The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (also known as simply Dobie Gillis or Max Shulman's Dobie Gillis in later seasons and in syndication) is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 29, 1959, to June 5, 1963. The series and several episode scripts were adapted from the "Dobie Gillis" short stories written by Max Shulman since 1945, and first collected in 1951 under the same title as the subsequent TV series. Shulman also wrote a feature film adaptation of his "Dobie Gillis" stories for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1953, entitled The Affairs of Dobie Gillis which featured Bobby Van in the title role.

Dobie Gillis is significant as the first American television program produced for a major network to feature teenagers as leading characters. In other series, such as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver, teenagers were portrayed as supporting characters in a family story. An even earlier 1954 series, Meet Corliss Archer, featured teenagers in leading roles and aired in syndication.[1][2] Dobie Gillis broke ground by depicting elements of the current counterculture, particularly the Beat Generation, primarily embodied in a stereotypical version of the "beatnik".[1][2] Series star Dwayne Hickman would later say that Dobie represented “the end of innocence of the 1950s before the oncoming 1960s revolution”.[1]

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (title card)
First season title card
Also known asDobie Gillis (seasons 2–3)
Max Shulman's Dobie Gillis (season 4)
GenreSitcom
Created byMax Shulman
Based onThe Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and I Was a Teen-Age Dwarf
by Max Shulman
Directed byRod Amateau
Stanley Z. Cherry
David Davis
Robert Gordon
Tom Montgomery
Ralph Murphy
StarringDwayne Hickman
Frank Faylen
Florida Friebus
Bob Denver
Theme music composerLionel Newman
Max Shulman
Opening theme"Dobie", performed by Judd Conlon's Rhythmaires (season 1–2)
"Dobie" (Instrumental) (seasons 3–4)
Ending theme"Dobie", performed by Judd Conlon's Rhythmaires (seasons 1–2)
"Dobie" (Instrumental) (seasons 3–4)
Composer(s)Lionel Newman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes147 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Martin Manulis
Producer(s)Rod Amateau
Production location(s)20th Century Fox Studios – Hollywood, California
CinematographyJames Van Trees
Editor(s)Johnny Ehrin
Willard Nico
Robert Moore
Camera setupSingle-camera setup
Running time26 min
Production company(s)20th Century-Fox Television
Martin Manulis Productions
(1959-1961)
(seasons 1–2)
Marman Productions
(1961-1963)
(seasons 3–4)
Distributor20th Century-Fox Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white, film
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1959 – June 5, 1963
Chronology
Preceded byThe Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)
Followed byZelda (1962, pilot)
Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis (1978, pilot)
Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988, telefilm)

Overview

Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs

Dobie gillis 1960
Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman, left), Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver, right) and one of Dobie's "many loves", Yvette LeBlanc (Danielle De Metz), in a still from the Dobie Gillis episode "Parlez-Vous English", originally aired December 27, 1960

The series revolved around teenager Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman), who aspired to have popularity, money, and the attention of beautiful and unattainable girls. He did not have any of these qualities in abundance, and the tiny crises surrounding Dobie's lack of success made the story in each weekly episode. Also constantly in question, by Dobie and others, was Dobie's future, as the boy proved to be a poor student and an aimless drifter.

His sidekick and de facto best friend was American television's first beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver), who became the series' breakout character. An enthusiastic fan of jazz music (with a strong distaste for the music of Lawrence Welk), Maynard plays the bongos, collects tinfoil and petrified frogs, and steers clear of romance, authority figures, and work (yelping "Work?!" every time he hears the word). Always speaking with the vernacular and slang of the beatniks and jazz musicians he admired, Maynard punctuates his sentences with the word "like" and has a tendency towards malapropisms. The main running gag on Dobie Gillis would have Dobie or one of the other characters rattling off a series of adjectives describing something undesirable or disgusting ("I'd be a ragged, useless, dirty wreck!"), at which point a previously unseen Maynard would appear (entering the scene in close-up), saying "You rang?"

Dobie Gillis is set in Central City, a fictitious city in the Midwestern United States (the original short stories are explicitly set in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area). One of the show's running gags is the reference, especially by Maynard, to a movie called The Monster that Devoured Cleveland and its sequels, one of which always seems to be playing at the local cinema.

Supporting characters

Dobie's often apoplectic father, Herbert T. Gillis (Frank Faylen), owned a grocery store and was only happy when Dobie was behind a broom. Dobie's mother, Winifred (Florida Friebus), was a usually calm and serene woman who protected Dobie to the best of her ability and tended to baby him. Herbert Gillis, a proud, hard-working child of the Great Depression and World War II veteran, was often (during the first season of the show) heard to declare, in relation to Dobie, "I gotta kill that boy, I just gotta!" The Gillis family also originally included an older son, Davey Gillis (portrayed by Dwayne Hickman's own older brother, Darryl Hickman), who made three appearances during the first season while home on break from college before being written out of the show.[3]

Dobie's two main antagonists were rich kids Milton Armitage (played by Warren Beatty), who appeared in five episodes, and, after Beatty's departure, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., Milton's cousin (played by Steve Franken). Both characters represented the wealth and popularity to which Dobie aspired, but also served as romantic and competitive rivals for Dobie. Beatty's Milton was taller, better looking, and more athletic than Chatsworth. Doris Packer played Clarissa Osborne, Chatsworth's overbearing and snobbish mother.

Dobie was hopelessly attracted to the beautiful but greedy blonde Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld). Thalia was written out of the series after the first season, and was succeeded by a seemingly endless stream of women for whom Dobie hankered. Weld returned as a slightly wiser Thalia for two guest appearances in season 3 and 4.

Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James) was a brilliant and eager young girl, hopelessly in love with Dobie, much to his annoyance. Zelda did not find Dobie particularly attractive, but fell in love with him because she found him helpless and needing of her care, and also because of the concept of "propinquity" (or nearness; as Gillis and Gilroy, they were typically seated together in class).[2] Despite his protests, Dobie was clearly fond of Zelda, and Zelda claimed Dobie loved her but just had not realized it yet. To prove this, she would wrinkle her nose at Dobie, who would reflexively do the same back to Zelda and then protest "now cut that out!" Dobie and Zelda would later appear as a middle-aged married couple in the two spin-off Dobie Gillis reunion projects of the 1970s/1980s.

Leander Pomfritt (Herbert Anderson in the pilot, William Schallert thereafter) was Dobie's English and science teacher at Central High School and later, when Dobie went to S. Peter Pryor Junior College, Pomfritt (played by Schallert) was on the faculty there as well. A stern educator fond of deadpan quips, Pomfritt referred to his pupils as "my young barbarians" and served as a father figure to both Dobie and Maynard.

Format

Bob Denver Dobie Gillis 1961
Maynard was not prepared to give up his beard after entering the army. Bob Denver and Kay Elhardt are featured in this still from the Dobie Gillis episode "The Ballad of Maynard's Beard", originally aired April 18, 1961.

Most of the action for the first season-and-a-half of Dobie Gillis centered on the Gillis grocery store, Central High School, and the Central City park. The park scenes are used as the show's framing device, with Dobie sitting on a park bench in front of a reproduction of Auguste Rodin's statue, The Thinker. Breaking the fourth wall, he would explain to the viewing audience his problem of the week, usually girls or money (in the earliest episodes, Dobie is seen emulating the trademark pose of The Thinker – head planted on fist in deep contemplation – before turning and acknowledging the camera).[3]

The teen characters graduated high school halfway through the second season, and Dobie and Maynard (along with Chatsworth) subsequently did a brief stint in the U.S. Army.[3] Dobie continued to break the fourth wall and narrate the episodes, with the park set eschewed for an abstract set with the same reproduction of "The Thinker."

At the start of the third season, Dobie and Maynard received their Army discharges and they, Zelda, and Chatsworth enroll in S. Peter Pryor Junior College, where Mr. Pomfritt was now a professor after having resigned from his position at Central High. Dobie's science and history teacher at the college was Dr. Imogene Burkhart (Jean Byron, whose real name was used for that of the character). In season four, Dobie's teenaged cousin Duncan "Dunky" Gillis (Bobby Diamond) moves in with the Gillises, and becomes something of a tag-along for Dobie and Maynard. The plots for the fourth-season episodes tended more towards surreal plots and situations featuring Maynard as the central character rather than Dobie.[4]

Cast

Main

  • Dwayne Hickman, as Dobie Gillis, is a clean-cut teenager (later young adult), an unremarkable student whose young heart finds poetry and literature resonant. He aspires to have dates with all of the beautiful girls he pursues, despite the pressures of home life, high school, and later the military and college. Dobie also serves as the series narrator, relating his observations to the audience from in front of a statue of Rodin's The Thinker.
  • Frank Faylen, as Herbert T. Gillis, is Dobie's old-fashioned, short-tempered, and gruff father, who runs a small independent grocery store.
  • Florida Friebus, as Winifred "Winnie" Gillis, is Dobie's doting mother, who tends to baby her son and critique her husband's parenting skills.
  • Bob Denver, as Maynard G. Krebs, is Dobie's lazy and somewhat goofy best friend, a would-be beatnik who shuns romance, authority figures, and work. Like Dobie, Maynard briefly joins the Army in season two between his high-school graduation and enrollment in college.

Semiregulars

  • Tuesday Weld, as Thalia Menninger (season 1), is a beautiful high school classmate of Dobie's who is only willing to date Dobie when he has money or helps her in her schemes to make some for herself (with a father in poor health and a sister who married a layabout, Thalia sees it as her duty to bring some money into the family; she acknowledges that were this not a factor, she would date Dobie).[5] Weld departed the series after the first season, later returning to make two guest appearances, as a somewhat chastened Thalia, once in season 3 and once in season 4.
  • Warren Beatty, as Milton Armitage (season 1), is a rich jock at Dobie's high school and a rival of Dobie for Thalia's affections. Beatty quit the series midway through the first season.
  • Sheila James, as Zelda Gilroy, is the smartest girl in Dobie's high school and college, who is in love with the uninterested Dobie and schemes ways to get him to date and marry her.
  • Steve Franken, as Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., is a spoiled rich boy and a classmate of Dobie's in high school and college. Chatsworth assumed the role left vacant by the departure of Milton from the series. Like Dobie, Chatsworth also briefly joins the Army in season two between his high-school graduation and enrollment in college.
  • William Schallert, as Professor Leander Pomfritt, is a dry wit English and science teacher at Dobie's high school and later one of Dobie's college professors at S. Peter Pryor Junior College (seasons 1, 2 and 3). Herbert Anderson plays Mr. Pomfritt in the pilot episode.
  • Jean Byron, as Mrs. Ruth Adams, is Dobie's math teacher in high school (season 1) and Dr. Imogene Burkhart, one of Dobie's professors at S. Peter Pryor Junior College. (seasons 3 and 4). One of the series inside jokes was that Jean Byron's birth name was Imogene Audette Burkhart.
  • Doris Packer, as Mrs. Clarice Armitage, is Milton's mother, a rich and eccentric socialite. She shifted to Mrs. Clarissa Osborne (Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.'s mother) when Franken replaced Beatty midway through season one. She has disdain for anyone outside her social class and considers all boys, including her own son, as "nasty".

Notable recurring roles

  • Darryl Hickman, as Davey Gillis (season 1), is Dobie's older brother, a college student no more responsible and no less girl-crazy than Dobie. Davey was written out of the series after season one and Dobie is regarded as an only child thereafter.
  • Michael J. Pollard, as Jerome Krebs (season 1), is Maynard's cousin, also a beatnik. Jerome was intended as a replacement for Maynard when Bob Denver was drafted in mid-1959, and was written out of the show after Denver failed his Army physical and returned to the series.
  • Marjorie Bennett, as Blossom Kenney (seasons 1 and 2), is a frequent and persnickety customer of the Gillises' grocery store.
  • Tommy Farrell, as Riff Ryan (seasons 1 and 2), is a beatnik record store owner and coffee house proprietor who serves as something of a reluctant mentor for Maynard.
  • Lynn Loring, as Edwina "Eddie" Kegel (season 3), Chatsworth Osborne Jr.'s beatnik cousin.
  • Raymond Bailey, as Dean McGruder (seasons 3 and 4), is head of S. Peter Pryor Junior College.

Episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired Rank/Rating[6]
First aired Last aired
1 39 September 29, 1959 July 5, 1960 Not in Top 30
2 36 September 27, 1960 June 27, 1961 23/23.0
3 36 October 10, 1961 June 26, 1962 21/22.9
4 36 September 26, 1962 June 5, 1963 Not in Top 30

Production

Max Shulman's first Dobie Gillis short stories were printed in 1945, and a short story compilation, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, was published in 1951.[7] These stories were originally published in such magazines as Cosmopolitan and The Saturday Evening Post.

A follow-up collection, I Was a Teen-Age Dwarf, appeared in 1959. The titular character appeared at various ages in these stories, all of which are set in St. Paul, Minnesota, though the majority of the stories centered on his college years at the University of Minnesota.[8] Aside from Dobie and his parents, Zelda Gilroy was the only other character from the books directly adapted to the series as a regular or recurring character.[2]

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced the first media adaptation of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis in 1953 as The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, a black-and-white musical film starring Debbie Reynolds, Bob Fosse, and Bobby Van as Dobie Gillis. Following its release, Shulman set about attempting to bring Dobie Gillis to television. An initial pilot was produced by veteran comedian and producer George Burns in 1957, with his son Ronnie Burns starring as Dobie.[3]

After this pilot did not sell, Shulman took Dobie Gillis to 20th Century Fox Television, run at the time by Martin Manulis. Manulis asked Shulman to reduce the Dobie character's age from 19 to 17, making him a high-school student instead of a college student and an age peer of Ricky Nelson from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow) from Leave It to Beaver.[9] Shulman agreed to the change after negotiating employment for himself on the series as show runner.[9] The Fox pilot, "Caper at the Bijou", featured Dwayne Hickman as Dobie, Frank Faylen and Florida Friebus as his parents, newcomer Bob Denver as a new character, Dobie's beatnik best friend Maynard G. Krebs, and Tuesday Weld as Dobie's unattainable love interest Thalia Menninger.

First pitched to and rejected by NBC, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was greenlit for series by CBS. Phillip Morris' Marlboro was the program's primary sponsor, and it sold a week-to-week alternating co-sponsorship to Pillsbury Company for the first two seasons, with Dwayne Hickman appearing in one of the Pillsbury commercials.[2] Colgate-Palmolive replaced Pillsbury as the alternate sponsor in season three.[2]

While the pilot for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was shot at the main 20th Century Fox lot in Century City, California, principal photography and production for the series proper took place at the original Fox Film Corporation studio at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue (next to the headquarters of DeLuxe) in Hollywood.[3] Dobie Gillis was filmed with two cameras, a method that producer and director Rod Amateau had learned while working on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Fox turned out one episode of Dobie Gillis a week, working from May to December of each year. Dwayne Hickman's fourth-wall breaking monologues were saved for the end of the production of each episode; their length resulted in Hickman requesting and getting a teleprompter from which to read them for season two forward.[1]

The show was not filmed before a live studio audience; during the first season, a live audience viewed each episode and provided its laugh track.[10] Subsequent seasons used a standard laugh track provided by technician Charles Douglass.[11]

Creator Max Shulman served as the show runner for and an uncredited producer of Dobie Gillis.[12] He contributed scripts for episodes of the show during all four seasons, with several stories – including "Love is a Science" (season 1, episode 3), "Love is a Fallacy" (season 1, episode 22), and "Parlez-Vous English" (season 2, episode 11) – directly adapted by Shulman from his original Dobie Gillis short stories.[2][12]

During its fourth season, the show, by then known as Max Shulman's Dobie Gillis, suffered both from competition with NBC's color Western The Virginian and from the growing inattention from Max Shulman.[1] Shulman began spending increasing amounts of time at his home in Westport, Connecticut while the show was in active production,[1][12] ceding his role as show runner to associate producers Joel Kane and Guy Scarpitta. CBS decided not to renew Dobie Gillis after production had concluded on its fourth season.[1]

The theme song "Dobie" was written by 20th Century-Fox musical director Lionel Newman, with lyrics by Shulman. The theme was sung by Judd Conlon's Rhythmaires, with music conducted by Newman. Session singer Gloria Wood of the Rhythmaires provided the scat singing used as incidental score during the first two seasons.[13][14]

Series regular casting notes

Dwayne Hickman, at the time the breakout star on The Bob Cummings Show (also known as Love That Bob) as nephew Chuck MacDonald, won the part of Dobie Gillis over several other candidates, including Michael Landon. Despite being cast as a 17-year-old, Hickman was 24 when he starred in the pilot in the summer of 1958. Because Hickman had appeared for several years on Bob Cummings as Chuck, he was required by Shulman and CBS to bleach his dark brown hair blond for the role of Dobie to distance himself from that character in the public's (and the sponsors') minds.[15] By the second season, however, Hickman was permitted to return to his natural hair color, after he had complained to the producers that the constant bleaching required to keep his low crew cut hairstyle blond was causing his scalp to break out.[3]

Bob Denver, a 23-year-old grade school teacher and postal worker with no previous professional acting experience, won the part of 18-year-old Maynard G. Krebs after his sister, a casting director's secretary, added his name to a list of candidates auditioning for the role.[16] Denver and Hickman had both attended Loyola University together several years earlier and were casually acquainted before Dobie Gillis.[1] After filming the third episode of Dobie Gillis, Denver announced that he had received his draft notice. The character of Maynard enlisted in the Army and was given an elaborate sendoff in the show's next episode, "Maynard's Farewell to the Troops". Stage actor Michael J. Pollard was brought out from New York to play Maynard's cousin, Jerome Krebs, who was introduced at the end of "Maynard's Farewell to the Troops" and was to assume Maynard's role in future scripts.[16]

Before Pollard had completed his first episode, "The Sweet Singer of Central High", however, Denver returned and announced that he had been designated "4F" – unfit for service – during his physical because of a neck injury he had sustained some years earlier.[16] After completing "The Sweet Singer of Central High", Pollard was bought out of his contract – he had signed a "play-or-pay" contract and was paid for all 30 episodes in which he was to have appeared, and Denver was rehired. Maynard's return was explained by stating that the Army had given Maynard a "hardship discharge" – the Army's hardship, not Maynard's.[16][17]

Initially only a supporting character, Denver's Maynard had graduated to co-lead by season two, as the character's "beatnik" mannerisms and eccentricities made him a hit with the viewing audience.[16] For a handful of episodes towards the end of season three, Maynard became the show's lead character while Dwayne Hickman was hospitalized with and later recovering from pneumonia.[1]

Despite Maynard's rise in popularity and increased screen time, however, Denver – who had signed on as a Fox contract player without an agent – was unable to negotiate a raise in his $250/week salary until season four.[11][16] Denver was able to parlay his role on Dobie Gillis into lead roles on later television series, in particular the one for which he is best remembered, the 1964–67 CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island.[16]

Veteran actors Frank Faylen, a longtime acquaintance of the Hickman family and a fellow parishioner at their church,[1] and Florida Friebus were cast as Dobie's parents, Herbert T. Gillis and Winifred Gillis. Faylen's gruff, no-nonsense father character – which, according to Hickman, was essentially the same as Faylen's real-life personality[1] – was more of an antagonist to Dobie during the first season of the show, his demeanor underscored by his often-repeated catchphrase "I gotta kill that boy! I just gotta!" Both CBS and Marlboro strongly disapproved of the catchphrase and the Herbert T. Gillis character's hard edges.[1] An early season-two episode, "You Ain't Nothin' But a Houn' Dog" (episode 2), in which Dobie inadvertently wins a father-and-son essay contest, was produced to explain why Herbert ceased use of his catchphrase. Herbert was further softened as the series bore on, the character's anger tempered to frustration.

Recurring casting notes

Experienced child actress Tuesday Weld was cast as Dobie's love interest in "Caper at the Bijou" and stayed on as a semiregular. Weld and Dwayne Hickman had previously appeared as a teenaged couple in the 1958 Fox feature film Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, based on a Max Shulman novel, though produced without his input.[1] Neither Hickman nor Weld was fond of the other, with Hickman later stating he felt Weld was not as dedicated as necessary to rehearsal and referring to her as "a pain in the neck". Weld reportedly found Hickman pushy and out-of-touch. Aged 15 at the time of shooting the pilot, Weld had to legally spend much of her time onset in school with a tutor,[1] and the production periodically ran into issues involving Weld's later publicly known difficult home life.[7]

Her work in Dobie Gillis and the feature film The Five Pennies made Weld a star, leading to substantial publicity.[11] She departed the series after the first year to star in features, although she was persuaded by Max Shulman to return for two guest appearances, "Birth of a Salesman" (season 3, episode 21) and "What's a Little Murder Between Friends?" (season 4, episode 2).[1]

Herbert Anderson was cast as Mr. Pomfritt, Dobie and Maynard's English teacher at school. Anderson appeared in a lead role in the pilot for Dennis the Menace; when that show was picked up (also by CBS), he chose to stay with that cast, and veteran actor William Schallert appeared in the recurring role of Mr. Pomfritt through the end of season three.

Warren Beatty was cast as Milton Armitage, a recurring rival of Dobie's at his high school, during the first half of season one.[18] Hickman later recalled that Beatty "looked at me like I was a bug" while on set.[1] Beatty did remain friends with his brief co-star Michael J. Pollard. The two co-starred in Bonnie and Clyde eight years later. He quit the series in September 1959, midway through production of the first season after filming his fifth and final Dobie episode, "The Smoke-Filled Room", to appear in A Loss of Roses on Broadway.[18]

Veteran child actress Sheila James, who, playing daughter "Jackie" The Stu Erwin Show, had worked with Dwayne Hickman on that series and 'The Bob Cummings Show, was cast without an audition as Zelda Gilroy, the tomboyish brainy girl who was in love with Dobie.[2] Originally intended as a one-shot character for the episode "Love is a Science" (season 1, episode 3), Max Shulman liked both Zelda and Sheila James and had Zelda retained as a semiregular character. Signing a contract with Dobie Gillis necessitated James, then an eighteen-year-old college student, changing her major from theater to English, so Shulman could assist her with her studies on set.[2]

After the third season of Dobie Gillis, Rod Amateau and Max Shulman produced a pilot for a Zelda spinoff starring Sheila James as Zelda Gilroy, with Joe Flynn and Jean Byron cast as her parents.[2] However, CBS president James Aubrey lingered over moving forward with the Zelda series for a long time before firmly rejecting the series, with Amateau telling James in private that Aubrey had found Zelda (and by extension James, then a closeted lesbian) "too butch".[7] James' contract for the pilot and the resulting waiting period caused her to be absent from much of the fourth and final season of Dobie Gillis, though Amateau was able to hire her to return as Zelda for four episodes towards the end of the season.[2] Acting roles became sparse for James by the late 1960s; she went into law and politics under her birth name of Sheila Kuehl and later became the first openly gay person elected to the California State Legislature.[7]

Steve Franken, a 28-year-old veteran character actor, was cast immediately after Beatty's departure as Chatsworth Osbourne, Jr, a replacement character for Milton Armitage. While both Milton and Chatsworth were rich rivals of Dobie Gillis (and both characters shared the same actress, Doris Packer, for a mother) and were, according to canon, cousins, where Beatty's Milton was a menacing and athletic physical threat, Franken's pompous, foppish Chatsworth tended to plot and scheme his way through competitions with Dobie, more often than not using his riches to get ahead.[12] The Chatsworth character became popular enough that the producers had to consciously limit his appearances on the series to roughly one per month to prevent Franken from upstaging Hickman and Denver, but Franken stated both during and after Dobie Gillis that playing Chatsworth led him to be typecast and stifled his career.[12]

Young actor Bobby Diamond was brought on at the beginning of season four as Dobie's teenaged cousin, Duncan "Dunky" Gillis. By 1962, the 28-year-old Dwayne Hickman had begun to look too mature to carry the teenager-based plot lines,[1] and instead Diamond's "Dunky" was given this material, with the older yet immature Maynard as a running partner. The character was dropped midway through the fourth season, with attention shifting back to the characters of Dobie, Maynard, Chatsworth, and Zelda for the remaining episodes of the series.[1]

Actresses who played Dobie's love interests included Cheryl Holdridge, Michele Lee, Susan Watson, Marlo Thomas, Sally Kellerman, Ellen Burstyn (then billed as Ellen McRae), Barbara Babcock, Sherry Jackson and Danielle De Metz. Yvonne Craig appeared in the opening credits and the closing sequence of the pilot film used to sell the series to CBS, but did not appear in the actual episode, "Caper at The Bijou", when it was broadcast. She would eventually play five different girl friends on the show, more than any other actress.

Other media

After the first season of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis had aired, Capitol Records attempted to make a recording star out of Dwayne Hickman, ignoring the fact that Hickman, by his own admission, was not a singer.[1] Recording engineers had to piece together numerous takes to get a usable vocal track from Hickman for each song. Hickman introduced several of the songs from the Dobie! album on the show during its second season, including "I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter" and "Don't Send a Rabbit".[1] Earlier, while Hickman was appearing on Love That Bob, he had recorded a single, "School Dance", for ABC-Paramount Records, but both the single and the later Capitol album sold very few copies.[19]

DC Comics published a Many Loves of Dobie Gillis comic book that ran for 26 issues from 1960 to 1964, featuring artwork by Bob Oksner. Stories from this comic book series would later be reprinted, with updates to the artwork and lettering to remove any references to Dobie Gillis, by DC as a short-lived series entitled Windy and Willy in 1969.[20]

Sequel films

The program spawned two 20th Century Fox-produced sequels, the pilot Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis? (1977) and the TV movie Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988). Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis? was an unsuccessful pilot for a new weekly sitcom series, which was produced, directed, and developed by James Komack after creator Max Shulman was fired from the production.[3] It was broadcast by CBS on May 10, 1977, as a one-shot special. In the pilot, Dobie had married Zelda and is helping his father Herbert run the Gillis Grocery when Maynard comes back to Central City from his world travels.[21]

Depressed over turning 40 and not living the life he had dreamed of as a teenager, Dobie goes to his beloved Thinker statue and attempts to destroy it, landing in jail.[21] The production starred Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver, Sheila James, Frank Faylen, and Steven Paul as Dobie and Zelda's teenage son Georgie, who was a lot like Dobie had been at his age.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis, first aired as the CBS Sunday Movie on February 22, 1988, was directed and co-written by Stanley Z. Cherry after Dwayne Hickman, who was the film's producer, was forced by the network to fire Max Shulman and Rod Amateau, with whom he had originally conceived the film.[2][3] The plot features the married Dobie and Zelda running the Gillis Grocery – now also a pharmacy – on their own, Dobie's parents having died. Meanwhile, Thalia (played by Connie Stevens after Weld declined to reprise the role) returns to Central City – with Maynard, whom she has rescued from a deserted island – after 20 years (an homage to Gilligan's Island), and offers a $50,000 bounty to anyone who will kill Dobie when he refuses to divorce Zelda and marry her. Hickman, Denver, and James returned for Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis, which featured Steve Franken as Chatsworth, WIlliam Schallert as Mr. Pomfritt, and Scott Grimes as son Georgie Gillis. .[2][3] Connie Stevens' daughter, Tricia Leigh Fisher, played Chatsworth's daughter Chatsie, who chased Georgie Gillis with the same zeal Zelda had once used chasing Dobie.

Home media

On July 2, 2013, Shout! Factory released The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis – The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[22] The set included all 147 episodes of the series, plus the original pre-network version of the pilot and appearances by Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver on other television programs of the time. Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis? and Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis were not included, the latter due to music clearances, and the former because the master copy could not be located.[2] The first season of the show was also made available on Amazon Video on this date.

Shout! subsequently released each season individually. Season 1 was released on September 10, 2013,[23] Season 2 on January 14, 2014,[24] Season 3 on May 6, 2014[25] and the fourth and final season was released on December 16, 2014.[26]

DVD name Ep. # Release date
Season One 39 September 13, 2013
Season Two 36 January 14, 2014
Season Three 36 May 6, 2014
Season Four 36 December 16, 2014
Complete Series 147 July 2, 2013

In popular culture

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was a major influence on the characters for another successful CBS program, the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which ran on the network from 1969 to 1970 followed by several spin-offs. As confirmed by series creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears[27] and writer Mark Evanier,[28] the four teenage lead characters of Scooby-Doo were based on four of the teenage lead characters from Dobie Gillis: Fred Jones on Dobie, Daphne Blake on Thalia, Velma Dinkley on Zelda, and Shaggy Rogers on Maynard.[27][28]

Garry Marshall said that he drew inspiration from Dobie Gillis when he created the ABC sitcom Happy Days.[1][29]

Singer-songwriter Dobie Gray's stage name served as a reference to the Dobie Gillis character.[30]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Hickman (1994), pp. 104–159.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shostak, Stu (July 17, 2013). "Program 331 — Sheila James Kuehl". The Stu's Show Archives. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shostak, Stu (Feb 21, 2007). "Program 12 — Dwayne Hickman and Joan Roberts Hickman". The Stu's Show Archives. Retrieved Aug 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Denver (1993), p. 56.
  5. ^ The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, episode 1- 'Caper at the Bijou'
  6. ^ Tim Brooks; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. pp. 1682–1683. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  7. ^ a b c d Interview with Sheila James Kuehl (Video). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. 2013.
  8. ^ Shulman, Max. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Doubleday. 1951 author's note page vii
  9. ^ a b Jones, Gerard (1993). Honey, I'm Home!: Sitcoms: Selling The American Dream. New York:, Macmillan. p. 151; ISBN 0312-08810-8
  10. ^ Schallert, William (June 10, 2010). "Hollywood Everyman: A Conversation with William Schallert". Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict (Interview). Interviewed by Tweedle, Sam. Archived from the original on January 17, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c Denver (1993), pp. 9–21.
  12. ^ a b c d e Shostak, Stu (Nov 3, 2010). "Program 202 — Steve Franken". The Stu's Show Archives. Retrieved Sep 9, 2013.
  13. ^ "DVD REVIEW: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis – The Complete Series". Mouse Tracks – The Story of Walt Disney Records. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records. Univ. Press of Mississippi. 2006. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-6170-3433-6. Retrieved Feb 7, 2016.
  15. ^ Roger Miller, "Baby Boomers still follow the pop icons of their era", Milwaukee Journal; accessed February 7, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Shostak, Stu (Aug 12, 2009). "Program 137 — Remembering Bob Denver with guests Dreama Denver, Dwayne Hickman, Joan Roberts Hickman, and Bill Funt". The Stu's Show Archives. Retrieved Dec 28, 2013.
  17. ^ CJAD 800 AM, Montreal radio interview with Bob Denver, peteranthonyholder.com; accessed February 7, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Finstead, Susan (2008). Warren Beatty: A Private Man. New York: Random House LLC, pp. 190–220
  19. ^ Dwayne Hickman interview, famousinterview.ca; accessed February 7, 2016.
  20. ^ "Windy and Willy" at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 2, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Sharbutt, Jay (May 9, 1977). "'Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis?' Premieres Tonight". The Evening News. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  22. ^ Date, Cost, Package Art and More for 'The Complete Series' DVDs! Archived April 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis – An Individual 'Season 1' DVD Release is Scheduled Archived July 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.."
  24. ^ The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis – Shout!'s Individual DVD Set for 'Season 2'" Archived December 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., tvshowsondvd.com; accessed February 7, 2016.
  25. ^ Box Art Arrives for a Separate Shout! 'Season 3' Set Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., tvshowsondvd.com; accessed February 7, 2016.
  26. ^ Shout! to Separately Release the 4th and Final Season on DVD Archived September 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., tvshowsondvd.com; accessed February 7, 2016.
  27. ^ a b Shostak, Stu (May 2, 2012). "Program 276 — Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". The Stu's Show Archives. Retrieved Mar 18, 2013.
  28. ^ a b Evanier, Mark (June 10, 2002). "Attention, Jerry Beck!". Povonline. Archived from the original on May 14, 2006. Retrieved March 27, 2006. Fred was based on Dobie, Velma on Zelda, Daphne on Thalia and Shaggy on Maynard.
  29. ^ 'Dobie Gillis': The complete series on DVD, nj.com; accessed February 7, 2016.
  30. ^ Ellis, Bill (July 29, 2000). "Get Lost in the Rock and Roll of 'Drift Away' Dobie Gray". The Commercial Appeal.

Bibliography

  • Denver, Bob (1993). Gilligan, Maynard, and Me. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0806-51413-2.
  • Hickman, Dwayne (1994). Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman. with Hickman, Joan Roberts. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Corporation. ISBN 1559-72252-5.

External links

Bob Denver

Robert Osbourne Denver (January 9, 1935 – September 2, 2005) was an American comedic actor, widely known for portraying Gilligan on the television series Gilligan's Island and the beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the 1959–1963 sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

Chatsworth Osborne Jr.

Chatsworth T. Osborne Jr. is the millionaire dilettante in 35 of the 142 episodes of CBS's situation comedy series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The character, played by Steve Franken, was introduced midway through the first season and returned as a recurring character in the second, third, and fourth seasons of the program, 1960-1963. Franken was twenty-eight when he began portraying Chatsworth, then a seventeen-year-old.

Dobie Gillis producers limited Chatsworth's appearances to about once a month, for there was a fear that the popular character might dominate the series if he were cast weekly.

Chatsworth is depicted as a cousin of Milton Armitage, played by Warren Beatty, in the first season of the program, 1959-1960. Unlike Milton, who is dark and foreboding, Chatsworth is light-hearted, entertaining, and even sympathetic. He spars in a gentle way with the plebeians Dobie Gillis, played by Dwayne Hickman, and Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik role portrayed by Bob Denver.

Besides his great wealth, Chatsworth claims to have "one of the two highest I.Q.s ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere", has been "three times intercollegiate fencing champion, two times intercollegiate court tennis champion, three times intercollegiate archery champion ... winner of the North American Decency Trophy four years running", and speak eighteen languages including Mandarin Chinese. Though a blueblood, he attends public school at his family's insistence to round out his personality.

Actress Doris Packer played his matronly mother, known as much for her distinct voice ("Oh, Chatsworth, you're such a nasty boy...") as for her imposing physical presence. Oddly enough, Packer had also played Clarice Armitage, Milton's mother, although there was never any mention of the two being twin sisters.

In the series, Chatsworth follows Dobie (who he refers to as "Dobie-do") and Maynard from high school to a stint in the United States Army to junior college.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh often refers to political commentator Tucker Carlson as Chatsworth T. Osborne Jr., because of similarity in dress and bearing.

Dwayne Hickman

Dwayne Bernard Hickman (born May 18, 1934) is an American former actor and television executive at CBS.

The usually brown-haired Hickman portrayed Chuck MacDonald, Bob Collins's (played by Bob Cummings) crazy teenaged nephew, on the 1950s NBC series The Bob Cummings Show (a.k.a. Love That Bob later, in syndication), and the blond title character in CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

List of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis episodes

This is a list of episodes from the CBS television comedy The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The first episode aired on September 29, 1959, and the final episode aired on June 5, 1963. There were 147 episodes in total.

Lurch (The Addams Family)

Lurch (whose first name is unknown) is a fictional character created by American cartoonist Charles Addams as a manservant to The Addams Family. In the original television series, Lurch was played by Ted Cassidy, who used the famous catchphrase, "You rang?" (a similar phrase was the trademark of the character Maynard G. Krebs in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis).

Marjorie Stapp

Marjorie Stapp (September 17, 1921 – June 2, 2014), was an American actress who was mainly in low-budget pictures.Stapp began her film career when she signed a contract with the film studio 20th Century-Fox in the 1940s. Her first screen appearance was in The Kid from Brooklyn, a 1946 film starring Danny Kaye. This was followed by another minor appearance in Linda, Be Good (1947). Eventually, she landed a leading role in the Western movie The Blazing Trail (1949) alongside Charles Starrett.Throughout the 1950s until the 1990s, she appeared in both films and television, including Cheyenne, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Dragnet, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, 77 Sunset Strip, The Brady Bunch, Quantum Leap and Columbo. Stapp retired in 1991.

Marlene Willis

Marlene Willis (January 13, 1942 - March 29, 1982) was an American actress, born in Harris County, Texas, who appeared mainly as a guest star in various narrative television series in the 1950s and '60s, such as The Andy Griffith Show (in the 12th episode, "Stranger in Town"); Maverick (in the 4th season episode entitled "Flood's Folly" with Roger Moore); Bourbon Street Beat; Wagon Train; Laramie; The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; The Dick Powell Theatre; and The Loretta Young Show. She also appeared in the theatrical features Rockabilly Baby (1957) and Attack of the Puppet People (1958). Willis sang the theme song in addition to portraying a character in the latter film.

Willis died of cancer at age 40 in 1982.

Maynard G. Krebs

Maynard G. Krebs is the "beatnik" sidekick of the title character in the U.S. television sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963.

The Krebs character, portrayed by actor Bob Denver, begins the series as a stereotypical beatnik, with a goatee, "hip" (slang) language, and a generally unkempt, bohemian appearance. His abhorrence of conventional social forms is signified by comical reactions to three words: "work", "marriage", and "police". For example, whenever the word "work" is mentioned, even in passing, he yelps "Work?!" and jumps with fear or even faints. He serves as a foil to the well-groomed, well-dressed, strait-laced Dobie, and the contrast between the two friends provides much of the humor of the series. Among the memorable phrases uttered in the series is Gillis' regular comment, "Good stuff, Maynard," which long-preceded its use in the Malt-O-Meal commercial from the early 1980s that so many reference as the phrase's origin.

By the third season of Dobie Gillis, Maynard becomes less of the stereotypical beatnik and more a free soul who "does his own thing," as he might say—including collecting tinfoil or petrified frogs, seeing the old Endicott Building get torn down and going to see the movie The Monster That Devoured Cleveland, which perpetually ran at the Central City Bijou throughout the entire series run. In one episode, he invites Dobie to accompany him to a double-feature of the film and its sequel, Son of the Monster that Devoured Cleveland. Maynard may be described as the prototype of the late-1960s hippie. Many of the later episodes center around Maynard, with Dobie more of an observer, but always as narrator. The series lasted four years, but its popularity extended into the 1990s and 2000s as channels like Nick at Nite and Me-TV re-broadcast it for new generations.

Maynard's middle name is Walter, named for his aunt. The "G" is silent, he would explain.

Menninger (surname)

Menninger is a surname. Notable people with the surname or its variant Meningerg include:

Johann Matthias Menninger (1733 - January 15, 1793), an Austrian actor

Karl Augustus Menninger (July 22, 1893 - July 18, 1990), an American psychiatrist

Karl Menninger (October 6, 1898 – October 2, 1963), a German teacher of and writer about mathematics

William Claire Menninger (1899-1966)

Roy W. Menninger (born 1926), MD

W. Walter Menninger (born October 23, 1931), MD

William Meninger, Trappist monk and author

Thalia Menninger, the gold-digging dream girl in the CBS situation comedy series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-1963)

Patricia McNulty

Patricia McNulty (born 1945) is a former actress known for her appearances in 1960s television series.

McNulty had a recurrent role in the television series My Three Sons with Fred MacMurray (1961–1967) and also appeared in Hazel, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and Mr. Novak. She also played Yeoman Tina Lawton in an episode of the original Star Trek series ("Charlie X", 1966).

Robert Gordon (director)

Robert Gordon (August 21, 1913 in Pittsburgh – December 1, 1990 in Los Angeles) was an American director and actor. His acting career, in which he was usually credited as Bobby Gordon, began in 1923 while he was a child, and continued through 1939. His first directing credit came with the 1947 film Blind Spot, after which he directed several films, including The Joe Louis Story in 1953, It Came from Beneath the Sea in 1955, Black Zoo in 1963; and television series episodes including My Friend Flicka, Zane Grey Theater, The Texan and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. He was the last surviving cast member of The Jazz Singer.

Ski-U-Mah (magazine)

Ski-U-Mah (pronounced sky-you-ma), was the college humor magazine of the University of Minnesota (and named for a U. of M. sports cheer) from about early 1920s to 1950. The magazine was affiliated to the Sigma Delta Chi fraternity in the university. It was modeled on Harvard Lampoon.Its most prominent writer was Max Shulman, who later wrote the stories that became the television program The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (also called Casanova Junior) is a 1953 comedy musical film. The film is based on the short stories by Max Shulman collected as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (also the title of the later TV series). Bobby Van played Gillis in this musical version, co-starring with Debbie Reynolds and Bob Fosse.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (season 1)

This is a list of episodes from the first season of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. This season of the series explores Dobie Gillis' life as a junior at Central High School, and is the only season of the series to feature Tuesday Weld and Warren Beatty among the cast.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (season 2)

This is a list of episodes from the second season of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; the series' on-screen title was shortened to Dobie Gillis starting with this season.

The first half of the season explores Dobie Gillis' life as a senior at Central High School. Over the course of episodes 18 through 22, Dobie and his best friend Maynard G. Krebs graduate and enlist in the US Army. The rest of the season primarily centers upon Dobie and Maynard's misadventures in basic training, with a handful of episodes featuring the characters back in their Central City hometown while on leave.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (season 3)

This is a list of episodes from the third season of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; the series' on-screen title was shortened to Dobie Gillis during this season.

This season begins with the enrollment of Dobie Gllis, Maynard G. Krebs, and Zelda Gilroy at Central City's S. Peter Pryor Junior College, after Dobie's and Maynard's discharges from the U.S. Army. The rest of the episodes of the season feature the trio adjusting to college life, and Dobie continuing to deal with life with his parents, Herbert and Winifred Gillis, and working in (or trying not to work in) his father's grocery store.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (season 4)

This is a list of episodes from the fourth and final season of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; the series' title was changed to Max Shulman's Dobie Gillis during this season.

This season continues with the misadventures of Dobie Gillis and his best friend Maynard G. Krebs at Central City's S. Peter Pryor Junior College, Dobie continuing to deal with life with his parents, Herbert and Winifred Gillis, and working in (or trying not to work in) his father's grocery store. Two new recurring characters were added: Virgil Gillis, Herbert's dishonest would-be music star cousin from Tennessee, and Duncan "Dunky" Gillis, Dobie's cousin and Herbert's nephew, who comes to live with the Gillis family and becomes Maynard's running partner.

Sheila James and William Schallert left Dobie Gillis before the start of the fourth season; Schallert to star in the pilot for Philbert and James to star in the pilot for a Dobie Gillis spinoff, Zelda. Both shows went unsold, and James returned to Dobie on a freelance basis for four episodes towards the end of this final season.

Trudi Ames

Trudi Ames (born Trudi Ziskind) is a former actress most notable for her uncredited but memorable role in Bye Bye Birdie as Kim's best friend Ursula. She also had a notable role as Libby in Gidget Goes to Rome and was an extra in Gypsy. In a TV special on January 7, 1965, she was named by ABC as one of the twelve most promising young actresses. She later appeared on such television series as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Make Room for Daddy, Green Acres and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Zelda Gilroy

Zelda K. Gilroy, portrayed by the American actress Sheila Kuehl (known by the stage name of "Sheila James"), is a character from the American sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which originally aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963. A teenage girl and later young adult woman who was bright in academics, athletic, and somewhat plain-looking, Zelda was smitten with the handsome clean-cut teenager Dobie Gillis, played by Dwayne Hickman, who had his romantic sights on the most beautiful girls, such as Thalia Menninger. Most of these, however, shunned him for various reasons. Zelda was always there for Dobie and his friend Maynard G. Krebs, portrayed by Bob Denver.

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