Theme music composer Earle Hagen
|Created by Carl Reiner|
|Written by Carl Reiner
Frank Tarloff (as "David Adler")
Directed by Sheldon Leonard John Rich Jerry Paris Howard Morris Alan Rafkin
Starring Dick Van Dyke Mary Tyler Moore Rose Marie Morey Amsterdam Larry Mathews
The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961 to June 1, 1966, with a total of 158 half-hour episodes spanning over five seasons. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke). The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show's theme song was written by Earle Hagen.
- Head of the Family pilot
- Cast reunions
- Primetime Emmy Awards
- Home video releases
- In popular culture
The series won 15 Emmy Awards. In 1997, the episodes "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth" and "It May Look Like a Walnut" were ranked at 8 and 15 respectively on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, it was ranked at 13 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked at 20 on their list of the 60 Best Series.
The two main settings show the work and home life of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), the head writer of a comedy/variety show produced in Manhattan. Viewers are given an "inside look" at how a television show (the fictitious The Alan Brady Show) was written and produced. Many scenes deal with Rob and his co-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 constantly make jokes. 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).
Head of the Family pilot
The Dick Van Dyke Show was preceded by a 1960 pilot for a series to be called Head of the Family with a different cast, although the characters were essentially the same, except for the absence of Mel Cooley. In the pilot, Carl Reiner, who created the show based on his own experiences as a TV writer, played Robbie Petrie, with a long first "e": PEE-tree. Laura Petrie was played by Barbara Britton, Buddy Sorrell by Morty Gunty, Sally Rogers by Sylvia Miles, Richie by Gary Morgan, and Alan Sturdy, the Alan Brady character, was played by Jack Wakefield, although his face was never fully seen, which was also the case with Carl Reiner's Alan Brady for the first several seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
The pilot was unsuccessful, which led Reiner to rework the show with Dick Van Dyke playing the central character.
The pilot was subsequently the basis of the series episode "Father of the Week".
At least four episodes were filmed without a live studio audience: "The Bad Old Days," which featured an extended flashback sequence that relied on optical effects that would have been impractical to shoot with a live audience in the studio; "The Alan Brady Show Presents," which required elaborate set and costume changes; "Happy Birthday and Too Many More," which was filmed on November 26, 1963, only four days after President Kennedy's assassination; and "The Gunslinger", which was filmed on location.
Reiner considered moving the production of the series to full color as early as season three, only to drop the idea when he was informed that it would add about $7,000 to the cost of each episode. On December 11, 2016, two episodes from the series were presented on CBS-TV colorized.
"The Last Chapter" was the last episode that aired; "The Gunslinger" was the last episode filmed.
A group of character actors played several different roles during the five seasons. Actors who appeared more than once, sometimes in different roles, included Elvia Allman (as Herman Glimscher's mother), Tiny Brauer, Bella Bruck, Jane Dulo, Bernard Fox, Dabbs Greer, Jerry Hausner, Peter Hobbs, Jackie Joseph, Sandy Kenyon (who also appeared in the 2004 reunion special), Alvy Moore, Burt Remsen, Johnny Silver, Doris Singleton, Amzie Strickland, George Tyne, Herb Vigran and Len Weinrib. Frank Adamo, who served as Van Dyke's personal assistant and stand-in, also played small roles throughout the show's five seasons.
Many of the show's plots were inspired by Reiner's experiences as a writer for Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, which starred Sid Caesar, but though he based the character of Rob Petrie on himself, Rob's egocentric boss Alan Brady is less Caesar than a combination of the more abrasive Milton Berle and Jackie Gleason, according to Reiner himself.
CBS had intended to cancel the show after its first season, but Procter & Gamble threatened to pull its advertising from "the network's extremely lucrative daytime lineup" and the show was renewed, keeping its Wednesday night time slot. After going into summer reruns, the show jumped into the top 10 by the third episode of its second season, helped by coming directly after the new #1 hit, The Beverly Hillbillies.
In a special that was first broadcast on April 13, 1969, Van Dyke and Moore reunited for a one-hour variety special called Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman. The program included a never-before-seen alternate take from one of the show's episodes in which Rob Petrie breaks down and cries after being dismissed from a film role. A 1979 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Hour featured Van Dyke and Moore reprising their roles as the Petries in a short sketch presented as the brainstorming of Van Dyke (guest-starring as himself) and the writers of Mary McKinnon's (Moore) variety series, who noted McKinnon's resemblance to "the gal who played Laura Petrie". In a 1995 episode of the sitcom Mad About You, Carl Reiner reprised the role of Alan Brady, appearing in a documentary by Paul Buchmann (Paul Reiser) about the early days of television. The episode included several other references to The Dick Van Dyke Show, including a scene in which Reiner and Reiser discuss whether it would be funnier to trip over an ottoman or to step over it at the last moment. In 2003, TV Land produced The Alan Brady Show, an animated special presented as an episode of Dick Van Dyke's show-within-a-show. Reiner, Van Dyke, and Rose Marie contributed voice performances to the show. A 2004 reunion movie, The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, brought together the surviving members of the cast. In this continuation, Rob and Laura have long since moved to Manhattan, where Laura runs a dance studio. (Richie has recently bought their old New Rochelle home.) Alan Brady re-enters their lives to ask Rob to write his eulogy, with the help of a happily-married Sally Rogers Glimscher.
The show's theme was by Earle Hagen, who also wrote many other TV series themes, including those for The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle, USMC, I Spy, and The Mod Squad.
In a 2010 interview on National Public Radio, Van Dyke revealed Morey Amsterdam's lyrics for the show's theme song:So you think that you've got troubles? Well, trouble's a bubble So tell old Mr. Trouble to get lost! Why not hold your head up high and Stop cryin', start tryin' And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed. When you find the joy of livin' Is lovin' and givin' You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed. A smile is just a frown that's turned upside down So smile, and that frown will defrost. And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed.
Primetime Emmy Awards
The Dick Van Dyke Show was nominated for 25 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 15.
0*Shared with Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt for Hallmark Hall of Fame: "The Magnificent Yankee" and Barbra Streisand for My Name Is Barbra
Home video releases
Image Entertainment has released all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show on DVD in Region 1. Season sets were released between October 2003 – June 2004. Also, on May 24, 2005, Image Entertainment repackaged the discs from the individual season sets into a complete series box set. On Blu-ray, the complete series, remastered in high definition, was released on November 13, 2012.
In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the first two seasons on DVD in the UK.
In Region 4, Umbrella Entertainment has released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia.
Six episodes of the series are believed to have lapsed into the public domain and have been released by numerous discount distributors.
In popular culture
In 2003, TV Land produced a pilot for an animated TV series, The Alan Brady Show, based on the fictional show-within-a-show on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Written and executive-produced by Carl Reiner, it was scheduled to air on August 17, 2003, and featured the voices of Rose Marie as "The Secretary" and Dick Van Dyke as "Webb", with Reiner reprising his role as Alan Brady.