As my first post for the Inner Toob marathon contributions to the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' blogAthon, I'd like to talk about the... spiritual influence the show has had on my life......
When I was a kid, and the neighborhood kids would come over to play in the long orchard that made up our backyard, our version of live-action role-playing games would be acting out TV shows. Most of the time we played 'Combat!'; later on it would be 'Star Trek'. Once we played "Carter's Army", a TV movie about black soldiers in World War II - and not one of us was black. (I was Rosey Grier.)
Most kids back then wanted to be Sgt. Chip Saunders, or Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock. Maybe James West and Artemus Gordon when the mood was for a Western, or then again, Batman and Robin.
But not me. I wanted to be Buddy Sorrell of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.
To my way of thinking as a kid, Buddy Sorrell was the ideal for "when I grow up". He had it all in three important facets of adulthood - he got paid to be funny; he got to sleep on the job; and he got to make fun of a bald guy.
I only get to do one of those three things on a regular basis.....
I've only been paid once to be funny, writing the book of a musical comedy (just a little something to tie together songs from other shows) for a community theatre group. (And even then, I stole the plot from an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.*)
And when I finally found my version of Mel Cooley to be my foil - a fellow "Iddiot" named "Bruddah Bob" Cohen - I was stymied by the fact that I liked him. I just couldn't even bring myself to call him "Goldilocks". (However, I bet there have been plenty of occasions in which I have given him reason to say "Yeucch!")
But at least I get a nice snooze during my lunch hour. One out of three ain't bad.....
At any rate, when the chance came to join this 'Dick Van Dyke Show' blogAthon, I saw it as the best opportunity to tip my cap (or trip over the ottoman, if you like) to my 3rd favorite TV series of all time, the home of Buddy Sorrell.
* All my life I've stolen from TV. When we had to write a story in class in which we imagined ourselves as an inanimate object, I just used Rob Petrie's monologue about the new car from the episode "I Was A Teen-Age Head Writer".
Fred Allen was right - "Imitation is the sincerest form of Television."