Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis #3

Dobie was DC's only remaining teen star in the early 1960s; A Date With Judy was about to give up the ghost shortly after this particular issue hit the newsstands and Binky and Buzzy had both been cancelled a few years before. The story starts out with Dobie trying to haul out a load of food from the small store owned by his parents. At first, his dad doesn't want him to take too much, but then:
This was apparently a running gag on the show, with Pop always fantasizing about the death of his son, who's eating up all the profits from the store. As an aside, when I was a teenager, my dad would ask me if I wanted five hamburgers for dinner, or six. And no kidding, on my first driver's license I was 6'1" and tipped the scale at 139 pounds. I just could not put on weight. Wouldn't I love to have that problem again!

Dobie and Maynard head out to the beach club, where a beauty contest is planned. The organizer of the contest is the manager of a Hollywood starlet, and he immediately sizes Dobie up correctly:
The manager offers Dobie $50 if he will just pick his client as the beauty contest winner.  This is something of a stock comedy plot, as there are quite a few situations that the hero can be placed in.  An obvious one is the boyfriend of one of the contestants asserting that his gal had better win.  And there's also the chance that the hero's girlfriend herself enters the pageant:
Well, why wouldn't he pick his darling Thalia as the winner?  Maynard can think of 50 good reasons.  And so Maynard comes up with a brilliant scheme to get Dobie out of his predicament:
And Dobie tries, but it turns out that Thalia knows all the rules:
To make matters worse, Dobie can't give back the $50 he took from the manager, because he's lost his wallet.  Desperate, he offers to work for his dad, who's stunned at the sudden ambition of his usually lazy son:

But then the manager comes into the store and says it's okay, his starlet client doesn't need to win the beauty contest after all.  Now Dobie is free to pick Thalia, and win her everlasting gratitude.  But:
Fortunately, a gorgeous redhead arrives with his wallet, which she found at the beach club. And thus the story ends on a happy note:
Comments: Overall it's a pretty entertaining story and the art by Oksner fits the tone well. BTW, you probably already know that Dobie Gillis was where Bob Denver became famous, but two of the other stars of the show did rather well for themselves: Tuesday Weld and Warren Beatty.

Update: NES Boy reminds us that several issues of Dobie Gillis were recycled in the late 1960s as "Windy and Willie", which was covered by Dial B for Blog last year. Robbie expressed surprise that the comic was successful enough in its Showcase launch to justify four issues as a separate title, but looking at the timing I suspect the main factor was one I have talked about before.

In early 1969, DC had still not raised its prices from 12 cents to 15 cents, and so they were looking to produce magazines as cheaply as possible. What could be cheaper than comics that just required a little change to the hairdos and some minor text editing? It's certainly a lot less expensive than commissioning 23 new pages of artwork and a script. The first two issues were produced with the old cover price; the latter two came out after the bump to 15 cents. This is similar to what Mort Weisinger had done in the early 1960s when he recycled old Superboy stories in Adventure Comics.

Update II: Had to do some digging for this one, but a thought occurred to me.  One of the other drawbacks to licensed products is that DC didn't have the copyright to the characters.  For example, the Adventures of Bob Hope contains a copyright statement in the indicia showing that the copyright belonged to Mr Hope.  The Dobie Gillis issues bore this copyright:
20th Century Fox and Selby-Lake Inc.  But the Windy and Willie issues were copyrighted by NPP:


Wriphe said...

Funny you should word your "did you know" at the end of this column the way you did. I had heard the trivia about Warren Beatty having been on the show so many times before I saw Dobie Gillis, that it was Bob Denver's presence that surprised me when I finally a few episodes (on Nick at Nite sometime in the early 1990s). I suspect that this was a side effect of Beatty's prominent media coverage in the early 90s as Madonna's beau.

Pat said...

Wriphe, I am just old enough to remember the Dobie show and Maynard G. Krebs was the most memorable character, so to people my age, it was kind of a surprise to see him a couple years later as Gilligan.

Diane said...

Like you, Pat, I can just barely remember the show, mostly from reruns after it was off the air. Maynard is memorable, but for me it was always Zelda Gilroy. I can't honestly tell you why. That face-squint just sticks with me.

NES Boy said...

And of course, there's the case where DC rebranded their Dobie Gillis stories as "Windy and Willy". In fact, Dial B For Blog covered this last year.

Marble River said...

Nice post pcurley; don't I know you from somewhere?