60's & 70's Classic TV Dimwits.
The TV shows of the 60's & 70's produced some of the most loveable, memorable and dimwitted characters of all time. This page pays tribute to the best of those classic TV dimwits that we all loved.
What qualities are required to be considered for this catagory? The character must be sincere, naive, honest, honorable, funny, loveable and just plain, well let's say more than a few cards short of a full deck.
These dimwits are presented in no particular order.
Arnold Horshack- Welcome Back Kotter
From 1975 to 1979 Arnold Horshack was the favorite innocent and underachieving kid next door on the highly popular sit-com Welcome Back, Kotter. "I was doing New York theatre when I was asked to audition for Horshack. My agent said, 'They want four tough guys from New York.' I was 118 pounds and most of it was on my nose. I saw the name was Arnold Horshack and I made the laugh up on the spot."
What made "Kotter" a great show was that it was just plain funny. Arnold was a very sweet,sensitive and impressionable kid. This made him the brunt of many jokes but he never seemed to mind because he was getting attention from the Sweathogs who he looked up too. His laugh was truly one of a kind.
| Arnold Horshack
| Rosco P. Coltrane - Dukes of Hazzard
Rosco P. Coltrane is the bumbling sheriff of Hazzard County and right-hand man of its corrupt county commissioner. ("Boss Hogg"). Roscoe sneaks under the wire for this 70's category. The Dukes of Hazzard debuted in 1979. He also falls a little short in character due to the company he kept.
Rosco's mentality is that of a fun-loving kid. He speaks with a childish vernacular and repeats his favorite catch phrases constantly. His laugh was a choppy and excited chuckle that was produced from the back of the throat ("Kew-kew-kew!"). He is easily excitable and genuinely enjoys law enforcement, especially chasing criminals, which he refers to as "hot pursuit".
Squiggy & Lenny.
Although they do not qualify for all of the characteristics listed above such as (honest & honorable). I could not leave out these two main character Dimwits.
Lenny Kosnowski a lovable goof who pesters Laverne and Shirley along with his best friend and roommate Squiggy live upstairs from Laverne and Shirley's basement apartment. Lenny works as a truck driver at the Shotz brewery. Raised by his father after his mother abandoned them, Lenny claims to be 89th in line to the Polish Throne.
Andrew "Squiggy" Squigman the most obnoxious of the two, and the greasiest. Squiggy grew up with neglectful parents and is often scheming to get rich or succeed by somewhat devious means. For some reason, he collects moths. Like Lenny he loves the chocolate-flavored drink Bosco chocolate syrup, and makes nearly every entrance with his trademark "Hello" said in a slightly dopey voice.
| Lenny & Squiggy - Laverne & Shirley.
| Chrissy Snow - Three's Company
||Chrissy was the typical dimwitted blonde. One of her main traits included being misunderstood by her roommates and then launching into a long and convoluted explanation that made no sense to anyone but her. She was always very sincere and very clueless.|
|This is not the typical story of Father knows best. Herman is enormously old, behaves rather childishly and is a green Frankenstien who often throws temper tantrums. When frustrated he tends to stamp his foot like a child having a tantrum. This causes plaster to shower down from the ceiling. Other than that Herman is a good-natured buffoon and loving father.|| Herman Munster - The Munsters
| Maxwell Smart - Get Smart
As a spy Max (Secret Agent 86 of Control) is a loveable goof that somehow stumbles through to save the world from KOAS over and over. Max's "sorry about that chief" line is his best and most popular catchphrase.
When Max takes a job undercover he takes it so seriously that you can't help but laugh. Imagine the whole world is in jeopardy and Max is consumed doing his under cover job. It often takes the help of a second agent like 99 to point out what Max needs to do to save the world.
Maxwell Smart is probably the clumsiest spy you will ever encounter. It's very ironic because his enemies at KAOS refer to him as "The Great Maxwell Smart".
|Tom Smothers was always quick to point out to his brother that "mom always liked you best" and so the childhood feud continues. Tommy was innocent, easily confused and had a dry sense of humor that helped make him adorable. His older and wiser brother would often get frustrated as he tried to explain the simple things to his easily confused brother.|| Tom Smothers - Smothers Brothers
|Gomer Pyle - Gomer Pyle USMC
Sha-zayam! Gomer Pyle was perhaps the dumbest, kindest and most cheerful hick in Mayberry.
Gomer Pyle became a recurring character on the Andy Griffith Show. He was eventually spun off to his own sitcom where the hayseed Pyle never got past boot camp. He was always being hollered at by his hilariously furious drill sergeant. Gomer was funny, innocent and sincerely dimwitted.
|Wojo was stereotyped as a mentally slow Polish cop. The Barney Miller show was based heavily on stereotyped characters. (black, Jewish, Polish, Chinese, old) The show cracked many prejudice jokes but also tried to break down that same prejudice among their own officers. Wojo was an honest, hard working, sincere but dimwitted police officer.|| Wojo - Barney Miller
| Eb Dawson - Green Acres
||Eb was the Douglas' farmhand. He lived in the barn loft where he cared for his pet turtle and kept a large collection of plaid coats. He may have been naive and unworldly but he was smart enough to snooker a job out of Mr. Douglas doing apparently nothing. He occasionally calls Mr. Douglas "Dad". Eb is a clumsy goofball, but he longs for wealth and sophistication. Due to his ability to "snooker" people, Eb fails the category of being truly na´ve and honorable.|
|Jethro is the epitome of Dimwitted. He is honest and sincere. He acts like a gentleman at all times but is a child at heart. He has a backwoods education that he thinks makes him a genius. Very na´ve and gullible, he thinks he is quite the ladies man. The woman agree when they discover how rich he is. Only Miss Hathaway is impressed by his kind heart and not his money.|| Jethro Bodine - Beverly Hillbillies
| Peter Tork - The Monkees
||Shyness and naivety the strong points that Peter brings to the table. He ranks high on all the required categories. Peter was easily confused. The funniest program I saw Peter in was when he failed an interviewed for a job with a machine that thought his name was "Nit Wit" not "Not What".|
Shultz's may not qualify for the characteristic of (honorable & loveable) due to the fact he was a Nazi guard but he slips in because he was basically a neutral observer during the war and had a kind heart. All he wanted was to "know nothing" and survive until the war was over. Ignorance was bliss.
Col. Klink although a Dimwit, fails to meet the qualifications of (honest & loveable) because of poor character.
| Sgt Shultz - Hogan's Heroes
| Capt Palmateer F-Troop
||Capt Palmateer's leadership skills could have prevented him from being listed in this category. However he basically had no Leadership skills so he is listed here as a borderline dimwit because of it. His innocent and almost childlike personality made him an easy target for Sgt O'Rooke and Corp. Agar to manipulate him.|
|Tim Conway portrayal of an eager but almost totally incompetent Ensign Parker was a joy to watch. Conway's was a comic genius. It was side-splitting fun to watch him squirm, stutter and completely fall apart whenever he was given any kind of responsibility at all. Ensign Parker was like a child living in an adult body during a terrible time in history. He' always tried to do a good job, and it usually worked out in the end, but what happened in between was always filled with laughs. Ensign Parker not only met the requirements for this catagory but with his superior knack for slapstick humor exceeded them.|| Ensign Parker - McHales Navy
| Gilligan - Gilligan's Island
||What could be more dimwitted than taking a boat trip during a Typhoon? Gilligan gets high marks for that. Of course, he loses a few points towards being dimwitted because any guy with half a brain would want to get stranded on a deserted island with Mary Ann and Ginger. Maybe he was only acting dumb to stay on the island with the girls.
As a First Mate He was a sincere, honest and na´ve. Despite his best attempts to be helpful everything he did seemed to backfire on him.
|When Knotts heard that a sitcom was in development with Griffith as a small-town sheriff, he phoned his friend and pointed out that every sheriff needs a good deputy, but a deputy who is not so good might be funnier. Knotts envisioned Deputy Fife as a bumbling but proud character, clearly not cut out for work as a lawman. His manic performance made the laid-back Griffith seem wiser, and the sheriff's respect for Fife signaled to audiences that the deputy was more than merely a buffoon. Playing Fife, Knotts won 5 Emmys for Best Supporting Actor .|| Barney Fife - Mayberry RFD
Vinni Barbarino - Welcome Back Kotter
"What, When, Where?" Vinni's classic dumb lines were always a laugh. I did not include him as a main dimwit because he is the Leader of the Sweathogs. Leadership is not a character for my dimwits. Additionally Vinni was less than honorable and honest and therefore misses out in several character qualities. But he was still loveable and a dimwit.
Minor character dimwits
Goober - Mayberry RFD
Goober was Mayberry's "village idiot". This was perhaps best seen in an episode when Goober believed his dog was talking human, which then filled his head with delusions of becoming rich and famous.
Mr Kimbel - Green Acres
Absent minded US Dept. of Agriculture Agent Hank Kimbel never made any sense when he talked.
Frank Farkel - Laugh-in
The Farkel Family was a recurring skit on the television variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The Farkel parents, Frank and Fanny Farkle both had dark-colored hair and good eyesight. However, all the children had red hair and wore glasses, just like their "good friend and trusty neighbor" Ferd Berfel.
Howard Borden - Bob Newhart Show
Everyone's favorite neighbor & pest. Howard is an airplane navigator for a commercial carrier until the airline replaces him with a computer. Howard is a dimwitted loveable mooch and enjoys many a free meal with Bob and Emily.
Larry Daryl & Daryl- Bob Newhart Show
Perhaps the most unusual dimwits were three bizarre backwoodsmen, of whom only one ever spoke those famous words of introduction. "I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl". These greasy looking "Stooges" could always be counted upon to enjoy any activity that would disgust most people.
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