"You rang?"

Maynard G. Krebs

(The "G." stands for Walter.)

Maynard G. Krebs, Dobie Gillis' best friend, was the first beatnik on national TV and remains the most famous beatnik in history. Sure Kerouac was the real thing while Krebs was just a fiction, but what a memorable fiction he was!

Maynard's character was created by Max Shulman specifically for the TV show. (When Bob Denver asked Shulman why Maynard wasn't in either of the books, Shulman would only reply "Because I wanted to sell a few copies!") But it was Denver himself who fleshed the character out, mainly because the writers had no idea what beatniks were really like. Actually Denver didn't know anything about them either -- he'd been a Catholic school teacher when he landed the part! Denver didn't do any research on real beatniks to develop the character. Instead he just played Maynard as a more childlike and innocent version of himself.

Denver dug jazz so jazz musicians became Maynard's idols too. (A great example of just how hip the Dobie show was: Can you name any other 50's sitcom where Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonius Monk were praised on a regular basis?) When he wasn't listening to records, Maynard played bongos, ocarina and whatever else he could get sound from. If no instruments were available he just sang scat.

Maynard loved scary movies, especially "The Monster that Devoured Cleveland" which seemed to enjoy a never-ending engagement at the Bijou Theater. He also loved to watch the wrecking ball swing on the "Old Endicott Building" which must have been the sturdiest structure in town because it seemed to be under demolition almost every week!

Maynard lived in his own world with its own twisted logic. The G. in his middle name stood for Walter! (He was named after his aunt.) His speech was full of colorful catch phrases such as "You rang?" and "Like, I'm getting all misty." But Maynard G. Krebs will always be best remembered for his involuntary response whenever anyone mentioned the subject of work. He would instantaneously shudder and recoil and let out an anxiety-ridden wail of WORK!?!!

Bob Denver died on September 2, 2005. But Maynard G. Krebs will never die!

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