Question: What was the name of the actor that played Dobie Gillis — was it Dwayne something? And can you get videos of that show?
Televisionary: You're thinking of Dwayne Hickman, who portrayed the titular teen hero of CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. But he wouldn't have appreciated your classification back when he was shooting the show.
"I am not an actor," the L.A. native, who started his... whatever career on The Bob Cummings Show by shooting a test film instead of taking the summer meter reader job he'd lined up, told TV Guide in 1961. "Basically, an actor is someone who feels the need to be someone else. I don't want to be anybody else and never have. In fact, I never wanted to be an actor." He may not have wanted it, but Hickman worked the Dobie gig for four seasons just the same (it ran on CBS from September 1959 to September 1963).
In the show, based on the writings of author and series creator Max Shulman, Dobie was a classically middle-class, girl-crazy high-school teen (aged down in the jump from the page and the big screen because the TV types didn't think the public would buy such adolescent behavior from a college student — perhaps they never went to college). He hung out with beatnik pal Maynard G. Krebs (a pre-Gilligan's Island Bob Denver), competed for girls (and frequently lost) with rich guys Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty) and later Chatsworth Osborne Jr. (Steve Franken) and pined for such heartbreakers as Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld).
Dobie's life was far from smooth and so, too, were the doings on the series's set. First up, former fourth-grade teacher Denver was drafted into the army and saw his Krebs character permanently (everyone thought) written out of the show early on. Denver was rejected by the military because of an earlier broken neck and Shulman brought him back by having the service boot him out on the show, too. (Bad news for poor Michael Pollard, who'd been cast as a replacement, playing Maynard's cousin, and was let go when his six-month contract was up.)
Adding to that, Hickman and Weld, who left the series to concentrate on films after its first season, didn't exactly hit it off. "People used to wonder why I didn't get along with Tuesday Weld in the early days of the show, and they all thought it was some sort of romantic dust-up or something," Hickman told TV Guide. "It wasn't. She just wasn't a pro, that's all. No discipline. Late to work, getting back from lunch, no sense of responsibility to the show, the crew, the rest of the cast. She's a very talented girl and maybe by now she's learned discipline. I don't know. I haven't seen her." (For her part, Weld responded that she preferred to keep silent if she had nothing kind to say about a person.)
If you have any more questions for the actor himself, feel free to run them by him at his website. Also, copies of the show are available on VHS — I spotted them at the sites of several online video dealers.