My World and Welcome to It

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My World and Welcome to It
My World and Welcome to It.jpg
Created byMelville Shavelson based on works by James Thurber
Country of originUSA
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26
Executive producerSheldon Leonard
ProducerDanny Arnold
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesSheldon Leonard Productions, in association with NBC
DistributorNational Telefilm Associates
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 15, 1969 (1969-09-15) –
March 9, 1970 (1970-03-09)

My World ... and Welcome to It is an American half-hour television sitcom based on the humor and cartoons of James Thurber.[1]

It starred William Windom as John Monroe, a Thurber-like writer and cartoonist who works for a magazine closely resembling The New Yorker called The Manhattanite. Wry, fanciful and curmudgeonly, Monroe observes and comments on life, to the bemusement of his wife Ellen (Joan Hotchkis) and daughter Lydia (Lisa Gerritsen). Monroe's frequent daydreams and fantasies are usually based on Thurber material.[1]

The series, which ran for one season during the 1969–70 season on NBC, was created by Mel Shavelson, who wrote and directed the pilot episode and was one of its principal writers. Sheldon Leonard was executive producer. The show's producer, Danny Arnold, co-wrote or directed numerous episodes, and appeared as Santa Claus in "Rally Round the Flag."

Series description[edit]

Most episodes open with Monroe arriving in front of the house from the Thurber cartoon "Home," which in the original cartoon has a woman's face on one side of it. In the show, the house is initially house-shaped. The woman's face is often animated to appear, as Ellen says something to John. The "Home" house, without the face, is used as an establishing shot throughout the episodes. Other Thurber cartoons are similarly animated over the course of the series—sometimes in the opening sequence, sometimes later in the episode. The episode "Cristabel" begins with Monroe lying on top of a cartoon doghouse, a reference to the non-Thurber cartoon character Snoopy. Animation for the series was by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.

Henry Morgan had a recurring role as Philip Jensen, a writer for The Manhattanite, who was based on humorist Robert Benchley.[2] Harold J. Stone played the editor, with whom Monroe is often at odds about the cartoon content. A female writer who appeared in one episode was also loosely based on Dorothy Parker.[citation needed] Guest-stars included Lee Meriwether, Paul Ford, Joe Besser, Ray Walston, Craig Stevens, Danny Bonaduce, Talia Shire (as Talia Coppola), Cindy Williams, James Gregory and Noam Pitlik.

Live action adaptations of Thurber's writing were another show staple. For example, "Rally Round the Flag," in which Monroe purchases a very large flag as a gift, is loosely based on a Thurber piece called "There's a Time for Flags." An incident with a policeman in "Cristabel" is an almost verbatim transcription of the Thurber story "The Topaz Cufflinks Mystery." Fables for Our Time is another source, as when John Monroe sees a unicorn in the back yard, a reference to "The Unicorn in the Garden." Many of the episode titles are taken from Thurber's Fables for Our Time (e.g., "The Shrike and the Chipmunks") and other writings ("Rules for a Happy Marriage" and many more).

The character name of John Monroe is Thurber’s alter-ego in his book Owl in the Attic.[3] Monroe and his family first came to television in a 1959 Alcoa Theatre/Goodyear Theatre production called "Cristabel (The Secret Life of John Monroe)." also written by Mel Shavelson. The dog Cristabel was named after a dog Thurber gave to his daughter.[4] John Monroe also appears in a 1961 episode of The DuPont Show with June Allyson called "The Country Mouse", starring Orson Bean. This also uses animated versions of Thurber's cartoons, and the story - cartoonist Monroe struggles to finish his work under the pressures of home and office - that could be regarded as an unofficial pilot for the My World series.

Despite the use of "drawings, stories, inspirational pieces and things that go bump in the night by James Thurber" (as stated in the opening credits),[3] the show also contains character and story elements that owe little or nothing to Thurber's work. For example, there is no Thurber basis for Monroe and daughter Lydia playing chess throughout "Little Girls Are Sugar & Spice - And Not Always Nice!" Although Thurber material is woven around it, the episode's storyline itself is fairly conventional situation comedy. William Windom, though, was a tournament chess player, so he most likely[weasel words] added that to the storyline as a personal touch.[5][better source needed]

Despite many positive reviews, moderate Nielsen ratings led NBC to cancel the series after one season. It then went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series[6] and Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.[7]

CBS reran My World and Welcome to It in the summer of 1972.[1]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Man Against the World"Melville ShavelsonMelville ShavelsonSeptember 15, 1969 (1969-09-15)
John Monroe's wildly imaginative story of Grant and Lee brings a home visit from his daughter's teacher.
2"The Disenchanted"Danny ArnoldRuth Brooks FlippenSeptember 22, 1969 (1969-09-22)
Lydia runs away after her father refuses to have her seat changed at school.
3"Little Girls Are Sugar & Spice - And Not Always Nice!"Lee PhilipsRick MittlemanSeptember 29, 1969 (1969-09-29)
Facing defeat in a chess match with Lydia, John envisions three ways out, each of which would make newspaper headlines.
4"Christabel"Sheldon LeonardMelville ShavelsonOctober 6, 1969 (1969-10-06)
John's magazine article gets him in trouble with his family, his editor and police.
5"The Night the House Caught Fire"Melville ShavelsonMelville ShavelsonOctober 13, 1969 (1969-10-13)
John retreats into the past to recall the time his sniffles brought out the town's fire department.
6"The Ghost and Mr. Monroe"Danny ArnoldCarl KleinschmittOctober 20, 1969 (1969-10-20)
Payless after quitting his job in a huff, fantasy-prone John finds himself begging stock market tips from financial wizard (J.P. Morgan).
7"Nobody Ever Kills Dragons Anymore"John RichPhil SharpOctober 27, 1969 (1969-10-27)
Eleven pickle forks become objects of international intrigue as John escapes into a world of fantasy.
8"Seal in the Bedroom"Lee PhilipsPaul WayneNovember 3, 1969 (1969-11-03)
John's imagination goes wild when his mother arrives for a visit after his cartoon is rejected by his editor.
9"The Saga of Dimity Ann"John RichHarvey Bullock and R.S. AllenNovember 10, 1969 (1969-11-10)
John secretly abandons the family cat after it nips him on the neck and finger.
10"A Friend of the Earth"Hal CooperPaul WayneNovember 17, 1969 (1969-11-17)
John is miffed when his wife and daughter prefer the town character's witticism to his brand of humor.
11"Maid in Connecticut"James SheldonTom KochNovember 24, 1969 (1969-11-24)
During his wife's vacation, John's life is complicated by a new maid, who has a deathly fear of new appliances.
12"Native Wit"Hal CooperMarion HargroveDecember 1, 1969 (1969-12-01)
John and his friend Phil Jensen match wits with the village wit in an attempt to send him packing.
13"The Shrike and the Chipmunks"Sheldon LeonardMarion HargroveDecember 8, 1969 (1969-12-08)
John is forced to collaborate with one of the most famous authors of children's books.
14"Rally Round the Flag"James SheldonLaurence MarksDecember 15, 1969 (1969-12-15)
John gives his daughter an unusual Christmas gift and incurs the wrath of the neighborhood.
15"The War Between Men and Women"Alan RafkinRick MittlemanDecember 22, 1969 (1969-12-22)
A spilled martini triggers an outbreak of hostilities among friends at the Monroes' party.
16"The Mating Dance"Sheldon LeonardJohn McGreeveyDecember 29, 1969 (1969-12-29)
When a bully uses brute force to take Lydia to a party by beating up her scheduled escort, John leaps to the defense of the weaker fellow.
17"Darn that Dream"John RichLila Garrett & Bernie KahnJanuary 5, 1970 (1970-01-05)
John recalls childhood fantasies in his attempt to explain to Lydia that nightmares run in the family.
18"The Human Being and the Dinosaur"Alan RafkinLaurence MarksJanuary 12, 1970 (1970-01-12)
John attempts to explain to Lydia why inferior viewpoints must sometimes be tolerated.
19"Dear Is a Four-Letter Word"John RichErik Tarloff & Frank Tarloff[a]January 19, 1970 (1970-01-19)
Ellen insists that a communications gap exists between her husband and their daughter and asks John to seek advice from the school principal.
20"The Middle Years"Danny ArnoldDanny Arnold & Ruth Brooks FlippenJanuary 26, 1970 (1970-01-26)
Left alone at home when his wife and daughter head for the mountains, John daydreams about an attractive neighbor.
21"Rules for a Happy Marriage"John RichRick MittlemanFebruary 2, 1970 (1970-02-02)
John becomes engrossed in a conversation about the shortcomings of wives and forgets to keep his lunch date with Ellen.
22"The Wooing of Mr. Monroe"James SheldonLaurence MarksFebruary 9, 1970 (1970-02-09)
John's collaboration on a book with a woman at her apartment is turned into a romantic situation by his wife.
23"The Mea-Culpa Bit"John RichBill ManhoffFebruary 16, 1970 (1970-02-16)
Several people try to take the blame for the broken arm suffered by Lydia when her father chased her out of his study.
24"The Fourth Estate"John RichLila Garrett & Bernie KahnFebruary 23, 1970 (1970-02-23)
John is shaken when a sixth grade school newspaper editor rejects two of his cartoons.
25"Monroe the Misogynist"Allen BaronStan Cutler and Martin DonovanMarch 2, 1970 (1970-03-02)
Both Ellen and his editor Hamilton Greeley, accuses John of being a woman-hater.
26"Child's Play"John RichCarl KleinschmittMarch 9, 1970 (1970-03-09)
John's disgust at a friend's patronization of his son turns into guilt feelings when he forgets a picnic date with his daughter.
  1. ^ Credited as David Adler


My World and Welcome to It won two Emmy Awards in 1970:[8]

  • Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (William Windom)
  • Outstanding Comedy Series

It was also nominated for:

  • Outstanding Achievement in any area of Creative Arts ("Rally 'Round the Flag Boys" - special photographic effects).


My World — And Welcome To It
AuthorJames Thurber
IllustratorJames Thurber
Cover artistJames Thurber
CountryUnited States
PublisherHarcourt, Brace and Company
Publication date
October, 1942
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages324 pages
Preceded byFables For Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated 
Followed byMany Moons 

The similarly titled book by James Thurber, My World — And Welcome to It, was published in 1942 by Harcourt, Brace and Company. The current edition is ISBN 0-89190-269-4. Part One of this collection contains 22 assorted Thurber short stories and humorous essays, many of them illustrated with his cartoons. Part Two consists of an eight-part comic memoir about France, written in 1937 and 1938, about twenty years after Thurber first arrived there near the conclusion of World War I.[9] None of these stories, however, feature any of Thurber's "Monroe Family" characters.

The tone of these pieces ranges from lighthearted wordplay and dialect ("What Do You Mean It Was Brillig?") to literary satire ("The Macbeth Murder Mystery") to psychological horror ("The Whip-Poor-Will" and "A Friend to Alexander"). The most famous story is "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which bears little resemblance to the 1947 film of the same name.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946 - Present, pages 430-431, Ballantine, 1979
  2. ^ Many-Faceted Morgan, Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa), September 15, 1969, page 20
  3. ^ a b Edgar Penton, Preview: Gentle World Of Thurber On TV, The Times Herald (Port Huron, MI), July 18, 1969, page 35
  4. ^ Thurber, James (1955). Thurber's Dogs. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. g. xvii. ISBN 0-671-79219-9.
  5. ^ Grode, Eric (August 19, 2012). "William Windom, Emmy Winner and TV Everyman, Dies at 88". The New York Times.[dead link]
  6. ^ Emmys
  7. ^ Emmys
  8. ^ "Past Winners Database: 1969-1970 22nd Emmy Awards". The Envelope: The Ultimate Awards Site. Los Angeles Times. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  9. ^ "His Life & Times: A Chronology". The Thurber House: A Literary Center for Writers and Readers. The Thurber House. Archived from the original on 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  10. ^ "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)". Show Preview, American Movie Classics. Archived from the original on 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2006-12-12.

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