Dr. Walter Bishop:
"Kennedy! Help me!"
I have not yet purchased the revised edition of Vince Waldron's book about the 'Dick Van Dyke Show', but I do have the original. He may have added more details about the decision of Carl Reiner to end the series after five years while they were still on top creatively and doing well in the ratings. (Apparently, a common misconception is that Dick Van Dyke was also instrumental in wanting to end the series as well, because of his film career. But according to the book, he now says the he would have carried on. Uh-huh.....)
But there might have been a chance the show could have gone into a sixth season, and it looks like somebody took steps to be ready... just in case.
Carl Kleinschmitt and Dale McRaven wrote the scripts for a two-part story - "I Do Not Choose To Run" and "The Making Of A Councilman". In them, Rob was convinced to run for an open seat on the New Rochelle City council. But it became apparent to Rob that his opponent, the nerdy bookworm Lincoln Goodheart was a much better, more knowledgeable candidate than he could ever be. So much so that Rob probably ended up voting for him instead of for himself. Not that it mattered - Rob won the election. As too often happens, the people voted for style over substance.
I can't back this up with facts (not that that's ever stopped me before!) Like I said, I haven't read the revised version of Waldron's book. (But I have seen this theory mentioned by Hal Erickson, the online movie critic.) It would appear that the producers were thinking about opening up the show, inject some new blood into the series, by having a third setting for the plot-lines. Besides his home life on Bonney Meadow Road and the writers' room at 'The Alan Brady Show', they could have showcased the back-room, small-town politics at the New Rochelle city council.
Among the characters who might have appeared on a recurring basis could have been a non-committal city council president, afraid to offend either side of any issue. (Think Mayor Pike on 'The Andy Griffith Show'.) There could have been an over-sized blowhard trying to get things done his way (perhaps that's a role that could have brought Allan Melvin onto the show with more regularity - he and Mr. Van Dyke always had great chemistry together whenever he guest-starred), and maybe a sexy coquette of a city councilwoman whom Laura would have to keep an eye on.
And.... I'd like to think that Wally Cox would have joined the cast as Lincoln Goodheart again.
Granted, he lost the election, but Rob knew how qualified he was for the job. I think he would have wanted to have Lincoln Goodheart close to him for advising him on the issues. And if so, Rob could have paid out of his own pocket for Lincoln Goodheart to be his Chief of Staff. (And as Goodheart could then point out, he would have been the only staff member.)
Along with Lincoln Goodheart, we'd also get his wife Martha Goodheart on occasion (played by Leah Waggner), probably appearing with the same kind of regularity as Pickles Sorrell. (If she proved popular enough, maybe she'd be upgraded to a recurring status similar to Millie Helper's, giving Laura another confidante on the homefront.)
So that would have been the underlying theme to the city council storylines - a clueless government official whose main aide de camp was so much more clever than his boss.
Sounds familiar? If this plotline had been added to 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', we would have had an American version of 'Yes, Minister' about 14 years before the British original... another 'Benson' 13 years or so before that arrived on our TV screens.
It's a nice scenario, but we'll never know if it would have come to pass. However, Toobworld Central will make a claim that "The Making Of A Councilman" wasn't the only time we'd see Lincoln Goodheart on our TV screens. We wouldn't see him in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' again, however, but instead about half a dozen years later in an episode of 'The Odd Couple'.
Wally Cox has a quick cameo in the episode "The Pen Is Mightier Than The Pencil" where he was a fellow student in Felix's writing class. And when he read from his own composition, we found out the type of lurid prose he liked to write.
Now, the thing is... his character was addressed as "Mr. Fegivney" in that episode, but this was no Zonk (a discrepancy to you new arrivals to Toobworld.) Instead, "Fegivney" must have been his nom de plume, either to protect his standings in New Rochelle as Lincoln Goodheart, or because it sounded more manly than Lincoln Goodheart.
"Brock Fegivney" - That's the ticket!