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Forever Dobie by Dwayne Hickman and Joan Roberts Hickman
A TV Book Review
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Dwayne Hickman was legendary in the sitcom world for starring in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, one of my all-time favorite sitcoms (I named my parrotlet Dobie after him). In Forever Dobie, Dwayne chronicles his life starting as a shy little boy hiding behind the scenery when his mother made him appear as an extra in his older brother's movies, to an aspiring Jesuit priest and utility company employee, the star of one of the most popular sitcoms ever, an out-of-place network executive, then back to an actor again. It's a wild ride from start to finish.
Dwayne humorously recounts his experiences acting in movies, television, and theater over four decades, his encounters with celebrities, and his various dates and marriages while complaining about the way modern TV shows are written and produced. He expresses all his insecurities and fears in a down-to-earth, relatable way that reminds you that even famous actors are just regular people like everyone else.
The book is well-organized and consistent, and Dwayne's stories are entertaining and relatable, even if they involve well-known celebrities of the day like Frankie Avalon, Bob Cummings, or Howard Hughes. The way he describes events and his reactions to them makes me feel like I was there, experiencing them from his point of view. And the way his personality comes through makes me think he was probably just like Dobie in real life.
I'm not sure how much his co-author and wife, Joan Roberts Hickman, contributed, but I have to wonder how she felt reading about all his girlfriends, his two other wives, and his comments about Jayne Mansfield having "the largest breasts in America." (Tsk tsk, Dwayne!) But from the way he described their relationship, it's obvious they were madly in love with each other, so I doubt any of that mattered.
If you're a fan of Dobie Gillis or classic TV in general, Forever Dobie is a must read. Buy it on Amazon!