Classic TV: THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS(1959-63)

THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS was a relatively long running offbeat college comedy involving actor Dwanye Hickman as a college student usually involved in get rich schemes or trying to get that hard-to-get girl. But, what really made this early sitcom a real favorite of mine was the role of Bob Denver as the beatnik friend of Dobie Gillis, Maynard G. Krebs. Much like his later role as Gilligan on GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, Bob Denver played the role of Maynard G. Krebs as a bumbling sort of character that was great for laughs. As a beatnik, Krebs was a cool character on one level, but an outrageous comedy foil for the more serious Gillis on the other hand.

I so loved Bob Denver’s character at the time that my mother remembers when I put on a small fake goatee as a little kid, telling her I was a “beatnik”.

The disastrous get rich schemes in the show seemed much like a ripoff of the same concept from THE HONEYMOONERS, but at the college level. But, I just loved the show, which seemed wacky, mostly due to the bumbling antics of Maynard G. Krebs.

Strangely, it often seemed that the scripted failings of Dobie Gillis seemed to result in something like a good kick in the ass at the end of the show, which also seemed like an offbeat sort of ending for any comedy. The show also started out with Gillis as a high school student, eventually moving on to a junior college by the third season. As a kid, this show was always a must watch on my favorites list. I simply loved this show that I starting watching watching as just a real little guy when it debuted in 1959, following every season.

Fortunately, most of the campus problems with protests over the Vietnam War took place after this show was no longer aired, where this show featured college life in much happier days. And although the beatnik culture was sometimes associated with protests as well, Maynard G. Krebs role seemed to largely avoid this. This was fun TV in simpler times. It was a good time for all.

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