Remembering The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Dick Van Dyke ShowGuest blogger Melanie Simone writes about the TV classic The Dick Van Dyke Show in today’s guest post.

 USA 1961-66, five seasons, 158 episodes, approximately 25 minutes each, CBS, black & white. Cast: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Matthews, Richard Deacon.

Plot summary: Rob is the writer of a successful TV show. At home, he is the loving husband of Laura and their son Ritchie. Together, they master the adventures and challenges of everyday life with warm hearts and a healthy sense of humor.

Review: In 1960, Carl Reiner created a TV show based on his experiences as a writer in Hollywood. Called Head of the Family, the show featured Reiner himself in the leading role as Rob Petrie and Mr. and Mrs. North alumn Barbara Britton as his television wife. Despite the lovely casting choice for Mrs. Petrie, the show failed to meet the necessary enthusiasm to be picked up for a complete season and found its way back to Carl Reiner’s writing desk. Re-imagined and re-cast with Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, the show made a comeback one year later. Named after its new leading man, The Dick Van Dyke Show found a home on CBS for its first season and was renewed for four more due to Procter & Gamble’s commercial influence on the network.

Rewarded with 15 Emmy Awards (out of 25 nominations), the show offered a look behind the scenes of a fictional variety program, The Alan Brady Show, as well as a glimpse into the Petrie household. Although using the quirks of Hollywood as a setting was nothing new by 1961, The Dick Van Dyke Show managed to find a balance between the ballyhoo of entertainment and the everyday chaos of family life. Blessed with the comedic talents of the two leading actors as well as their natural chemistry, the show was lighthearted, smart and funny. Shaped in quality and style by writer/creator Reiner (who also appeared as fictional TV star Alan Brady), the show remained top-notch from beginning to end and is still popular in reruns today. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the entire series can also be revisited by old fans and new ones alike – a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who appreciates classy comedy and a wholesome but quirky style.

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 Melanie Simone is a writer with a degree in American Studies and English. On Talking Classics, she savors her love for vintage Hollywood.

  • Blair Kramer

    Fans of TV comedy always talk about I LOVE LUCY and THE HONEYMOONERS, but I have long believed that the best situation comedy ever done for television remains the original DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. I say this because, unlike the characters on the other programs (basically, they were one dimensional foils who existed to set-up a ludicrous but funny situation), the people and situations on the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW were recognizably real and therefore, a great deal more believable. Moreover, it was a downright hilarious program. As television goes, it’s the best comedy ever done!

  • rocky-o

    simply the best show ever on television…

  • jbourne5181

    don’t know about the best show ever on t.v. but I always wondered what kind of fix Rob would get himself into. the office scenes were priceless.