TRIVIA and other notables
Some Trivia from the episodes. If you have some to add, or comments, click here or the Contact button on the top navbar.
Despite the appearances of two of Mr. Wilson's sisters (June and Helen) and mentions of Mrs. Wilson's sister (Edna) and mother (name never revealed) in the first season, as well as the later existence of George Wilson's brother John, Mr. Wilson refers to he and Martha being "the only family she (his niece, Elinor Donahue) has left" as the reason why they are hosting the wedding.
And from "Junior Pathfinders Ride Again"
in season 3, George tells Mrs. Schooner and Mr. Judd that he is Jeremiah
Wilson's only great-nephew. This was just six episodes before John Wilson makes
his first appearance in the series. (thanks to Dave P. via Wikipedia for this contribution)
Gloria's real-life son is named Jeff Ellwood. His name was used as Dennis's friend in "Dennis and the TV Set", Season 1.
Gloria Henry was out for five weeks on maternity leave in 1961. During production she was "disguised" in some episodes by sitting behind a desk while talking on the phone, standing behind the ironing board, and by wearing heavy coats.
In the "Haunted House", Season 3, episode 5, the interior of the haunted house was the regular interior of the Mitchell house.
The left side exterior of the Mitchell house has six rows of narrow vertical windows. This does not match the interior living room of the house, which had a solid wall on the left side of the house with one center window, and in most episodes, no window at all.
More: in the early episodes, the Wilson house has one window looking out to the patio and a screen door. By Season 2, a glass French door is on the backside of the house for patio access and a roof or portico was placed over the patio area. In later episodes, the back wall reverts to its former look with no door or window, just the patio visible (see Season 3: "Dennis Has a Fling"). That is a real mystery!
The Mitchell's front door hinges & door handle were changed in the early episodes. First, the handle was on the right, hinges left, then, changed to handle on the left, hinges right. By the 3rd Season, the hinges were back on the left, handle right. Note that the exteriors shown with the front door open are painted backdrops to resemble the park across the street. This is because the interior of the home (and the Wilson's) was on stage 7 at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, now Sunset Gower Studios.
In each episode, George Wilson referred to Henry as “Mitchell” and to Alice by her name. Henry & Alice referred to George and Martha as “Mr. or Mrs. Wilson”. John Wilson called Henry and Alice by their first names and Eloise Wilson did the same.
In Season 2, Episode 43, "The Raffle Ticket", Mr. (George) Wilson is out selling raffle tickets and is seen walking on the sidewalk around the park. He meets Dennis and Tommy and, after getting flustered, turns around and says he's going home. But he instead walks toward Tommy's house...the wrong way.
The glasses worn by Henry had no lenses in them, nor did Margaret's. Not sure, at this time, about George Wilson's glasses. (although we did see him with glasses on when he was sprayed with the garden hose in one episode.)
Sylvia Field’s real-life husband, Earnest Truex, was featured in "The Christmas Horse", season 2, Episode 12.
In one episode, "The School Play", Alice says to Henry that George was waiting on a long -distance phone call; Henry said he saw him on the roof fixing the antenna so that the call would come through better (which makes no sense at all!)
Tommy (Billy Booth) played a lawyer in a dream sequence with Mr. George Wilson on trial (Season 3, Episode 14 "A Dog’s Life"). Also in Season 3, Episode 96 "The Horseless Carriage Club", he played a lawyer in a dream sequence representing George Wilson. He also played a lawyer in Season 4, Episode 4, "The Little Judge” with John Wilson on trial. Billy Booth was a real lawyer later in life. (see Cast Bios and "Remembering Billy Booth".)
Gloria always wore dressy dresses and shoes, even heels, around the house. Her fashions were sponsored by Betty Barclay for 17 episodes, 1961-62, by Mr. Mort for 9 episodes in 1962, and Kim Kory for 29 episodes, 1962-1963.
The closing announcement changed from no announcement at all to “This has been a Screen Gems film production from the Hollywood studios of Columbia Pictures”, then to: “This has been a Screen Gems film production” in the 4th season. (go to the Music page to listen)
Henry wore a sweater or sports coat when he relaxed after work. Both Mr. Wilson's usually wore a tie and / or a sports coat/sweater, and the clothes both Mrs. Wilson's wore around the house were similar to Alice’s. Mr. (George) Wilson usually wore a long-sleeved sport shirt for his gardening.
True to TV mores of the time, Henry and Alice (and the Wilson’s) slept in separate double beds.
Four of the series' actors all died in the same year (1995): Gale Gordon, Willard Waterman, Irene Tedrow, and Mary Wickes - all whom, except for Gordon & Waterman, died from strokes. Herbert Anderson died in 1994, also from a stroke.
The TV sets in the Mitchell and Wilson homes appear to be placed in out of the way locations, usually behind furniture, and not the center of attention as they are today. Eventually, we do not see the TV set in George or John Wilson’s living room at all (it was usually next to the front window and against the right wall, and behind the couch area). It was mentioned in "Dennis and the TV Set", Season 1, Episode 22 that the TV had been moved upstairs to the guest room. Dennis' friend (who was named for Gloria's real-life son, Jeff Ellwood) had a new TV remote that Dennis borrowed to operate Mr. Wilson's set - and that gave him fits. Funny!
In the 4th season, the TV re-appeared to the right of the fireplace, which was on the back wall only of the house, not the right and left sides as the exterior scenes show. And, there is no window visible on the right wall from the outside; one is shown on the inside. A double window on the front-right side of the house is shown on exterior scenes of the house, but it's hard to see it behind the multi-trunked tree.
In Season 4, Episode 115, "The New Principal", Margaret introduces herself as "Margaret Harrington". Huh? Her last name was Wade.
The theme music for Dennis the Menace performed by the Screen Gems Orchestra was not "Hurray for Captain Spaulding" (as IMDb.com reports) -- that tune was used for the Groucho Marks' show, "You Bet Your Life".
Prophetically and by strange coincidence in episode 89 entitled: "Where There's a Will", which aired February 11th, 1962, the story dealt with Mr. Wilson making out a will and explaining that Dennis would inherit his gold watch when he dies. Sadly, he died on February 17th, 1962, just 55 years-old -- five days after his birthday and 6 days after the episode aired. How strange is that? His last appearance in the series was Season 3, Episode 100: "The Man Next Door". (He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, a few miles southeast of the Warner Ranch.)
Dennis: "when I get old, I am going to join the Navy!" (and he did several years later from '77 to '79). (quote from "Dennis at Boot Camp", Season 4, Episode 9)
A much younger Jean Stapleton was the guest star for Season 3, Episode 93: "Mr. Wilson's Housekeeper". Of course, we remember her as Edith on "All in the Family"
In Season 1, "The New Neighbors", the house next to the Wilson's, referred to here as Mrs. Lucy Elkins' house, is sold by Mr. Birnley to Mr. Ferris the handyman for $20,000. By Season 3, Episode 86 "Silence is Golden", Mrs. Elkins (Irene Tedrow) was purchasing that house (and decided to rent it out instead). And, by Episode 100 the Sweetzers had bought it.
Miss Cathcart's house is revealed in Episode 120, season 4: "Jane Butterfield Says". She says her house is "one block over" from Elm; actually it's at the intersection of Mississippi Street and Elm, across from the church, and is the house facade used later for Bewitched.
For the third season, the opening theme was picked up slightly in tempo, and the writer and director were given separate billing. Dennis and Mr. George Wilson had star status according to the credits and that included the two episodes after the death of Joe Kearns. Gale Gordon then got co-star credit until the series ended.
On June 24, 1962, Sylvia Field made her final appearance in the series (Season 3: Episode 107, "Community Picnic").
In Episode 139, Season 4: "The Lost Dog", the wrong end credits are shown.
George Wilson's dog, Fremont, also starred in I Love Lucy and the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder. The Cairn Terrier's real name was Danny. His last appearance was in Episode 107, "Community Picnic".
In "Dennis' Allowance", Season 2, Episode 45, Tommy calls the little boy trying to hit the golf ball "Richard", instead of Seymour (Robert John Pittman; in "Dennis Goes to Camp", he was called Rikki). Dennis' allowance was 25 cents. Today, that would be equivalent to about $1.92 (based on 1961 comparison).
In the episode, "Dennis Sells Bottles", Henry inexplicably swaps beds and is seen sleeping on the right-side bed instead of the usual left-side bed. George Wilson does the same thing in "Dennis and the Dog".
In "The Party Line", Season 1, Dennis and Tommy are at the Driscolls as they are moving in. Problem is, this is Tommy's house on Mississippi Street.
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Martha & George enjoy breakfast on their beautiful patio. Note the French door is used here; it's absent from other episodes.
Tommy Anderson's house on Mississippi Steet
Photo credits: Jay North and Gale Gordon;Jay with slingshot, and Herbert Anderson with Jay North by CBS/Columbia. Other photos are screen captures from the series.