This episode of Dennis the Menace (see widget below to purchase full seasons of the show on Amazon) should be called “The One Where Mr. Wilson Gets a Swimming Pool” instead of “Dennis and the Signpost” as the signpost is only the avenue to the extremely funny moments in this episode – the first episode filmed post pilot. According to Gloria Henry and Jeannie Russell (Mom and Margaret), the show went on the back burner for several months after the original pilot or first episode was shot. You can actually tell that Jay North is a little bit bigger here.
Fun and Notable Moments in this episode:
Dennis and Tommy actually fixing the signpost is quite funny as you know at that moment that Mr. Wilson’s scheduled grass seeding job will not occur and that he will, instead receive a pool.
Mrs. Elkins (Irene Tedrow) first appearance is in this episode is great. She immediately establishes herself as a mini-nemesis for Mr. Wilson when she labels him a grouch after overhearing him yelling at Dennis.
This episode also contains the first appearance of Mrs. Holland as portrayed by Helen Kleeb who many will remember from the Waltons as one of the teetotaling Baldwin sisters or, perhaps, from her turn in the Manchurian candidate.
Air Raid Wilson is the name Mr. Wilson is given by the neighborhood after Dennis throws a firework in the garbage that ends up in the incinerator in the backyard. Mr. Wilson hears the boom, runs to his bedroom window and sees the hole for the swimming pool for the first time. He thinks it is a bomb crater and throws on his civil defense helmet before running outside in his pajamas to save the neighborhood.
Mrs. Purcell wears a dress with a huge hoop skirt when she visits in this episode. She only appears in a couple of episodes, and this is the most substantial amount of time she spends on screen since she appears beside the hole being dug for the pool while talking with Dennis and then at Mr. Wilson’s house to butter him up with a jar of preserves to make up for calling him “an old grouch.” The Mrs. Purcell character wasn’t really replaced by anyone else. The show’s writers or producers must have decided that Mrs. Elkins, Mrs. Holland, and Miss Cathcart provided enough female neighbors without a fourth lady.
What is your favorite part of this episode?