Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night Funnies: The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Dick Van Dyke Show is about "the work and home life of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), the head writer of a comedy variety show filmed in Manhattan. Viewers are given an "inside look" at how a TV show (the fictitious The Alan Brady Show) was written and produced. Many scenes deal with Rob and his coworkers, writers Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon), a balding straight man and recipient of numerous insulting one-liners from Buddy, was the show's producer and the brother-in-law of the show's star, Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). As Rob, Buddy, and Sally write for a comedy show, the premise provides a built-in forum for them to be making jokes constantly. Other scenes focus on the home life of Rob, his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), and son Richie (Larry Mathews), who live at 148 Bonnie Meadow Road in suburban New Rochelle, New York. Also often seen are their next-door neighbors and best friends, Jerry Helper (Jerry Paris), a dentist, and his wife Millie (Ann Morgan Guilbert)" from Wikepedia

This is one of my most favorite sitcoms of all time.  It is ranked right up there with The Donna Reed Show, and most know my love for Donna.  The Dick Van Dyke Show is a great example of what so many see as the perfect early 60s life.  Successful, handsome, and funny husband who comes home to a loving, pretty, talented housewife complete with apron, and funny and cute as pie son.   Their home is decorated in the mid century modern style of the time and they host wonderfully stylish cocktail parties. 

During their cocktail parties it is typical to have their wonderfully clever and talented friends do little "skits" and "numbers" to entertain their guests.  Their guests usually include their best friends and neighbors Jerry and Millie, Rob's co-worker Buddy (and wife Pickles), Sallie (and generic date as she is a career woman and single),  Mel, and Alan Brady (the star of the Alan Brady Show which Rob, Buddy, and Sallie write for and Mel is the producer).  I think scenes of their parties are my favorite, right next to the scenes involving the cleaver little boy who plays their son.

Richard "Richie" Rosebud Petrie (Larry Mathews) is Rob and Laura's son. "(His middle name is an acronym for "Robert Oscar Sam Edward Benjamin Ulysses David," all members of Rob's and Laura's families.)" from wikipedia.  The writers gave him such funny lines and he performed them beautifully.  I would dare to say that he is the cutest little boy to ever be on a sitcom, in my opinion.  I mean, really?  When he sang "You're the tops, you're the tower of're the tops, you the Mommy Lisa", IN A BUNNY COSTUME!!!! he just took my heart. 

I also enjoy scenes involveing "Sally", Rob's co-writer on the Alan Brady Show.  She is a smart, talented, pretty lady in mid century America who just happens to be a single career gal.  This was not typical of sitcoms of the time.  Sure, there were smart, pretty, single career gals on Dramas, such as Della on Perry Mason, but we usually saw women in sitcoms as mothers and housewifes.  Rose Marie played "Sally".  She is quick witted, sharp, and can hold her own with the guys.  This might be her undoing when it comes to finding love, however.  In an early episode, Laura wants to fix her up with a cousin and Rob has doughts because of Sally's hard personality.  Of course Sally being single might have been nessessary for her character because she was an important part of the writing team and a married woman, in sitcom land, would not be working.

"Filming of the first episode started on January 20, 1961, the same day that John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States." from IMDb  Some might think the stars of The Sick Van Dyke show have a strong resemblance to the President and First Lady, of the time.  Actually I am more amused by the Petries and would much rather have them as neighbors.

"Mary Tyler Moore has helped make Capri pants the biggest trend in US casual attire." from Time Magazine  It was very much "frowned upon" for Mary Tyler Moore to wear capri pants when most of the other sitcom housewives wore dresses and skirts (Lucy did wear a pair of slacks every now and then...but never at tightly butt cupping as Mrs. Petrie).  Her answer to this was that most of the housewives she new wore pants, they were much more practicle to housework, etc. "  The network was against this at first, and said that she had to be in a skirt for a certain number of scenes per episode. To fight this, they filmed a scene where Laura walked into the kitchen in Capri pants and came out a second later in a skirt. The network finally relented." from IMDb

 Dontcha just LOVE their funriture?

Such a handome family.  LOOK AT HOW CUTE THAT LITTLE BOY IS!!!!

There is so much fun trivia at the Internet Movie Database.  Lots of great photos, too. 

Oh how I wish I could have been invited to one of their swanky and entertaining cocktail parties.



  1. Having gone through the birth of women's lib in the 60's and 70's, I sometimes cringe when I see young women calling themselves "old-fashioned" but then again, women's lib was all about giving women the chance to do WHATEVER they wanted--they had a choice to get out of the home or stay in. I, too, admired "Sally" for her independence, though I always DISPISED those stupid hairbows! Dick Van Dyke's show was one of the best due to its spectacular cast. Good choice!

  2. I am very prowd of being called "old fashioned"...please do not cringe too much, it might cause wrinkles. j/k OH!!! I am also a "bow head" from birth...LOVE my hair bows. I am very happy and greatful to be living in a time that I have choices and freedoms, thanks to the Sufferagettes for the vote, those who stepped in durring WWII, those who fought for their rights, and those, like my grandmother who were very charitable and generous.