For those young/old enough to have seen the original Dobie Gillis shows, Maynard G Krebs (played by actor Bob Denver, 1935-2005) made an indelible impression.

Some people are dismissive or critical of the character, saying it was part of the 50's era belittling of or at least a distortion of the Beat movement. Some people say the character was camp and funny and funky and faux, was instrumental in establishing an enduring and beloved image of beatniks to the American public, and contributed to their consciousness.

With the help of the BeatMobile, Polarity Magazine ( asked a number of writers, musicians and artists to comment on the passing of Bob Denver, aka Maynard G Krebs, on Sept 6, 2005.

MOE ALEXANDER, Poet, Past Friend of Bob's, Massachussetts
I knew and lived with Bob. He was more of a beatnik than anyone realized He was surrounded and touched by that creative life. Remember that his ex wife Maggie Denver was Bob Dylan's person at Grossman's office (Maggies Farm). Bob was friends with Hoyt Axton. He was unpretentious. He knew the entire history of theater inside and out. He was an expert on vaudeville. He was also very quiet and shy. He had both sides to him. Outgoing and reflective.


Funniest man
I knew

Made me laugh

Every hour

Every day

There were also tears
that I knew about

His past wives

Knew Maggie

Knew Carole

Sure that they cried,
many long nights

Watching Bob,


Telling off

Arresting officers

Having to drive him home

Late at night

Or Afraid to leave


Bob just too drunk,
and belligerent

To go anywhere


Lord, God


That Bob made
me laugh

He made so many Americans


His television shows

Made so many people


Gilligans Island

Never was part of my life

I knew him personally

Bob Denver

Was the funniest man
i ever met

He made me laugh

We drove together

Laughed in Northern

Drove across

Dean Martin?s yard

Bob pissed right there

In front of the porch

We laughed

How silly

Bob sitting up all night

Making comments

About the neighbors

Making comments

About the day?s news

Making comments

About the day

We just got through

With lots of laughter

We laughed so hard

We would fall out of our chairs

He was the funniest man

I know

Got a call from Carole

That he might be dead soon


I am crying for

The funniest man that I know

He will be gone


Up in heaven

Pissing in God?s front yard

And, telling God?s police force

What he thinks of them

Telling God funny remarks

About some observations

That he will make about heaven

He is

And was

The funniest man that I know



Who said it better?

If you love what you're doing - it's not work.

Maynard was sweet and caring, and was passionate about everything he did. He was not disingaged.

Of all the "types" representing the capitalization of Beats or what the average American of that time period could put their arms around when trying to process what it was the Beats were "working" so hard to convey, Maynard G. Krebbs came closest to the heart and soul of what the core of it was all about.

Which was, openness, acceptance and inclusion of right-thought-right-action-soulfulness from whereever it originates,

Cool man...

Thank you, Maynard.

With love,

Larry (Lawrence Carradini)

GARY STEVEN CORSERI, Poet, Playwright, Washington DC

"You rang?" he said, and there he was,
Maynard G. Krebs, the first goateed man I ever saw
on national T.V., on "Dobie Gillis," my favorite show,
when I was 13 and the world seemed possible.
He'd come out of nowhere and muck things up
(like the lovable coyote of Indian myths,
or the Trickster, el diablo-you get the pix)
not trying, just being,
while Dopey Gillis was hotly pursued
by puff-cheeked Gilda, obnoxiously cutesy,
while he pursued
that co-ed with the bouffant smile,
the blonde, the angel, the light of his life,
bouncing with curls, bobby-soxed--
his only problem, how to bed her
(never alluded to
in those saccharine times).
And there was always the Rich Guy
who spoke with an accent--
the Third, haute coutured,
wore the best outfits,
even played tennis.
It was opera boffo, as close as it got,
Quixote and Panza, Krebs as Panza,
always in his unparalleled way
pointing the truth, with some apt aphorism,
like, like, "You rang?" which could mean anything,
could mean, for example,
"Connections between us irrefractably irrefutable,
I'm your genie in the bottle and you've only to say
something mysterious and I'm summoned and willing,
whatever the scheme, the logos, the danger.
I lead you past the well of sterility,
past the smug 50's, past war and assassins.
Just hold fast to youth and childhood illusions.
I will grow a long, white, tapered beard like Laotse
and I will lead you into the wilderness of age.
I leave you here now with the statue of the thinker,
befuddled, as always.
By the Fountain of Youth, always watered
by the tears of old people, fading away.
Ring and I answer."
O Gilligan, O Maynard, Samantha and Jeanie--
mages and druids, where have you gone?

BILL COSTLEY, Robinson Jeffers Society, Monterey Ca
semiSurviving 1959
For Bob Denver

Steamy Sat. nites, my nausea quickly rose
as I slowly mopped the kitchen floor
while Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden
raged at his wife, hotly threatening
to punch her “to the moon, Alice.”
Mercifully, they were gone. Amazingly,
Bob Denver’s Maynard G. Krebs
appeared, as bummed by them as I was,
& an implausible Beat became TV-flesh.
Somehow, I, like, semi-survived 1959.

LENNY DELLAROCCA, Poet, Journalist, Del Ray Beach Fl

I couldn't wait to be old enough to live in a coffeehouse, beat bongos, smoke cigarettes and not work for a living.

RALPH DIGENNARO, free lance Writer, Mt Sinai NY
Bob Denver's recent passing conjures images I've long forgotten, particularly his lovable characters on the television comedies Gilligan's Island and Dobie Gillis. BUt as much as I liked Gilligan's Island, it is Denver's 50's beatnik hipster Maynard G. Krebs on the latter that resonates most. I doubt the beat poets of the era would have liked Denver's portrayal of their subculture and sensibility. Krebs, while clearly a non-conformist, was undeniably lovable and approachable and could hardly be thought of as a deep thinker or revolutionary,which characterized the majority of beat poets at the time.
But there lies the conundrum: Was the Maynard G. Krebs character meant to spoof or even pointedly make fun of a generation of artistic types who were serious about their views and their writing. Or did Denver himself strive to reflect a more positive light on earnest and informed, albeit collectively strange in their dress and grooming, group who were perfectly well within their constitutional rights to think, speak and act differently or argue against government bureaucracy. I suppose this debate will go on forever, further swelled by Denver's death. But I, for one, though not even in my teens, loved Maynard and the innocent silliness he often festered. In the end, Dobie Gillis would have been a lot less interesting and funny without Krebs as his social conscience and sidekick. Perhaps that was Bob Denver's true genius.

Two years after San Francisco Chroncle columnist Herb Caen coined the term "beatnik," television viewers got to see one in the flesh in the character of Bob Denver's Maynard G. Krebs on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." Caen devised the term as a snide put-down of the Beat Generation following the publication of Kerouac's "On the Road," and Denver's Maynard character clearly played into that stereotype. But there was also something fun and curiously endearing about Maynard, which Denver managed to capture.

In a way Denver's Maynard was a humorous counterpoint to the more sinister image of the Beats that was being propagated at the time, and perhaps best exemplified by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's warning at the 1960 Republican National Convention that the three major enemies of America were "communists, eggheads, and beatniks." I have to wonder how many of Hoover's
listeners were trying to figure out how lovable ol' Maynard G. was one of the three major threats to America!

Yeah, Maynard G. Krebs wasn't really what the Beats were all about; but, as stereotypes go, at least his was a friendly, funny, and enjoyable one. So, Bob Denver, thanks for the laughs and rest in peace.

JASON EISENBERG, Poet, Performer, Peppermill Massachusetts
As a mildly coddled mid-middle class suburban kid on the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound, the Dobie Gillis show was a highlight of my week. I eagerly awaited Dobie's myopic, '50s Americana pre-show philosophising about girls, life, etc. It hit me right in the mid-section of my middle class! Tuesday Weld as Thalia Menninger? was of course a heart-throb. Maynard impressed me as more of a goofy jughead although he did expound at times (through the haze of memory) on some quality-of-life issues. But Television used the beat angle as a comic foil for Dobie's button-down heart and soul. My recollection was that Bob Denver's character usually ended up copping out to the prevailing social forces. (I'd have to check out some reruns to be sure!) I did love his character, though, as it gave my naive noggin a shallow glimpse into another realm of being, so to speak. But let's face it, the beats were co-opted on any number of fronts by the media, using the phenomenon at best for comic 'value' and at worst to polarize the camps by characterizing Maynard as a loser ("Work!?"), unable to fit into the cubic zirconia of the prevailing status quo. About the only thing we can thank TV's Maynard G. Crebs for is a lighthearted lean on life that gave a nation of suburban white kids something to laugh at between commercials. I must say, that as a former member in good standing of the TV generation, I bought it hook, line and stinker until a fateful day in '64 or '65, when it ocurred to me that the medium was out to eat my own soul for the price of a box of Corn Flakes. The love affair ended, but the addiction remained. My unformed adolsecent brainiac still dug Maynard, token outcast tho' he may have been portrayed. And the best was yet to come HEY! - Ed Sullivan gave us Elvis! The Beatles! The Stones! Long Live TV!!! Long live Bob Denver's groovy chin!

JACK FOLEY, Poet, Radio Host, Oakland Ca
maynard g:
for those who knew
even less than you;
for the clueless;
bongo playing
who said
(to those
who didn’t know):
"There is a world

Well, Maynard G Krebs was left out of Bob Denver's career bio recently on prime-time. Totally left out! Maybe he heard the word, "WORK", and disappeared! (remember his bent)?
I believe he was a true icon, yes, he was the original "slacker" !
But as he was campy and all the media saw the Beatnik as, so was the reaction to his character by the straights in the late 1950s! It slammed them as well!
And as a 12 year old at the time, I thought him lovable and kooky and much more cool than Dobie Gillis who was pretty much just anybody and way too desperate!
Beatniks were the literati, the artists, who saw the world so differently from the "suits." Often they never made the regular press, or television offerings.
At least Maynard G. gave us a peek inside the outsiders! It made a lifelong impression (scar) on me, though my generation was too young to ever be beat, we became hippies and grooved in our own way.
Thanks for caring about Maynard G.

KATE KELLY, Poet and artist, associate Editor, Poetrybay Magazine, Northport NY
I loved Maynard G (the G is for Walter he always explained)...He created a character that many of us growing up in the 50's early 60's could relate to more than the Dobie Gillis character complete with white sox and loafers.

Funny, I had a dream last night about my best friend from when I was a kid, Mary Alice Provenzano. We were tomboys and loved throwing water balloons, bicycling (me on the handlebars) and making phony weather reports on a tiny reel to reel tape recorder. In this dream I had we ran into each other in a tiny restroom and I recognized her from her profile but she kept turning away from me and then left without saying a word, looking for all the world like someone trying to avoid making contact. Well, one of our favorite characters was first Maynard and later Gilligan and we both wore sailor hats the way Gilligan did (the back up, the front down). She looked a lot like Bob Denver, same nose and cheekbones and swarthy complexion. So, this morning, when I read he'd died the dream came back to me. As if Bob Denver himself was walking out of my life and deserting my childhood in the person of Allie (as Mary Alice was affectionately called).

Bob Denver is dead. He seems to have been a nice enough man. And he could always get a giggle from televiewers. But an icon?

He reminds me of Alfred Newman (of "what me worry?" fame), a perfect of innocence -- and cultural vacuity. Gilligan's Island, along with hours and years of empty sitcoms, put America to sleep.

Maynard Krebs sanitized beatniks -- when we were in deparate need of nasty, smelly poets. Michael Moore is as close as we get these days. Bob Denver died just as Katrina woke up the narcoleptic media. Let's see if NBC can stuff consciousness back in the box.

MICHAEL MCHUGH, New Century Booking, NYC NY
Maynard G Krebs on the Dobie Gillis show in the 50s was the media image of a Beat in that era- where else could he go from there? No wonder he got lost at sea and ended up on that island with all those crazy squares after that- like Bob Denver the Beats were shipwrecked in the sixties- Ginsberg turning from opium and "heartless tokay" to TM and politics and Jack Keroauc settled down and got married.

JACKIE MOSS, Poet, Quogue NY
Maynard G. Krebs had a very strong effect on me. My adolescent antennae went up whenever he appeared on the screen.. in the same way Peter Pan brought me to Never- Never land...Maynard brought me to Utopia through his innocence, his child like acceptence and simple politics/poetics. The beard and beret were the markings of the offbeat and first green light to become a free thinker.

CHARLES NEWMAN, Poet, Chicago Il
I watched The Loves of Dobie Gillis because of Tuesday Weld and Bob Denver. She was talented and incredibly sexy. He gave us a funny, goofy, quirky, dude we could dig like no other on tv at the time. Maynard G. Krebs was a piece of work when you consider that era of tv. Belittling the Beat movement? Nah...get a sense of humor!

I was a kid when I watched "Dobie Gillis" and totally loved Maynard. My own brother was a classic Beat character (jazz drummer kicked out of the Army in 1960 for weed) so I had the real thing as well as this TV character (clearly based at least in part on Ginsberg, much as "Route 66" absorbed Keroauc and Cassady). Although these shows were probably completely galling to anyone actually connected with the Beat scene (with "Route 66" dismissable in hindsight), the character of Maynard had a Harpo Marxian innocence, so I can't regard Denver's portrayal as a complete dumbing down of consciousness. I will never forgot the episode where Maynard insisted Santa Claus existed and is of course mocked. But at the end he stares out the window in wonder as the shadow of Santa and his reindeers cross over his face. Kid stuff but great stuff. Let's remember him by his mantra:
R.I.P. Bob Denver.

KEVIN TWIGG, Musician, Long Island NY
Ah Bob Denver...... What's not to like? I was just listening to a nice NPR tribute to him. They played an audio clip of an interview he did, where he told of being thrilled that everywhere he went, people were happy, smiley, and friendly to him, because of his work on television. He made their lives better. I myself still watch Gilligan Island reruns.
I was very young when the Dobie Gillis show was on TV. I watched it whenever I could. To me, Bob Denver's charactor was outrageous and radical. I think that was the state of the television industry at THAT time, where Dobie Gillis was as wild as it got! You can't hold that against Bob Denver, right? Relating it to society, the Dobie Gillis show "introduced", in maybe a necessary fluffy way, another lifestyle to the mainstream public.
This ultimately helped the true Beat Generation artists, because as years go by, and memories fade, I think people remember "The Thinker", and the offbeatness of it all, rather than clothing styles and dialect.
The same applies to everyday life as well. That is, we, as a society, remember the most profound and important messages that we can glean from ANY situation. The clothing of the years after the 1929 stock market crash were not important, the lessons of struggle and prevailance are the important lessons. In the early 60's (the age of the Dobie Gillis show), I think society "got" the message of freedom and individual thinking, more than they "got" the berets, goatees, bongos, and black clothes.
God Bless Bob Denver.
Ya dig?
At the time I thought of beatniks as eccentric and standing for absolutely nothing. It was like the James Dean film, Rebel Without a Cause. There was a cause, only the middle class was unaware of it. I only realized it some time later, esp with the beginning of the Vietnam War. I had read little of Ginsberg and later some Corso and Ferlinghetti.

Bob Denver played a stereotype, or perhaps a fop for the more establishment type, Doby Gillis played by Dwayne Hickman. Whatever social importance the beatniks had at that time was buried under many stereotypes. When I think of it, I realize that television shaped our whole lives: the way we thought and the way we acted. And yet there was some real genius in some of the programming, and although America was "the age of anxiety" then, you could have a Ralph Cramden who was always trying to make it i the social structure, knowing that he didn't really fit in. Rod Serling was another one genius that comes to mind.

At least with the Doby Gillis show, I had an early awareness of poetry and the ways in which it could be written. On Naked City, there was an episode with Burgess Meredith who played a poet, but also a drunk. "...and only the dead are honestly arranged." Thinking back now on that show (and I haven't thought about it in years) it adumbrated a number of social movements in the Sixties. I would say, though, that most viewers felt comfortable that the beatniks were of no danger to them as long as they stuck around the Village.

BRUCE WEBER, Poet and performer, NYC
maynard g. krebs was my hero back in the early 1960s when i was little more than a child. a beaknik-type character on t.v. who played bongoes. i wanted to grow a goatee and sit by rodin's thinker all day playing percussion and never considering the word work. how things have changed . . .