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Dennis the Menace was my favorite show growing up. I used to run from the school bus to my house to see it coming on. I would really like to have it on DVD. I hope it will be made available in the near future. Even though Dennis got into plenty of trouble, it was good, wholesome, clean viewing. I know plenty of children today(along with adults like me) would enjoy seeing it now. There was never any disrespect shown to adults in this program. It was always intriguing wondering what Dennis was going to get into in each episode. Everything always worked out in the end and it was just refreshing to watch something that was so entertaining. I would really enjoy seeing this show again. It is the kind of program that you can watch and laugh and forget about how hard the day may have been. Hopefully it will be made available soon.
I was thrilled when I saw TVLand was running this old sitcom this summer and have been taping episodes daily. They give me a good laugh and I am thankful they are only showing the early episodes featuring Joseph Kearns as Good Ole Mr. Wilson. To me he is the second funniest sitcom actor/character ever (next to Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker). His anguished cries of "Great Scott" or "Fiddle Faddle" and his easy-to-stroke ego are hilarious. In my opinion, it's one of the most underrated performances in sitcom history.
It was a great TV show! I watch it every chance I get. When I first
discovered the show about 12 years ago on Nickelodeon, I thought it was
very funny and very unique, A bright boy with a lot of energy who is
always wanting to help people out, especially his next door neighbor
Mr. Wilson who Dennis drove crazy and quite often got him in trouble. I
just could never figure out why his parents didn't punish Dennis more
often for some of the trouble he got into. Never the
less, The TV show was funny up until the end of the 3rd season
when Joseph Kearns who played the 1st Mr. Wilson passed away. Joseph Kearns was the best, he played his role as Mr. Wilson
with a real inspiration. Gale Gordon, Who played Mr. Wilson towards the end of the 3rd season and all of the 4th season was good, but he just was not the character that Joseph Kearns was. Another thing you could tell is that Herbert Anderson (Henry Mitchell) got along with and worked better with Joseph Kearns then he did with Gale Gordon. I think it's quite obvious that Herbert Anderson liked working with Joseph Kearns a lot better then he did with Gale Gordon, it comes clear throughout the last season.
Since I was born in 1955, Dennis was one of the first shows I can recall, along with Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. I even had a few Dennis-themed toys. Whereas Beaver got into trouble for being kind of stupid, Dennis got into it with a kind of sly naiveté -- I always thought he really knew what he was doing. HellOOO Mr. Wilson!! I also used to compare my older sister to Margaret who always wanted Dennis to play dolls with her but she wasn't mean-spirited like Judy Hensler on Leave it to Beaver. I understand Margaret became a doctor as an adult. I was always sad to hear about Jay North's problems being in the entertainment industry. I also remember joining the U.S. Navy hoping to catch a glance of North since I'd heard he was a sailor too. Brings back a lot of memories.
"DENNIS THE MENACE," in my opinion, is a must-see CBS hit! Despite the fact that I've never seen every episode, I still enjoyed it. It's hard to say which one is my favorite. Also, I really loved the theme song. If you ask me, even though I liked everyone, it would have been nice if everyone had stayed on the show throughout its entire run. Everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, if some network ever brings it back on the air, I strongly recommend you catch it just in case it goes off the air for good.
Every time we heard this line we knew that trouble was coming. Jay North,
Dennis Mitchell (The Miracle of the Hills) the cute kid who wore coveralls
and carried a sling shot in his back pocket was walking chaos. He was well
intended and did not mean to do anything wrong. He was so innocent, but he
caused a thousand of dollars in losses for the entire neighborhood,
especially for the Wilsons, his next door neighbors. George Wilson,
Kearns (Anatomy of a Murder) and Martha Wilson, Sylvia Fields (Stewed,
Fried and Boiled) were the empty nesters next door. The Mitchell's
lived in perfect harmony, and in perfect little houses, things always got
messy ultimately because of Dennis. Everybody laughed a lot watching the
show, at least, I did. Henry Mitchell, Herbert Anderson (Rascal), and
Alice Mitchell, Gloria Henry (Keeper of the Bees), were a nice couple but
had the terror kid. I loved the series! There are "Dennises" everywhere I
go. That series led me to watch the new Dennis the Menace with Walter
Matthau as Mr. Wilson. My husband and I rolled with laughter watching it.
I was about the same age as Jay North and I remember vividly watching the 1st show in fall 1959 with my older brother on our table-top RCA-Victor black and white TV. It was on CBS TV (chan 2 in New York City where we grew up). I remember always feeling bad for "GOOD OLD MR Wilson" but I always thought the guy who played the owner of the grocery named Mr Quigley was a sour-puss. One of my favorite ones was the one when Mr Wilson accidentally gave Dennis a very rare coin and Dennis spent it. Of course, Mrs. Wilson was ready to give Mr. Wilson some of his "Nerve Medicine". A good,fun show that we loved. It was followed by other Sunday comedy shows on CBS including "My Favorite Martian" and "Mr Ed".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This series was one of TV's best sitcoms of the early days of TV, and
it has unfortunately been ignored in most of the tribute shows over the
years. Having recently watched some episodes taped some years ago on TV
Land--back when TV Land had many shows worth watching, which hasn't
been the case for some time--I like this series more than I used to.
UPDATE: I have now been through most episodes this year. I laugh
heartily at almost every episode. Far funnier than I remembered. I have
also seen how Mrs. Wilson added more to the series than I remembered.
She was excellent in her role, and that was tough because Joseph Kearns
was the person most responsible for making this series so wonderful.
What I like, in particular, is how Dennis is a good kid who tries to help people, Mr. Wilson and others, but has accidents and has other things go wrong. Frequently, he accidentally destroys something while trying to be very careful. Maybe I like this show because that type of thing happens to me--spilling and breaking things often when I am trying hardest to be careful.
Many reviewers speak of what a great actor Joseph Kearns was. One of the series' chief strengths was how likable this fussbudget was, and how he didn't ALWAYS hate Dennis being around, as he understood that he was a good boy overall, and said so often. He also recognized that quite often Dennis would straighten things out, sometimes getting him out of a fix that was his own doing. One example is an early episode where if not for Dennis, Wilson would have given money to a phony, instead of the man who really had owned the old radio George bought at an auction.
Plots were fairly simple, believable, but mostly lots of laughs. Just as Wilson could never stay mad at Dennis, Dennis never quit trying to do everything he could for his "best friend." I think Dennis on TV was far more likable than in the comic books, where he just seemed to run rampant with little parental supervision. TV Dennis had much better parents, who did teach him things. Part of this is because the TV boy was supposed to be a couple of years, or more, older than the perennial four-year-old of the cartoons.
Jay North was a marvelous child actor, and the other kids around him, while not as good, played characters more realistic than many other TV children. It is most sad that Jay's life wasn't always the best, but that doesn't detract from his wonderful work on one of the dozen funniest TV series of all-time! (One man's opinion.)
Even when I was a young child,I wasn't that much crazy about the
program until years later. The last time this series was on was back in
the mid-1980's on cable's Nickelodeon children's network plus was seen
in some local TV stations late at night or early Sunday mornings and
most recently on Nickelodeon's sister station TV Land. Anyways,this
little boy got on people's last nerves and for good reason since it was
based on Hank Ketchum's classic comic strip of the same title that
produced an astounding 146 episodes,all in black and white and ran in
prime-time on CBS-TV from October 4, 1959 until July 7, 1963 and was
produced by Harry Ackerman for Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures
Hard-headed and all mischievous annoying brat Dennis Mitchell(played by Jay North)was always getting into trouble and getting into all kinds of mischief,especially annoying his next door neighbor Mr. Wilson. He was a cute kid who wore overralls and carried a sling shot in his back pocket was a walking chaos including those who were in the path of his way. The only problem I have with Dennis is this...His parents were always the nice couple,but I wish there were times when Mr. Mitchell gave Dennis a GOOD spanking! How could a kid like that could start mischief but was never whipped? In the real world he could have gotten it good cause no parent if their right state of mind would let him get away with that. Great show,but execptionally hilarious. However,I can remember,there were two actors who played Mr. Wilson on the show....(1)Joesph Kearns(Anatomy Of A Murder)played Wilson during the 1959-61 season,and then the changing of the guard(2)Gale Gordon played him during the 1961-63 season(long before his long collabration with Lucille Ball).
Even when I was a very young child (when this series was still in
production,) I wasn't that crazy about this program. I grant that Jay
North's Dennis was intended to get on people's nerves, but I don't think
that was the intent with regard to the viewers; his shrill delivery always
pained me and I couldn't figure out how a kid like that never got
Admittedly, most of the problems he caused were unintentional; nevertheless, any normal parents would have sat him down and explained that there's such a thing as trying too hard.
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