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The Dick Van Dyke Show

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I suppose this doesn't come up on many lists of alltime favorite episodes, but I just love it. Because it's the one where we first got a hint how far Mary Tyler Moore's talents ranged -- what, she could dance like that? and sing?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-5oqs2GTQE

And not only is it a delightful number, it also furthers the story. She can't stand him before the number, as they perform together he kind of wins her over, and then at the end he steps on her foot and injures her. And that was how Rob and Laura met.

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I love that number.  I've seen that two-part patter (sorry, is there a name for it?)  done with a couple of songs in other episodes, too, and I always love it.  DVD and MTM had great chemistry.

I"m not usually a fan of flashback episodes, but this number does elevate the episode.

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two-part patter (sorry, is there a name for it?)

The general term for two tunes that fit together is "counterpoint." Or one tune is a countermelody to the other.

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Would that DVD and MTM had done a full-fledged, full-length musical together, but their numbers from the show are pretty delightful, including this one. I think it was Carl Reiner who tells of how DVD and MTM would tell the choreographer(s) the numbers were too hard, and CR would tell the choreographer just to go ahead and get them to do it.  And of course they did.  So talented.  DVD claims no formal dance training,

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A Boston Gal, I am not ashamed to join you. This episode freaked me out as a child (not during its first run), and I still tend to shy away from it because that memory just floods back. I am shivering just thinking about it! Edited by Crs97
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Laura was the country's introduction to Mary Tyler Moore, and much of the country fell in love with her. The flip, the Capri pants, the funny cry, and an unusually "real" way of talking and behaving compared to other TV housewives of the time. I can very well believe that after she did her first reading, Carl Reiner grabbed her and took her around to all the writers' offices, shouting "Listen to this girl! She says 'hello' like a person!"

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As the Petries and their friends were in show business, it was natural that they would perform for each other (though I'm still not sure how Richie got onto the Alan Brady Christmas show). Many viewers have enjoyed the episodes that feature such sequences, though not everyone does (and even I feel that they maybe returned to the well once or twice too often as the series was winding down). But when I watch the numbers now, I just grin with enjoyment at the chance to revisit that time. Someone has created a medley of several of Rob and Laura's song and dance scenes, to make the enjoyment easier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n5zxDwmRlw

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Those are cute.  I usually like the musical numbers - not only theirs, but Buddy and Sally's as well.  I wish that the musical episodes gave Buddy a bit more time with the cello solos because he was quite good.

The Christmas episode is a standard in our family to watch during the Christmas season, and I love Rob and Laura's number in it.  They're such an adorable couple.

My favorite of their musical numbers, though, wasn't included in that montage.  It was when they did Mountain Greenery.  (I don't remember the episode, but maybe someone else does.)  

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Isn't Mountain Greenery from the episode with Rob's brother?  When they are having the party to showcase his act for Alan Brady? 

I love the episodes with the singing and dancing, especially when Rob and Laura are having a party.  I always wanted a home like that, where the piano would be rolled out and people would perform.  Although I always wondered where they stored that piano when they weren't having a party :)

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I grew up on reruns of this show, and I think I was too young to appreciate that number as a kid.  I always preferred the happier songs.  But watching it now, I have to admit that's really a beautiful number.  Rose Marie's singing voice is somewhat unique and well-suited for that kind of moody, bluesy, torch song.

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She started out as a child singer in vaudeville.  TCM shows some performances of her singing as a little girl back when she was known as "Baby Rose Marie."

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Some of those clips are quite long -- today's audiences wouldn't have the patience!

 

IIRC, MTM was a trained dancer, but DVD was not.  He just had natural grace and was a quick study (and a perfectionist).  They were so frigging cute together!

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She was so lovely.  She had sophistication matched with approachability.  Such a good find by Carl Reiner and Danny Thomas.  The latter remembered her from a an audition for the role of his TV daughter, which she failed because her nose was too dainty.  :-)

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DVD may not have had years of classes as MTM had, but he had experience. On Broadway, after a short-lived revue, he had starred in Bye Bye Birdie, in a role (Albert) with definite dance responsibilities.

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All the more impressive!  Has anyone read The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book by Vince Waldron?  He reports Grant Tinker saying that after producer Sheldon Leonard saw DVD in BBB on Broadway, he walked in to Tinker's office and said "I've found Rob Petrie!"  At the time, Tinker was a creative executive at Benton and Bowles, an agency occasionally mentioned on Mad Men.

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I think DVD credited Gower Champion, the director of Birdie, with really taking his natural talent to another level and teaching him more about how to dance. 

 

Inquitionist, I've read the Waldron book.  It's a really good behind the scenes read, and I like the episode breakdown in the back of the book too.

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Don't know how I manage to remember this, but Time magazine described her in a review of the show during its original run as "a delicious-looking girl." Typical early 60's, huh? (I must agree, she was.)

Edited by torqy
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How ADORABLE are these two? There are also two group numbers that I loved. The first is the Christmas show one, where each person took the role of an instrument in the song ("I am a fine musician, I practice every day..."). Laura is left alone at the end and "deedle deedle dee"s away.

 

And the other musical number I always think of is the Twizzle. The costume designer must have had fun designing MTM's outfit with the fringe around the waist that swings to and fro while she dances. And DVD with his rubber-legged dancing: classic DVD.

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Not to rain on the parade, but the musical numbers were always my least favorite part of the show.  And I never understood why the Alan Brady Show would have musical numbers starring the writers.  The only one who made sense to me was Laura, since she briefly was a dancer for the show.

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As I recall, they justified the Alan Brady Christmas Show by Mr. Brady wanting to take the week off and turning it all over to his writers  (I know, as if! but they did at least make that much of a gesture). And having gone that far, I could buy them including Laura. But what in the world was Richie doing on the show?? He wasn't established as a kid with any performing aspirations, and even in high school on the first airing of the show, I found that silly.

 

The other one that bugged me on first viewing, sorry, was "The Twizzle." (Though yes, MTM dancing was always a pleasure to watching, and she was delightful in her brief bit.) The whole thing had this whole air of "we're gonna feature this guest star if it kills us," and I discover from the book about the series that that was exactly the case -- the network was high on Jerry Lanning (though in the end, they never did anything more with him), so he was forced on the series. And that final resolution, where he suddenly gets all sincere-like and says "But I really want to sing like this" and launches into "This Nearly Was Mine" with heavenly orchestral accompaniment stealing in. Yuck.

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I'm still waiting for an ice dancing team to do an exhibition piece using "The Twizzle" since there's now a move by that name.

 

Jerry Lanning also did an episode of "The Lucy Show" and "The Donna Reed Show" along with his mother who was a nightclub singer.  His brothers were also in "The Donna Reed Show" with them.   And actually, the career transition that his "Dick Van Dyke Show" character made was pretty typical for the times.  A young singer would start out making records that appealed mostly to teens and then would transition over to supper clubs, movies and/or theater.  

 

Incidentally, for "Law and Order: SVU" fans, Jerry Lanning starred in an early episode as a prominent conservative whose gay son is murdered.

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Just to round out the Jerry Lanning discussion, the important part of his own career was in fact onstage. His Broadway credits show a pretty typical evolution for that period for a singing juvenile lead, starting in 1966 (i.e., after the Dick Van Dyke period) as Mame's adult nephew in the original cast of that musical, and continuing with things like Freddy in a revival of My Fair Lady, branching out into plays -- and of course he did more away from Broadway. He's still performing, to the best of my knowledge.

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I looked him up online and he also played "Joe Hardy" in the TV production of "Damn Yankees" which I actually remember watching!  

 

There's a story online that last year while playing Eugene O'Neill onstage he collapsed but apparently it was just dehydration.   So he's still working as of last year.

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This was one of my favorite episodes ever. I don't think there's ever been a more creative use of a guest star playing himself. I love the way everything seems normal with the occasional weird detail, like Laura (or "Lolak") handing Rob a bag of walnuts for lunch, and climaxes with that walnut avalanche.

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I never thought about the walnuts hurting, but they probably did. I think MTM was probably so nervous about whether the stunt would even work that she never noticed!

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In her memoir, MTM recounts that the pressure was on to get the stunt right on the first try, and it was fun to do.  But I'll bet it was kind of a bumpy, if short ride.  And didn't DVD say somewhere that everyone ate too many walnuts that week and paid the price gastronomically?

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A bit OT, but I watched Saving Mr. Banks recently, and was amused that P.L. Travers was so opposed to the casting of Dick Van Dyke as Bert.  She had reason to worry, as his cockney "accent" is a strong contender for all-time worst movie accent!

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I'm 50 now, and I was completely ruined by the Petrie version of what adult life was going to be.  When my parents had company, all they did was play cards,   I wanted to have people over and sing songs and be all chatty and stuff.  Life didn't quite turn out that way, alas.  

 

I still think it would be cool if it had, though.

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I peek into this thread now and again, as one who grew up on the Dick Van Dyke show. Like Kassa, I thought that a grownup life like that was just out there waiting for me somewhere.

 

It's been so long since I actually watched the show, that a lot of the details are lost to me now. I don't recall this infamous "Twizzle" number, though I'll cast my vote as one of those who was not a huge fan of most of the musical numbers, especially in the later seasons, as they seemed more and more forced and feeling as though they had an agenda aside from "creative, talented people having fun". I recall a Christmas episode in particular where "Richie" sang a Christmas carol wearing some sort of choirboy getup which was struck me as really reaching in the entertainment department.

 

I also remember totally cracking up (I think it might have been the same Christmas episode) where Rob, Buddy, etc were singing a song to which the only lyrics were "Alan Bra-a-dy-y, Alan Bra-a-dy-y, Alan Brady, Alan Bra-a-dee-ee etc", and Buddy was the first to break in with his name in a perfect deadpan and was sent away in disgrace by conductor Mel. Each of the others followed suit, but it's still Buddy I remember.

 

Still, I was probably nine or ten then, and might see both these things through a completely different set of eyes now.

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I recall a Christmas episode in particular where "Richie" sang a Christmas carol wearing some sort of choirboy getup which was struck me as really reaching in the entertainment department.

 

I also remember totally cracking up (I think it might have been the same Christmas episode) where Rob, Buddy, etc were singing a song to which the only lyrics were "Alan Bra-a-dy-y, Alan Bra-a-dy-y, Alan Brady, Alan Bra-a-dee-ee etc", and Buddy was the first to break in with his name in a perfect deadpan and was sent away in disgrace by conductor Mel. Each of the others followed suit, but it's still Buddy I remember.

 

Ritchie sang The Little Drummer Boy (pah-rah-pah-pum-pum), dressed as a shepherd boy with a drum.    Here's the Alan Brady Chorus.  :-)

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Back in the message that began this thread, I kvetched about the inclusion of Richie on an Alan Brady Christmas Special. It already stretched credulity that on a whim, he would say he was tired, let his writers be the performers -- but OK, that's our premise, go with it. And given that, Laura's participation isn't too much of a stretch, she'd been a performer and all. But why a writer's kid?

 

The answer, I suppose, is that this was the era when "The Little Drummer Boy" had its first popularity and had been all over the radio as this cool different new Christmas Song. So somebody saw a chance to include it, and there was only one kid (who was, after all a series regular) to give it to.

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I'm 50 now, and I was completely ruined by the Petrie version of what adult life was going to be.  When my parents had company, all they did was play cards,   I wanted to have people over and sing songs and be all chatty and stuff.  Life didn't quite turn out that way, alas.  

 

I still think it would be cool if it had, though.

I'm old enough to remember this show as first-run. My parents certainly weren't like the Petries, and they didn't know anyone like that, either.

Reminds me of (off-topic slightly) a comment from Murray on MTM about wishing he and Marie could have witty conversations over martinis every evening.

Mrs. Torqy and I sometimes have witty conversations, but the resemblance ends there.

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I'm about to spoil things by saying that my parents did have parties like that. Well, sometimes. Occasionally. Once in a while. On a smaller scale. But it did happen. My father directed TV commercials (in Chicago), so he was acquainted with a few actors and show-biz types. I can recall a few times when I was little (in the 1950s) when one or two people were invited over for dinner, and after dinner one of them might play something at the piano, or accompany herself singing. It was not a group thing, it would be only the guest performing if so inclined (unless I was forced to show everybody "how your saxophone lessons are going" by playing something -- which I hated and they did too undoubtedly, but that's a different matter).

 

The most enjoyable such occasion occurred when Dad's friend was a writer working with this unknown new local comedian named Bob Newhart. He knew all the routines (the driving instructor, etc.) and did them for us, and we fell apart laughing. We couldn't imagine how Newhart's own performances could be any better than that -- and then the record came out and we found that they were.

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Back in my roaring 20s, every time I put on a full slip I'd pause and do a mean Rose Marie Singing Bill Bailey imitation.  Complete with elbows akimbo (but no bow in my hair).

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DVD may not have had years of classes as MTM had, but he had experience. On Broadway, after a short-lived revue, he had starred in Bye Bye Birdie, in a role (Albert) with definite dance responsibilities

 

He also danced beautifully in "Mary Poppins"!  Absolutely love that scene where he and the other chimney sweeps dance over the rooftops.

I'm really surprised to hear that he had no formal dance training; talk about light on your feet!

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In her memoir, MTM recounts that the pressure was on to get the stunt right on the first try, and it was fun to do.  But I'll bet it was kind of a bumpy, if short ride.  And didn't DVD say somewhere that everyone ate too many walnuts that week and paid the price gastronomically

Specifically she said that she was glad for the audience laughter when she slid out of the closet on that avalanche of walnuts because it drowned out the sounds issuing from her posterior (to put it politely)!

 

I always especially loved the "scary" episodes--this one, "Uhny Uftz" (left alone in the building, Rob thinks he sees a flying saucer), "The Ghost of A. Chantz" (the gang has to spent the night in a cabin said to be haunted), and "Long Night's Journey Into Day" (Laura is left alone in the house when everyone else goes on a fishing trip).  Tension was never funnier.

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Specifically she said that she was glad for the audience laughter when she slid out of the closet on that avalanche of walnuts because it drowned out the sounds issuing from her posterior (to put it politely)!

 

For some reason, I don't trust a lot of what MTM has to say about this series.  I've gotten the impression that she embellishes copiously.

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I never saw that quote from MTM about flatulence on the set, and I've read pretty much everything I could get my hands on about the series. Was it in a magazine interview or something like that?

 

I think by this point everyone connected with The Dick Van Dyke Show does plenty of embellishing. They've been asked to talk about it all so many times by now....

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I never saw that quote from MTM about flatulence on the set, and I've read pretty much everything I could get my hands on about the series. Was it in a magazine interview or something like that?

In one of MTM's books, she mentioned the incident of sliding out of the closet on the walnuts and passing gas all the way, and then she told the story on Late Night with David Letterman, although she was so cryptic about it--using a not-very-realistic sound effect to illustrate the problem--that even the audience didn't catch on to what she was talking about immediately. 

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My relatives and parents used to do singalongs at Christmas and stuff at parties. Charades were de rigeur till I was well into my teens at most of our gatherings. Would have been in the 70s. 

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Love Rose Marie's rendition of "Come Rain or Come Shine" from the "Secret Life of Buddy and Sally" episode, which gives an idea what she did for years in vaudeville and night clubs.  This is the same episode where Rob and Laura performed "Harmony" and Buddy did his beautiful cello solo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65_To4Horn4

I just watched this episode this morning. Love Sally's "Come Rain or Come Shine".  I like that they showcased Buddy and Sally's other talents. Fun episode. 

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