Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959)

THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS (1959) is one of the first TV shows about the lives of teenagers. I watched this show with my mother along with Jack Lalanne...I loved how Dobie talked to the camera.

Dwayne Hickman starred as Dobie Gillis, a daydreamer with a lust for life and beautiful girls. Bob Denver, played his best friend, beatnik Maynard G. Krebs. My first crush...(SIGH) Warren Beatty was on the first few episodes, playing rich kid Milton Armitage.* Dobie's parents Herbert and Winnie Gillis were played by Frank Faylen (It's A Wonderful Life) and Florida Friebus. Friebus went on to play Mrs. Bakerman, one of the patients on (The Bob Newhart Show). Tuesday Weld played Thalia Menninger, the gold-digging girl. Weld quit after the first season to do movies, returning occasionally in later seasons. Sheila James (previously seen on Broadside), played Zelda Gilroy, the girl who was always wrinkling her nose at him. James was more serious about her education than she was about pursuing an acting career, studying law (graduating first in her class at Harvard Law School) running for the California State Senate.

During the run of the series, Dobie and gang started out in High School, then drafted into the army (briefly), then off to college where they had the same teacher in high school--played by William Schallert. After Dobie ended, Schallert went on to be the dad for three years on (The Patty Duke Show.)

In September, 1963, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis left the air after a four years. Bob Denver went on to be Gilligan for three seasons - then starred in ('The Good Guys).

Dwayne Hickman went on to co-star in the Academy Award winning film Cat Ballou, and some entertaining ''teen/beach movies'' of the 60s (Ski Party, How To Stuff A Wild Bikini), then went on to a career as a program exec for CBS during the 1980s.

Click here to view "The Fist Fighter," my favorite DOBIE GILLIS episode with Warren Beatty.


  1. Dawn, this is my favorite of your posts so far! This show had an awesome cast and I loved the relationship between Dobie and his dad. Like you, I enjoyed the scenes of Dobie sitting by the statue, talking directly to the audience. That was interesting to learn that Sheila James, who played Zelda, apparently was brainy in real life, too! I remember Dwayne's older brother, Darryl, as well. He was a prominent child actor and later a TV executive. By the way, have you ever considered that SKI PARTY is a remake of SOME LIKE IT HOT, with Frankie Avalon and Dwayne in the Tony Curtis-Jack Lemmon roles?

  2. Intereseting blog, Dawn, and well-written. I remember Maynard Krebs best of all. I haven't thought of Dobie Gillis in years. Thanks for the lookback.

  3. Maynard was my hereo as a teenager. "You Rang"? "Dobie, Lets go down t o the record store they just got some new Dizzy Gillespie records" was cool stuff in the 60's. BTW the TV movie was shot near my home in the city's of Monrovia, and Serria Madre CA. I had a older friend who went to high school with Shelia James. And Patty Duke's Mom was also on Dobie as a college professor at S. Peter Prior JC .

  4. Rick, I agree SKI PARTY is simular to SOME LIKE IT HOT. I remember them singing the fun song "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" on the bus.
    Becky,i think we have simular taste in TV and Movies.
    Paul, you amaze me on all the triva you know.

  5. Dawn BTW that was Lesley Gore who sang Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows. Do you know classic TV show she did a guest shot on as herself? James Brown was also in Ski Paery.

  6. Dawn you might like this story. When Square Pegs was being"Pitched" to CBS in the early 80' s The creator of the show said they wanted the show to be the Dobie Gillis of the 80's .Guess who one of the exec's in the meeting was?

  7. Paul,
    not off the top of my head. but, i know Lesley also sang another cool song from the 60s... "A Groovy Kind of Love."
    My guess to the 2nd question is, Dobie Gillis.

  8. No! She was on the Donna Reed show. Jeff(Paul Peterson )was trying to get her to sing a song he wrote.Who got it to her? Donna of course.BTW Lesley's Brother Michael, wrote the music fot The first FAME movie. Why Did they remake it?

  9. My memories of this show are from syndication. I remember Dobie talking to the audience by the statue. Maynard was very laid back and quite different from the Little Buddy Gilligan role that would define his career. I smiled recalling the song "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows." Thank you for an informative and fun post, Dawn! I think one of the things I really enjoy about the Cafe is that it's like taking a stroll down Memory Lane with friends who are all sporting knowing grins. :)