Monday, December 12, 2016

Last night's DICK VAN DYKE SHOW

I loved that CBS showed two classic DICK VAN DYKE SHOW episodes. I didn’t mind that they were colorized, although it was WEIRD. I don’t care how much they say they’ve improved the process, it looks strange.  Still, if that’s what CBS needed to do to air this classic series again and maybe introduce some new people to it, then fine. Whatever.

What I did mind was that the episodes were edited. I would have much rather seen the original black-and-white versions in their entirety than the razzle dazzle gimmick of color.

It’s just another reminder that when these shows aired in 1965 there were three or four minutes of commercials a half hour, and that’s it. Now there’s like twelve. Wouldn’t a better plan be devote 90 minutes to the two episodes, show them in their entirety, and fill any remaining time interviewing Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, or writer Bill Persky? Instead, you’re seeing the hacked syndicated versions.

I’m in Hawaii so had to watch the show in real time, suffering through all the commercials. They were either drugs with horrific side effects (guess CBS figured no one under 80 would watch) or expensive candy or inexpensive jewelry you could give for Christmas.

That quibble aside, what a pleasure it was to watch an hour of premier comedy writing and acting. The era has changed and society has changed (how many cringed when Buddy asked Rob if he hit Laura for revealing on TV that Alan Brady was bald?), but the stories were just as relatable and the jokes just as funny as they were fifty years ago. What does it say about the state of sitcoms today when a show a half-century old is still funnier than practically anything currently on the air? That was particularly evident when CBS showed promos for the Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc shows.

I’m always afraid to praise shows like THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW too lavishly because people will automatically claim I’m just one of those old geezers saying “it was better in my day.” (Actually it was BEFORE "my day.")  But the truth is, they knew how to tell stories, they knew how to set things up to payoff big, they knew how to find funny situations along the way, they knew how to surprise you, they knew to get laughs from universal situations, and they knew how to get laughs from attitudes not formula “jokes”. (The Matt LeBlanc promo featured a hemorrhoid ring joke. Ha ha.) The comedy celebrated humanity. It was uplifting, not mean, not snarky, not smarmy.

Everytime I sample a new sitcom I want to laugh and love it. I really do. I’m just saying there’s tremendous value in studying these classic shows from the past. They can make today’s shows better.

God knows what delivery systems people will be watching content on fifty years from now. I’m fairly certain there won’t be broadcast networks. Streaming may seem archaic by then. But what sitcom that’s on today can you imagine still on in fifty years? THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW however, will probably still be going strong.

Final thought: How great that Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, and Bill Persky are still with us. I’m sure when they watched Sunday evening they’d never believe the night they filmed those episodes that CBS would still be airing them in primetime fifty years later. Talk about “classics.”

64 comments :

YEKIMI said...

Maybe the reason sitcom writing today is so shitty is because the "older" writers probably would bitch back at the network for telling them how and what to write whereas the "newer" writers are so eager to break into the business that they'll sell their soul to Satan and do whatever the network says just to get a foot in the door.

Judy Hughes said...

Thanks so much Ken for letting us know that this event was happening. I Would have missed it otherwise. Truly forgot how marvelous MTM is. It is unfortunate that they edited it but jeez, that was comedy! I, too, noticed the commercials for that new Joey sitcom I haven't bothered to watch. A very sharp contrast!

Hope you're enjoying the sun.

Carol said...

'How great that Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, and Bill Persky are still with us.' - SSSSSHHHHHH 2016 will HEAR you.

Pat Reeder said...

I second the criticism of the editing (I grew up on DVD Show reruns that made me want to be a comedy writer with a hot wife named Laura, and I actually accomplished that, so I want no cuts! I'm glad I now have a box set of the entire series). I thought the colorization was okay, especially on their home set, since it made the midcentury modern furnishings and decor pop out (loved the orange dinette set). But you're right, the faces seemed a little washed out and sometimes like flesh tone laid over black and white. The colorized "Lucy" shows look better, maybe because the characters and the era were both a lot more extreme, so bright red hair and red lipstick actually look fairly natural.

The whole thing was worth it, though, just to see Mary Tyler Moore in that red outfit with white gloves at the end. She was like the Jackie Kennedy of sitcom stars.



BA said...

If you don't care for CBS's Geritol ads, try fifteen minutes of antenna TV with its laundromat-bulletin board of ambulance chasers and medicare hustlers.
I didn't see the show last night but I was expecting a bloated time slot gassed up with interviews, not the syndication chop-job I understand we got. Still wish I'd seen it for the Alan Brady is Bald episode!

Stuart said...

I was laughing so hard I was crying. Great comedy is timeless.

For those of us not familiar with the originals, how were they edited? Scenes cut, scenes shortened?

unkystan said...

I was watching with an African-American friend of mine ,who is also a big fan of DVD show, and naturally knew both episodes. While watching the first one she actually said "I can't wait to see Greg Morris colonized"! I almost did a spit-take!

japanjohnny said...

Obviously they didn't air here in Japan, but that show is, was and shall forever be the gold standard for American comedy. Your shows certainly belong in the same class and there are others, but you're spot on regarding the cheap thoughtless humor that passes for comedy these days.

Bill Harts said...

Great review!

I thought I had seen most of those shows over the years but I must have missed the "That's My Boy??" episode. I almost fell out of my chair at the payoff!

After reflecting on it, I think it must have been quite risqué for 1963, showing the effect of integration on suburban New Rochelle, NY in a way that made you laugh. I wonder what the audience reaction was when it was shown?

Also, don't forget the irony that this episode was selected for the first "colorized" version!

Mr. Hollywood said...

As a writer (and we are the same age Ken), I treasured shows like Dick Van Dyke. I studied them, watched them closely and tried my damndest to absorb and learn from them. It made me a better writer today.
I only wish that the "new breed" of comedy writer would do the same, rather then shun shows like this as "old fashioned". Try to learn at the feet of the pioneers like Reiner (who belongs on the "Mt. Rushmore" of comedy) and Denoff. But when Seth Rogen and Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are considered today's comedy geniuses, we are in deep trouble.

Mike Barer said...

Carl Reiner is on twitter.

Anonymous said...

The opening was somewhat deceptive since the real CBS Color opening was used. At least the colorization used the softer palette preferred by CBS and produced by the Plumbicon tubes.

Kosmo13 said...

>>How great that Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, and Bill Persky are still with us.

...and Larry Mathews, too.

VP81955 said...

"I'm just saying there's tremendous value in studying these classic shows from the past. They can make today's shows better."

I bet much of the staff of "Mom" (which might be one of those series people watch 50 years from now, at least more so than its more popular Chuck Lorre stablemate "The Big Bang Theory") caught last night's episodes. As for the writers at "2 Broke Girls"...

Buggy White said...

I noticed the editing as well, once right in the middle of a telephone conversation Rob was having. Why be so clumsy about it, if you think you have to do it? Weird seeing Jerry smoking a cig in the first living room scene, too. As you say, why not show the entire shows, in a 90 minute slot, with some extras? But just seeing Alan make his speech to his wigs (fellas) again made it all worth it! Thanks, CBS!

Michael said...

Another point, and I don't say it to be prudish: they had to be funny with obscenities and being careful with double entendres. When Reiner wrote the episode in which Ritchie asked where he came from, he slipped in a Dr. Spock reference and felt lucky to do that. Persky and Denoff got him in, too.

It was very nicely done, and yes, a great reminder of how terrific that show was.

Michael Spadoni said...

It was great to watch the DVD special and remember how great the writing, acting and situations were. I'm not a fan of colorization (I didn't think it added anything new, not unlike CBS' colorizing of "I Love Lucy"), but if it gets more people to appreciate The Dick Van Dyke Show, I'll go with it. With the possible exception of "Big Bang Theory" and "Mom," I suspect CBS' legacy of fine comedies may be behind us. ("Kevin Can Wait" is nearly unwatchable in my opinion, and is there any sitcom worse than "2 Broke Girls"?) To quote Donald Trump, "Sad!"

Stoney said...

Have to wonder how much of Carl Reiner's performance went beyond the script; like grabbing the toupe-holder and beating it like a bongo in response to the "needy bald people" line from MTM.

I couldn't detect where editing was done but I did pick up on some fuzziness in the sound in the opening scene of the second episode.

Gott look through my old videotapes. About 20 years ago CBS aired a DVD Show retrospective hosted by Charles Kuralt which had clips of these episodes and several others.

Mike Scully said...

Agreed it was a lot of fun to watch again and there were still many laugh out loud moments. Laura's last line in Coast to Coast Big Mouth is hilarious. And I can never hear "Shut up, Mel" enough. Carl Reiner grimacing into his phone after he hits his foot with it felt like a great ad-lib. I get why they do the color, but I prefer the black and white because it enhances the simplicity of the times these shows originally aired in, and the constraints they were working under creatively. Hope they run the one where Rob sleeps in his suit with his hat on the headboard in preparation for Richie's arrival. Him constantly readjusting and testing the distance of the hat to his head is comic brilliance. As far as the commercials go, the networks have been slowly killing themselves with greed for years. The more ad time they stick in shows, the more irritated the public gets watching them, the less time you have to get invested in the characters. When the networks start to fold, which I guarantee one will in the next ten years, they still won't learn. They'll just blame Netflix and ignore their own part in their demise.

Stoney said...

Reading your second-to-last paragraph I was reminded of the film "The Martian". What did Mark Watney have to occupy his time? Disco music and episodes of "Happy Days"!

Jahn Ghalt said...

I felt fortunate to see the promo for these two episodes. Except for sport and 60 minutes when it has "something interesting" (like Netanyahu last night) I watch nothing on CBS.

I watched with a friend, born a little later than me (in 1959). She and I both vaguely recalled the "switched baby plot". The light came on just as Van Dyke went to open the door - I blurted the show's big payoff and Suzie nodded agreement.

Having missed 98% of Seinfeld, I now get to watch those "fresh" in syndication. Most other sitcoms don't grab me, so I'm unfamilar with "recent" comic delivery. Last night's deliveries reminded me of Seinfeld. I really liked how the Writer Petrie showed an understated appreciation as he and Star Brady watched the game show host "work" Laura. I also liked how the Brady character never came close to firing Petrie after the beans were spilled (which newer shows might feel compelled to mine).

These shows were definitely "before our time" since the series wrapped before the first grade for us both. We must be remembering those hacked sydicated reruns.

I wonder what the ratings were last night and, more to the point, what they would be next week if ordinarily promoted.

Mike Schryver said...

Mention of Mr. Persky reminded me that I happened upon THAT GIRL on Hulu recently and have been rewatching it for the first time since probably the '70s.
It holds up much better than I expected it to. It's no DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, but it has a charm that still holds up and the writing is good.

I was only able to watch a few minutes of Dick Van Dyke last night, but I thought the colorization was pretty good. And I never had the impression that the cinematography was trying to take advantage of black and white in any particular way, so I have no problem with it being colorized. The cuts for time would have bothered me more than anything if I'd watched the whole thing.

Mike Schryver said...

Mention of Mr. Persky reminded me that I happened upon THAT GIRL on Hulu recently and have been rewatching it for the first time since probably the '70s.
It holds up much better than I expected it to. It's no DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, but it has a charm that still holds up and the writing is good.

I was only able to watch a few minutes of Dick Van Dyke last night, but I thought the colorization was pretty good. And I never had the impression that the cinematography was trying to take advantage of black and white in any particular way, so I have no problem with it being colorized. The cuts for time would have bothered me more than anything if I'd watched the whole thing.

Dan Reese said...

I agree with everything you said. The Dick Van Dyke Show remains my all-time favorite show, and it was great to see prime time network exposure. I couldn't decide if the color looked strange to me because the technology is still lacking or if it was jarring to see odd colors I'd never imagined, like a lot of green and orange in the Petrie living room. I read a few articles about the lengths they went to in order to match the actual original colors, so it's not like somebody just randomly picked some colors. I'd have loved to see the full prints but I have those on blu-ray. Seeing it in color was definitely surreal and fun. And they couldn't have picked two better episodes.

Alan Gollom said...

I totally enjoyed last night's episodes (two of my favorites). The Dick Van Dyke Show always has and probably always will be my favorite sitcom. I've been watching it whenever I can since the 60's and never pass up an opportunity to watch it when it comes on.

The color worked for me. It seemed realistic enough and didn't seem too distracting. One thing I did notice was, and I'm not sure if it was because of the color or because of the process that was used, but everyone looked considerably younger than I remember them in black and white. Then again I am older now and everyone looks younger!!

Gazzoo said...

Just a note that these colorized episodes will be soon coming out on blu-ray, in uncut form.

Dan Frischman said...

My only quibble with the show is that, for me, Carl Reiner miscast himself as Alan Brady. He played it blustery enough, but he's too naturally sweet-faced and accountant-like to be a TV star in the Sid Caesar mold. I guess it was his consolation prize for being wrong for the lead character, too!

Tom said...

Bill Harts said...
I wonder what the audience reaction was when it was shown?

I've seen and read interviews with Dick Van Dyke where he said the audience's reaction was like nothing any of them had ever experienced -- an explosion of laughter and applause that went on and on, for several minutes. He said they had to stop the cameras because they were wasting film. You can see Greg Morris crack up when he comes in -- I believe that was at least partially the actor breaking character at the audience reaction. I also read somewhere that Bill Cosby was considered for the role of the father, and that the positive reception to this episode helped lead Sheldon Leonard to cast Cosby in I Spy. This was a landmark episode of TV and they knew it even then.

Paul Duca said...

Fittingly, the BOSTON GLOBE's Sunday Arts section cover page was "Monday Night Wasteland' where their TV critic took apart CBS' sitcom lineup for the evening.

Paul Duca said...

unkystan...I think Mrs. Morris was the only one who colonized Greg

Jeff Maxwell said...

Comedic poetry. Magical actors. It was in color?

Ken, they have good Spam Lamb in Hawaii.

Bob Leszczak said...

Amidst all of the hackneyed "gimmicky" one-joke single camera/laugh track shows of the 1960s, there was this rare gem. If only Van Dyke hadn't decided to end the show after only 5 seasons. Imagine 1, 2, or even 3 more. Truly the gold standard of early sitcoms.

Jahn Ghalt said...

The colorizing was not distracting for me. In one instance it was a benefit - Laura in red (trying to save Rob's job with Brady) was downright SPECTACULAR.

I'll guess my 2016 sensitivities are dialed way down, but the "hit her, kick her" line, carried no hint of hostility for me (nor a recollection of 1963 wife-beating)*. Same with Ralph Kramden and his very loud "threats" toward the missus.

*My dad was a mellow dude except when he and mom had their shouting matches. Even then he never came close to "hit her, kick her" and I never saw bruises.

Anonymous said...

About six months before the baby episode in 1963, there was an episode of Alfred Hitchcock about a woman who kidnapped babies from hospitals. A young couple who had their baby kidnapped set out to find the woman and they had several suspects. One of their first suspects was eliminated because the baby she was tending turned out to be African-American (or black at the time). I have to believe Persky and Denoff, or someone, saw that episode and turned it into the Dick Van Dyke story.

Mark Murphy said...

I think it's impossible to watch an episode of the Van Dyke show and NOT learn something about writing -- how to get people in or out of a room, how to structure and set up a plot, among other things. I find this true even with episodes I've seen many times.

The thing I especially noticed last night with "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth" is how subtly they set up Alan Brady's sprained ankle. Rob mentions it in an earlier act, and this both sets up the idea AND makes for a funny misunderstanding between him and Laura.

But the sprained ankle adds a great touch to the scene in Alan's office. The scene probably would have been funny anyway, but the ankle -- and Alan's limping around, and getting hurt, picking up the phone and growling at it -- add so much more.

Johnny Walker said...

I love the idea that new people might discover the show as a result of this (as I did as a twenty-something, recently moved to the US, flicking through the channels), but it's just so... typically Hollywood to spend so much money colorizing them, publicise them as classics, push their status important pieces of cultural history, and then betray the sanctity of the show and disrespect it's creator by editing them for the sake of money. Ugh!

Still, hopefully even more people will discover this show now, even if Persky and Reiner must feel a little insulted on some level.

benson said...


@Stuart

I was distraced during the first episode, but the really obvious edit in Coast to Coast Big Mouth was they picked it up with Millie having a premonition her name would be chosen. The actual scene starts with a Latina woman being chosen but disqualified because she didn't speak English. (My first thought was 'damned PC Police')

FYI they must be planning more as there is a Color Test of "It may look like a walnut" on youtube.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Another classic that is still extremely funny is on METV. "The Phil Silvers Show" aka "Sgt. Bilko" aka "You'll Never Get Rich" is a true original. Nat Hiken was a genius who knew how to write jokes that aren't dated. I watch each episode and laugh out loud. How often does that happen with the current crap that airs as a sitcom? Today, vulgarity is considered humorous. It only proves that 'funny is funny'. It will always be. Time for you to start writing some real shows again, Ken, so we can all laugh like me used to.

YEKIMI said...

I'd love to see the The Dick Van Dyke show brought forward to today. I know most of the cast is gone but maybe have DVD & MTM as grandparents [or great grandparents] and maybe have Dick being brought back to teach the new writers of the ratings challenged "The Alan Brady Jr Show" how to REALLY write comedy.......Nah, it'll never happen, the suits would never approve someone past their 50s for a comedy nowadays.

Diane D said...

I expected to like the colorized version of the show, but I didn't. It was very distracting for me. Great shows, however! I did cringe a little at the "hit" line, but not as much as I cringed at Ricky "spanking" Lucy---back when it happened!! I don't know anyone else who has seen that episode. They must have quit showing it in re-uns many years ago.

Wayne said...

If they colorize more Dick Van Dyke, I vote for the one in which Laura gets her big toe stuck in the bathtub faucet.
It's embarrassing calling a plumber because she's naked.

The ratings were pretty good.
The Simpsons (FOX) 2.4/8 5.71
Movie: Frozen (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.7/5 6.50
The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now in Living Color! (CBS) – S 0.7/2 7.41 million viewers.

Anonymous said...

So good seeing these shows again. How cool was Greg Morris? And Van Dyke is an obvious lover of Stan Laurel's comedy. P.S. Becker will begin showing on ANTV in January, along with What's Happening? and My Two Dads!!! Aloha. Janice B.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Mike Barer: I was just coming here to say that. Carl Reiner's Twitter feed is http://www.twitter.com/carlreiner. He sounds like he's really enjoying the show's reappearance into prime-time.

wg

thirteen said...

I cringed at Buddy's line, too. It really rang false -- and I'll bet it did back then, too. Anyway, it took me out of the story for a few minutes.

"Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth" was the fifth-season opener. Dick Van Dyke looked tired and puffy, markedly different from the way he looked in "That's My Boy???", the third-season opener.

I enjoyed watching Carl Reiner trying not to break during the scene with Laura. He even covers his face at one point.

As for "That's My Boy???," I laughed and laughed and laughed, even knowing everything that was to come. Watching Dick Van Dyke's work in that one, performed with a genius that made what he was doing look effortless -- God, what a pure pleasure.

They ran the old CBS in Color intro, and they ran the end credits without a voiceover. Nice.

Jake said...

"Speechless" is one of the better comedies on right now, with plenty of heart and hilarity.

"2 Broke Girls" makes "Three's Company" look like the Royal Shakespeare Company. So sad that's it's occupying the slot that used to belong to "MASH" and all the Lucy shows and many other wonderful CBS sitcoms.

Charles H. Bryan said...

It was a total pleasure. I actually enjoyed the color, just because I like looking at mid-century clothes and furniture.

As I watched, I felt the same way about modern sitcoms; why can't they be this good?

Pat Reeder said...

To Buggy White: The recent "I Love Lucy" special featured Ricky talking to Little Ricky about Santa Claus while waving around a lit cigarette, the smoke curling into the poor kid's face. It brought me back to my own childhood, trying to discreetly blow my dad's Winston smoke away from my face at the dinner table.

To Mike Schryver: Amazon Prime now offers the entire series of "That Girl" for streaming. I watched a season one episode and was floored by the cast. The plot was that Ann's friend is in a Broadway show and offers her the job of her understudy. The friend was played by Sally Kellerman, Ann's agent was George Carlin, and her next-door neighbor was Dabney Coleman, unrecognizable with a full head of hair.

sanford said...

I didn't think about editing. Now I wish I had tivoed them and had the episodes to see where the cuts where made.

Kosmo13 said...

There's one aspect of "That's My Boy" that I'm not 100% clear on: how did the black couple know the Petries were white? The Greg Morris character says he didn't tell Rob on the phone that the Peters were black because he wanted to see the look on Rob's face when Rob found out.

If the 2 couples didn't meet in the hospital, how did Mr Peters know the Petries were white? The explanation I came up with after about 10 viewings of the episode is: Mr Peters does tell Rob on the phone that the Peters are fans of The Alan Brady Show. Either Mr Peters has seen Rob on the Alan Brady Show... or Mr Peters just assumes there are only white people working on the Alan Brady Show. I prefer the first explanation, as the second one adds an unpleasant sub-text to the episode.

Pat Reeder said...

To Kosmo13: I grew up watching that episode, and I always assumed that either Mr. or Mrs. Peters had seen Laura and Rob when they were in the hospital together, since they were right down the hall and there were so many mix-ups of forms, flowers, etc. between them. The plot hinged on Rob never having met them, but it was never established that they had never seen the Petries. Rob might have seen a black couple there, but not made the connection because it didn't matter who they were until he met them at the end. But if Mr. Peters had seen the Petries in the hospital, he would know right away that the switch was impossible, and that's obviously what he said over the phone.

Kaleberg said...

In the 1980s, the New York subway ads were right out of Shakespeare's "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to". There were ads for laser foot surgery, hemorrhoid treatments, eye surgery, iron poor blood and some in Spanish asking if you were pregnant. They really got one contemplating one's mortality. The subway ads are a lot less depressing these days, but it sounds like broadcast television has grabbed those advertisers.

Andy Rose said...

@Michael: They were careful with double entendres, but Carl Reiner sure gets away with a doozy in "Coast to Coast Big Mouth" as Laura struggles for a way to compliment Alan on his bald appearance...

Laura: ...how very nice and natural and warm you look that way.
Alan: Sure, like a "father figure," right?
Laura: Oh no, Alan! Just the opposite.
Alan: A bald mother figure?

Carl slurs the phrase "mother figure" just enough that, for a split second, it sounds a little like he's saying something else. You can hear one member of the studio audience gasp.

Norm Gunzenhauser said...

Right on, Ken. If that show were produced today, I can only imagine how many 'Dick' jokes would come out of some rooms. I'm in Moscow working so I missed the episodes. Darn it! But I'd be curious to show them to the writers here. I did that with All In The Family a couple of years ago. Never expecting these kids to understand or relate to our politics and culture. I showed them the one where Archie is trapped in the basement. A bottle show of all things. Some writers loved it so much they watched every season of the show. I can only imagine that Dick Van Dyke would fare just as well. Universal stories wrapped around a great lead told well travel, I guess. And that's just so great!

Ken Levine said...

Hey Norm,

I happened to be in the studio audience the night that ALL IN THE FAMILY was filmed. GREAT episode. Both Carol and Rob knew their lines and we were out of there in less than an hour. Say hi to our next president, Mr. Putin.

Barry Traylor said...

I loved it in spite of the color. I saw the show back when it began and the color did not make it any funnier than in black and white.

Donald said...

They cut "An unlisted banana"!

Michael said...

Andy Rose,

Shhhhh. Mr. Reiner doesn't want us to know he did that.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Kosmo13 wrote:

(Mr. Peters "knows" Petrie is white because he) assumes there are only white people working on the Alan Brady Show. (this explanation adds an unpleasant sub-text)

The harsh reality was that Mr. Peters (and Greg Morris) lived with much more than unpleasant sub-text.

Mad Men was rumored to be scrupulous about 1960s American history and culture (especially New York culture). Their 1963 black folks had three jobs, nanny/housekeeper for the Draper Kids, elevator operator at Sterling Cooper, and janitor (looking on with distaste at 6:30AM Pete/Peggy "tryst"). Later, about 1968, SCDP's first black employee was clerical - she was "put on" Don Draper's desk. Interesting bit of "scenery" was that although one of twenty-odd applicants to show up for that unspecified job was a man, his chances to land that job were roughly zero.

Surrounded by 1963 culture (especially New York culture) The Dick Van Dyke Show never considered that a black television writer could be possible - never mind likely.

Of course Pat Reeder came up with a better explanation that cinches the impossibility.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Of all the AITF episode that Norm could show to Russians, I'm sure it wasn't an accident that it featured VODKA - even if it was Polish.

Coincidentally, I watched that episode last night. Priceless closing line Archie delivered looking up to a Black "God":

"Forgive me Lord. The Jeffersons was right!"

Kosmo13 said...


Thank you, Pat Reeder. That seems like a possible explanation, too.

Garrett said...

Overall, the "color" DICK VAN DYKE SHOW did pretty well in the ratings, though it did poorly with the coveted 18-49 age group. Big surprise.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Jahn Galt: One thing I loved that MAD MEN did with that was that when SCDP eventually got a second black secretary, she and the first one addressed each other by each other's names, in recognition of the fact that no one around them either could or bothered to tell them apart.

wg

Janice C. said...

As much as I LOVED the colorized versions, I was distracted by the cuts. As Donald said, they cut the whole "unlisted banana" bit, which slows the pace and brings more humanity into the show. Without the nuances, it's a bunch of rat-a-tat-tat. They also cut the opening scene when Millie and Laura are in the audience: before they call Millie's name, there's a lot of dialogue between the girls and we are comfortable watching the game show along with them. In fact, a Spanish woman is called to play the game but since she can't speak English she is disqualified and that's when they call Millie. By cutting all that out we are thrown into the mix without feeling comfortable yet.

Someone wrote they will be releasing these uncut and colorized on blu-ray. I look forward to that!

David G., the P-D Cougar said...

I never watched "The Dick Van Dyke Show" until just a couple of years ago (spurred to buy the "DVD" DVD set via Mark Evanier's website). But I noticed the first edit on Sunday night during the dissolve into the first flashback to the hospital. There were traces on screen of the dissolve to the original start of that scene ... but then -that- dissolve was also overlaid with -another- dissolve that went to the part a little later on in that hospital room scene that the colorized version started with.

"Twilo" next year, please!

(Or a couple of colorized 1st season "Gilligan's Island"s!)