|Windom in 1997|
Windom always seemed to stand out no matter what show he was on, including episodes of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.
I was a big fan of his one-season wonder My World and Welcome To It (1969-70), a thinly disguised sitcom based on the life and works of cartoonist/humourist James Thurber. Windom played a curmudgeonly cartoonist and I probably liked the show at the time because it featured these little animated sequences inspired by Thurber's stark, two-dimensional style.
Lisa Gerritsen played the daughter on the series and would go on to appear the next season on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sheldon Leonard, legendary Dick Van Dyke Show executive producer, ran this series, too.
When I spotted Windom at the autograph show he was sitting next to former Jackie Gleason Show regular Sheila MacRae and just down from Ken Berry and Larry Storch from F Troop. You got older stars at the Hollywood Show back then because, well, they were still around.
|Scoping out the show with Sheila MacRae|
Eccentric and fidgety, I noticed he kept monkeying with an old navy telescope gizmo, a small brass thing he kept looking through when he wasn't being bugged for his John Henry. "Check this out," he finally said to me. I looked through it and realized that it was a trick telescope with a mirror in it so you could look directly sideways from where it appeared you were looking. Windom, married five times in his life, was scoping out the Playboy bunnies signing at a nearby table. The man knew what to bring to the show.