50th Anniversary of the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ with Carl Reiner and Dick van Dyke

Posted on September 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

My all-time favorite television show is “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  The wit, sophistication, and charm of the show and the marvelous performances by its talented cast have made it an enduring classic, with many of its best episodes available to a new generation of fans on Hulu.  The Walnut Times is a delightful fan publication.

Carl Reiner created the show based on his own experiences as a writer on the legendary staff of Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” along with Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and his brother Danny (who inspired “The Odd Couple”), and many more who would shape the comedy writing of the next decade.  (Woody Allen joined the staff later and worked on Caesar’s comedy specials.)  Later, Mel Brooks produced the movie “My Favorite Year” and Neil Simon wrote “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” also inspired by the wild adventures of the young comedy writers in the early days of television.

The show focused on the life of the head writer, Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) at home with his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore, who was just 24 when the show first aired) and son Richie and at the office with his co-writers Sally (Rose Marie) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam).  They worked on a “Your Show of Shows”-style variety hour headed by a temperamental star (Reiner himself, appearing occasionally as Alan Brady) and produced by the star’s brother-in-law, Mel (Richard Deacon).  Rob and Laura were a rare married couple on television who were obviously crazy about each other.  Van Dyke and Moore had enormous chemistry that some have compared to the glamorous young President and First Lady in the White House and a natural rhythm with each other that made their relationship very relatable.  Some of the episodes were directed by “Your Show of Shows” veteran Howard Morris.

On October 1, Reiner and Van Dyke will appear at the Egyptian Theatre for a tribute to the show.

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