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The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis ran from September 1959 until September 1963 on CBS.
This situation comedy about a girl-crazy teenager was ahead of its time. Its central characters would have felt equally at home in the late 1960's: Dobie Gillis , the confused romantic who could never figure out what he wanted from life , and Maynard G. Krebs, his carefree beatnik friend, television's premordial hippie.
Dobie Gillis( played by Dwayne Hickman; his hair was lightened for the series , apparently to make him look younger although it did grow darker as time wore on ) was a typical American teenager. He loved beautiful girls, fancy cars and money. Unfortunately he was the son of a grocer ,and not the most attractive kid, which put a crimp in his style. Dobie and his beatnik buddy Maynard( Bob Denver) for whom work was a dirty word , did their best to get by with a minimum of effort. Dobie had two real nemeses in his life. The first was Zelda Gilroy( Sheila James), an intelligent but unattractive female who was trying to get herself married to Dobie. Whenever she saw Dobie , she twitched her nose at him as a mating call and in an automatic reaction , he twitched back at her. Then got angry with himself with an " Oh Zelda, stop winking "The second nemeses through most of the series was millionaire Chatsworth Osborne, Jr ( Steve Franken),a spoiled young man who spoke with a darian accent and referred to his mother as " Mumsie." He would flaunt his social status, not to mention his money, to snare the attractive girls who eluded Dobie.
When the series premiered in 1959, Dobie had to contend with handsome Milton Armitage( Warren Beatty) for the attention of his favorite girl, the modest, aristocratic ( despite her rather modest means) mercenary Thalia Menninger( Tuesday Weld). She was interested in acquiring "oodles and oodles" of money. She was constantly looking to better Dobie's prospects for supporting her in the lifestyle to which she would become accustomed! Dobie was also much concerned about his future and was seen at the beginning of each episode in Central City's park next to a statue of The Thinker, assuming the same famous pose while pondering his fate.
The Gillis's lived at 285 Norwood St. where Mr. Gillis had his store and the family had its home above the store. Dobie's mom Winifred ( Florida Friebus) was the sweet suffering sort who often sided with Dobie and in fact would sometimes slip him some money ( for dates) behind his father's back. Her husband, Herbert ( Frank Faylen) was a grumpy grocer and could contain himself only with his wife's persuasion. He wore old clothes and hated to part with a nickel. He was sure everyone was trying to exploit him. In Dobie's case he was right. Dobie irked him ( he wanted Dobie to work in his store) and he didn't care for Maynard either. Maynard always endearingly called him Mr. G.
Dobie Gillis was based on Max Schulman's book, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. In 1953 it was made into a movie starring Bobby Van and Debbie Reynolds. For two years, Schulman -best known for having written Rally Round the Flag Boys-tried to get Dobie on television. Finally Dobie was changed from a college kid to a high school kid-making him a teenager to appeal to the TV audience, full of teenaged kids.
Signed to play 18 year old Dobie was Dwayne Hickman, about whom TV Guide said, " He's so cleancut you could slice roast beef with him." Hickman was familiar to TV viewers as Bob Cummings' nephew Chuck McDonald in the 1955-1959 sitcom Love That Bob. While playing Dobie, Hickman recorded songs for Capitol Records, including one which opened the second season in 1960 " I'm a Loner, Not a Fighter" which later appeared on his first LP Dobie. Variety called the song " A cutie of a tune." In one episode Zelda wrote a song for Dobie called " Who Neds Elvis?" which he sang to woo gorgeous six foot Esme Lauterbach away from trumpet-player Maynard.
At the time when Dobie Gillis began shooting , Hickman announced that he was a " leading boy" adding that " I have almost no natural talent in acting...but I have worked until I've surpassed those with more natural talent." A professional actor since the age of 10, Dwayne Hickman lived with his parents and sister while making the show. His older brother Davey appeared occasionally as Dobie's older brother Davey.
The show was full of changes throughout its four year run. Bob Denver who played best bud Maynard was drafted after four episodes. Art imitated life by having Maynard drafted on the show. He was immediately replaced by Michael J. Pollard as Maynard's cousin Jerome Krebs. Pollard was under consideration to replace Denver permanently but Denver flunked his physical due to an old neck injury and so after two episodes , Jerome was out and Maynard was back in-discharged from the army as a hardship case-hardship on the army, and anyway Maynard was allergic to khaki ( Denver was a former athletic coach , and history and math teacher).
Meanwhile Dwayne Hickman and Tuesday Weld who played Thalia Menniger didn't exactly hit it off. " People used to wonder why I didn't get along with Tuesday Weld in the early days of the show and they all thought it was some sort of romantic dust-up or something," Hickman said. " It wasn't. She just wasn't a pro, that's all, no discipline, late to work getting back from lunch, no sense of responsibility to the show, the crew, the rest of the cast. She's a very talented girl and maybe by now she's learned discipline. I don't know I haven't seen." For her part Weld responded that she preferred to keep silent if she had nothing kind to say about a person...In her column Luella Parsons called Weld a " disgrace to Hollywood" and indeed she was unconventional . She would come onto the set with a ferocious white german shephard which would bite the director. Weld left the show after the first year to concentrate on her film work.
Warren Beatty got his acting start on the show playing Milton Armitage , the school's stuffy but talented man of distinction. Beatty thought the role was absurd and quit and in February 1960, Milton was replaced by Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. with Doris Packer assuming the role of his snobbish, overbearing mother ( " Chatsworth , you nasty boy"), essentially the same type of part she had played as Milton's mother when the series began. In March 1961, Dobie and Maynard enlisted in the army, thinking that would help them find themselves. The army thing only lasted until the first episode of the 1961-1962 season, when they resigned from the service and enrolled in S. Peter Prior Junior College. It was there that Maynard fought the system in his nonconformist way and his "good buddy" Dobie chased women and tried to find himself for the last 2 seasons that The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis was on the air. Leander Pomfritt ( William Schallart) who was Dobie's high school teacher was now his teacher at college and Jean Bryron who had played his math teacher Mrs. Ruth Adams was again on the show this time playing Dr. Burkhart. Raymond Bailey played Dean Magruder and during the last season Robert Diamond appeared as Dobie's cousin Duncan . Ryan O'Neal made his TV debut on one episode " The Hunger Strike" which also featured Marlo Thomas ( January 26, 1960)
On May 10, 1977, 15 years after Dobie Gillis ended its run, CBS aired the pilot episode for a proposed revival series titled Whatever Happened To Dobie Gillis? What happened was Dobie had finally been snagged by Zelda, and had a teenage son, Georgie (played by Stephen Paul). Maynard, now forty-something but still unconventional, came back to visit. The new series never happened. Another reunion took place in February 1988.
Here is Frank Faylen's Obituary from The LA Times
Actor Frank Faylen Dies; Noted for Film, TV Roles
August 05, 1985|BOB POOL | Times Staff Writer
Frank Faylen, a character actor whose 70-year entertainment career ranged from a Mississippi River showboat act to a role on the "Dobie Gillis" television series, is dead.
Faylen was 79 when he died Friday at a Burbank hospital. He had suffered from a lengthy respiratory illness.
He was a veteran of more than 400 films. His movie work included parts in "The Grapes of Wrath," "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and "Funny Girl."
Born in St. Louis, he lived on a showboat with his parents, who were acrobats and singers. Faylen joined their troupe as an infant when he was rolled onto the stage in a baby buggy to be a straight man for showboat comics. A cow was carried on board to keep his baby bottle filled.
After working with his parents, Faylen became a vaudevillian song-and-dance man before turning to the screen in 1936.
Under contract to Paramount, he portrayed scores of gangsters, policemen and bartenders. His most-acclaimed role was in the 1945 film, "The Lost Weekend." In it, he played a sadistic nurse who tormented alcoholic Ray Milland.
Faylen's other films included "Bullets or Ballots," "Kid Galahad," "Road to Rio," "Detective Story," "Riot in Cell Block Eleven" and "North to Alaska."
He was most widely known for a television role, however. He portrayed Herbert T. Gillis, the grocer-father of Dobie Gillis in the 1959-1963 television series, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," and in a subsequent Dobie Gillis TV movie.
Faylen is survived by his wife of 57 years, actress Carol Hughes of Hollywood, daughters Catherine Philbin of Van Nuys and Carol Jones of Newport Beach, and three grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, family members said.
Here is Florida Friebus Obituary from the LA Times
Florida Friebus; Played Mother of Dobie Gillis
June 02, 1988|CAROL McGRAW | Times Staff Writer
Florida Friebus--who played Dobie Gillis' mother on the popular television series and also portrayed a group therapy patient on "The Bob Newhart Show"--has died at a retirement home in Laguna Niguel, it was learned Wednesday. She was 79.
Mrs. Friebus, who the Orange County coroner's office said died Friday, retired in 1979 after suffering several strokes, which ended a long career that included scores of shows for radio, stage and television.
She was perhaps best known for her portrayal of the kind-hearted, sweater-knitting Mrs. Bakerman, a member of an encounter group that met regularly on "The Bob Newhart Show" during its television run from 1972 to 1978.
'Dobie Gillis' Role
Another of her most popular TV roles was that of Winnifred Gillis, the understanding mother who continually interceded between father and son in the series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which ran from 1959 to 1963.
During that time, she also had her own children's show, "Look and Listen," on which she read stories on KNXT, the Los Angeles CBS outlet that later became KCBS.
Her interest in children's literature started in New York City in the late 1940s, when she did a similar program on radio for more than 10 years, said a longtime friend, actress Joan Tompkins.
Mrs. Friebus, born in 1908 on Nantucket Island, Mass., started her career with the Civic Repertory Theater in New York City in 1929, when she appeared in "The Cradle Song" and numerous other productions. In 1932, she and Eva Le Gallienne created a dramatization of "Alice in Wonderland," which was staged on Broadway and later on television's Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Worked for Actors Equity
She married actor Richard Waring in 1934 and was divorced in 1952. They had one child, who died in infancy. She was on the council of the Actors Equity Assn. for more than 16 years, and two years ago received the Phil Loeb Award for extraordinary service to her profession.
Mrs. Friebus left no family survivors, and in accordance with her wishes there will be no services. A spokesman for the Ray Family Mortuary in San Clemente said she was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.
She had asked that any commemorative donations be made to the Actors' Fund of America in New York City.
Here is Bob Denver's Obituary from The New York Times
Bob Denver Is Dead at 70; Star of 'Gilligan's Island'
By DOUGLAS MARTIN SEPT. 7, 2005
Bob Denver, whose television roles as Gilligan, the wacky first mate in "Gilligan's Island," and Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik with a bongo in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," were first hits, then cult classics, died on Friday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 70.
Mike Eisenstadt, Mr. Denver's agent, announced the death, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Denver was being treated for cancer at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital and underwent quadruple bypass surgery earlier this year.
Mr. Denver's most famous role, shown in continuous reruns since the show's first run ended in 1967, was as Gilligan, first mate of the S.S. Minnow, which is shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island after a typhoon. Regular whacks on the head by the hat of the skipper, Jonas Grumby, played by Alan Hale Jr., were typical of the indignities that Gilligan endured as part of the show's exuberant physical comedy.
Others of the castaways included a millionaire couple, Thurston Howell III, played by Jim Backus, and Mrs. Lovey Howell, played by Natalie Schafer. There was a curvaceous starlet, Ginger Grant, played by Tina Louise; a sexy farm girl, Mary Ann Summers, played by Dawn Wells, and a science professor, Roy Hinkley, played by Russell Johnson.
Continue reading the main story
The Denver and Hale interaction was modeled on that of Laurel and Hardy, including Mr. Hale focusing exasperated reactions directly into the camera, just as Oliver Hardy had done. Gilligan's first name, almost never uttered on the show, was Willy.
"Gilligan's Island" began in 1964 and immediately became a commercial hit for CBS on Saturday night. It was rewarded by being moved to Thursdays for its second season, and again handily won the biggest audience its time period. For the third season, it went to Mondays and was again successful.
The cast and crew assumed there would be another season, but CBS canceled the series in order to lengthen "Gunsmoke" from a half-hour to a full hour.
The show never aspired to be more than light mass entertainment, according to Tom Shales in The Washington Post in 2004. He said Sherwood Schwartz, the executive producer of the show, named the S.S. Minnow after Newton N. Minow, the Federal Communications Commission chairman who in 1961 called the prime-time television schedule "a vast wasteland."
But the 98 episodes of the show over its three seasons have thrived in reruns, and spawned two animated series, with Mr. Denver's voice in a starring role, as well as a science-fiction version, also with Mr. Denver. He even played Gilligan in an episode of "Baywatch," as well as starring in three made-for-TV movies based on "Gilligan's Island."
In "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which ran from 1959 to 1963, Mr. Denver was the goofy friend of Dobie Gillis, a purportedly typical American teenager played by Dwayne Hickman. Others in the cast included the future stars Tuesday Weld and Warren Beatty.
Maynard's laid-back attitude was repeatedly expressed in his wild exclamation "Work!?" whenever anyone uttered the word within hearing distance. His offbeat humor was typified by his explanation of his middle initial: "The G stands for Walter."
In 1970 Mr. Denver made a well-received transition to the stage by replacing Woody Allen in Mr. Allen's Broadway play "Play It Again, Sam." Clive Barnes of The New York Times wrote that Mr. Denver had "a genuine clownlike wistfulness."
Mr. Denver was born on Jan. 9, 1935, in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from high school in Brownwood, Tex. The family moved to California, where Mr. Denver graduated from Loyola University, one of the predecessors to today's Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; Mr. Hickman was also a student there. He acted with the Del Ray Players in Los Angeles and made his first theatrical appearance in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." He got a screen test for the part of Maynard G. Krebs and to his surprise won the part.
Other television shows in which he appeared included "The Good Guys" (1968-70) and "Dusty's Trail" (1973), a virtual copy of "Gilligan's Island," set on a lost wagon train. He also starred in a children's program, "Far Out Space Nuts" (1975), which was essentially Gilligan in space.
He lived in Princeton, Va., where he was co-host of a syndicated radio show with his wife, Dreama Perry Denver. He also did occasional television shows and attended many fan fests dressed as Gilligan.
In addition to his wife, his third, he is survived by his sons, Patrick and Colin; his daughters, Megan and Emily; and a granddaughter.
Correction: September 12, 2005, Monday An obituary Wednesday about Bob Denver, the star of the 1960's television hit "Gilligan's Island," misstated the broadcast history of "Gunsmoke," which was ensured a full-hour slot on Monday nights when CBS canceled "Gilligan's Island" in 1967. "Gunsmoke" had been a full-hour show since 1961; it was not lengthened to a full hour when "Gilligan's Island" was canceled. The obituary also misidentified Mr. Denver's residence. He lived in Princeton, W.Va., not Princeton, Va.
Here is Steve Franken's Obituary from The New York Times
Steve Franken, Actor in Dobie Gillis, Dies at 80
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK AUG. 29, 2012
Steve Franken, a character actor specializing in comedy who appeared in films with Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis and others, but was best known for playing the wealthy and snobbish Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on the hit sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.
The cause was cancer, his wife, Jean, said.
Mr. Franken's television and film career lasted more than 50 years. He was a frequent guest on popular shows like Bewitched and Love, American Style, and also appeared on Mission: Impossible, Seinfeld and many other series.
He acted in films with a long list of stars, including Peter Sellers in The Party and The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu ; Mr. Lewis in Which Way to the Front? and Hardly Working ; Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson in The Missouri Breaks ; and James Garner and Julie Andrews in The Americanization of Emily.
But Mr. Franken first gained widespread attention on Dobie Gillis, which ran from 1959 to 1963. His character, Chatsworth, was a boastful rich kid who nonetheless was friendly with Dobie (Dwayne Hickman), a grocer's son, and his beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver).
Stephen Robert Franken was born on May 27, 1932, in Queens. He graduated from Cornell University and began acting in New York City in plays like Inherit the Wind, the fictionalized account of the Scopes trial. He landed the Chatsworth role after going to Los Angeles to be in Jos Ferrer's production of Edwin Booth, in which he played a young version of the title character.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Franken is survived by their daughter, Anne; two daughters from his marriage to Julia Carter, which ended in divorce, Emily Franken and Abigail Glass; and two grandchildren.
To watch episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis go to http://www.solie.org/alibrary/DobieGillis.html
For a website dedicated to The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis go to https://web.archive.org/web/20080125085918/http://home1.gte.net/res09cc9/index.html
To go to Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20100114101746/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/dobie.html
For an article on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis go to http://www.avclub.com/article/dobie-gillis-found-winner-making-its-lead-loser-203287
For a page dedicated to The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis go to https://classictvhistory.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/the-many-loves-of-dobie-gillis-part-one/
For the Official Website of Dwayne Hickman go to http://www.dwaynehickman.com/
For an interview with Dwayne Hickman go to http://www.famousinterview.ca/interviews/dwayne_hickman.htm
To watch Dobie Gillis-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/many-loves-of-dobie-gillis
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dD3e6ASkg and for the closing credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dko2dui1zz4
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Keywords: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Cast (Links Updated 5/25/2017)