Because I rose and shone a bit early this morning than is my usual, I spent some time catching up on reading some of favorite blogs—and in glancing over the list, came across this Christmas episode of My World and Welcome to It (“Rally Round the Flag”; 12/15/69) over at Kliph Nesteroff’s Classic Television Showbiz. Now, I need to stress here that if I took the time to watch everything at CTS my own blog would be a blank page—but because of my fondness for this wonderful situation comedy (which, sadly, lasted only a single season despite winning an Emmy as Best Comedy Series) I stopped whatever it was I was doing and gave it a look-see. (My blogging colleague and fellow Jaw-jan Linda at Yet Another Journal is also a fan of the show, to the point of having a webpage saluting it.)
The plot of “Flag” finds our hapless hero, writer John Monroe (William Windom) engaged in yet another disagreement with his wife Ellen (Joan Hotchkis) as to why he won’t go out and purchase “with his own bare hands” the Christmas gift he plans to give his daughter
My World and Welcome to It was loosely based on the works and writings of the great James Thurber, and the series has a decidedly offbeat, surrealistic bent that incorporated many of Thurber’s cartoons and short stories into its episodes. According to TV.com, the series’ cancellation was the result of it being an innocent bystander at NBC when the network acquired the services of comedian Red Skelton after Skelton was purged from the prime-time schedule at rival CBS. NBC had to make room for Skelton’s new series (which would be Red’s last season on the air) and My World was the series chosen as the sacrificial lamb. There was a good deal of outrage among viewers over the network’s decision, and an equal amount of discussion as to whether to bring the series back—but the cost of My World’s production would have proven expensive and so the idea was dropped. In the summer of 1972, the series returned briefly in reruns (curiously, on CBS) which is when I became acquainted with the show—and a telling sign of how much I revered the series was that when my mother started nagging for me to come into the house on those summer nights I gave her absolutely no argument if I knew the show was on.
Kliph has a few other interesting Christmas tidbits up—“Will the Real Santa Claus Please Come Down the Chimney?” a Many Loves of Dobie Gillis telecast from
There are also a couple of Yuletide-themed installments from a short-lived 70s sitcom entitled Arnie which I remember my parents being fond of when I was a kid. It starred character great Herschel Bernardi as Arnie Nuvo, a loading dock foreman who found himself promoted to an executive position (head of the Product Improvement Division) at the company where he worked, the Continental Flange Company, and the difficult adjustments he had to make in his new white-collar existence. Sue Ane Langdon played his wife Lillian (this must have been one of the earliest examples of the “schlubby husband/hot wife” sitcom…well, this and Hazel) and Roger Bowen (Col. Henry Blake in MASH ) was his clueless boss, Hamilton Majors, Jr. In “The Gift of the Majors” (12/18/71), Arnie is counting on his Christmas bonus to help develop a recreation room at a youth center run by guest star Allan Melvin—but boss Majors ends up buying him an exotic parrot instead. It’s amusing, but I liked “Let Them Eat Cookies” (