After so many "Hat Squads" posted in the last few days, what a pleasure it is to salute a man who brought so much light into the "box of lights and wires".
Today marks Dick Van Dyke's 80th birthday. God bless him!
Just the other day, TVSquad.com listed their Top Five TV Dads and invited readers to submit theirs - Rob Petrie of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'was at the top of my list. And I'm one of those kids who grew up with the show believing that Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore were married in real life. And in my perfect world, maybe they should have been.
As Dr. Mark Sloan of 'Diagnosis Murder', Mr. Van Dyke is represented in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame (March, 2003) and may even make it in as Rob Petrie as well.
His Paul Gallico on 'Columbo' ranks near the top of the list for most ruthless of the Lieutenant's adversaries. And the solution to that murder was one of the most satisfying in a story-telling sense.
Last year I posted a suggestion that Dr. Mark Sloan should have been the biological father of Dr. Greg House on 'House'. Having now seen R. Lee Ermey in the role, I think my idea is not only better but still possible. I couldn't buy into the genetic relationship between Ermey and Hugh Laurie. Laurie and Van Dyke on the other hand. (Oh, Mommy was a cheater!)
And then in his real life, something not often addressed in Toobworld, Mr. Van Dyke came forward with his admission about alcoholism. In doing so, he probably saved a lot of lives - by making people realize that if a big star who supposedly had it all could be suffering from such a disease and yet sought help, then maybe they could too.
Favorite all-time "DVD Shows":
'It May Look Like A Walnut'
'The Ghost Of A. Chanz'
The BBC Online is being irreverent with their acknowledgement of his personal landmark - they're inviting their readers to call in with their impression of his Cockney accent from 'Mary Poppins', which apparently is considered the worst of all time. Being just a little kid when that movie came out, I totally bought into it as being the real thing.
And in the long run, I don't think it mattered - the joy in his performance over-rides all criticism and is infectious.
Something off-beat to look for in connection with Mr. Van Dyke, and which I've been thinking about now that Peter Jackson's version of "King Kong" is out - MAD magazine did a spoof of all the big ape films with the main caricatures as Dick Van Dyke, James Garner, and Doris Day. It was a trio I wish had really made a movie together (although Van Dyke and Garner, and Garner and Day, did work together).
Here's just my small salute to a man who has given so much to the TV Universe for over forty years. And hopefully, he'll have much more to offer in the years to come.
And that ain't bupkis!