1960s

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

There is just something so comforting about the wholesome comedies of the 50s and 60s; No matter what my day was like, these cheesy mid-century programs never fail to put a smile on my face. Having worn episodes of I Love Lucy and Bewitched thin from frequent watching, I was in search of something fresh and "new" to make me smile. 


Starring Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore as his wife Laura, The Dick Van Dyke Show is the epitome of wholesome comedy. 

Van Dyke is goofy and charming while Moore is incredibly sweet and her wardrobe is divine. As Rob and Laura they deal with the typical 60s sitcom marital issues while raising their (rather irritating) son, Ritchie. The Petrie's family life seems realistic (especially compared to Bewitched), a fact that won the show praise when it originally aired. 


The show is set in the Petrie's home and also, like most mid-century shows, follows Rob to his job in New York City. Rob works as head writer for The (fictional) Alan Brady Show where he works with fellow writers, Buddy and Sally. 

I love this show-with-in-a-show premise, it adds a different sort of humor to every episode. 
It's also interesting to see Sally grapple (comedically, of course) with the stigma of being an unmarried working woman. Part of the reason I enjoy watching these old sitcoms is to see how much has changed socially, and in terms of gender roles, in the last fifty years.  


The show was created by Carl Reiner who originally planned to both star and produce the show. The pilot of Reiner's program, titled Head of the Family, aired in 1960 but was a flop. The show was recast, revised and premiered as The Dick Van Dyke Show in October of 1961; It ran for a successful five years, winning many Emmy awards along the way. Despite the fact that Carl Reiner no longer starred in the program, many of the episodes were still inspired by Reiner's own experience as a television writer. Reiner himself makes appearances as Rob Petrie's boss, Alan Brady. 


For your enjoyment, the first episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, it's sure to put a smile on your face.



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