Wednesday, August 19, 2020

EP188: Writer Bill Persky of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”


Bill Persky and partner Sam Denoff wrote 29 episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and eventually became its showrunners.  Here’s the inside story of how they made one of the greatest shows ever on television.


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15 comments :

YEKIMI said...

So.....what's your take on this? https://www.yahoo.com/news/cheers-bar-boston-set-close-135011149.html

Jeff Boice said...

Thanks so much. Don't you wish you could go back in time and hang out at Desilu-Cahuenga in the Sixties? I have this mental image of going into the commissary and seeing "Sheriff Taylor" seated between "Captain Kirk" and "Colonel Hogan", while over at another table "Mr. Spock" is with "Colonel Klink" and "Donald Hollinger".

Scottmc said...

I loved every minute of this. I can’t wait to hear Part 2. KATE AND ALLIE was filmed in New York. I was in the audience for one of the episodes. The episode was a take off of/homage to REAR WINDOW. What also made it memorable was that as I was walking home after the taping I heard that Elvis Presley had died.
I liked hearing that there is a point in the writing, or rewriting, when you are just making it different not better.
It was noteworthy to hear that Rose Marie and Richard Deacon were not as all-in as everyone else.
A great interview.

Arlen Peters said...

Jeff, when I worked at CBS/Columbia Square from '68-'75, I would drive over to the commissary on Cahuenga to have lunch from time to time. Always funny to be sitting and eating next to a table of Hogan's Heroes Nazi's! Also, when I started at CBS I worked in the mail room, and a few times a week Bob Crane and his VERY long Cadillac would tool into the parking lot about 7am and he'd run in and I'd give him his fan mail from his KNX days. Then off he'd go to play Hogan ...

Gary said...

Fantastic! It's always great to hear from someone who was actually there, and played a part in crafting one of the best TV shows of all time.

Bob Paris said...

Hey ScottMC: Unless you get your news REALLY late, I doubt you found out about Elvis' death while you were walking home from a taping of Kate & Allie. The King died in 1977 and Kate & Allie ran from 1984-1989.

Jeff Boice said...

Arlen Peters- Those are great memories- thanks for sharing them with us.

Jim said...

It just struck me that every single Ken Levine and Arlen Peters recollection posted here is interesting. Whenever paired, even in a remote form like today’s, you two make a fun team.

You both make what you do look easy, but it is darn hard work winnowing the noteworthy from the daily mundane. Just ask anyone for their favorite story or anecdote. Their best one. Compare what we stammer out with any of the 35,000 thoughts Ken has written here. You each have The Eye for the little things that others miss, yet carry wide interest when discussed. Plus you remember them, which might be more curse than blessing.

I like the Cal Ripken aspect to this thing, Ken, including the part where every post is interesting and took thought, preparation and effort.

I’m glad you do it. It helps ease pandemic angst. How many of us look forward to each new 6 am Ken Levine comment? I can only hope that your Blog Salary is commensurate...

VincentS said...

WOW! Enjoyed every minute of that interview, Ken. So much so, I was upset when I looked at the heading and it didn't say "Pt 1," and was naturally elated to hear they will be more next week. Thanks Ken and thank you Mr. Persky for sharing your wonderful insights and memories. Will be on pins and needles until next week.

Kevin B said...

FRIDAY QUESTION:
Any good Bob Ellison stories?

Bob Paris said...

In recognition of the baseball season, maybe you will answer both questions as sort of a double-play. #1: Years ago a machine was developed that would speed up playback, allowing for more commercials, without changing the pitch of the actor's voices. This would allow a station to stick in more ads and yet the episode would air un-cut. Any idea why this didn't take off since shows are still edited when shown in syndication? #2: Since the pronunciation of your last name is uncommon, have you ever gotten tired of "correcting" people and simply let it go and has that caused any confusion in the future?

Mark said...

If you were interested in Persky, Gilbert Gottfried did a podcast with him and a bunch of other old time sitcom writers (some of the same stories ;-) )

Cap'n Bob said...

Do you know why Richard Deacon had a problem with being on the Dick Van Dyke show?

thomas tucker said...

I have an additional Richard Deacon question: did the actors and writers know at that time that Deacon was gay? The public didn't know but in Hollywood was it acknowledged, an open secret, or not known?

Unknown said...

Great interview! The late Sam Denoff was one of my sitcom production professors at USC. I didn't appreciate that nearly as much as I should have at the time. He instructed the class alongside Howard Storm, who also may have done a sitcom or two.