My World and Welcome to It (TV Series 1969–1970) Poster

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A Fitting Tribute to James Thurber and William Windom
theowinthrop9 December 2005
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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great TV series
didi-519 May 2004
This series ran on UK's Channel 4 in its entirety about twenty years ago, and then was never seen again - I was about 12 at the time and became seriously addicted to it. I remember being fascinated by the James Thurber cartoons, although I don't think at the time I knew who he was.

If memory serves, this was largely about an artist/writer (played by William Windom, in probably the best TV role he ever had - I've only really seen him on TV since in 'Murder She Wrote', certainly in shows shown in the UK) who was more than a bit eccentric - I seem to remember coloured visors and that kind of thing. And there was a cute little daughter who was wise over and above her years.

I've wanted to see it again ever since because at the time I loved it so much. Maybe I'd be disappointed if I came across the episodes now but I reckon not. Any chance they'll get out there again?
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This show
LadyDorHawkelle3 June 2005
I was only 3 when I watched this according to the air date...wow! I remember it fondly and for a long time wondered if it was a product of my imagination. Mostly I remembered William Windom and the interspersed drawn segments, then the girl who played his daughter (I think....memory is funny that way, and I was only 3). Can anyone tell me if this show is available on DVD or anything? I would LOVE to see it again.I really hope it is. So rarely these days do I remember a show so fondly. From what I do remember, this is/was a definite one of a kind show. William Windom was also an excellent actor in this show too, he has to have been...since he was burned into my memory at such a young age. Thankfully it was his appearance as Woody on a rerun of Mama's Family that jogged my mind and made me rush to IMDb to see if he was listed. Thanks to this wonderful site I now know I didn't make it all up...and my memory isn't THAT bad.
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Has stuck in my mind since childhood.
Joe-38523 August 1999
I looked up this show because I was watching a video of "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and recognized William Windom. In fact I have always recognized him whenever I have seen him, thinking "There's that guy who was in the show with the cartoons when I was little."

For some reason scenes from the show have always stuck in my mind, and I've always had an awareness that the show was something special, even though I was only 6 when it was on and haven't seen it since. Finally I figured I had to know what it was (since no one I know even remembers that such a show existed). So I came on here and looked up William Windom, and read with interest the description of it from Mr. Leone. I, too, wish it were possible to see the show again now.
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The 60's of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
SPYDERKYM23 October 2004
I remember being thrilled to learn that "My World and Welcome to It" was based on James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." I recognized the similarities right away after reading the book, which was pretty amazing to me since I was just a kid. I'd love to see it in syndication. Lisa Gerritsen was a wonderful child actress and William Windom was perfect as John Monroe (aka "Walter"). It was well written and well acted. What more could you ask for? It was the perfect mix of reality and fantasy. Most of us live vicariously through television or film a few hours a day, so why not see it through the eyes of the master? We all have a little bit of John Monroe in us. "My World and Welcome to It" is the ultimate in escapism...for just a little while.
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A remarkable series!
willardston14 January 2004
Shown on NBC in 1969-70 and and re-run on CBS ca. 1972. "My World and Welcome to It" was a sharp, sophisticated comedy that a curmudgeonly grandfather and an elementary schoolboy could enjoy together. This is *the* show William Windom ought to be remembered for.

The animation of the Thurber cartoons was fantastic. There was an especially funny episode based on the Thurber story "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox." The cartoonist sits on his young daughter's bed, starting to tell her about the end of the Civil War. "Suppose General Grant had been drinking, uh...." "Cough medicine?!" the girl chirps up. "Uh, yes, cough medicine." And then he goes on to tell the tale....

Suddenly you see William Windom in rumpled dress blues as General Grant, disgracefully drunk by the surrender table, chomping on his cigar, as a distinguished, gray bearded General Lee introduces himself. "General Robert E. Lee of the Army of Northern Virginia."

"Well go on, go ahead!" General Grant snaps as he proffers his sword to an astonished Lee, "Ya darn near licked us!"

(Luckily things didn't quite turn out that way in real life.)

Thurber is timeless, and so is this show. If only reruns of "My World" were run on cable, or at least sold on DVD -- it would hook a whole new generation on the wonderful imagination of James Thurber!
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Maybe the best show ever chanced too soon--
mejane27 October 1999
This show was a pure joy from the first moment--of course, when you have as your source the great James Thurber, how can you go wrong. Sweet and funny, rich in characterization. Years after it went to that great burial ground of cancelled shows (The Name of the Game, Adam's Rib, Nothing Sacred), William Windom toured the country doing Thurber. I saw him (for free) in Hopkins Plaza in downtown Baltimore. After the show, he hung around talking to all the people who wanted to tell him what the show had meant to them. Nice to find that the man who played John Monroe and James Thurber was as sweet and funny in reality as on tv.
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A great show, and a plan of action.
roarshock29 July 2000
Usually I don't put up comments when somebody has already said what I wanted to say, but "My World and Welcome to It" was such a good show and I agree so completely with everyone here, that I simply couldn't resist joining this small but enthusiastic chorus. As soon as I get finished here I'm going to email my local PBS station, mention the show, and refer them back to here.
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These 26 episodes should be on DVD NOW!
psychohum14 March 2006
I remember this show as turning me on to James Thurber and his writing. I have been a fan and collector of his books ever since. I remember the series as unique, fantastic-in the true sense-and surreal. Oddly enough it replaced another comic, surreal albeit commercially prone program on the same network in the same time slot. Yes, prior to 1969 when this show first aired it was showing "The Monkees" in that very same slot. It is head and shoulders above most of the slop being offered on TV when there are more networks and is more money to produce and promote. A giant leap backward. If you have not experienced this show demand to see it and you will probably agree.
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Fond Memory Of Clever, Witty Show
shark-4319 August 2002
So glad to see that this show made such an impression on other youngsters as well. I was 9 when it was on and I couldn't wait for the next episode! I was fascinated with cartooning and was already a big Thurber fan when the show premiered - and as someone else mentioned, it was way too clever and subtle for TV - it wouldn't last now either. There have been many shows that have strived to be witty, smart and mature and many times those shows struggle and get canned. Many TV viewers get what they deserve - garbage. The garbage gets big ratings - otherwise they wouldn't inudate us with it. I worry that if I was lucky enough to get my hands on old episodes of My World & Welcome To It - it would be letdown because my memories of it seem so clear and so enjoyable. A classic, wonderful show with the terrific and underrated character actor, Wm. Windom (who is forgotten as the OTHER attorney against Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch in the famous trial in the film To Kill A Mockingbird).
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10/10
Grandma Was More Than Intellectual
DKosty12315 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This series to me represents the talent of William Windom who often played supporting roles in many many programs in his career. In this one he is the star, & plays the role perfectly.

My World & Welcome To It is the world of author James Thurber. While most people today don't really know who he was, I as a child growing up read his books from the school library. When I saw this show, I couldn't believe how accurately they portrayed Thurber through William Windom.

Much more than just a New Yorker cartoonist, Thurber has a unique sense of humor about a difficult life that he led being blinded as he went though life. His eye sight was never perfect which is why his cartoons often look like they were drawn askew to reality. This program created an atmosphere much like Thurbers life as it combined his drawings with his reality.

I only wish it could have lasted longer. NBC gave this show a decent time slot but then moved it trying to find ratings. In effect, they killed a fine program but not before it enhanced my feelings for Thurber. One of the finer shows Sheldon Leonard got involved with in the 1960's, this show has class all the way.

I still remember fondly reading a Thurber short story where he is having problems with a publisher sending him the wrong book, & a series of hilarious happenings in the process. If this show had lasted, it would have made a good episode. The book the publisher kept sending him copies of was "Grandma Was A Nudist" by Peg Peckham. Just the title alone speaks volumes about Thurbers unique humor, & this program is packed with it.
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10/10
My world, where are you?
dougmiller411 April 2007
After scrounging the Web for several years, finding little, I was surprised and excited to find that IMDb has information on this wonderful show, and that so many people like myself have great memories. Like many others, it also turned me on to Thurber. I was 14 when I saw it and mourned that it wasn't renewed. How many longing, grateful people will it take to motivate someone to turn this season of inspiration into a DVD set? One of my favorite memories is of William Windom down on the ground at night in front of his car, proving to his wife that human eyes, not just the eyes of cats, reflect and glow when shined upon by car lights! The daughter almost stole the show, but all the actors were top notch. The writing and cartoons are what made it all work.
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One of the Best Things on Television
Kirasjeri27 July 1999
Re: the other comments, and ditto them. This was a GREAT comedy, one of the best ever. Creative, brilliant, cynical, satirical, etc. Of course it lasted one year. IF RERUN TODAY IT WOULD BE A MAJOR SUCCESS - ON PBS. CAN'T WE GET PBS TO PURCHASE SOME EPISODES?
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So far ahead of its time.
Atticus-424 June 1999
Echoing the sentiments expressed by Todd Leone in a prior posting, My World and Welcome to It was far too sophisticated for network television. I first saw it when I was in elementary school, and was mesmerized. It was dark. It was brooding. It lacked sentiment. The Thurber-esque main character was bemused and bewildered by all around him, and unable to comprehend society's foibles. What struck me as most radical about the program was his relationship with his daughter (brilliantly portrayed by Lisa Geritsen): One sensed he didn't actually "like" her or being a parent. He was entirely unprepared for parenthood, and had a veiled contempt for her and the responsibilities that came with raising her. This was not comfortable for those who were coddled by Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver. As is often the case, the network get credit for trying, but the material was too far out of the mainstream to survive the Nielsen litmus test.
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Wonderful show
topsailislandncgirl1 June 2004
I'm so excited that I have found something about this series it has been so long. I remember watching this show when I was between 4-5 years old. I have for the past few years been trying to find the title to it. Have mentioned it to several people all whom say they remember something about it. My husband and I were watching The Hulk today and saw William Windom. I went online found him and the series. Being young I remember the cartoons. I would love to see this show again. Just the thought of it brings back wonderful memories. I'm glad to see that there are other people out there that share my thoughts. I would love to find this on DVD or video. Maybe one day.
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Wow, so glad others remember this delightful show
cooty5 November 2003
The scene where his wife falls apart has stuck in my mind all these years. I was only 6 when this was on, but it is one of the few short lived series from childhood that I remember. Ditto all that has been said and I too would love to see PBS rerun this show. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.
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This show was about Thurber
vccannon8210 December 2005
"My World and Welcome to It" was the title of a piece that James Thurber wrote for the New Yorker and the title of a collection of some of his humor pieces. It included one of his most famous short stories, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which was made into a film starring Danny Kaye. The TV show, My World and... took this Walter Mitty idea and applied it to the main character, a writer and cartoonist. I remember that they used Thurber's own very distinctive drawings in the show. I don't know to what extent they used his writing...

It is hard to imagine how famous Thurber was from the late thirties through the fifties (he died in 1961). There was a Broadway review of his work (The Thurber Carnival), at least one movie, several best sellers, and kudos from some of the world's most famous artists. His drawings were as instantly recognizable as Charles Schultz's were in the sixties and seventies.

Sadly, by the time the TV show aired, only adults knew who he was and the show tanked pretty quickly. I still read Thurber and laugh out loud. James Thurber, although no longer famous, has a place beside Twain, Benchley, and Heller as one of America's finest humorous men of letters. Check him out.
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unique, enjoyable but short lived sitcom
kent-johnson5 October 2004
I agree with the other comments concerning this TV show. The cartoons and Thurber connection made it unique; and the cast did a good job. I've always considered Windom to be a good actor and will always remember him with his wide tie, a pen in his mouth and his leg draped over the arm of his chair when prosecuting Peck's client in "To Kill a Mockingbird".

One of my favorite scenes from "My World" was one in which a guest star (I believe it was a former Miss America...maybe Lee Merriweather) got into a fight with Joan Hotchkis. It was a food fight of sorts and had something to do with jealousy between the two women.The guest star ended up on the floor with food all over her. She wiped something off her face, tasted it and said to Hotchkis, "You call that quiche lorraine?"

Another fond memory concerns the fact that Lisa Gerritsen was in braces with the rubber bands that were common at the time. I was just out of braces in the late 60s and liked the fact that the show portrayed her like other kids her age.

One of my favorite guest stars was Arthur Hunnicutt. I think he appeared in the second season as an old timer with a southern drawl (in other words, playing himself) who made Windom mad with every line of dialogue.
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10/10
One more of us...
chris-260720 November 2006
Well, I've read all of the comments posted, and thought I would add mine.

I was 4 or 5 years old when this show originally aired. It may be that I saw it during its 1972 re-run, when I would have been 7.

Like several others here, this show made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten it. Happened to be watching "Doomsday Machine" this week-end, and it prompted me to get up, visit IMDb and look it up. The fact that there are quite a few others here who share my age (or nearly so) and my experience strikes me as uncanny - almost spooky. We should probably start a club!

I'd love to see this one again.
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9/10
This show was great
dmikulec5 August 2006
Although I was six years old when this show came out. I remembered I always watched it with my family and liking it. Ever since then, whenever I see William Windom or the actress who played his daughter in something, I always think of this show. Strange how experiences from early in life echo 40 years later. I remember in the show there were times when the rest of the world became a cartoon or live action comic strip where Windom was the only real thing on the screen.

I wish the show would come back.

The reason why I am here is I just watched the cameo Windom did for the new (amateur produced) Star Trek episode "In Harms Way" where replays his role as Commadore Decker, although he is 40 years older than he was in Star Trek. It's good to see actors are willing to do this cameo work as a salute to their history.
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Interesting the things one remembers...
sgoering26 March 2002
I, like Joe, was very young when this show was on (5), but it stuck in my mind too. It was an "introduction" to Thurber before I even knew who Thurber was. Seeing William Windom, Lisa Geritsen (in "Phyllis"), or any Thurber cartoon reminded me of the show for years afterward.

Kudos to IMDB for providing so many trips down memory lane.
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My favorite comedy show of all time
coop-165 May 2001
I was only 11 when this show appeared on TV, but its wry and whimsical humor delighted me.I must have a been a bit of a bookworm, even then, as I caught almost all of the "in-jokes' and references to Thurber. One thing should be noted here. I look back, and almost every TV show I've ever had any affection for never lasted more than two seasons at the most:The Night Stalker,Twin Peaks, Home Front, Buffalo Bill, The John Larouquette Show,I"ll Fly Away, Slattery's People,etc.The only exceptions are Upstairs Downstairs,Star Trek ( which only lasted three seasons) Naked City, the Defenders,Homicide, The Dick Van Dyke Show, M.A.S.H,and Columbo. Is there a pattern here?( Ill admit that i also like The Andy Griffith Show and Maverick and Gunsmoke.)
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10/10
Apparently Amazon does read our reviews ...
mirok11 June 2008
My World and Welcome to it was a cult classic of the late 1960's, at a time when home computers and the Internet were still things of the future. Videos and DVD's, likewise, were still distant dreams. And you would have thought that, when these formats became available on a mass scale, shows such as this would inevitably become available to the general public. However, My World and Welcome to it remained overlooked for a long time and, as several reviewers have noted, it just wasn't available on DVD.

Until now, that is. I was writing to some friends about this series and decided to check something at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), which always shows the availability (or lack thereof) of movies, TV shows and the like on DVD, VHS and CD (soundtracks). Lo and behold, Amazon.com is now carrying the short-lived My World and Welcome to it on DVD. Thurber fans, rejoice.
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9/10
Segments are available on YouTube!
GeorgeSickler1 April 2015
I agree 100% with all the positive comments and just have to wonder what idiot canceled this outstanding series after 26 episodes. What a tragic mistake! Anyway, I've just discovered that a number of segments are available for free on YouTube. Just input the name of the series as key search words. Most are just 8-or-so minutes long, but a few full episodes are shown in three, 8-minute segments.

It's rare that a series gets into syndication when it only lasted for a 26-episode season. It's just not worth it. It would be nice, though, if PBS ran 'em as part of its fund-raising drive.

But even Amazon.com says DVDs aren't available.

What a shame.
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10/10
Before it's time
Bill16071 January 2007
I was 11 or 12 when it aired. I remember enjoying it, and wishing many times I could see it again. Even as a child, I loved a show that made you think. Although most of my friends didn't "get it", I did! There is so much crap on TV these days. I suppose there are too many networks trying to create too many programs to produce "Great" shows anymore. It did spark my interest in James Thurber as I got older. How many shows today "spark" our children's minds? Since it's obviously not easily available to purchase DVDs etc. of this, does anyone have any ideas on how to request it's release? (I'm not as wordy as some of you. I'm having trouble filling up 10 lines)
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