The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
|The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
(Max Shulman's Dobie Gillis)
|Created by||Max Shulman|
|Directed by||Rod Amateau
Stanley Z. Cherry
|Theme music composer||Lionel Newman
|Opening theme||"Dobie" performed by Judd Conlon's Rhythmaires|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||147 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Martin Manulis|
|Cinematography||James Van Trees|
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Running time||26 min|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television
Martin Manulis Productions
|Original run||September 29, 1959– September 18, 1963|
|Preceded by||The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)|
|Followed by||Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis (1978)
Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988)
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963. The series and some episode scripts were adapted from a 1951 collection of short stories of the same name, written by Max Shulman, that also inspired the 1953 film The Affairs of Dobie Gillis with Debbie Reynolds, Bob Fosse, and Bobby Van as Dobie Gillis. A follow-up novel, I Was a Teen-Age Dwarf, appeared in 1959.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was produced by Martin Manulis Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television; creator Shulman also wrote the theme song in collaboration with Lionel Newman.
The series revolved around teenager Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman), who aspired to have popularity, money, and the attention of beautiful and unattainable girls. He didn't have any of these qualities in abundance, and the tiny crises surrounding Dobie's lack of success made the story in each weekly episode. His partner-in-crime was American television's first beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver).
Krebs had a deep aversion to work and was convinced life was for enjoying. Dobie's father, Herbert T. Gillis (Frank Faylen), who owned a grocery store, was only happy when Dobie was behind a broom. Dobie's father was often caught up in various elaborate get-rich-quick schemes, or situational bail-outs à la Ralph Kramden, with Dobie getting ensnared along with him; by the end both came around grudgingly to Maynard's point of view.
As a high school student, Dobie lived at home with his parents in the show's early years, and his interaction with his parents was a source of much of the humor. His mother Winnie (Florida Friebus) was very caring and perhaps tended to baby her son a little too much; his father Herbert was a very proud, hard-working child of the Great Depression and veteran of World War II, who was often heard to declare "I've gotta kill that boy, I've just gotta!" but deep down a good and decent man.
Dobie's two main antagonists were rich kids, Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty) and, after his departure, Milton's cousin, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. (Steve Franken), both representing the wealth and popularity to which Dobie aspired. They both shared the same actress, Doris Packer, as their mother.
Dobie was hopelessly attracted to the money-hungry blonde Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld), who frequently entangled Dobie in her money-making schemes. Weld left the series after the first season and was replaced by a seemingly endless stream of young women equally hard for Dobie to obtain. Most, however, were not as money-obsessed as Thalia. Thalia's catchphrase was that the money was not for her but for her family; she would talk about ailments her family had that only money could cure. Thalia claimed her looks were all her family had to lift them out of their bad situation in life.
Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James Kuehl) was a brilliant and eager young girl who was hopelessly in love with Dobie, much to his annoyance. Despite his protests, Dobie was clearly fond of Zelda and would be married to her in the proposed 1977 series pilot, Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis?. Zelda claimed Dobie loved her too but just hadn't realized it yet. To prove this she'd wiggle her nose (like a rabbit) at Dobie who would do the same back to Zelda, though Dobie said it was only a reflex and not love that made him do that.
During the second season, Dobie and Maynard (along with Chatsworth) did a brief stint in the U.S. Army. The peacetime draft was in effect at the time, and the Vietnam War was as yet only a minor concern to most Americans when the series ended.
Beginning with the third season, Dobie moved from high school to S. Peter Pryor Junior College, surrounded by many of the same people. William Schallert played Leander Pomfritt, the English teacher at both the high school and the junior college; and Jean Byron (with whom Schallert would later co-star on The Patty Duke Show) played mathematics teachers Ruth Adams and Professor Imogene Burkhart (which was actually Jean Byron's real name).
Broadcasting history 
- September 29, 1959 – June 26, 1962: Tuesday at 8:30 pm on CBS
- September 26, 1962 – June 5, 1963: Wednesday at 8:30 pm on CBS
Nielsen ratings 
- October 1959 – April 1960: Not in the Top 30
- October 1960 – April 1961: #23/23.0
- October 1961 – April 1962: #21 (tie)/22.9
- October 1962 – April 1963: Not in the Top 30
Dobie Gillis was filmed with two cameras, a method that producer and director Rod Amateau had learned while working with George Burns. The show was not filmed before a live studio audience, but a live audience viewed each episode and provided its laugh track.
Because Hickman had appeared for several years on the comedy Love That Bob as Bob Cumming's nephew, Chuck, he was asked to dye his hair blond for the role of Dobie in order to distance himself from that character in the public's mind. By the following year, however, Hickman was permitted to return to his natural brunette hair color.
During the first season, many of the episodes would begin and end with Dobie sitting on a Central City park bench posed à la Auguste Rodin's statue, "The Thinker", a reproduction of which stood behind him. Speaking directly to the audience, he would explain to the viewing audience his problem of the week (usually girls or money). The use of the statue was phased out in later episodes.
After filming the third episode, Bob Denver announced that he had received his draft notice and 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. Before Pollard had completed his first episode, however, Denver returned and announced that he had been designated 4F – unfit for service – because of a neck injury he had sustained some years earlier. Pollard appeared in only one more episode before being bought out of his contract.
The actresses that played Dobie's love interests include Cheryl Holdridge, Michele Lee, Susan Watson, Marlo Thomas, Sally Kellerman, Ellen Burstyn (billed as Ellen McRae), Barbara Babcock, Sherry Jackson, Diana Millay and Barbara Bain. 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.
Theme song 
The theme song "Dobie" was written by 20th Century-Fox Musical Director Lionel Newman, with lyrics by Max Shulman. The theme was sung by Judd Conlon's Rhythmaires, with music conducted by Lionel Newman.
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 he couldn't sing. According to Hickman's autobiography, Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman, the recording engineers had to piece together numerous takes to get a usable track of each song. Hickman introduced several of the songs from the Dobie! album on the show, including "I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter" and "Don't Send a Rabbit." 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.
DC Comics published a Many Loves of Dobie Gillis comic that ran for twenty-six issues in the early 1960s, featuring work by Bob Oksner. Stories from this comic would later be revamped as Windy and Willy.
Sequel films 
The program spawned two sequels, the pilot Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis (1978) and TV movie Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988). In these, Dobie had married Zelda and had a son named Georgie, who was like Dobie had been at his age. The latter of these took its title from the Sam Peckinpah film, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and its plot from the play The Visit, by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
DVD release 
In popular culture 
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was a major influence on the characters for another successful CBS program, the Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Scooby writer Mark Evanier noted that "Fred was based on Dobie, Shaggy on Maynard, Velma on Zelda and Daphne on Thalia."
A typical situation on Dobie Gillis would have Dobie (or some other character) saying something pertaining to a sloppy, unkempt mess (or something of a similar nature), after which Maynard would appear, saying "You rang?" This would be copied on The Addams Family TV series, in which Lurch, the Frankensteinian butler, would respond to being called by saying "You rang?"
- Schallert, William (2010-06-10). Hollywood Everyman: A Conversation with William Schallert. Interview with Tweedle, Sam. Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict. http://popcultureaddict.com/interviews/williamschallerti/. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Milwaukee Journal, Roger Miller article, "Baby Boomers still follow the pop icons of their era"
- CJAD 800 AM, Montreal radio interview with Bob Denver
- Dwayne Hickman interview
- Date, Cost, Package Art and More for 'The Complete Series' DVDs!
- "News from Me" blog of Mark Evanier
- Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows
- Hickman, Dwayne, Forever Dobie: The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman, Carol Publishing Corporation, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1994
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis|
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis at TV.com
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis at the Internet Movie Database
- The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953 film) at the Internet Movie Database
- Whatever Happened to Dobie Gillis? (1977 TV movie) at the Internet Movie Database
- Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988 TV movie) at the Internet Movie Database