Friday, August 21, 2015

Moron TV: I'm Dickens....He's Fenster (1962)

Leonard Stern had perhaps envisioned The Three Stooges, minus one, when he created I'm Dickens....He's Fenster for ABC in 1962. A successful comedy writer for Steve Allen and Jackie Gleason, among others, Stern thought he saw comedy gold in pairing John Astin and Marty Ingels as a pair of bumbling construction workers. The series even got a ringing endorsement from no less a comedy icon than Stan Laurel, from what I understand.

So what went wrong? ABC slotted Dickens opposite Sing Along With Mitch, which was on NBC. Ballgame over. Dickens lasted just one season, and was never heard from again until a 2012 DVD release marking the show's 50th anniversary. There's only selected clips and montages, no complete episodes, on YouTube. The pilot, which featured a pre-Batgirl Yvonne Craig, is available in three parts.

Gilmore Box supplies the open, which perhaps illustrates the problem prevalent with the show.

Ingels never landed another series gig outside of animation. Astin, of course, rebounded with The Addams Family 2 years later, and, aside from joining Phyllis Diller on her show halfway through the 1966-7 season, didn't get another regular gig until joining the cast of Night Court in the 80's. Emaline Henry, who played Harry Dickens' (Astin) wife, later resurfaced on I Dream of Jeannie. A sharp eared commentator on YouTube noted that the announcer was Johnny Jacobs, better known for his work on game shows for Chuck Barris and Jack Barry (i.e. The Dating Game, Joker's Wild).

No rating.

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