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Man Against the World 

In the pilot episode: We meet a cartoonist with a vivid imagination (deftly illustrated by James Thurber), who lives a fairly standard life in American suburbia with a wife, a child, and a ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
John Monroe
Joan Hotchkis ...
Ellen Monroe
Lydia Monroe
General Lee
Corp. Schultz
Mary Grover ...
1st Miss Skidmore
Lillian Field ...
2nd Miss Skidmore


In the pilot episode: We meet a cartoonist with a vivid imagination (deftly illustrated by James Thurber), who lives a fairly standard life in American suburbia with a wife, a child, and a house with the proverbial picket fence. After daughter Lydia complains her history lesson is dull and boring, John tells her his own take on the story of Generals Grant and Lee at Appomattox. Of course, Lydia shares her father's less-than-factual version with her class in school, her teacher schedules a home visit. Written by stellans

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Release Date:

15 September 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Welcome to John Monore's World
6 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

In the opening credits of the pilot episode, also serving as the first episode, we are introduced to John Monroe (William Windom), a cartoonist and writer for a New York magazine called "The Manhattanite". He is strolling to his house in Connecticut, based on the style of drawings by James Thurber as if in a cartoon, where he lives with his wife Ellen (Joan Hotchkis) and daughter Lydia (Lisa Gerritsen) and their two dogs. As he cracks a dry joke about his wife, the side of the house turns into her leering profile to comedic effect.

As the episode opens, Lydia is voicing her concern to her mother about her slightly-eccentric dad being the one to help her with her homework. John is working on a cartoon sketch upstairs alone when he begins talking to the camera, feeling he can relate more to us (the viewer) than his family. Ellen implores John to try and get to know his daughter better. Lydia is wise beyond her years and has trouble relating to her imaginative father. John: "Imagination is what makes life tolerable." Lydia's assignment is to write a composition on General Lee's surrender to General Grant at Appomattox. Lydia is shocked to learn that Ulysses S. Grant had an occasional nip to the point that during the Civil War "he had six bottles of Kentucky bourbon shot right out from under him." John begins drawing the story of the surrender, which flawlessly transitions into a blend of live action with cartoon-appearing black and white walls and props. Corp. Schultz (Marvin Kaplan, "Henry" from "Alice") enters to rouse Gen. Grant (also played by William Windom) as Gen. Lee (Royal Dano, "The Trouble With Harry", "The Outlaw Josey Wales") arrives. The tall tale was based on the Thurber short called "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox". Lydia finds her dad's colorful tale funny and at last the two are beginning to bond. However, when Lydia tells the story including a drunk Gen. Grant at school, she draws the ire of her history teacher and pupils' parents. Miss Skidmore (Mary Grover) is surprisingly a young, attractive blonde when she arrives to speak with John. A series of quick cuts in avant garde style alternates between the two dodging the advances of one another. His wife walks in to break up what turns out to be his imagination and introduces him the real Miss Skidmore (Lillian Field). The teacher explains the cruelties she has inflicted upon Lydia for the composition. John explains to Ellen that he just wanted to unlock her imagination, but wouldn't blame her if she never spoke to him again. Lydia shows her wisdom in deciding which lesson to take to heart.

This is a very fine entry into the short-lived series. The acting performances are all superb featuring a strong story with dry humor packed lightly enough as to not take away from the seriousness of the message.

"My World and Welcome to It" was created for television by former Bob Hope joke writer and noted director Melville Shavelson. He shared a love of the works of James Thurber with producers Danny Arnold ("Bewitched", "Barney Miller") and Sheldon Leonard ("The Danny Thomas Show", "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Dick Van Dyke Show") who began adapting the idea for television. The series would be based on works by famed American cartoonist/writer/humorist James Thurber, and named for his 1942 book "My World — And Welcome to It". The series would follow Thurber character John Monroe, played by Thurber buff William Windom who in part resembled the humorist. Monroe was a little-understood and oft-frustrated Manhattanite (based on "The New Yorker") magazine writer whose slightly-eccentric imagination played at odds with his wife and daughter. At work, John is at odds with his editor Hamilton Greeley (familiar no nonsense character actor Harold J. Stone). His co-worker Philip Jensen was played by humorist Henry Morgan and based upon humorist/actor Robert Benchley (Robert Benchley Shorts: i.e. "How to Sleep"). Each episode is highlighted by Thurber-inspired animation by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises ("The Pink Panther") with fantasy sequences featuring a mix with live action. The series offered great story lines interwoven with dry humor. "My World and Welcome to It" was lightly critically-acclaimed, but produced middling Nielsen ratings and was canceled by NBC after just the 26-epiosde first season run. It went on to win the 1970 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.

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