Set your PVR’s, classic TV fans. CBS has scheduled another seasonal treat with back-to-back, newly-colourized episodes of both The Dick Van Dyke Show and I love Lucy.
The two hour-long specials air this Friday, Dec. 14, starting at 8/7 Central on CBS.
The Van Dyke special comes as a sweet birthday present for Van Dyke, who turns 93 this Thursday, Dec. 13. The comedy legend is already having a big week, with his celebrated cameo among the high points of “Mary Poppins Returns,” hitting theatres across North America next Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Imagine being 93 with broadcast network and cinema premieres just days apart.
CBS melds two episodes into one hour with these colourized classics. Friday’s Van Dyke hour adds colour to two of the series’ best: “Where Did I come From?” a early 1962 first season gem where Ritchie (Larry Mathews) innocently asks his parents the question in the title — and he doesn’t mean New Jersey. The episode is an early example of a “clip show,” where scenes from past episodes are stitched together to tell a new story.
The second half of the special adds colour to “Never Bathe on a Sunday,” first shown on March 31, 1965. Here, the Petrie’s second honeymoon at a ritzy hotel turns disastrous as Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) gets her big toe stuck in the spout of the faucet.
Moore read that week’s script and hated it, throwing a bit of tantrum. Creator and executive producer Carl Reiner had to talk her into it, explaining that, although the actress would be hidden behind a bathroom door much of the episode, millions of Americans would be fantasizing about Laura Petrie naked the whole time.
Now that’s something you can’t colourize.
Reiner — still tweeting at 96 — wrote the episode and it is one of his favourites, as he told me last year at this time when I interviewed him for The Toronto Star. Follow this link to more of that conversation.
Also featured in “Never Bathe on a Sunday” is dependable Bernard Fox who plays a hotel detective. He’s best remembered as Doctor Bombay from Bewitched.
The two newly-tinted I Love Lucy episodes CBS has set to open the night are “The Christmas Episode” from 1956 — seen the past few years in colour — and and “Pioneer Women.” In the latter (originally aired March 31, 1952), Lucy and Ethel’s hopes of joining the posh Society Matrons’ League lead to a bet with their husbands over which sex – the men or the women – had it harder living in a bygone era (and we don’t mean the ’50s). And, yes, this is the giant bread that comes rolling out of the oven episode. Rollers in an oven? Lucy, you got some s’plainin’ to do.