She was in a league of her own

A few months ago I started thinking about Penny Marshall. I play softball with Fred Fox who was the showrunner for the iconic TV series Laverne and Shirley. The senior softball league I play on in the San Fernando Valley was created by Gary Marshall and is filled with folk who worked in the local TV industry. When Fred told me about his involvement with Laverne and Shirley I remembered how Penny used to be one of the few celebrities who came to the old Sports Arena to watch the Clippers. I don’t think she was a big fan of the Clippers, just of basketball but the few fans would still give her a big shout out when she was spotted.  You could tell she was only there to watch basketball, not to be seen.

I hadn’t seen Penny at a Clipper game in years, and I wondered if she was doing okay. Evidently, the answer was no.  Penny passed away yesterday but she left behind quite a legacy.  Only those of a certain age will remember Laverne and Shirley and I have no idea if it has aged well, but during it’s run, it was a madcap sitcom that made me laugh on a regular basis. Laverne was a character that has never been matched and it is hard to be a one of a kind after seventy years of sitcoms.

As good as Penny was as Laverne, I never expected her to direct one of my all-time favorite movies.

Penny Marshall was able to do what Kevin Costner has tried to do multiple times. Make a great baseball movie. Not only is “League of their own” my favorite baseball movie, but it is also my favorite sports movie. This may have been the first “sports” movie my wife enjoyed as much as I did.  Some movies are good signals. If your significant other did not like this movie, maybe they shouldn’t be your significant other.

Geena Davis has a had a long and varied career but she will always be Dottie to me. Lori Petty is and always will be Kit, not Tank Girl.

Gary and Penny Marshall are both gone now, but they left behind quite a legacy. They made us laugh, think, and cry.

Hell of a duo.


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