Incoming Link


Region 2 (UK) Edition  [Revelation Films, 2007]

Directors:  John Rich, Alan Rafkin, Hal Cooper, Coby Ruskin and others

Starring: 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 little ‘com’.

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 Jerry Seinfeld.


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 very clear.

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 this release.

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 most episodes.


The Cast Remembers the Ottoman and The Openings (1'32")

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 (4'05")

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 (1'49")

The two actors discuss how they came to join the cast.

Carl Remembers The Woodpecker (23")

Carl Remembers Dick’s Sneezing (1'10")

The Cast Remembers Jerry Paris (2'20")

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 (22'55")
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” (27'31")

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 Eavesdropping

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.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2007