Monday, August 28, 2023

Movie Quote of the Day (‘The Affairs of Dobie Gillis,’ on a Subject on the Minds of Many College Males Shortly)

Advisor [played by Donald Elson]: “What subjects would you like to study?”

Dobie Gillis [played by Bobby Van]: “Well, I don't rightly know.”

Advisor: “What are you interested in?”

Dobie: “Women.” — The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), screenplay by Max Shulman, directed by Don Weis

This post is for a friend of mine (AND HE KNOWS WHO HE IS!!!) whose favorite subject was women when he entered college five decades ago—and it remains so to this day.

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis turned out to be a diverting surprise when I came across it a couple of weekends ago on TCM. I had heard of (but was way too young to watch when it originally aired) the TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The show, which ran from 1959-1963, starred Dwayne Hickman as the title character and a pre-Gilligan’s Island Bob Denver as his beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs.

In the movie musical, Dobie was played by Bobby Van, who enjoyed a busy career on the big screen, television, and the stage without ever achieving the level of stardom that his dancing talent deserved, while his fresh-faced, funny girlfriend was played, in her ingenue stage, by Debbie Reynolds—who certainly did achieve celebrity.

I didn’t expect The Affairs of Dobie Gillis to be Singin’ in the Rain or The Band Wagon, let alone the stage and screen musical classics later brought to life by Van’s onscreen friend Bob Fosse, Cabaret and Chicago. But it transported me to a time and place in which the biggest crisis was Reynolds’ klutzy experiment in a chemistry class.

And that, during these last fevered weeks in American history, couldn’t have been more welcome.

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