Remembering William Windom, My World and Welcome To It and my brush with Thurber

Actor William Windom passed away at 88 this month, he was born in 1923.

I remember seeing him in a million things on TV especially My World and Welcome to It his Emmy award winning time. He won for best actor in a comedy series. The show won the Emmy for best comedy series in 1969-70.  He had a wonderful solid voice. I vividly recall the cartoons and situations based on James Thurber, he of New Yorker fame. Earlier he starred in The Farmer’s Daughter (1963-66) where he played a fictional Congressman who had a housekeeper played by Inger Stevens, who died tragically so very young. If there was ever a more beautiful and charming actress, she does not come to my mind.

program cover by Tim McElcheran

I think it was 1973 or 74 that I directed and acted in Thurber Carnival with Theatre Mickities at the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. We had to stage it not in a proper theatre but a multipurpose lecture and assembly hall.  Our backdrop consisted of  tri-flats on castors, quite tall.  Our production design was black and white.  The men wore rented tuxedoes, the women as close to evening wear elegance as their personal wardrobe departements could mangage,  We all looked fabulous. A very talented student named Tim McElcheran painted our copies of Thurber cartoons.  We used all three sides and spun them around to show an appropriate cartoon for the sketches of the show.  See the black and white photo below, you can see the triflats at the back of the stage. the production was funded by the students union, SMCSU from part of their budget derived from student activity fees.

I must have been influenced by William Windom in MWAWTI to decide to do the sketch play of Thurber humour.  I thoroughly enjoyed him and that show.

Right now I am recalling Mr. Windom’s  Maine accent on the long running Murder She Wrote where he played the Doctor.

lurking on the left is me, centre stage is Sue Gougeon in the sketch, “Word Dance Part II” from Thurber Carnival, Theatre Mickities production 1973, St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

Walter Mitty faces the firing squad in Thurber Carnival 1974, Roseanne Luckevich left and Fred Butzen as Walter Mitty

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