V is for The Dick Van Dyke Show

The Dick Van Dyke Show was a critical success but hardly a ratings bonanza, mired in 80th place.

According to Vince Waldron’s book (pictured), which I read this past summer (I recommend it), when asked to play the part of comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick van Dyke Show in 1961, longtime actress Rose Marie asked “What’s a Dick van Dyke?” The 35-year-old actor had been a pantomimist, radio DJ, and a local talk show host. He was even the anchor of the CBS Morning Show, but like many before and after him, that program was a failure, even with Walter Cronkite as his news reader.

Whatever real success he had had up to that point was on Broadway in Bye Bye Birdie. Producer Sheldon Leonard caught the show, and signed Van Dyke. Impressively, and fortunately for him, Continue reading “V is for The Dick Van Dyke Show”