Monday, 12 November 2007

My World

After many years of thinking about it, I have at last found access to dubs of one of my favourite tv shows of all time (thanks Gareth). These are not official and I can't point you in any direction. In fact the quality is somewhere close to looking at the picture through a woolly cardigan.
The title was called My World and Welcome to it. It was a half hour comedy series that ran for one season of 26 episodes over 1969-70, and then won an Emmy after it was cancelled. It starred William Windom as a cartoonist, John Monroe.

I bumped into the actor, now in his eighties, three(?) years back as we were both exiting the San Diego comic con. He was there I guess because he had a prominent role in an episode of Star Trek. He didn't really want to stop and chat until he realized I was raving and complimenting him on the best tv comedy of all time, which was really HIS show. He later took a one-man stage version of it on the road. It was based on the cartoons and stories of James Thurber, animated versions of whose drawings periodically intervene in the drama. The stage version (damn I wish I'd seen it, but I was sixteen and had no money for the run into London) used a lot of cut-out cartoons like the one of the dog in this promo photo for the tv series.

The opening sequence of each episode was usually a variation on the Thurber drawing of a house morphing into a woman:

I managed to find two different photographed tv screens on the net that show how it worked. The live action figure of Monroe (Windom) would be speaking a little monologue that would lead into the story as he arrived home from the office (he was the cartoonist at a new York magazine) and entered the house. The house would usually start talking and we'd segue into the conversation between Monroe and his wife:

I've just finished watching the sixth episode. Windom has drawn a cartoon of two hippos looking at each other . The caption reads 'You look much better since you lost the weight.' The editor doesn't get it. Which one's speaking? It doesn't matter. They're identical. One of them's got to be speaking. Okay, it's that one. Well it's mouth isn't open.
Windom resigns and storms out...

When is somebody going to put the series on DVD for god's sake!!!????



Blogger Bill Peschel said...

I remember that one! I was 8 at the time and it was my first introduction to James Thurber.

He also made an impression on me in another context about that time: an ABC "Movie of the Week" called "The House on Green Apple Road." It was a murder mystery in which police come across a blood-stained kitchen in an empty house, and try to work out what happened there. Windom played the murder victim.

12 November 2007 at 16:58:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

I recall the show. We watched it during its entire run because my mom insisted on it. She owned the TV set while it was on, and she was crushed when the series wasn't renewed.

I liked it because even then I found something cynical about the show, and it appealed to me on that level.

12 November 2007 at 17:53:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Unknown said...

Eddie, trying to get through to you via phone and e-mail. call me if you see this. 11:00 pm in NYC

12 November 2007 at 23:04:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Jason Das said...

Wow! I never heard of this show before. I'd love to see it. Maybe the Museum of Television and Radio here in New York has it on file ...

12 November 2007 at 23:48:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Robert Morales said...

Eddie, how weird: Today, I was writing Norman Spinrad - the guy who wrote the Star Trek episode in which Windom guest-starred - and I trying to remember the name of "My World."

That show was one of my favorites. I immediately got "The Thurber Carnival" out of my public library and harbored an 11-year-old's crush on the girl that played the daughter on the show, Lisa Gerritsen - I remember the important things, you see, like girl's names.

13 November 2007 at 01:57:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a few episodes of this when it was repeated on Channle 4 in the UK in the eighties. The only one I properly recall featured Monroe trying to find a Christmas present for his daughter, failing, and finally ending up in a flag store where he bought her the stars and stripes. It went down about as well as giving an eight year old a flag would do.

They animated his final cartoon at the end of each episode, no?

I was too young to have known about Thurber when it was on. I bought the complete New Yorker cartoons book and CD Rom recently and have been loving his stuff (among many others).

Ben Smith

13 November 2007 at 07:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Langdell said...

Somehow I'm not shocked that Thurber was an influence on you. I enjoyed that "My World" show a few years after discovering the joys of reading Thurber as a pretentious 6th grader.

In the decades since, I'm a little surprised to think that his drawings have held up even better than his writing.

13 November 2007 at 14:19:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved that show, too. A fine tribute!

14 November 2007 at 23:44:00 GMT-5  

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