Wednesday, August 14, 2013
And so it was with great delight and relief that I can report that Rose Marie is an absolute doll. Thanks to my friend, Stu Shotak, I had lunch yesterday with “Sally Rogers” from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.
Tomorrow she turns 90 years old and in her own Sally Rogers words – still has all her marbles. That’s being modest. She has an amazing memory. She was recalling events in the 1930s and I’m thinking, “What did I order again?”
I’ve been in the industry quite a long time (nothing like her – 87 years. I asked if she had decided yet to pursue show business fulltime?), and I’ve met a lot of celebrities. But I was a total geek fanboy listening to Rose Marie share inside stories of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, her years on Broadway (Ethel Merman saw her in previews for one project and went backstage after the performance. All Rose's well-wishers were praising her, and Ethel said, “GET OUT OF THIS SHOW!”), her appearance on WINGS (which she loved), and tales of HOLLYWOOD SQUARES.
Whereas most people ask “What was so-and-so really like?” and “Did you ever work with this person or that?” I asked how much rewriting was done on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (a lot). I asked if there were ever any scripts that were really in trouble? I asked what was the process like on the stage? How collaborative was it? And okay… I did ask if any cast member was a giant pain-in-the-ass and she said none of them were.
Typical of Rose Marie: In talking about THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW she said, “When we were making those shows we knew they were good, but we had no idea what they’d become.” This, as opposed to Diane English, who when she accepted the Emmy for MURPHY BROWN called it the “greatest comedy in the history of television.”
Needless to say, this was a special treat for me. I was just a super-nerd boy hanging on every story. THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW wasn’t just a TV show; it was a revelation. It had a major impact on not just me but my family. I grew up to be Buddy Sorrell and my daughter Annie grew up to be Sally Rogers.
I sincerely hope that someday you get to meet the people who meant the world to you, and that they turn out to be as lovely (and funny) as Rose Marie.
You can make Rose’s 90th birthday special by contributing to the Doris Day Animal Foundation in her name. Here’s where you go to do that.
I’d like to think that if “Sally Rogers” were turning 90 she’d still be working, punching up HOT IN CLEVELAND.
Happy Birthday! Let's make this lunch an annual tradition for the next twenty years.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM