Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dick Van Dyke: My Lucky Life

[post 137] 

Old joke:

Two professors chatting.
First Professor:  I say, Rodney, have you read Derrida's treatise on grammatology?
Second Professor:  Read it?  I haven't even taught it!

Dick Van Dyke, physical comedian and star of stage and screen, has written a new book,
Dick Van Dyke: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business. I haven't read it, but I sure am writing this blog post about it.

Well, in my defense, I did listen to a 7-minute promo interview with him two days ago on NPR, and now you can too by clicking

I never saw Mary Poppins or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (I have sons, not daughters), and the only time I saw Van Dyke live was as Harold Hill in a NYC revival of The Music Man; let's just say he was not right for the part. But I did grow up watching the Dick Van Dyke Show (created by Carl Reiner), one of the best sitcoms ever if you're trolling for physical comedy gems.

Every show started with these 18 seconds:

enter01 by towsen
Unless of course he wanted to surprise us by starting with these 18 seconds:

enter02 by towsen

Not every episode was full of physical comedy, but there were indeed some gems. Here's a highlight reel that conveniently proves my point.

Hats off to YouTube member Paul Hansen for the excellent edit!  And speaking of edits, here's a YouTube remix of a Van Dyke pantomime routine.

I did an earlier post of Van Dyke doing a "fake" physical comedy lecture, the kind where his speech gets undercut by physical mishaps. You can read the whole post here, but because I don't want to tax you with the arduous task of actually having to click on a link, here's that video clip again:

Which I include because it was not his only physical comedy lecture. In another episode he visits his son's school and quickly discovers it's better to show than to tell.

atSchool--class by towsen

Finally, if you're new to the Dick Van Dyke Show, you can watch nearly all of the  episodes (with new commercials) on Hulu by clicking here or without commercials on Netflix Instant Play (if you're a member).

And if you like what you see, check out his book!

1 comment:

Chris Michael said...

Hi John,

What a fantastic site - it's so hard to get hold of some of these clips in the UK - especially the Dick van Dyke stuff which is far too little known over here. This stuff really makes my day!