Dick Van Dyke & Company
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Following his legendary success in situation comedy, Emmy-winning icon DICK VAN DYKE headlined his own variety show in 1975-76 on NBC-TV. Now available for the first time since they were originally broadcast, these hilarious hours showcase the many wonderful talents of television (The Dick Van Dyke Show) and film (Mary Poppins) legend DICK VAN DYKE, who can sing, dance and bring laughter to audiences of all ages. This complete series collection of VAN DYKE & COMPANY features series regular Andy Kaufman (Taxi). Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave Osbourne (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and an illustrious list of guest performers such as Lucille Ball, Chevy Chase, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, Harvey Korman, Tommy Smothers, Hal Linden, Freddie Prinze, John Byner and Gabe Kaplan, in addition to Dick's old co-stars Mary Tyler Moore and Carl Reiner. Musical guests include Ike & Tina Turner, John Denver, K.C. & The Sunshine Band, Sha Na Na, The Spinners, Bobbie Gentry, The Sylvers, Donna Fargo and Lola Falana. Bonus features: Dick and brother Jerry Van Dyke from the 1967 Dick Van Dyke Monsanto Special and a pair of 1965 Let's Talk To Lucy radio shows where Lucille Ball interviews Dick Van Dyke!
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Top Customer Reviews
A one hour pilot was made and televised on September 20th, 1976, Monday night on NBC. The show included regulars Andy Kaufman, Pat Proft, Marilyn Sokol and the Los Angeles Mime Company to star with Dick Van Dyke in the many humorous sketches. The first guests on this pilot were Chevy Chase and Flip Wilson.
The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy/Variety Series and a Peoples Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer In A New TV Program for Van Dyke. The show was a big hit, but unbelievably canceled after only 3 months. This show featured for the first time ever Super Dave Osbourne and had a regular sketch called The Bright Family, who were not the brightest family in America. There were only two complaints about the show- the theme music and The Los Angeles Mime Company- which the audiences said were both too dull against the high energy Van Dyke.
Sadly, even with fabulous guest stars such as Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Sid Caesar, Mary Tyler Moore, Freddie Prinze, Tom Smothers, Harvey Korman, Lola Falana, Carl Reiner, Hal Linden, John Denver, Flip Wilson, Chevy Chase and more, the one hour show was canceled after only 11 episodes. There were great musical guests as well, such as The Spinners, The Sylvers, Sha Na Na, Bobbie Gentry, K.C. and The Sunshine Band and many more.
Luckily for us Dick Van Dyke and comedy/variety show fans, MPI has put the entire Season 1 on dvd and as always included some great extra bonus features for us to enjoy. The show has been cleaned up and all 11 one-hour episodes are on 4 discs. I can't wait to enjoy Dick Van Dyke and his fabulous guests on September 25, 2012! A Huge Thank You To MPI Home Video for bringing back this Emmy Award winning show that I haven't seen in 36 years!
Here are all 11 Episodes for us to enjoy:
01. 09-20-1976- Flip Wilson and Chevy Chase guest star.
02. 10-07-1976- John Denver guest stars.
03. 10-14-1976- Carl Reiner guest stars.
04. 10-28-1976- Hal Linden and The Sylvers guest star.
05. 11-11-1976- Carol Burnett and Sha Na Na guest star.
06. 11-18-1976- Harvey Korman and Lola Falana guest star.
07. 11-25-1976- Freddie Prinze, George Foreman and The Spinners guest star.
08. 12-02-1976- Sid Caesar and Donna Fargo guest star.
09. 12-09-1976- Lucille Ball and The Lockers guest star.
10. 12-16-1976- Bobbie Gentry and John Byner guest star.
11. 12-30-1976- Tom Smothers, Jim McKay and Sha Na Na guest star.
The series displays Van Dyke's talents as a comedian, singer, and dancer. The production numbers are especially good, though a production tap version of "Put On A Happy Face" (from Bye Bye Birdie), with Dick and his dancers, may have been cut out for legal reasons. I seem to remember this number from VAN DYKE AND COMPANY, but cannot confirm its existence, so it may have been from another show that Van Dyke was on.
The guest stars were quite diverse, from Dick's old TV pals Mary Tyler Moore and Carl Reiner, to the legendary Lucille Ball, and the late Freddie Prinze, who killed himself at a young age; his son, Freddie Prinze, Jr., who did not know his father, has gone on to a successful career in his own right. I also enjoyed the '70s musical acts, such as K.C. And The Sunshine Band, The Sylvers, and The Spinners, though Dick, a product of The Swing Era, does not appear to be comfortable with those groups; the network reportedly booked those acts to bring in "the kids" and hype ratings.
Some of the comedy bits are good, but others are lame. "The Bright Family" sketches, about a family that was not very...well, bright, were okay the first couple of times, but, like the proverbial chewing gum on the bedpost overnight, lose their flavor quickly. And I'm sorry, but I was never a fan of the late Andy Kaufman, whose bits were very annoying - the fake foreign accent gets on my nerves; anybody can lip-sync to a Mighty Mouse record; and doing "impressions" in the same voice doesn't make sense. Andy's Elvis impersonation is first-rate; reportedly, it was the late King Of Rock 'N' Roll's favorite. In one episode, "Elvis" appears in a walk-on cameo, wishing Dick good luck with the series (Dick introduced "Elvis" as his car mechanic); it looked like the real King, not Kaufman, but the book Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music does not list a Presley appearance with Van Dyke.
For the benefit of other reviewers, the sports cut-ins that interrupted certain sketches were a planned part of the show, not real sports events; we will never know if the interrupted sketches were completed (probably not).
Bonus features include two 1965 episodes of Lucille Ball's CBS Radio interview show, LET'S TALK TO LUCY, where Lucy interviews Dick; and an excerpt from a 1968 DICK VAN DYKE SPECIAL on CBS, with Dick's brother Jerry Van Dyke, featuring a nice dance number by Dick, with Jerry playing the banjo. Hopefully, MPI Home Video will make this entire special, as well as other Van Dyke specials, available on DVD in the future.
If you're a Dick Van Dyke fan, you will like this, although it's not as good as other variety shows of the time. It runs out of gas toward the end, so I can understand why the ratings were so low, and NBC pulled the plug on it after only 12 episodes. Changing time slots did not help the show, though.
I'd like to see MPI, if they have the rights, issue two other short-term '70s variety shows on DVD, both originally on CBS: THE JACKSONS and SHIELDS AND YARNELL.
'Seven pre-menu ads is going way, way too far. It is time for consumers to stand up for their rights. Please, please, please write to MPI and complain about this customer abuse. If you don't, we'll just get more and more and more.