My World and Welcome To It

It’s funny what you remember and what you don’t (until you do). When William Windom (1923-2012) passed away a few years ago, I remembered in particular a memorable Star Trek performance he gave, but had forgotten completely something far more seminal. Windom had starred in one of the first TV shows I ever watched as a small child, the sit com My World and Welcome To It (1969-70, with reruns into 1972). The show was based on the writings and cartoons of The New Yorker’s James Thurber. On the show, Windom plays a curmudgeonly cartoonist based on Thurber, who works at The Manhattanite. Crusty radio comedian Henry Morgan played a Benchleyesque colleague. Joan Hotchkiss played his wife, and in a brilliant casting stroke Lisa Gerritsen (who might be better remembered as Bess on The Mary Tyler Moore Show) played his daughter. (I say brilliant because not just because she was a great child actress but because with her huge soulful blue eyes, she looked like she could have been Windom’s daughter). The creative staff was a dream team: Mel Shavelson was the creator; with Sheldon Leonard as executive producer, and Danny Arnold as primary line producer and writer of many of the episodes.