Shout! Factory has another great nostalgia piece coming out. On July 2, you’ll be able to watch the complete series of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which originally ran 1959-1963. The 21-DVD box set contains all 147 sitcom episodes, plus “original rare pilot footage” and bonus episodes from Love That Bob! (The Bob Cummings Show) (where Hickman played Bob’s nephew Chuck) and The Stu Erwin Show.
The show starred Dwayne Hickman as Dobie, a 17-year-old trying to navigate life and love. Bob Denver was his best friend, Maynard G. Krebs, a beatnik who just wanted to avoid any kind of work. Frank Faylen and Florida Friebus (ha!) were Dobie’s parents, with Tuesday Weld as Thalia, a crush of Dobie’s who wasn’t shy about wanting a boy with money. That was the rich Milton Armitage, played by a young Warren Beatty. Sheila James was the more practical Zelda, friend of Dobie’s with a crush on him. She’s shown here with the boys:
According to Shout!, guest stars included Rose Marie, Bill Bixby, Yvonne Craig, Richard Deacon, Norman Fell, Ronny Howard, Sherry Jackson, Sally Kellerman, Michael J. Pollard, Michele Lee, Steve Franken, and Jo Anne Worley.
The series was based on a collection of short stories written by Max Shulman. A 1953 movie, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, featured Bobby Van as Dobie with Debbie Reynolds and Bob Fosse co-starring. The conflicts mostly revolved around girls, money, or trying to be popular. There was a DC Comics tie-in series, plus Dobie and his friends were the inspiration for the Scooby-Doo gang!
You can tell from the theme song, shown here, how much of a time capsule this will be. It’s fun to watch for that reason, from the little touches of boys wearing sports coats to high school, to the clearly changing times that were coming. The pacing’s slow, compared to what we’re used to, but many of the situations are universal.