THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW - SERIES TWO
Region 2 (UK) Edition [Revelation Films, 2007]
John Rich, Alan Rafkin, Hal Cooper, Coby Ruskin and others
Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose
Marie, Morey Amsterdam
Review by Andrew Smith
If you were to judge The Dick Van Dyke
Show by first appearances then you may be forgiven for grouping the
show with American ‘cookie cutter’ sitcoms of the 1950s. Programmes like
Leave it to Beaver or The Aldrich Family where American
Suburbia is portrayed as a utopia, often containing a lot of ‘sit’ and
In this case, though, first appearances
would be deceptive. The Dick Van Dyke Show is a delightful mixture
of slapstick humour, character driven comedy, variety and one-liners. The
writing in the case of some episodes is worthy of the standard set by the
best of The Phil Silvers Show or I Love Lucy.
The show centres on the life of family man
Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) and each episode is generally divided between his
life at home and his day job where he works as a gag writer for the
egocentric television comedian Alan Brady. Often situations at work will
complicate Rob’s domestic life or vice versa.
Series creator Carl Rainier consciously set
the programme within the world of television, as he knew he needed to
write about a subject he knew well. This is the aspect of the show which
gives it a little extra kick; the atmosphere in the writer’s room allows
for wisecracks, both good and knowingly bad.
The relationship between Rob and Laura is
also surprisingly mature. Despite owning separate beds (a necessary evil
that the network insisted upon) the couple are obviously very much in love
and more surprisingly there is definite and referenced sexual chemistry.
Mary Tyler Moore as Laura portrays a woman who surpasses the stereotype of
the suburban housewife. Laura is more than a match for Rob, often coming
across as a more competent human being.
The influence of The Dick Van Dyke Show
surpasses its short five seasons. The show, which has run in
syndication for many years, has gone on to influence recent sitcoms like
Mad About You, The Simpsons and the work of Larry David and
This set contains all thirty-two episodes of Season Two spread across five
disks, which also house bonus features. Video and Special features are
both encoded at around the 4-5 Mb/sec range which is acceptable. There is
little evidence of artefacting to my eyes.
The Dick Van Dyke Show was produced
at Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Desilu studios and had the benefit of
their sophisticated production techniques. Desilu pioneered multi camera
film recording for live television. As such the prints presented here look
great, with only very minor levels of damage on occasion. Sound is also
An FBI copyright warning at the opening of
each disk is a give away that these R2 releases are direct ports of the R1
Image Entertainment editions. This extends to all content being presented
in NTSC format. This is not a problem in itself (in fact it rules out any
additional problems that may be introduced by standards conversion).
Consumers should be made aware of this as some older televisions may have
trouble coping with this format.
Over the years several episodes from season
two have apparently fallen into the public domain. These episodes have
regularly been made available on budget releases. Just for fun here are
some comparison screen grabs from the episode Bank Book 6565696.
These season sets were assembled by Image Entertainment, the same folks
responsible for the amazing Twilight Zone Definitive Editions. The
level of quality I have come to expect of the company is carried across to
The interview material that makes up many
of the smaller featurettes seems to be culled from unedited rushes from a
previous retrospective. One advantage of using this material is that we
get to hear from the late Morey Amsterdam.
Special features are spread across all five
disks. A listing by disk follows. Some featurettes are very short and so
as not to spoil any anecdotes related within them I shall keep my
descriptions to a minimum.
Ottoman Tripper – A trivia question on each disk: if you answer
correctly a clip will play showing Rob avoiding the Ottoman, if you answer
incorrectly he will fall.
Meet The Cast – Text Biographies of
all the key players.
Photo Galleries – Images relevant to
The Cast Remembers the Ottoman and The
The cast recalls the evolution and impact
of the famous opening titles first introduced in season two.
Mary Remembers the Bank Book (51")
Mary Tyler Moore recalls Jerry Paris’
sneaky method of remembering his lines.
The Cast Remembers Rob and Laura
The cast comment on the chemistry between
Rob and Laura and indeed Moore and Van Dyke.
Emmy Awards 1962-1963 (4'26")
John Rich picks up the ‘Best Director in
Comedy’ award for his work on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Actor Fred
McMurrey presents the show itself receives an award for ‘Outstanding
Programme Achievement in Humour’.
Joy Commercial (1'00")
An advertisement featuring Van Dyke, Moore
and Larry Mathews in character to promote Joy, the washing up liquid as
mild as a bubble bath…apparently.
Audio Commentaries on the episodes The
Attempted Marriage and My Husband Is Not A Drunk.
Rose and Morey Remember Buddy and Sally
The two actors discuss how they came to
join the cast.
Carl Remembers The Woodpecker (23")
Carl Remembers Dick’s Sneezing
The Cast Remembers Jerry Paris
Emmy Awards 1963 – 1964 (3'09")
Actress Jane Wyatt presents the award for
‘Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety’ to The Dick Van
Dyke Show. David Jannsen presents Jerry Paris with the award for
‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy.’
Joy Commercial (1'12")
An extended version of the commercial
featured on Disk One.
Audio Commentary on the episode A Bird
in the Head Hurts.
The Making of It May Look Like A Walnut
A cheaply-produced retrospective produced in 2000 for the video release of
the episode It May Look Like A Walnut.
Emmy Awards 1962-1963 (1'59")
In character the cast of The Beverly
Hillbillies present the award for ‘Highest Achievement in Comedy
Writing’ to Carl Reiner.
Emmy Awards 1962-1963 (4'26")
The Cast Remembers, “Oh Rob” (1'23")
The Cast Plays, “Stump The Stars”
Van Dyke, Moore, Marie and Amsterdam take
part in the celebrity game show, Stump The Stars
Family Cavalcade Promo (17")
A short trailer that promotes the four
episode Petrie Family Saga episode arc.
Audio Commentary on All About
The audio commentaries on selected episodes
feature either Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke or Rose Marie, Ann Gilbert
and Larry Matthews. While the participants do occasionally fall back on
describing what is occurring on screen some interesting pieces of
information or amusing anecdotes do crop up. It is refreshing to hear the
amount of affection those involved with this production still have for the
show and for each other.
This really is a top notch set for an often
overlooked sitcom. If you like American television of this vintage it is a
must, although obviously starting with series one might be a good idea.