My World and Welcome To It
My World and Welcome to It was a half-hour situation
comedy based on the writings of humorist and cartoonist James Thurber.
Each episode of the show incorporated stories and cartoons by Thurber.
(The program's title is also the title of a well-known collection of
Thurber stories.) The show used a combination of live action and animation
to represent the world of John Monroe (William Windom), like Thurber a
writer and cartoonist, who worked for The Manhattanite, a magazine very
much like The New Yorker, for which Thurber wrote and illustrated for many
years. All the animation was based on Thurber's drawings, including the
show's opening credits.
John Monroe had to contend with his hot-tempered, often obtuse boss,
Manhattanite editor Hamilton Greeley (Harold J. Stone), who usually found
John's cartoons incomprehensible. (Greeley was loosely based on New Yorker
editor Harold Ross.) Fortunately for John, he could share his frustrations
with his writer friend, the sardonic Phil Jensen (based on writer Robert
Benchley and played by Henry Morgan).
At home in Westport, Connecticut,John had to contend with the women in
his life, whom he spent much agony trying to understand. His wife Ellen
(Joan Hotchkis) was practical and down-to-earth and was constantly bemused
by John's inability to cope with day to day life, while his daughter,
10-year-old Lydia (Lisa Gerritsen), was precocious and intelligent in ways
that constantly confounded John.
In addition to the innovative use of animation combined with live
action, the show had several other unusual characteristics. Many of the
episodes incorporated Thurber stories like "If Grant Had Been
Drinking at Appomattox" or "The Unicorn in the Garden."
There were many fantasy sequences, the products of John's fertile
imagination, which allowed him to escape reality, much like Thurber's most
famous character, Walter Mitty. The cartoons that John drew for The
Manhattanite were Thurber's cartoons. And John would often turn from the
action to talk directly to the camera, just as George Burns had done on
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Garry Shandling would do years
later on It's Garry Shandling's Show.
In 1970 My World and Welcome to It won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy
Series, and William Windom won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his
portrayal of John Monroe. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after only
one season. There was a great outcry when NBC cancelled the show, and
there was talk of bringing the show back, but the cost of resuming
production would have been too high, so that idea was scrapped. CBS,
however, reran the series from June to September of 1972.