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John Monroe observes and comments on life, to the bemusement of his rather sensible wife Ellen (Joan Hotchkis) and intelligent, questioning daughter Lydia (Lisa Gerritsen). Monroe's frequent daydreams and fantasies are usually based on James Thurber, cartoonist for The New Yorker, material. It took several tries before the life and work of James Thurber was successfully adapted into a weekly television series. Two failed pilots, broadcast in 1959 and 1961, eventually led to NBC scheduling My World and Welcome To It on Mondays for the 1969-1970 season. The sitcom starred William Windom as John Monroe [the character based on James Thurber] and featured a combination of live-action and animation. Despite many positive reviews, moderate Nielsen ratings led NBC to cancel the series after one season. It then went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series. Written by
Series was based upon the writings of humorist and social commentator James Thurber. The show also included animated cartoons that were in James Thurber's style. See more »
From the animated opening credit roll: Based on stories, inspirational pieces, cartoons, and things that go bump in the night. By James Thurber. After the credit roll is complete, the animated dog starts to chase James Thurber's name. See more »
A Fitting Tribute to James Thurber and William Windom
For some reason certain shows never last long on television, but retain an affection on their audiences long after they disappear. "He & She" with Paula Prentice, Richard Benjamin, Jack Cassidy, Kenneth Mars, and Hamilton Camp was one of these - it lasted one season only, but it was a truly funny series. Slightly lesser but with good moments was "Good Morning World". And with those two is this show, that only lasted from 1969 to 1970.
It was based on the comedy of one of our wittiest writers, James Thurber - a man who was so good at writing he has been recently republished in the "Library Of America" series of books. Thurber was an essayist mainly, but he wrote short stories ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "The Greatest Man In the World" are two of his most anthologized works), a comic autobiography ("My World And Welcome To It"), and hundreds of funny cartoons, many chronicling "The War Between Men And Women". What is amazing about Thurber's achievement was the difficulties he encountered - he was a man in poor health (he eventually went totally blind in his last years, but he was still doing those difficult cartoons up to the end, using special crayons and paper). He also had a serious drinking problem.
Thurber's work first appeared in "The New Yorker", and he would develop close working relations with many other leading writers. One friendship was with fellow humorist Robert Benchley. In the series, the character based on Thurber (John Monroe - William Windom), has a friendship with a Benchley clone (Philip Jensen - Henry Morgan) in several of the episodes. Although Thurber was friendly with Benchley, he was never a member of the Algonquin Set that Benchley belonged to (with Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, F. P. Adams, George F. Kaufman, Heywood Broun Sr., Marc Connelly, and Alexander Woolcott).
The series followed the normal Thurber point of view, ably translated via the scripts by Windom's perfectly dry and sensible performance as Monroe. Like W.C.Fields, Thurber did not have anything but a jaundiced eye for patriotism, sentimentality, lovable dogs and pets, and perfect marriages. While Windom and Joan Hotchkiss (as his wife) were not at daggers drawn as some of Thurber's more extreme couples (one cartoon of his shows the bodies of a husband and wife, each holding a gun, on the floor - and a reporter only asking a witness what was the make of the bullets), their relationship mirrors his views of how men seem to be more reasonable, and women more excitable and changeable. Whether this is fair I leave to whoever reads Thurber to figure out. However, he usually makes it quite funny.
Windom's character faced problems regarding putting up a flagpole on his property (while applauded by patriotic groups, some wonder why he is doing it, and question his patriotism). He tells stories of his early life from the autobiography (such as "The Night the Bedclothes Fell"). He deals with a children's book writer (played by Paul Ford) who turns out to be less than loving about kids when he's had a snoot full. Windom handled Monroe/Thurber wonderfully, and merited the Emmy award he got for his role. Unfortunately, the series was not renewed. Pity about that, as it was one of the best in terms of writing and acting in television history.
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