Miscellaneous Dick Van Dyke Show Vantastix The 10th Decade Kennedy Center Honors

The Dick Van Dyke Show

“What’s a Dick Van Dyke?”  That was the question Rose Marie asked when, in 1961, Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard summoned her to Desilu Studios to discuss a new sitcom created by Carl Reiner.  Soon the entire country would know what a Dick Van Dyke was, and television history would be made.  

The show, which ran for five years, focused on Rob Petrie, the head writer of a TV variety show, following him to work in the morning and home to the suburbs each evening.  Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, and Carl Reiner comprised his co-workers; Mary Tyler Moore, Larry Mathews, Ann Morgan Guilbert, and Jerry Paris were waiting back home in New Rochelle.  From the outset, the cast and crew knew that The Dick Van Dyke Show was something special.

The Dick Van Dyke Show was not only humorous and inventive, but iconic as well; the opening credits (featuring a certain ottoman and a very memorable Earle Hagen big band theme song), the office banter between Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam, the Capri pants, the bald jokes, the musical numbers, Dick’s rubbery physicality, the housewife angst of Mary Tyler Moore, and a certain closet full of walnuts all spelled TV classic.  

Rob and Laura Petrie were TV’s version of the Kennedys — attractive, energetic, intelligent, and very much in love.

More than 50 years since the series first aired, the comedy, never dated, and the performances are as fresh, well-timed, and perfectly executed as ever, certainly a playbook for countless sitcoms to come.

Further proof that the show’s popularity has endured well beyond its five year run were the two reunion specials — 1994’s The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered, a retrospective about the show featuring interviews and reflections from the cast, and 2004’s The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, considered to be an original, 159th episode of the show.  No other television show has attempted a reunion more than 40 years after the original debut.

The show was carefully crafted by genius Carl Reiner and nurtured by Sheldon Leonard, bringing a sophistication to the television landscape.