Imagine being remembered forever as Gilligan. Is that fair to anybody? I mean, Maynard may not have been television’s most outstanding citizen, but he was an original. He may seem in shallow hindsight to have done nothing more than present the TV stereotype of a "beatnik" (a term that itself showed an unhip cluelessness, since it was a mainstream columnist’s bastardization of Kerouac‘s more meaningful "Beat" coinage). But there was no such thing as a beatnik stereotype on television in 1959. Bob Denver invented it.
I don’t remember a lot of details from "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" the way I can recount episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" or, yes, "Gilligan’s Island," but I do have one memory that had significant implications for my future profession.
Oddly enough, it was from Dobie Gillis that I learned of the concepts of voting and elections. As I recall, however dimly, there was an episode in which Dobie was being encouraged to run for class president, and he at first rejected the idea, saying something like, "How could I run for president? I’m not popular enough." I was confused, and asked my parents what being popular had to do with being president.
Understand that as far as I was concerned, Dwight Eisenhower had always been president. It had never occurred to me that there was a process involved in becoming president. So my parents explained to me about how you had to have enough people actually vote for you in this thing called an "election" to be chosen for such an office. I remember being shocked. I think it took Ike down a peg or two in my estimation, learning that his administration wasn’t simply something that was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. It caused me to be a little less in awe of the office.
This had to have been in the first season of the show, because I remember following the 1960 election
pretty closely — once Dobie and Maynard and the gang had hipped me to what it was all about.