My World And Welcome To It

Here’s the opening credits to a long gone (but not forgotten) TV series, My World And Welcome To It (1969):

What an odd show this was. It combined the writings and drawings of James Thurber with the conventions of a late 1960s sitcom. It also featured regular doses of animation (usually adapting Thurbers black & white ink line drawings) by DePatie-Freleng. I recall there was a controversy over using a laugh track on this show. The series was a bit laid back in some respects, and Thurber’s witty parables were possibly over the heads of much of its viewing audience. Despite winning two Emmys (Best Comedy Show and Leading Actor, William Windom) it was cancelled after one season. A DVD release of the complete series would be quite enlightening. I’d love to see it again.

In the meantime, here’s one of the show’s animation segments on You Tube.


  • Christopher Cook

    I liked My World And Welcome To It. I credit it with getting me to read more (especially Thurber) as a kid, and admit to having a TV crush on Lisa Gerritsen (daughter Lydia Monroe).

  • fishmorg

    Wow… you sure don’t see no intelluc…intellic… high-hat stuff like that no more!

  • Pedro Nakama

    Wow! I remember that show.

  • Brent Collar

    There is a DVD available on this entire series (26 episodes) which I just found on donkey dvd. It’s on five dvd’s for $65. I’m trying to find out if this is legitimate.

  • Steve G

    I remember that series well…quite unusual and enjoyable in its way. There was also a movie that came out a few years later that also made use of Thurber’s drawings in animation, if i recall right, called The War Between Men and Women. Jack Lemmon played the cartoonist. I’d love to see that one again also.
    I beleive the same director and writer might have worked on both.

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    and to quote Mr. Chevalier, “ah, yes, i remember it WELL!” Thank YOO for a fond memory of decades past!!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWKVmCX6SKY Hasdrubal

    Did anyone tell you about the Thurber house in Columbus last week? I’ve never visited it myself, but it’s supposed to open to the public.

  • http://www.thrillingdaysofyesteryear.com Ivan G.

    I am in complete agreement with you on a potential release of My World and Welcome to It, one of the funniest sitcoms in the history of television. I have told people–in complete seriousness–that once it and He and She are available on disc, my work on Earth will be done.

  • oscar grillo

    Not long ago these series were shown on British TV. “The Unicorn in the Garden” they certainly weren’t.

  • http://www.djskyler.com Richard Giblin

    A DVD release of this series would be very desirable. The same goes for the similar project that came three years later, the Jack Lemmon comedy “The War Between Men and Women.” Based on Thurber’s writing, it was likewise accented with some animated sequences.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robert

    Based on that first clip, the canned laughter would make watching an entire episode excruciatingly painful. If someone is working on a DVD perhaps they have enough master source material to make an alternate soundtrack sans laffs.

    I remember that show. I was too young to “get it”, but I recall thinking “not enough cartoons”. Years later I recognized Windom on a Star Trek re-run as being the guy from that show with “not enough cartoons”.

    Watching the second clip, I sense that Windom never really found a way to translate the Thurber writing style into a spoken performance. There are several stand-up comedians I can imagine finding the right rhythms and cadences to make that dinosaur routine work, but Windom seems to be just reciting. Maybe that’s why I didn’t “get it”.

  • Thor

    Ivan G,

    CBS once described ‘He and She’ as being ‘the best show we ever cancelled.’

  • Alfons Moline

    I recall watching “My World… and welcome to it” on Spanish TV in the early 70´s. I found it particularly ejoyable because the main character was a cartoonist (as a kid then, my dream was to become one)! Also the animated segments by DePatie-Freleng were enjoyable; I remember that one episode offered an adaptation of “Unicorn in the Garden”, even though it obviously was a far cry from the original UPA version. Later I saw “The War Between Men and Women” on TV and noticed the similarities between this movie and “My World”; in fact, I did videotape the animated segments (not the entire movie, alas) and I still must have them on an old Beta tape. Here´s another vote for a DVD release of this short-lived but memorable series!

  • http://inkwellimagesink.com Ray Pointer

    MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT aired when I started High School. I watched it, but was also bothered by the Laugh Tracks, which were totally unnecessary. I think they were added to remind people that this was supposed to be funny. The trouble is that that laughs came just as the idea was registering and this was a distraction. But there was also a problem putting over the comedy due to the pacing. It’s a bit too slow. Call it “laid back” it you want, but it’s dull and the music a bit sleepy as well. ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS, later to be known as THE BULLWINKLE SHOW,was an example of good pacing with high brow comedy, not to say that this show needed to follow that type of delivery.

  • http://finnfactory.animationblogspot.com/ james

    never heard of it before, seems interesting — can’t really see it working today, maybe on the net. I watched that clip you linked to with the dinosaur, very funny. Love that he says, “hello stupid.”

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Brent Collar says:
    >
    > There is a DVD available on this entire series (26 episodes) which I just found on donkey dvd. It’s on five dvd’s for $65. I’m trying to find out if this is legitimate.

    Chances are it’s a typical filthy bootlegger (even this YouTube clip is an advertisement to sell off these discs quickly), but I wouldn’t put it past people who might be too curious to wait at all if they want to forgo the legalities to watch or discover this classic again.

    > Thor says:
    >
    > Ivan G,
    >
    > CBS once described ‘He and She’ as being ‘the best show we ever cancelled.’

    Heh, I’m still waiting for my “Square Pegs” box set (OK, so it wasn’t that big, but it’s nostalgic)! :-)

  • gene schiller

    “The War Between Men and Women” features Jack Lemmon (one of his best performances) in what appears to be a thinly-disguised, warts and all, biography of James Thurber. It’s a pretty good film with first-rate animated sequences – and it’s available on vhs for a ridiculously low price on amazon.com.

  • http://blackwingdiaries.blogspot.com Jenny

    My dad’s favorite series for the short time it was on(wasn’t it aired as a summer replacement?). I was attracted by the simple animation but I certainly knew it was not for kids.

  • Robert Schaad

    I watched this as a kid…and it introduced me to Thurber’s work long before I got to see Unicorn In The Garden.

    This is another one of those shows, like the superhero parodies Captain Nice and Mr. Terrific that should see the (dvd) light of day.

  • Keith Bryant

    And I thought that Uncle Wayne and me were the only fat old farts to remember this one.

  • Anne D. Bernstein

    I watched this show when I was a kid and was excited to see a cartoonist character on tv. Lisa Gerritsen also played the daughter on PHYLLIS (the spin-off from MARY TYLER MOORE). She was on other sitcoms as well, including THE ODD COUPLE. Then she dropped out of sight. Some say she went into computers.

    http://members.tripod.com/~former_child_star/gerritsen_lisa.html

  • Bill5925

    I, too, was a big fan of the show. In fact I saw William Windom in a one-man stage show of Thurber’s work which he toured for years after the show ended. Lisa Geritsen was also the daughter in War Between Men & Women. Seeing the clips now of the series, the laugh track would indeed drive me nuts.

  • http://www.andrews.edu/~drazen/sonic.html Daniel J. Drazen

    I discovered Thurber in high school, both as a cartoonist and as a writer. He singlehandedly wrote one of the greatest sentences in the English language; it’s from his story “The Night The Bed Fell,” elements of which found their way into an episode of “My World…”:

    “Old Aunt Melisse Beale, who could whistle like a man with two fingers in her mouth, suffered under the premonition that she was destined to die on South High Street, since she had been born on South High Street and married on South High Street.”

    It would take a lesser writer an entire chapter to describe the eccentric, provincial nature of Aunt Melissa; Trurber nailed it in one sentence. The man was a genius; the show was pretty good, too.

  • Gummo

    I was 13 and had just discovered Thurber when this show aired. I was in heaven, even though I wasn’t thrilled with the attempt to shove Thurber’s sensibility into a typical sitcom.

    Even at that age I remember recognizing that the mean dog in the opening credits was very unThurberlike — Thurber people were often mean, but Thurber dogs, never!

  • http://www.tjrmusic.com TJR

    Omigosh! I thought I was the only person who remembered this show. I only have very vague childhood memories of it (mostly because of the animation). I don’t think I understood any of it back then. I just waited for the cartoon parts.

  • http://catholicbibliophagist.blogspot.com Catholic Bibliophagist

    I remember this show! The house morphing into the woman’s face is a classic Thurber drawing. I’d forgotten about the laugh track though. Thanks for posting the clip. Until (or if) the show ever comes out on DVD, may I suggest reading Fables For Our Time and Further Fables For Our Times by James Thurber.

  • http://www.microfurry.com anthrocoon

    Another Thurber work into cartoon form: the Secret Lives
    of Waldo Kitty (Filmation; re-titled The new Adventures of
    Waldo Kitty), inspired by Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
    I do remember seeing “My World…” when it was first on.

  • http://none Barry I. Grauman

    NBC insisted on a laugh track during every episode- I can imagine executive producer Sheldon Leonard telling the network brass, “It don’t NEED one!”. But virtually every NBC sitcom had one at the time {WITH the exception of “JULIA” and “THE BILL COSBY SHOW”; Hal Kanter and Cosby had more clout than Leonard did}. Other than that, “MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT” was a great series…I watched it every Monday night. Unfortunately, “GUNSMOKE” was the most watched show in its time period [7:30-8:30pm(et)]- which also happened to be “MY WORLD”‘s. The fact that it also won an Emmy as “Best Comedy Series” didn’t influence NBC’s decision to cancel it after one season and 26 episodes….I even remember when CBS showed selected repeats on Thursday nights in the summer of 1972…

  • Gregg Leichtman

    > There is a DVD available on this entire series (26 episodes) which I just found on donkey dvd. It’s on five dvd’s for $65. I’m trying to find out if this is legitimate.

    Not necessarily the same site as above, but see: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/tvaddicts-c8004.html

    This post is at that site:

    Hey Everyone,

    I was going to buy some dvds from these people, but as with most (unknown) companies I did some research and found almost everyone have the same complaints you guys do. This website is illegally distrusting copywriter material, and worse then that, its not even any good, IF you are lucky and get the product. So after doing some further research I found a thread on another site which I felt might help you guys out. So here is a C & P of the thread…

    At DVDAvenue.tv (which also does business under the name TVDVDmania.tv, DVDCraze.tv, TVDVDPlanet.com and TVAddicts.tv and probably a whole bunch of others) you can buy complete series boxed sets of shows like SPENSER: FOR HIRE, BOSTON PUBLIC, JUDGING AMY, ED, JAG, ADAM-12, WONDER WOMAN, EMERGENCY, NY UNDERCOVER, HAWAII FIVE-O, IT TAKES A THIEF, DYNASTY, STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, all of which are currently not being sold commercially by their rights-holders.

    But DVDAvenue doesn’t stop there…they are even selling bootleg versions of shows like REMINGTON STEELE, KNIGHTRIDER, SEAQUEST, THE NIGHT STALKER, THE PRISONER, PRIME SUSPECT and MY SO-CALLED LIFE which are readily available at your local Best Buy… only they charge a lot more for them. That’s assuming they actually send you the bootlegs and aren’t just a honey-trap to get credit card numbers from TV geeks.

    I’m stunned that the legal departments of Warner Brothers, NBC/Universal, and Paramount Television haven’t caught on to these guys yet. It’s not like DVDAvenue.tv is being discreet about their law-breaking.

    Google and Yahoo take money from these bootleggers to make their listings show up at the top of any search for a TV show. And these search engines get paid for click-throughs to the bootlegging sites… doesn’t that mean they are profiting off an illegal activity? Don’t they screen their advertisers at all?

    UPDATE 1-22-07: I received this comment from one of my readers:

    I too was ripped off by these guys. I made a number of inquiries about them. It turns out they are already under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, this because they are in fact located in Canada. I spoke with a Sgt. Jean-Yves Ducharme, who told me that they have been conducting an investigation since late 2006 and he would welcome any call from those defrauded by these guys. Here is his contact info:

    Sgt. Jean-Yves Ducharme
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Federal Investigations Section
    514-939-8307
    [email protected]