Thalia Menninger … sigh

It was the early ’60s. I was in High School and two things were my top fantasies, the 1957 Chevrolet Nomad and girls’ breasts. Television was black and white and I was beginning to lose interest in the lure of an evening in the vast wasteland. There was so many things to do outside of television: girls, homework, folk music, girls, surfing, onion rings, girls, art movies, the Beach Boys, and of course, girls.

It was a time when I started to develop my television watching habits that I still practice today: pick out a show or two and enjoy them but don’t worry about all the crap you ignored while doing your homework or holding hands with girls.

Today I limit myself to Bill Maher, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee. Interestingly, I tend to watch them on my computer, not on the television.


Back in the early ’60s I watched Burke’s Law, Have Gun Will Travel, and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. I knew that Dobie Gillis was written by Max Shulman but I never bothered to look up his books. I seldom missed an episode, was in love with Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld), admired Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty). identified with Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver), and cringed whenever Zelda Gilroy wrinkled her nose.

I believe there are three collections of stories dealing with the life and loves of Dobie Gillis. I just read the first: The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

All of the stories were fun; most ended in an O’Henry twist; and all involved Dobie, a new love interest, and plenty of trouble. However, the stories were quite different from the television show. First of all, there was no Maynard (Thalia did appear in one story and Zelda in another although under a different name). Mr. Gillis was at one time ran a bakery, at another a grocery store in St. Paul (like the TV show but without a Good-Conduct medal). The biggest difference, I believe, was in the character of Dobie. Dwayne Hickman’s portrayal of Dobie Gillis as I remember it was as less-than-successful student who was always trying to figure out girls and ran around with a beatnick who was allergic to “Work!!!” In the stories Dobie is an accomplished student, a little girl crazy, and prone to getting in unforeseen difficulty.

The stories are fun to read but I miss Maynard.

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