participants -- over 30 at last count.
The blogathon festivities kicked off after midnight Eastern time this evening. Visit the main blogathon post which will be updated with links to participating blogs.
I'm excited to be able to contribute a post about the amazing evening my family experienced celebrating the show at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood last night. Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, and writer Garry Marshall were on hand to share their memories in person, with Rose Marie and Larry Mathews among the sold-out audience.
The evening was particularly special for me as the show is one of my earliest TV memories, not to mention the fact that Dick Van Dyke starred in the first movie I ever saw in a theater, MARY POPPINS (1964). When I was a preschooler I loved that the pretty lady on the TV shared my name, and the infamous episode where she stuck her toe in the bathtub faucet, which was Ivan's first memory of the show, is also an early TV memory of mine. Given the original air date, I must have seen it in a rerun.
It was a fantastic evening, something akin to a raucous party, which left me exhausted from all the laughter; my daughter said, "I'm in physical pain from laughing so hard!"
Our evening began with a nice meal at the Pig 'N' Whistle, just off the Egyptian courtyard.
Once inside the theater, I was happy to have author Vince Waldron sign my copy of THE OFFICIAL DICK VAN DYKE SHOW BOOK. I've just started digging into it, but it looks terrific. We'll be shelving it alongside an older book we have on the show.
Before the program began there was a stir when a lady entered in a wheelchair; it was Rose Marie, and the audience spontaneously welcomed her with a standing ovation. My husband went over and shook her hand and said "Thank you!" Her voice hasn't changed a bit.
Carl Reiner introduced the night's episodes, and I found it almost impossible to believe the man is nearing 90. He has the energy of a man half a century younger, and was as funny and interesting as fans might expect. (One of these days I'll get a camera with a better long-distance zoom lens...)
The three episodes selected to screen last evening were "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan," followed by "Very Old Shoes, Very Old Rice," and capping it off with one of the show's best-known episodes, the Emmy-winning "Coast to Coast Big Mouth." These episodes are available online at the IMDb links in this paragraph.
Having seen THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW countless times on TV over the decades, I have to say that there is simply nothing like watching it with an enthusiastic audience! By the time Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) was apologizing to Alan Brady (Reiner) for letting his baldness out of the bag on national TV, suggesting he donate his hairpieces to "needy bald people," I was laughing so hard I cried. And I know I wasn't the only one! (You can read more about "Coast to Coast Big Mouth" in the blogathon post at ClassicBecky's Brain Food.)
The episodes were followed by a clip from "October Eve," with Reiner in non-Alan Brady mode, playing crazy painter Sergei Carpetna.
It was especially nice that guest stars Michael Forest, who played the title role in "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan," and Dick Curtis, who played slimy TV host Johnny Patrick in "Coast to Coast Big Mouth," were on hand in the audience last night. They each stood up and waved to the audience.
Reiner, Van Dyke, and Marshall took the stage after the episodes for some lighthearted reminiscing about the show. In the photos below, Marshall is on the left, Van Dyke in the center, and Reiner on the right, partially blocked by the unfortunate placement of a light for videotaping purposes.
There was a lot of kidding around and general silliness, mixed in with some discussion of the origins of the show, getting it off the ground, and how the show was cast.
Reiner shared that as soon as he heard Mary Tyler Moore's voice he knew he'd found the right leading lady, after an extensive but previously fruitless search. I was struck all over again last night by just how funny she was and what perfect timing she had.
One of the interesting anecdotes Reiner shared was that the network wasn't enthused about a show set in an office of TV writers. They suggested an insurance office. Reiner said that when they showed TV writers at work, they'd be telling jokes, but insurance company employees would be discussing numbers, and "Numbers aren't funny!"
Another highlight was Dick Van Dyke's backup group, Vantastix, joining him to sing the lyrics to the show's theme music, which were written by Morey Amsterdam.
It was a wonderful evening celebrating one of TV's all-time great shows...and now I'm going to go watch "Laura's Little Lie," the episode which preceded "Very Old Shoes, Very Old Rice." I don't remember that episode very well and have to see again how it was that Rob found out that Laura was underage when they got married!