Monday, October 3, 2011

“Did you bring me anything, Daddy?”

Welcome to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s The Dick Van Dyke Show Blogathon!  It’s TDOY’s first-ever (so please…be gentle) and I’m pleased as Hawaiian Punch to be able to announce that so many wonderful people of the blog persuasion wanted to be a part of this fiftieth anniversary celebration to one of TV’s finest situation comedies.  Consider this the post to link to if you want to include a link listing all the people who signed up on your own posts; I wanted to get something up when the calendar turned over to October 3 in order to let those people skittish about e-mailing me with links to their entries just post them at their convenience in the comments section.  (If your comment doesn't show up right away, I apologize in advance...I have to monitor the darn things because this blog is inexplicably a magnet for every spammer and spambot in the blogiverse.)

What I’ll end up doing is grouping the contributed posts into different categories (episode reviews, movie reviews and the ever-popular catch-all, miscellaneous) and I am going to do my darndest to keep it updated throughout the day (barring meal breaks and trips to the restroom); I’ll also post a few status notices on Facebook and Twitter when I can.  If you read an entry by someone and enjoy it or have an additional two cents to kick in, comments on posts are welcomed and always appreciated.  Meanwhile, I’ll be here at Rancho Yesteryear Central monitoring the situation and screening classic episodes in the background on the honkin’ big TDOY TV.

By the way, if you're interested in what inspired me to host this blogathon...well, Edward Copeland was originally going to bake a commemorative anniversary cake in honor of the show but asked me if I'd tackle it instead.  So you're welcome to read that essay here.

Here’s who’s kicked in so far:

Individual Episodes

"My Blonde-Haired Brunette" ended up being the ninth episode to be aired when the series first premiered in the fall of 1961...because Carl Reiner wanted to demonstrate the comedic chops of Mary Tyler Moore who, as Laura Petrie, has disastrously dyed her hair blonde and hasn't yet completed the switch back to brunette before her husband Rob finds out.  Anthony Balducci writes about this show at his blog, Anthony Balducci's Journal (and parallels the outing with a similar All in the Family episode).  Not to be outdone, CMBA founder Rick29 also examines this outing at the Classic Film and TV Cafe, and explains why he loves the domestic complications of TV's "Camelot" couple.

I don't think there would be any dispute over the fact that "Sally is a Girl" (and what a girl!)...but in the world of The Dick Van Dyke Show, she was always one of the guys.  Java Bean Rush at Java's Journey talks about this wonderful first-season episode that features some hilarious physical comedy bits from the series' titular star.

The blogger I jokingly call "Our Lady of Great Caftan" looks at a pair of episodes that are undoubtedly favorites in the heart of any old-time radio fan: the final episode of the first season, "The Return of Happy Spangler," and a third season offering that features OTR veterans Richard Haydn, Arlene Harris and Bert "How do you dooo?" Gordon, "The Return of Edwin Carp."

The amazing trio of Brandie, Carrie and Nikki at True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film bend the blog rules for little ol' me and provide an in-depth review of one of the show's most waaaay out, WTF episodes (truly "Twisted Television"), "It May Look Like a Walnut."  (I'd tell you I'm giving this post a "thumbs up" but I don't want you storming this blog with torches and pitchforks.)

My sister Kat has a name for the kind of television and movies I watch: "my black-and-white."  But we had a real brother-and-sister bonding moment when we saw "That's My Boy??" for the very first time, and W.B. Kelso at Micro-Brewed Reviews reminds us why this outing is one of the funniest and most memorable.

My BBFF Stacia at She Blogged by Night fights off a crippling case of the Martian Death Flu to discuss "The Masterpiece," and why Carl Reiner's former Your Show of Shows compadre Howard Morris (who guest-stars in this classic) is so awesome.  After downing a few Robitussin cocktails, she then is able to pin-point why Godfrey Cambridge is the same kind of awesome in a bonus episode, "The Man from My Uncle."

You can see the punchline to this one coming a mile away...but it's so masterfully done the fun is in the journey as well as the arrival.  Rob meets an old beau of Laura's "on the links" in the classic "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan"...presented for our edification by Audrey at Fedoras and High Heels.

In "My Part-Time Wife," Rob allows Laura to infiltrate his office as a typist while the resident "secretary," Sally, tastes fame on a late-night talk show...and soon regrets causing his work and home worlds to collide.  The Mythical Monkey takes a break from his usual screening room antics to talk about how this episode has much to say about the two "worlds" in the series, and offers a fascinating look behind the facade of the Petrie's union in holy matrimony.

Another hilarious DVD episode that introduced a new plot device to television..."the double-dream sequence" on display in "I'd Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head At All."  Lisa at The Flaming Nose (that'd make a great restaurant name!) talks about this piperoo, which features TDOY character god Ned Glass.

Bob Sassone of TV Squad ("Drop your weapons...this house is surrounded!") dips back into the vaults for a short review of "The Death of the Party," an uproarious episode I was fortunate to catch on Me-TV a few weeks back in which Rob's early morning golf excursion manifests itself as payback when he's expected to be Mr. Gracious Host at a party he and Laura are throwing later that same evening..

This may be my first time hosting a blogathon...but it's my pal B. Goode's first time at contributing for one.  And owing to the nature of his blog, Gonna Put Me in the Movies, what better episode to write about than the one when The Dick Van Dyke Show paid tribute to "the British Invasion" with "The Redcoats are Coming"?

In the classic Suspense episode, "Fugue in C Minor," a musician finishes his latest composition...and then turns on the radio to hear the very same song!  Rob Petrie experiences a similar situation in the Dick Van Dyke Show outing "Bupkis," a classic episode discussed by the enthusiastic Audrey at Fedoras and High Heels.

My earliest memory of The Dick Van Dyke Show was seeing Laura Petrie sitting in a bathtub with her toe stuck in the faucet…and asking my Mom how something like that could happen.  It wasn’t until many years later that I saw the entire episode, “Never Bathe on Saturday,” which I talk about here at my home base of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

When people ask me what my all-time favorite episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show is, I respond without hesitation “Coast to Coast Big Mouth,” in which Laura reveals on national TV that her husband’s boss wears a toupee.  My very good friend ClassicBecky shares her thoughts on the outing she always refers to as “Alan’s Hair” at ClassicBecky’s Brain Food (“Now with 25% more brains!”)

Vinnie Bartlilucci, one-half of blogdom's inestimable TeamBart, wanted to do "It May Look Like a Walnut"...but settled for the similar-in-tone episode, "Uhny Uftz."  Fortunately, he's able to work this into a post at The Forty Year-Old Fanboy on how we'd all like to be Nick and Nora Charles but we settle for Rob and Laura Petrie.  (I'm here to tell you that this is not a bad thing.)

I've never watched Yvette draw...but she sure can write, particularly at her blog in so many words... She reveals an admiration (mutually shared by me, I can fearlessly assert) for Ann Morgan Guilbert's Millie Helper, who's the focal point of one of my favorite episodes "Long Night's Journey Into Day."  (And because we're good and didn't kick the back of her seat as she was trying to park, she also gives us an exclusive look into "A Day in the Life of Alan Brady.")

The Films of Dick Van Dyke

My fellow wallower in nostalgia, the man who wields the mighty flashlight In the Balcony, "Laughing Gravy," talks about the 1968 Disney romp Never a Dull Moment...which is a bit of a misnomer, but nevertheless an entertaining comedy with Van Dyke provided your tastes aren't too discriminating.  (Fortunately for Gravy and myself, we've never had that problem.)

I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Cold Turkey, the 1971 comedic farce written, directed and produced by Norman Lear…and starring Dick Van Dyke as a crusading preacher trying to convince his small Iowa town to adopt a no-smoking pledge and win a huge cash prize being sponsored by…wait for it…tobacco companies.  Rich at Wide Screen World viewed it recently, and enjoyed seeing such familiar TV sitcom faces as Tom Poston, Bob Newhart, Vincent Gardenia, Jean Stapleton, Graham Jarvis and the incomparable Bob & Ray in the cast.

Other Dick Van Dyke Show Arcana

I'm not even going to try to link to all the items my good friend Toby "Toobworld" O'Brien is working on at his blog Inner Toob...and now I don't have to, since he's performed that chore for me.  Dr. O'Brien has earned the unofficial title of "Iron Man" in this blogathon, because although his posts raised many questions the most important was...when did this man sleep?

My West Coast pal Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame got a rare treat Saturday...being part of the audience that celebrated along with series creator Carl Reiner, star Dick Van Dyke and writer Garry Marshall at the Egyptian Theatre a tribute to the show's 50th anniversary.  I'm trying my best not to reveal my envy, but from Laura's notes of the event it sounds like it was the experience of a lifetime!

I received an e-mail from a blogger who asked me if I’d point interested folks in the direction of his blog, which talks about all 158 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show in easy-to-swallow capsule form.  You are encouraged to take a look!

Anthony Balducci gives us a "bonus" in demonstrating how silent comedies and sitcoms like I Married Joan influenced episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show like "The Curious Thing About Women" and "That's My Boy?"

Meghan at The Nervous Purvis takes a cue from the Mythical Monkey and examines the feminism aspect of The Dick Van Dyke Show in a wonderful essay that uses "Washington vs. the Bunny" as the focal point.

At Coffee, coffee and more coffee, my friend Peter Nellhaus has assembled some images from the Rose Marie-Morey Amsterdam-Richard Deacon starrer, Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966)...and Peter also demonstrates that he's not ashamed to use the pun "the ottoman empire" whereas I had to be talked out of it when I wrote my anniversary piece at ECOF.  Peter hints at the awfulness of this movie...but my chum Hal at The Horn Section isn't afraid to ask "Why isn't this on DVD yet?"

Bev at My Reader's Block foolishly gives her husband the keys to her blog...which results in a smash-up, and much hilarity ensues.  No, hang on a sec...that's a script from the unproduced pilot...Brad (the hubby) entertains trivia-philes with quotes and "did you know?" tidbits from the series.

If I had a nickel for every writer I know who went into that profession because they watched The Dick Van Dyke Show as a youth, I could validate every parking meter between Athens and Seattle.  Bob Sassone tells his story in an entry from 2002 from his blog entitled "Why I Write."

The Lady Eve (positively the same dame!) reminisces about The Dick Van Dyke it has stood the test of time and how its introduction in the fall of 1961 was a perfect commentary on the age of JFK and "Camelot" at The Lady Eve's Reel Life.

My longtime blogging compadre and fellow blood brother in the Loyal Order of Coach Potatoes, Brent McKee, doesn't know anything about art but knows what he does like...and it's the inescapable fact that Laura Petrie's "got back" at I Am a Child of Television.

Over at the Archive of American Television's Emmy TV Legends blog, there's a post by Adrienne Fallace that contains some first-rate interviews with the principals from the series: writer-creator Carl Reiner, executive producer Sheldon Leonard and stars Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

My pal hobbyfan gives The Dick Van Dyke Show an "A" rating in a late entry over at The Land of Whatever...which is very encouraging, since I know he does not grade on a curve.

And for a splendid overview look at the history behind what I'll continue to argue is the greatest sitcom in TV history, check out our friend Mercurie's post at A Shroud of Thoughts, "50 Years of The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Cynthia, who blogs at The Slip Stitch, wasn't unable to get a post up but did want to participate in the blogathon so she communicated via e-mail:

When I think about Dick Van Dyke, there are not enough words to say about how much I love that show. I'm 46 but I started watching as a child at around age 5. when I first started watching the show I liked how funny the comedy was in the show. I love all of the actors in The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I love when Rob Petrie was always at work in the office with Buddy and Sally trying to come up with ideas for the next Allan Brady Show, I was always laughing out loud watching those office scenes, they were extremely funny. My all time favorite were the actors Dick Van Dyke with Mary Tyler Moore they had this chemistry with each other that on one else had together on a comedy show, I mean Rob and Laura Petrie were a great tv couple I always wanted to have the Rob Petrie husband when I grew up, and I ended up getting my wish I have a Dick Van Dyke type husband. Any of my favorite episodes I pretty much like all of them. I did like the one were Laura dyed her hair blond. Her and Millie tried to hide Laura from Rob with her hair dyed blond hair. Well as you can tell I can go on talking about the Dick Van Dyke Show forever, but from what I can tell everyone is The Dick Van Dyke Show was the greatest show on television in all of history!!! I love it !

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Laura said...

Hi Ivan,

My post about last night's celebration at the Egyptian Theatre is now up!

The timing was perfect as by the time I had it ready your blogathon post was up and ready to go!

Thanks so much -- looking forward to visiting all the posts!

Best wishes,

Cliff Weimer said...

I'm quite pleased to announce that my meager contribution is up at

Anonymous said...

Mine's up, mine's up! It talks a bit about "Washington vs. the Bunny," but it's more of a meandering around gender roles in the show as a whole. (Please don't worry, I promise there's no shouting.) Link here:

Toby O'B said...

The celebration commenced at midnight here at Inner Toob - the plan is to post about the show every hour the whole day!

So far in true Toobworld fashion, we've got posts up about Dabbs Greer and how he links the DVD Show to 'The Brady Bunch' and 'Picket Fences', the daily "As Seen On TV" feature, my so-called life as a Buddy Sorrell wannabe, and a little snippet about the one word that kept popping up in the series. But the piece I'm most proud of is the tribute to Lennie Weinrib who played "Jackie Brew-Brew".

Later today, I'll have posts about the "Zonk" of three actors playing Rob's dad, a three part look at Lincoln Goodheart (and family), the presence of a guardian angel within the series, the recasting of Pickles, and the connections to 'Make Room For Daddy', official and otherwise.....

I hope y'all enjoy it!

Brandie said...

Our post is up!

W.B. Kelso said...

The first half of the review is a go.

Hal said...

I wrote about the summer lark by the supporting cast, led by chief instigator Buddy Sorrell:

ClassicBecky said...

Your first blogathon is going to be a great success, Ivan! I'll be in and out of the posts all day -- I can't wait to be reminded of and read about all the great episodes of this marvelous show.

Bev Hankins said...

Our humble offering is up!

B. Goode said...

Ivan - I have my post up -

Thanks for the chance to participate in my first ever blogathon.

Audrey said...

My second post is up:

Thanks again for hosting this! I think I will need a few days to catch up on all these posts.

Laura said...

This is really an impressive list of links, in such a short time frame, too! I've enjoyed some of the posts already and look forward to more as "work breaks" over the course of my day.

Thanks to Ivan and all the participants!

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Love this blogathon! The Archive of American Television blogged about "The Dick Van Dyke Show's" precarious beginnings:

Brent McKee said...

My rambling contribution is up at

Rick29 said...

Ivan, thanks for organizing this great blogathon! Movie blogathons are all the rage these days--so it's great to see one that pays tribute to a classic TV series like THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.

Dawn said...

I'm really excited about reading everyones, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW posts. I remember that he was very friendly and he fell down a lot.

le0pard13 said...

One great blogathon for one great anniversary to a truly great sitcom, Ivan. This series still has the one memorable line from any TV show I recall from the 60s:

"... like the last living cell in a dead body"

This haunted me no end when I considered it as kid (which is quite something since we're talking about it springing from one of television's comedy classics.)

Episode Title: Uhny Uftz
Director: Jerry Paris
Writers: Carl Kleinschmitt and Dale McRaven
Original Air Date: 29 September 1965

Thanks for this.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Sorry it's just under the wire, Ivan, but here's my post in the blogathon at A Shroud of Thoughts. Its title is an unoriginal "50 Years of The Dick Van Dyke Show." The link is

DorianTB said...

Ivan, what a great Blogathon you've got going here! Vinnie finally has his own take on "Uhny Uftz" posted on his blog "The Forty-Year-Old Fanboy." Hope you enjoy it!

Lisa said...

Our contribution at The Flaming Nose TV Blog is finally up, on the episode "I'd Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head at All".

Thanks for letting us participate!

We love everybody's material and it's so great to be sharing our affection of this wonderful series with you all!


JavaBeanRush said...

I'm a little late.

Christian Esquevin said...

Ivan - thanks for coming up with this blogathon. I'll have to tune in to the series again. I watched the show as a youth but I'm afraid that was during my rebellious years when I couldn't appreciate the writing or the acting very much. You've helped me change that stale perpective.

Stacia said...

Thank you for hosting the 'thon, Ivan! Seriously, you did a great job and reading your list of contributions has been as fun as reading the contributions themselves.

P.S. It's not really Martian Death Flu, it's milder. More of a Nebraskan Death Flu.

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks so much for hosting us, Ivan. It was a lot of fun and you did a great job! My husband was thrilled to participate--and even though it was his very first blogging experience, I think he did fine. [I'll pretend I don't see that "little" scratch.] :-)

And...I'm embarrassed to find that the link to the hubby's Petrie Page wasn't any good (my fault). If anyone tried to visit and couldn't--Here's the right linke:

SPEEDbit said...

Thanks Ivan! Great Post! Dick Van Dyke takes us way back. Lots of great memories. We heard a little story a while back about how during circa the year 2000 Dick was sitting in a Starbucks in Malibu and a young man approached him and said, I hear you like to harmonize,”. “I love to harmonize,” Dick said and invited the man and his friends to come over that night. The four of them became the Vantastix—rhymes with Fantastics—three basses and a tenor. Tuesday nights they order order pizza and just sing and they sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ for the Lakers.

Keep blogging!