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Movie Studio Expresses Interest in Milton Stern’s ‘On Tuesdays, They Played Mah Jongg’


Washington DC – Twenty years ago, it was a script. Now, it is a novel. Next year, it will become a script once again.

“My dream in 1985 was to see this story portrayed on the big screen,” says Milton Stern, author of ON TUESDAYS, THEY PLAYED MAH JONGG. “And, for more than twenty years, I held on to that dream.”

While completing the writing of his second book, HARRIET LANE, AMERICA’S FIRST LADY (copyright © 2005), Stern handed a copy of the script, THE GIRLS, to his editor. She suggested he rewrite it as a novel – and change the title. Stern did, and in the process, he created a story around the original script’s characters with a new ending.

“The irony is that now most of the original story will become a script once again,” Stern says.

Richard Lear, President of LITTLE RICKY PRODUCTIONS (, whose movie MY BROTHER’S KEEPER is scheduled for a 2008 release, read Stern’s book and has asked him to submit a script based on it, with some changes, of course.

“These are such full, colorful characters I would like to see them on screen,” says Richard Lear.

Stern says that the five southern Jewish women will be kept in tact, but one of them will take center stage, while several of the present-day characters, created specifically for the novel, won’t find themselves on the silver screen if it does become a movie. “Mr. Lear and I have discussed a new opening and ending for the story, and frankly, Michael Bern, as an adult, and Dr. Mikowsky don’t have a place in the story’s new concept,” Stern says. “My therapist, the inspiration for the doctor, will be disappointed because he loved that character,” he adds.

Stern assures us that the story will still take place in Newport News, Virginia, and the women will still play Mah Jongg on Tuesdays. When asked who he wants to play the lead, Stern replies, “I still want Liza Minnelli, but let me finish the script first before we go down that road!” He also hinted he would like to see Renee Taylor, Joan Rivers, Lucie Arnaz and Carole-Sue Hartley considered for roles. “Carole-Sue Hartley was supposed to play Myra, one of the daughters, but now she is old enough to play one of the mothers,” he adds. “What a difference twenty years makes.”

* * * * *


ON TUESDAYS, THEY PLAYED MAH JONGG ( (Copyright © 2006) by MILTON STERN tells the story of Michael Bern, a gay television writer in Hollywood, who for two decades has stared at an unfinished script sitting on his desk. After attending a friend’s funeral in his hometown of Newport News, Virginia, Michael returns to Hollywood and finds there is more than a script that is unfinished in his life. He finally confronts what the script represents — memories and stories of the sometimes sad, often hilarious, characters of his past, especially his mother and her four closest friends. They were friends for more than forty years and saw each other through life’s triumphs, tragedies and multiple spouses. Yet, there was only one constant in their lives. On Tuesdays, they played Mah Jongg.

This book is intended for all audiences.
On Tuesdays, They Played Mah Jongg
$15.95 U.S.
200 Pages
ISBN 1-891855-68-9

MILTON STERN ( works as a writer and editor. Stern was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, where he graduated from Christopher Newport University. An American presidential history buff, Stern is the author of the critically acclaimed biography, HARRIET LANE, AMERICA’S FIRST LADY. He currently resides with his dog, Serena Rose Elizabeth Montgomery, in Washington, D.C.


Eric Summers, Senior Editor
STARbooks Press

Little Ricky Production, Inc.
Richard Lear, President

STARbooks Press
PO Box 711612
Herndon, VA 20171


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