Saturday, January 6, 2018


From the Los Angeles Times:
Jerry Van Dyke, the comic actor and younger brother of Dick Van Dyke who was featured in several TV series including “Coach” and “My Mother the Car", died Friday at his ranch in Arkansas. He was 86.

Van Dyke’s wife, Shirley Ann Jones, told The Times on Saturday that her husband had been convalescing at their home for the past two years following a car accident. She said the couple were alone together at the time of his death at the 800-acre ranch they’ve owned for 35 years.

Amy Kaufman

In 2003, Van Dyke's character of Luther Van Dam from 'Coach' was inducted into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  The month before, Dr. Mark Sloan of 'Diagnosis Murder' had entered the Hall and as he was played by Dick Van Dyke, I thought it would be nice to have his younger brother follow him.  (Although now that I write that, I'm sure Jerry might have resented that since it was kind of emblematic of his career.)

Luther Van Dam, the assistant coach for the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles, had been inducted for his participation in the ABC Las Vegas themed night for four of its sitcoms. For two decades now, I had been thinking Luther Van Dam had appeared in all four of the episodes:

  • 'Grace Under Fire' - "Vegas"
  • 'Coach' - "Viva Las Ratings"
  • 'The Drew Carey Show' - "Drew Gets Married"
  • 'Ellen' - "Secrets & Ellen"
Each of the shows had characters go to Vegas where they crossed over into each others' show.  But looking through the roster at the IMDb today, I found that Luther did not end up being in 'Ellen'. But he did meet two of Ellen Morgan's friends, Paige and Spence, at the gaming tables in the other three shows ('Coach', 'Grace Under Fire', and 'The Drew Carey Show'), so he did have a crossover with that sitcom.

It's a shame that he never got to be in that episode of 'Ellen', because he would have been the first fictional character to have appeared in four shows in one night.  If he had, Luther Van Dam could truly have been one of the crossover greats, right up there with Detective John Munch, Sam Drucker, Cheyenne Bodie, and as a member of the League of Themselves, Elizabeth Taylor.  (She appeared in four CBS sitcoms in one night to promote her White Diamonds perfume.  But by the last "appearance", it is said that all we saw was a "stunt hand".)

At any rate, for my little realm of Toobworld, Luther Van Dam is immortalized in the Hall of Fame.  And as it is Video Sunday, I have three of those four episodes from the ABC Las Vegas night!  They're all found on YouTube, but I had to go to Amazon Prime to see the 'Grace Under Fire' episode so I can't share it here.  (However I got much better screencaps from there than YouTube!)





Goodnight and may God bless......

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