Tune in to preview a Beatty campaign

Classic: TV Land re-runs episodes featuring the race for president of the junior class between candidates Dobie Gillis and Milton Armitage, played by Mr. `Bulworth' himself.

October 09, 1999|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

"I hate false modesty," says presidential candidate Milton Armitage. "How can I lose this election? I'm handsome, cultured, debonair, attractive, and I'm manly."

Manly Milton from TV's "The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis" was played 40 years ago by none other than the equally handsome and manly Warren Beatty, whose flirtation with a presidential candidacy continues. Beatty, as is often the case with public figures, has a sitcom skeleton in his closet.

TV Land, a cable channel dedicated to vintage re-runs, will broadcast the 1959 "Smoke Filled Room" episode at 9 p.m. Sunday, part of a Beatty-inspired "Dobie" mini-marathon from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Check your TV listings for channel information.)

Not to wreck the ending, but Milton Armitage -- despite his good looks, wealth and bow tie -- loses to Dobie Gillis in the presidential junior class election. Anyone watching will see that coming, but it's still a kick to see Beatty, then a mere fawn of an actor.

In the episode, Beatty's acting is a tad wooden; he makes Al Gore seem like Jim Carrey. Handsome devil, though. And his scenes with Tuesday Weld (who played the sweatered Thalia Menninger) are brief but sparky:

Thalia: "Why campaign?

Milton: "Because I'm in politics seriously. I owe it to my class." "The junior class?" "The ruling class."

Thalia tells Milton that he'll never be elected because "you are perfect," and people want to vote for someone who is not too bright or handsome. Someone like Dobie (or Donald Trump?). Milton asks his mommy to fix the election for her son, but Dobie prevails. "Look at me -- a failure at 17," Milton tells his mother. "Oh, Milton," she says, "you are a nasty boy."

The episode ends with the nasty one conceding defeat and stuffing his manly face with a watercress sandwich.

But you wanna bet who got the girl? -- Rob Hiaasen

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