Award-winning filmmaker Garry Marshall Lafayette College graduates he was once fired a puppet, warning them not to get too upset when they get "wacked" some day.
"The first job I got was with Shari Lewis who had a puppet named Lamb Chop," Marshall said in his May 19 commencement address at Lafayette. "Shari is a lovely lady, but the puppet was mean. Shari would say ‘nice writing, Gary,’ and the puppet would say, ‘You should be banned from the Writers’ Guild. This is a joke? This is terrible!’ Finally, the puppet fired us."
But Marshall, who is credited with creating TV shows like Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and The Odd Couple, said it turned out to be a blessing.
"To be fired by a piece of cloth is not so exciting, you know as your career moves forward," Marshall said. "But you gotta know that sometimes you’re going to get wacked, something is going to go wrong and you have to bounce back. The first show I created was 99th in the ratings. It was called Hey Landlord. It was not a good show. But that didn’t stop me. Ten years later Happy Days was the number-one show.”
Marshall had some advice for parents in the audience as well.
Parents you know how proud you are at this moment? Parents, in a couple of years things are not going to go perfect. Sometimes you know, you end up with lattes at Starbucks, you’re serving them, or you’re at Denny’s making the soup. Parents don’t like that so much. They like now. ... What it is important for you parents is to learn to lie. You have to lie. When they say, ‘How’s your kid?’ ‘Well, he’s doing something for the CIA, I can’t talk about it.’ ‘He’s a top chef, he’s a taster, it’s top secret, she’s wonderful, making a lot of money.’ Then eventually give them a chance. Sooner or later they’ll do it.
Marshall directed New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day and The Princess Diaries and many other films.
Watch his entire address at Lafayette's commencement in Easton, Penn. in the video above.