The 70th anniversary of I Love Lucy has been all over the news lately. TCM has marked the occasion with a new “The Plot Thickens” podcast about Lucille Ball. Then there’s that upcoming Aaron Sorking feature “Being the Ricardos.” There’s even a new Lucy-Desi documentary in the works.
The renewed focus on “TV’s zany redhead” has stolen the spotlight away from another significant TV milestone: the 60th anniversary of the premiere of The Dick Van Dyke Show. That series, which premiered October 15, 1961, arguably was to the ’60s what I Love Lucy was to the ’50s in its lasting impact on the television sitcom.
Giving Van Dyke his due this weekend is a man with the same initials: David Van Deusen. For many years he acted as a fan club president, saluting the series with his “Walnut Times” newsletter — a reference to the episode featuring Danny Thomas as a mysterious alien. It’s also where Mary Tyler Moore slides down a mountain of walnuts in the Petrie’s front hall closet.
Van Deusen will present “The Dick Van Dyke Show — Celebrating the 60th Anniversary” in a Facbook Live showing Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Van Deusen met Van Dyke, now 96, late, great producer Carl Reiner and most of the cast over the years. Clips featuring the two TV titans will be part of the doc, as will commentary from the late Rose Marie and others including series writer and recent brioux.tv podcast guest Bill Persky. Memories from sons and daughters of departed cast members Morey Amsterdam, Ann Morgan Guilbert and Jerry Paris are also part of the mix. Find the link to the Facebook Live screening here.
In the meantime, here’s a link back to a posting I wrote nearly three years ago listing my ten favourite Dick Van Dyke Show episodes — and, yes, “It May Look Like a Walnut” is on the list.