I went under either ether or blade.

Credit where it is due: The box… the thing that contains all the elements: the Loretta Swit movie, the episodes with Meg Foster, every episode with Sharon and Tyne (including The Menopause Years), my book in its audio version, the anniversary tribute at the British Film Institute, plus a pamphlet and a personally-autographed-by-the-women classic C&L photo… it is all there and beautifully presented by Jeff Sprigg and his staff in Toronto. It will not be sold in stores and is only guaranteed to be delivered through the official Cagney & Lacey web site.  

The negative side: It has taken far too long for the Toronto branch of this thing to get its act together and mostly because of lack of attention to detail… how to get a web site working on a monetary basis, how to spell the name Gless, how much will shipping cost and when can the entire thing get sent out before the amount of dust on the box weighs too much to mail?

Did I say I was frustrated? See above…. Then imagine all that fed back to you with appropriate expletives from the even more frustrated Carole R. Smith while flat on your back in a hospital room. Perhaps then you will forgive the delay.

This is my swan song. I am content about that. The Limited Edition is beautiful (thanks, again, Mr. Sprigg) and I know all of you will be happy with it. The pressure to get the warehouse cleaned out and sell these boxes elsewhere (I dunno: QVC, Amazon, the black market?) is mounting. Please make your order right away. Sharon and I are buying a bunch as Christmas gifts to children and grandchildren and friends too young to have seen us at our best. Hey… it’s Christmas. We, and Tyne if she wants, are first. What’s left is going out on a first come/first served basis. The Cagney & Lacey website is not Facebook. We are a tiny band and we should be able to serve you all… but better sooner than later. Do make your order as soon as you can.

If you miss out… or you want something smaller or whatever…. There are mini versions, one with all 119 episodes of Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly and that’s it, even smaller packages with Sharon’s favorite episodes and another with Tyne’s. These should all be something you can acquire through Amazon or Sam’s Club.  Details to follow.

Retailers in general are not so interested. Their management is an average age of 19 or something and they don’t want “old TV.” We tell them it is not “old”… not “vintage”…. But “iconic” and they talk to us about real estate (shelf space). You want to do battle? Go to your local Target, Best Buy, Costco, and BJ’S and ask for the manager, and then yell at him/her. I take back that last piece of political correctness. I bet it’s just a him.

It would be lovely if this were all a success, but whatever, thank you for your interest and support and your caring so much about this work of ours.

For those still reading…. I am finished with the three surgeries I have had this year and I am fine. I feel a bit like I have been in a knife fight, but then I realize… I have been in a knife fight. The prognosis for me to be around long after all these boxes of DVDs have sold is good…. Unless (and this should be construed as a warning against further sloppy spelling and misinformation from the North) I am convicted of murdering our distributor.

Barney Rosenzweig

November 15, 2012


Sunday, October 14, 2012

WE'RE ALMOST THERE....from Barney via Carole

Dear All

Barney is currently in Seattle, recuperating from his second shoulder replacement, and attending the USC Washington football game (USC won).  It's difficult to type with one's arm in a sling so he has asked me to let you know the distributor has published the "official" press release for the Cagney & Lacey DVDs -- both the LIMITED EDITION and the boxed set of 119 episodes. 

The LIMITED EDITION can only be purchased through the Cagney & Lacey official website and the order form will be posted on the site no later than Tuesday, October 16th (we believe).  It will give you all the information you need re purchase price and shipping,  but the boxed set is available for pre-order on-line through Amazon USA and Amazon Canada.

Both women will be doing radio, television and print interviews and we will keep you up to date on

It has been a long struggle, but well worth it!   Best wishes to family and friends with special thanks from me to Jackie Danson, Gail Reese, Ann Wilson, John V. Fahey and the fan clubs.

Enjoy with all good wishes from us all. 

Carole R Smith
Assistant to Barney Rosenzweig
October 14, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012


Now begins a potential flurry of blogs as the waters begin to part and things are revealed to us all. We ….. That is not the royal we… that is you, Carole R. Smith, Jackie Danson, Gail Reese, Ann Wilson and a plethora of other folks… a real WEEEEE have done it. 30 years of work will now appear in a Limited Edition Collection for the truly faithful. The rest of the world can pick up individual seasons of Cagney & Lacey and even all 119 episodes featuring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as the Dynamic Duo from Amazon in the USA and Canada and other retail outlets, but for those who want it all…. The original movie with Loretta Swit and Tyne Daly, the six episodes where Tyne Daly partnered with Meg Foster as Cagney, the aforementioned 119 with Tyne and Sharon, as well as the four reunion movies, known collectively as The Menopause Years, they are about to be available and ready for your purchase via this website or directly through the distributor only.   All the information on how to purchase will be on  this week. It is truly a limited first come/first served proposition so do let us have your orders right away.

 There are some extras. First time ever or anywhere audio version of my book (Cagney & Lacey…. and Me) narrated by the author, a featurette made by MGM some five years ago and previously seen by those of you who bought their limited DVD release of “True Beginnings,” the British Film Institute tribute taped last November in London, a personally autographed photo of Tyne and Sharon signed by each of them, as well as archival interviews with Tyne, Sharon, series creator Barbara Corday as well as yours truly. There is also a booklet authored by me and it all comes in a very handsome box at less than half what many of you said you would pay for such a bonanza..for the price of
$139.00 plus shipping.  That is the good news. The bad? Well, it is only in the US system and postage out of the country is not included. We went on and on about this over here as long as we could and could not win this fight for our UK fans. I can only remind you of what you all said you might pay and ask that you take the savings from that and invest in a converter that will allow you to play this collection on your home systems. You’ll still have money left over for postage. I have to say to you there is no telling when… if ever… MGM will ever allow this to be done again for other markets outside the US and Canada.  

 The DVD era is all but over. This Limited Edition is for all of us who want this collection on our shelves… for those folks who remember this show as part of their own personal history. I am proud to present it to you all… as proud as I am of the original work itself. I wish we could reproduce this in the hundreds of thousands, but we cannot. It is truly a limited first come/first served proposition so do let us have your orders right away. Thank you, in advance, for your interest in all of this. And please continue to watch this space for updates.


Barney Rosenzweig
September 10, 2012