It's no secret that I am a huge fan of legendary actor Dick Van Dyke. I have loved and admired him since I was four-years-old and watched Mary Poppins for the first time (Bert was my favorite character). Since then, anything that he has been in, I have watched it (even when he was the killer in those episodes of Columbo and Matlock).
When I was 13, Nick at Nite starting airing reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and I sat down every night to watch a (new to me) episode. Back then I recorded them on my trusty VCR (oh yes kids, before DVRs and instant online streaming, we relied on these antique devices to record our shows). You had to make sure that you had enough room on the video tape before you started your recording, and if you started recording a show before you got home, you had to wait for it to be over to start watching it. There was no starting the show while it was still recording. The struggle was real.
Anyways, I now own all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show on DVD, although most of the time I watch them on Netflix streaming (because it's easier than getting up to switch out the DVDs- yes I'm lazy). Looking back at my blog posts, I can't believe I've never done a Thursday 13 on my favorite episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show (this was actually really difficult because I love them all- it's hard only picking 13). If I have a bad day, watching a few episodes of this show always cheers me up (while eating a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream, of course). So, here they are, in no particular order, my 13 Favorite episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. If you click on the episode title, it should take you to view it on Hulu (the free portion). Some episodes are also available on YouTube. Seriously, if you have never seen this show and need to laugh, check these out!
1. The Ghost of A. Chantz: After a mix up by Mel (Richard Deacon) for reservations at a lodge, Rob (Dick Van Dyke), Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), Sally (Rose Marie), and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) are forced to spend a frightening night in a cabin that has not been used in years and is rumored to be haunted.
This was one of my favorites growing up, maybe because I like ghost stories. Dick Van Dyke makes being scared so funny.
2. I Am My Brother's Keeper/ The Sleeping Brother: Rob's brother Stacey (Jerry Van Dyke) has a two week furlough and sends Rob a telegram that he's coming for a visit. Rob isn't thrilled. He explains to Laura that his shy brother has a problem- he's a somnambulist. And Stacey's a great performer when he's asleep. How can Rob get Stacey to perform a great audition for Alan Brady (Carl Reiner) while Stacey is awake?
This is actually two episodes, but since it was a two-part episode, I'm counting them as one. This was the first time that Dick Van Dyke's real life brother Jerry portrayed Rob's brother Stacey on the show. This episode was based on true facts. Jerry Van Dyke actually did have sleepwalking issues when he was younger. Jerry Van Dyke is also hilarious, so the two brothers in one episode made this one great and a definite must-see! Fun side note: Years later in the 90s on Dick Van Dyke's show Diagnosis Murder (which yes, I own on DVD), Jerry Van Dyke portrayed the brother of Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke's character) who suffered from a sleepwalking condition.
3. My Husband Is Not A Drunk: A hypnotist visits the Petrie dinner party where Rob accidentally picks up a post-hypnotic suggestion.
Dick Van Dyke is a physical comedy genius. I couldn't find a gif from this particular episode, so I'm posting this one. :)
4. That's My Boy??: During a flashback about his early days as a parent, Rob recounts why he believed Laura and he brought home a baby belonging to someone else.
I've heard in interviews that a scene in this particular episode got the longest laugh from the studio audience out of any episode. They had to edit out some of the laughter because it went on so long.
5. A Bird in the Head Hurts: Ritchie (Larry Matthews) claims he keeps being attacked by a giant woodpecker.
Larry Matthews did a great job portraying Rob and Laura's son Ritchie on the show. This is one of the handful of "Ritchie-based" episodes.
6. My Neighbor's Husband's Other Life: Rob and Laura spot their neighbor Jerry Helper (Jerry Paris) at a fancy restaurant with a pretty blonde. They suspect him of having an affair, and his lack of candor seems to confirm their fears. They try to squirm out a confession and save his marriage to Millie (Ann Morgan Guilbert).
I love episodes that involve the Petries' neighbors, Jerry and Millie Helper.
7. It May Look Like A Walnut: Rob enjoys a scary televised sci-fi movie while Laura cowers in fear from it, but the next day details of that movie, where Earthlings are being taken over, appear to be coming true.
This is probably one of the most famous episodes. The great actor Danny Thomas guest stars in this episode. It also has the very famous scene involving Mary Tyler Moore.
8. The Great Petrie Fortune: Rob inherits an old roll-top desk from his late great-uncle Hezekiah that contains "wealth" of some sort that is hinted at in a song.
Dick Van Dyke plays the part of two roles in this episode, Rob and his great-uncle Hezekiah. Mary Poppins wasn't the only time he dressed up in "old man" makeup. :)
9. Dear Sally Rogers: For a laugh, Sally advertises for a husband on national television. Among the numerous humorous responses, one serious reply stands out.
I love Rose Marie and always enjoy Sally-centered episodes. She was trying to make it as a comedian in what was then a "man's world". She was awesome at it. The older I get, the more I can relate to Sally's dating woes. Lol.
10. Uhny Uftz: While suffering from exhaustion at the office, Rob sees a flying saucer. Try as he might, nobody believes him.
I've talked to other people who watched this show, and this is one that not a lot of people remember. I think it's a great episode. A little sci-fi and comedy all rolled into one!
11. Long Nights Journey Into Day: During the Petrie-Helper fishing trip, a cold sidelines Laura. Home alone, every little bump in the night raises fearful eyebrows. Millie's return to keep her company makes things worse.
This was another one of my favorites growing up, mainly because I hated being home alone (little did I know I would one day be living by myself). Lol. When I got my first apartment without a roommate, I acted very similar to Laura (being afraid of every little noise or "bump" in the night). I never stacked cans in front of my front door, but I used to put a chair under the doorknob.
12. The Man From My Uncle: Having G-Men use their house to stake-out a neighbor brings out the little boy in Rob, who eagerly wants to insinuate himself in a spy game.
I honestly couldn't remember this episode when I first watched my DVDs. Perhaps Nick at Nite never aired it. I was excited to have a "new to me" episode to watch!
13. Buddy Sorrell Man and Boy: Buddy's nervous behavior, testiness, and evasive lying lead Rob and Sally to to think he's seeing a psychiatrist, or worse, cheating on Pickles (his wife).
Morey Amsterdam was another comic genius. I've read that he would improv a lot of lines that would have the rest of the cast rolling on the floor with laughter.
I hope you've enjoyed my list! I'm serious about checking out this show if you have never seen it. It's on Hulu and Netflix instant streaming.