The comic misadventures of television’s most well-meaning but misguided boy are back! The lovable Dennis Mitchell (Jay North) left a trail of chaos throughout his suburban neighborhood. Yet along with his friends and classmates Tommy (Billy Booth) and Margaret (Jeannie Russell), Dennis managed to pry his way into the hearts of millions from week to week. Based on the long-running comic strip by Hank Ketcham, this beloved CBS television series (1959 1963) stayed true to form, as Dennis’s youthful curiosity always managed to get him into heaps of trouble . . . especially with his crotchety old neighbor Mr. Wilson (Joseph Kearns). Herbert Anderson and Gloria Henry starred as Dennis’ parents who were always on hand with love and guidance but not necessarily the required supervision.
Dennis the Menace as a TV series is a mixed bag for me. I watched it often when I was sick and staying home from school. Even then I knew the show was just not of the same quality of Leave it to Beaver (the show it was on right after). Yet the show was oddly comforting in the predictable and often formulaic way that TV cartoons could become. I went into watching Season 1 of the series, which was recently released from Shout! Factory, with that in mind and after finishing the entire season, my opinion has not changed. The show is like a warm can of soup on a cold day, predictable, but often just what I need to relax and get to sleep at night.
I am not sure I can write anything that will convince a person to enjoy the show, but if you are a fan the new remastered first season looks great and has some fun extras including:
- New interview with Gloria Henry and Jeannie Russell
- Radio interviews with Gloria Henry and Jeannie Russell
- Original promos
- Bonus Episode: The Donna Reed Show Episode “Donna Decorates”, featuring Jay North as Dennis Mitchell and Joseph Kearns as Mr. Wilson
I am a classic TV nut most of the time and Dennis the Menace, which had been unreleased, is a welcome addition to my growing collection of shows. If you have not seen the show and appreciate TV of that era, give it a shot. If your a fan like me though, you probably already own it and are waiting for that day when a cold keeps you home and you can bundle up on the couch, have some warm soup and bask in the B&W glow of an old friend.