Thursday, July 4, 2013

We Suffer Yet Another Unconscionable Interruption in Gordon Keith Week to Bring You a Spirited Defense of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"


Corby has made something of a recent career out of sneering at Mike's taste in -- well, everything.  This may be frequently overlooked.  But when he pooh-poohed the incomparable "Dobie Gillis," based on stories by the very funny writer Max Shulman, I had to say something.  (Shulman's Barefoot Boy with Cheek was one of the comedy inspirations of my youth. Since it's about college life in the 1940's (no, I'm not that old), probably dated now.) 

The show featured the teenaged (at first) Dobie (Dwayne Hickman) longing after unattainable girls.  His pal was Maynard G. Krebs, played very memorably by Bob Denver.  The cast, in fact, was a showpiece of comic acting.  Dobie's dad was played by the perpetually cranky Frank Faylen and his mother by the protective Florida Friebus, who you will recall as one of Bob Newhart's addled "group" patients on "The Bob Newhart Show"


who may have been the only onscreen couple both of whom had alliterative "F" names.  You're familiar with the iconic images of Maynard, allergic to work (which word he would repeat, shrieking, whenever he heard it), a bongo-playing beatnik (here with Dwayne Hickman as Dobie).


In its first season, Dobie's romantic rival was one Milton Armitage, played by Warren Beatty (here in a scene with Mel Blanc):


(The next time you would have seen him back then is in Elia Kazan's "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood.)  But for me, the two most memorable characters are Zelda Gilroy, played by Sheila James.  She pined after Dobie, who resisted her advances.  After her acting career, she became a lesbian activist, and, as Shelia Kuehl, has held several elective offices in California.




As it turns out, her character (because of her brains and, uh, plainness) became something of an inspiration for ambitious young women of the time.  The other was Steve Franken, who played Warren Beatty's successor rich-kid rival as Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  (He passed away last August.)


Directed by the legendary Rod Amateau.  Guest stars galore:  Barbara Bain, Michael J. Pollard, Ronnie Howard, Sally Kellerman, Rose Marie, Bill Bixby, Richard Deacon, Norman Fell, Jack Albertson, Michele Lee, Mel Blanc, Jo Anne Worley.

 All right.  Those names may not mean much to you now.  And you may not think they're funny.  But at the time, the show was a hit.  It aired almost as many episodes as "The Dick Van Dyke Show," its approximate contemporary.  Are you gonna bust a gut watching "Dobie Gillis"?  No, not now.  But you have to watch the thing through the lens of the late fifties and early sixties.  I don't know if it was revolutionary, but it was the only show I can think of from that era about teenagers (Hickman was in his 20's when it was filmed).  Mike R is right:  Bob Denver is funnier in this show than he ever was in "Gilligan."  It's a gentle humor, not a place to turn for dick jokes.

I caught up with some clips and episodes on You Tube as I was writing this.  Still gave me a smile.

ThePlainsman1310@gmail.com
@Plainsman1310

41 comments:

Anonymous Ron said...

As I posted elsewhere, Uninformed Corby showed his ass in dismissing Dobie Gillis.

A couple of thoughts about his father, Herbert Gillis. In his own way, he was a forerunner of Archie Bunker. And his catch phrase "I gotta kill that boy . . . I just gotta" could not be said on network TV today.

slinky said...

Anon Ron, I hope you're wrong, but you might not be. The fact that we've become such a paranoid society that we can't see when something is a joke, frankly, scares me to death. We constantly are taught these days, to walk on egg shells as to not offend someone. Thats why I love the Ticket, and Gordo! I think one reason we're seeing the crazy crap like all the shooting sprees , is because we're witnessing a generation that has been raised in an overly "politically correct" enviroment. The parents can't whip some ass, teachers can't whip some ass, so we got a whole generation of F-ups!

Arlington P1 said...

Don't forget Tuesday Weld!

Anonymous said...

So you had time to write this, but couldn't finish up the piece on Gordon?

birq said...

Dobie was on midday UHF reruns when I was a kid (in the '70s), and my dad had good things to say about it, so I gave it a chance. Maybe it's because I was a pre-teen who was a decade or two removed from those times, or maybe it didn't hold up, but I just didn't get it. I liked seeing young Gomer as a beatnick, but it fell flat with me. I wasn't a big fan of Leave It To Beaver, either, and to me this had the vibe of a derivative of that.

The Plainsman said...

Fair enough. Nothing less productive than trying to convince someone that something is amusing. (Which is why I wish they would stop doing so on The Ticket showgrams.)

I only recall finding Leave It to Beaver (imagine trying to name a show "Leave It to Beaver" on network TV today) desperately unfunny, and Dobie Gillis pretty funny. Maybe just because it was different, exaggerated, absurd. (Not unlike The Beverly Hillbillies, to which it has been compared, unfavorably, in these pages). Maybe because I thought it was funny that an adult-looking guy would be named "Dobie."

The Plainsman said...

Been checking some local sources. So far no one seems to know what the CTO is up to when it comes to the future of the Ticket's signal on 104.1, or elsewhere.

Assuming they're up to anything, and that this isn't just a reflexive error, or punishing the P1 to pay for BaD's new deal.

slinky said...

Oh man, I couldn't disagree more. The Beav was greatness. How bout some of the comments on that show? "Well dad, if you're gonna hit him, can I watch?"! LOL! Think that would fly today? The trouble with Dobie was, you never really got the context of the show. He came off as a lovable normal teenager, then the next minute, he's getting the creepy, stalker treatment from the lassies! I never got Dobie either, but it had a peppy, catchy little theme song.

Anonymous Ron said...

Does Dobie Gillis compare favorably to the likes of All in the Family, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, or even Arrested Development? Certainly not. But you have to evaluate Dobie Gillis within the context of the time that in ran on CBS prime time. Here is the complete network TV schedule for 1959, the year DG debuted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959%E2%80%9360_United_States_network_television_schedule

A couple of sitcoms in that group that are considered classics, and IMO Dobie Gillis holds up well with them.

As to the effect of political correctness on network TV, there are plenty of shows that could not get green-lighted today. Hogan's Heroes, for one. That's why we are seeing a migration of cutting-edge series television to cable (this is one place where Corby's observation was dead on).

Anoonymous Ron said...

BTW, I believe it was Uncle Barky's column that got the Hardline's conversation about Dobie Gillis started.

http://www.unclebarky.com/reviews_files/431621d983929cc3f9e4b06751b9d43c-1576.html

Anonymous said...

P-Man, my intent is to not hijack this thread, but the more I read the many postings about Gordon, Corby, Bob etc., the more I wonder about the dynamics of the P-1 and whom they most identify with in terms of each host. Personally, I'm more of a George Dunham guy, but it would be very interesting to see which host appeals to the vast wasteland of Ticketdom.

Anonymous said...

3:42 - Interesting idea for a topic (hint, hint Plainsman).

I identify most with Bob (and as a result he is my favorite on the station).

Anonymous Ron said...

Since we're the same age and both grew up in or around Dallas, I identify mostly with Mike. I'm even inclined to sprinkle 50-cent words into conversations. And I've got a DD-214 that grants me the right to use nautical terminology when the mood strikes me.

Anonymous said...

I love Rhads, but why does he shout into the mic? It's so annoying.

The Plainsman said...

342, it is an interesting topic, but my question is -- are you asking a question other than who is one's favorite? I'm not sure how I'd answer who I most closely identify with, but I have a feeling in most cases that would be pretty congruent with one's favorite host, as 451 suggests for him/herself.

Of course, people are always welcome to hold forth on their favorite host.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps not looking so much at the favorite host per se, but you bring a good point. I was thinking more along the lines of commonality in life experience, demographic, personality, etc., so in that regard, guess the question could be expanded to include the rest of the on-air folks (j.v., ticker guys, producers, fill-in hosts). Thank you Plainsman.

slinky said...

With me [minus the drugs] it's got to be Greggo. We're two years apart. I had a new 1976 Rally Sport camaro in Highschool. He had a new 1978 Trans Am. He gets frustrated with the wussy-fying of America. I grew up with the same type of back porch country witticisms. We're both frustrated with our careers. Man, it's kinda scary.

pDub Lahey said...

This is a good topic. I would say that I'm a Dan more than anyone else, in terms of personality and interests. And honest to God, I happen to have a roommate named Hitler (who couldn't be a more wonderful person). But I probably make too many Hitler jokes.

Anonymous said...

Corby is classless self-absorbed idiot, who knows a little bit about a lot of things but doesn't know very much about anything. His only avenue to success has been being in the right place at the right time.
The next talented thing that Corby does will be the first.

Gopher said...

Favorite is Bob.....however I feel closer to Mike and......Norm. Mike is about five years older than me and and have fond memories of his days at KZEW. Norm is about 12 years older. My youth splits these two guys and I relate to both of them.

The Plainsman said...

659: Have to disagree. I don't know how much Corby knows about anything, but I think he's a very talented broadcaster.

Let's accept The Hardline criticism that Corby has somewhat taken over. I don't necessarily agree with that, either, but let's just say. That show is, if I'm not mistaken, doing better numbers now than it did with Greg Williams. If not, they're comparable. I'm not saying the end justifies what you don't like about Corby, but I do think it means that a whole heckuva lot of Ticket listeners are perfectly happy to listen to Corby, knowledgeable or not. It's not all the weakness of the competition.

I'll make the comparison I made before -- Howard Cosell. No, dammit, he doesn't sound or look like Howard Cosell. (And, in contrast to Howard, Corby has that wonderful hair.) But his 'tude and abrasiveness or fratboyishness or whatever you want to call it is something that people will tune in to listen to just like Howard's critics couldn't turn away from him, either.

We've also experienced the occasional show where Corby is in charge, with Mike gone or Corby filling in somewhere. When he's not being Hardline Corby, I think he does a real good job, keeps things moving, just a natural, and naturally talented, broadcaster.

The Plainsman said...

This topic Anonymous offered about who at The Ticket we "identify" with is a real good one. I'm going to return to it after Gordon Keith week winds down to its exciting, yok-filled conclusion. Of course you can always comment here if you want, but you may want to save it for a post I'll do here in a bit.

Anonymous said...

Corby has two sport fallbacks...OU message boards to illustrate his NCAA football "knowlegde" and what the DMN has on the Cowboys. That is it. At least Cosell was a PBK at NYU and passed the state bar by age 2365in while the Cobra loved bellying to a bar at that age. The draft proved that if it is not a Big XII game or a CBS/SEC game not opposite OU, he does not watch to support the years of being the CFB Blowhart and he has an additional day (Tuesday) to talk about it. Let's see if he will talk about either Teddy Bridgewate, Taj Boyd, Braxton Miller, Aaron Murray or Sammy Watkins after the first twoBlack weekends of ncaa football.

Anonymous said...

From Anon 6:59 -
With respect Plainsman, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.
I will admit that it's possible that Hardline Corby's over the top abrasiveness has clouded my perception of him to the point of me being unable to see anything but his glaring faults. In my opinion he really needs to be paired with a strong team that can keep his boistering in check. He does come across as a blowhard that usually has very little to back up any statement that he throws out. Is this part of the "Cobra" persona that has been carefully crafted? Maybe, but I think not. I think this is very much what he is, and there is no actual thought or effort put into his prep. He simply piles on Rhynes and throws out outlandish comments about whatever the topic is.
You must see that he simply reads from the Internet for Enews and really anything that he "reports". That is a total lack of thought or prep.

Anonymous said...

So we are into week 2 of Gordon Keith week here on MTC, and The Plainsman has yet to post anything he himself has written about the Great Gordo. He posted a link to a D.O. article and a comment that one of us wrote. Not sure this has been a very succesful Gordon Keith week, err.. 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

So GK Week consists of one post that claims it's GK Week, one nicely written and thought out post that was a comment from another thread, and a Dobie Gillis post that had to have taken at least some amount of time to compose. Yet no original Pman article on the subject. And now the Dobie Gillis post has turned into yet another Corby is ___ thread. I've noticed that over the last while fewer and fewer long time commenters are checking in as often as they used to. Maybe there's a perfectly good reason for it. Work, family, the usual. Or maybe because, like THL, this site has become lazy?

Anonymous said...

Dang, 1148, you beat me to the punch! At least I know I'm not the only one out there thinking along these lines.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Agreeing with Anon 8:22.

Corby is somewhat like Donavon in that he has so little that when pressed he will throw out childish material (Corby more than Donavon) and usually try and derail the segment. That's what I dislike most about Corby. It doesn't matter the subject, but for instance, if Rhyner or Danny is leading it, Corby will throw out a childish comment and I beg that the other two get it back on track. Usually it doesn't, which leads me to wanting to smack the radio.

The Plainsman said...

Ah, but unlike THL, this site is not my paid gig.

Best, Plainsman

Anonymous said...

If you are going to do something, do it right. Not about getting paid. You Do not get paid to clean your house, either.

The Plainsman said...

I believe the phrase you're reaching for is "do something right, or don't do it at all."

Anonymous said...

Wow. The bickering here is disappointing. Complain about Corby, complain about Gordon, complain about the Ticket, complain about the Plainsman. It gets old. Sorry to ya Plainsman; I think you've done well personally.

Anonymous said...

The "or don't do it al all" is implied. But you knew that. Just couldn't help yourself.

OK 216 troll, then what should we do? All agree about everything? Then you'd comment that we're all a bunch of lackeys.

the radish said...

Quibbling about the phrase aside, I have to say that I agree with the 3:08 Anon. If you're going to have a Gordon Keith Week, then have a Gordon Keith Week. You've been teasing with this Gordo STD of an article for quite some time now. You tell us that you're finally ready to let it fly, give us a comment that reflects some of what you think, and then promptly go onto other subjects. All during Gordon Keith Week. Therefore I agree with the aforementioned Anon: Either celebrate Gordon Keith Week properly or don't mention it, much less celebrate it. That is, just keep it to yourself.

Sorry, Plainsman, it had to be said. No matter how much I dig your site.

Anonymous said...

Gordon is certainly a paradox and sometimes it is very hard to tell when he is being genuine when he writes for the DMN. His latest article about his need to overcome fear by going on stage and performing music at the Jub-Jam was a little hard to accept as being completely honest. Gordon, before he got into radio, was in a band and played many gigs in front of audiences. He's been a performer as long as we have known him at the ticket. We all know he craves attention and desires to be the one that stands out from everyone else during big ticket events. So after reading his article about his desire to conqueror fear by going out on stage in front of people struck me as sounding a bit over dramatic and not completely truthful.

Anonymous said...

Gagree.
If you take Gordon's entire library of work that we know of, a lot of what he says nowadays rings as disingenuous, capricious, and arbitrary. He is constantly bringing every story back to himself, and unequivocally promoting himself over the real courage boys Jub and Jr. His bit is tired.

YOKOYOLO said...

@726
One of the dangers of self-discovery by means a self-performed psychological excavation is that some times you gloss over the important by assigning it to the trivial bin; another is that you give far too much weight to something that isn't really that important; and still another is that many times things are "uncovered" that were never really there. While I admire Gordo's search for himself, I think his latest DMN article falls into the last category. Not only did Gordo play many, many live gigs (some in front of pretty large crowds/in large venues), but also he (and most all the hosts) do A LOT of speaking engagements every year. Most all are in front of sizable audiences. I know for a fact that Gordon himself has done more than his share of corporate gigs. These entail an audience of several hundred, if not over a thousand. His job on nearly every one of these engagements is to make the crowd laugh. It's one thing to get up on stage with a band and a guitar in hand; it's an entirely different animal to do what is tantamount to standup. The latter is a much more naked affair. So, like you 726, I'm not buying what Gordon's selling. At least not this time.

Anonymous said...

Sympathize with your "day job", Plainsman, and glad to have this site after moving west, to keep up with all things Ticket. But I'm sure we have all noticed over the past couple months the P-man tease without being backed up by content. A lot of "I've been working on an STD on this topic, which I will be sharing soon." And then a lot of nothing. I'm not saying you should spend hours a day on this site, P-man. Just saying it rings as a hollow excuse when you choose to throw out the "busy life" excuse randomly, especially after devoting a lengthy post to Dobie while staying silent about the Great Gordo content you promised. If you're gonna tease, we're gonna want some follow-through!
Keep up the great work you've done here, to make this community what it is.
--P1 Mike

slinky said...

From the looks of present day Zelda, I'd say ol Dobie made a wise choice.

Shaggy said...

Ben and Skin have graduated from eating a beard to eating fish eyeballs and drinking urine.

Arlington P1 said...

Since we are still commemorating Gordon Week, I must ask: does Mushmouth really work as a bit without Burrito Jimmy?

It sure doesn't for me, but then I always thought the Burrito Jimmy/Mushmouth gags were among the most inspired lunacy anyone produced at the little ticket. So perhaps I'm holding the solo efforts to an impossible standard.