Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not Forgottten By Me: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW



I read an interview with Van Dyke recently and he said that when making the show they had 28 minutes out of 30 to tell the story, which allowed them to develop an idea more fully than today's sit-coms which only have 20 minutes. Most of today's shows consequently go for fractured storylines telling that features jokes rather than plots. I think there are a few exceptions to this new format-THE BIG BANG THEORY being one, but on the whole I hate most of them. I think they could shuffle most scenes around and and no one would notice that no, this was not the one about gastro-intestinal problems. Perhaps SEINFELD led the way with this sort of story telling.It certainly comes out of standup comedy.

Anyway Dick Van Dyke  was the epitome of sophistication to me as a young teenager. There are so many great episodes that it is hard to pick a favorite. Dick's favorites were mine too. The one where Ritchie was born and Dick became convinced he was not their son. And the one where Laura outs Alan Brady's baldness on a radio show. Or the one about the walnuts above.

What was yours?

17 comments:

Chad Eagleton said...

I have a particular fondness for The Dick Van Dyke show. When I was a kid, we lived out in the country and didn't have cable or satellite television. One of the three channels we could get on our antenna was a local channel that showed a number of classic tv programs in syndication. Two episodes of Dick Van Dyke back to back everyday. It was engaging and funny, and I didn't mind it being in black and white. It also probably goes a long way in explaining a weakness I have for women in capri pants and a sweater.

Anonymous said...

I loved the show at the time too, though watching it now it seems very dated to me, but Dick is talking out of his...hat. The shows were 22-24 minutes at most, not 28.

My favorites? Yes, the walnuts. Also the Empress Carlotta Necklace. And the one where Laura gets stuck in the bathtub.

Jeff M.

Dana King said...

Laura has been opening Rob's mail, so he has an self-inflating boat sent to the house. I'm chuckling now, thinking of Mary Tyler Moore trying to stuff the boat back in the box.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Dana. I'd forgotten that one but it was memorable.


Jeff M.

James Reasoner said...

I love this show, and having seen a number of episodes recently, it really holds up well. The episode where Rob dreams he's back in the Old West is a favorite. But really, they're all good.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I say this as a hetereosexual woman, I have the same weakness, Chad.
The bathtub one is terrific. It's her toe in the faucet-don't want to make it seem like she was overweight!
God, I love that one, Dana.
I don't find it dated but I may be looking at it with my eyes on 1962. I do find some of the Sally and Buddy routines dated though. The show rested on the talents of Moore and Van Dyke for me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Although not a regular viewer I did like this show and I often try to catch them in reruns. they still hold up to me.

RkR said...

I think sit coms today are more like 16 minutes, not 20. As for Van Dyke show, I think of it as something my parents watched, though at 67 I must have been old enough to watch it myself...

Randy Johnson said...

I had a favorite back in the day. the episode where British pop stars Chad and Jeremy were in town for the Brady show. One of them points to a foot stool and asks, "Know what we call that in England?" Rob makes the mistake of asking and gets, "A stool!"

Deb said...

I like the one where they accidentally overhear their neighbors taking about them which leads to the most passive-aggressive game of charades ever (Laura mimes being stabbed in the back, Rob correctly guesses "On the Street Where You Live").

I read somewhere that Mary Tyler Moore was restricted to a certain number of scenes per episode where she could wear capris; in all other scenes she had to wear skirts and dresses. But we all remember the capris.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I don't remember that one, Randy.
Just like Ethel Mertz on Lucy had to wear dowdy dresses so Lucy would look glamorous.

Anonymous said...

In one interview with Van Dyke, he states that the show was designed to not be topical (and they mostly succeeded, modulo Twizzle, though even that has modern overtones). The idea was specifically to make a show that would age well.

James Reasoner said...

Every time somebody mentions an episode, I think, "Oh, yeah, that was a great one!"

The Chad and Jeremy episode was wonderful. Great music.

Anonymous said...

Patti, I think it's the whole Mad Men look and the advertising stuff that's dated, as well as the whole "timid little woman" vibe Mary gave off much of the time.

At least that's how I feel whenever I catch a little of an episode these days.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Interesting she went from this to MTM where she started out timid and quickly outgrew it. Times change.

Ron Scheer said...

When anyone mentions early TV sitcom, this is the one that comes to mind for me. A wittier version of I Love Lucy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And also one that adds the occasional science fiction and fantasy.