Jay North, TV's Dennis the Menace: The Untold Story

By | November 29, 2017

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Jay North as Dennis the Menace. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

From 1959 to '63, Jay North was TV's Dennis the Menace on the sitcom of the same name, based on Hank Ketcham's daily one-panel newspaper comic. When the series began, North was just seven years old. Although the show was extremely popular, North's childhood suffered, and he had trouble escaping the shadow of Dennis the Menace for decades afterward.

North's character, Dennis Mitchell, was a precocious, blond-haired boy who was forever finding himself in the middle of some sort of conflict. His standard outfit was a striped t-shirt and overalls. Like the Dennis of the cartoon, North's character had a prominent cowlick.

American Viewers Loved Jay North As Dennis

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Dennis, for all of his well-meaning intentions, just couldn’t help from getting into trouble. His favorite neighbor, Mr. Wilson (played by Joseph Kearns), usually ended up falling victim to Dennis’ mischief. Despite the fact that Mr. Wilson was grouchy and cantankerous, he had a secret soft spot for Dennis and just couldn’t stay mad at him. From the start, the show was a huge hit with viewers.