Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book of the Month: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business

Written by one of televisions most beloved funny men, Dick Van Dyke's autobiography, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, covers everything from his early days on radio and television at its birth, his stint in WWII, the beloved TV show named after him, meeting silent film stars Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton, his Disney films, the rocky 60s, his personal struggles, and his later work, including his fairly recent role in Night at the Museum where he impressed the cast by doing most of his own stunts.

With a forward by Carl Reiner, the 280 page book is a quick and easy read (I will admit though, I skipped/skimmed the later chapters on his struggles and divorce as I never like to read that sort of thing) and contains stories that Dick Van Dyke fans won't want to miss. I especially enjoyed reading about The Dick Van Dyke Show.

For example:

Many of the episodes were based on actual things that had happened to different members of the cast. When Dick told about how his younger brother Jerry used to sleepwalk, it was written into a two-part episode with Jerry Van Dyke as the guest star.

Dicks wife Margie rarely came to the set because she said he acted pretty much the same as he did at home.

The cast knew from the beginning that creato Carl Reiner intended to stop after 5 seasons. The show was canceled after the first season due to a bad time slot (they were competing with the hugely popular Perry Como show) but after it found its audience in summer re-runs, it was picked back up.

Did you know there are words to the shows theme song? They were written by Morley Amsterdam, who played Buddy Sorrell on the show.

So you think that you got trouble
Well trouble's a bubble
So tell old Mister Trouble to get lost.

Why not hold your head up high, and
Stop cryin'
Start tryin'
And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed.

When you find the joy of liven'
Is lovin'
And given'
You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed.

A smile's just a frown
That's turned upside down
So smile, and that frown
Will defrost
And dont forget to keep your fingers crossed.

The Petrie's last name was supposed to be pronounce Pee-tree but Dick Van Dyke mispronounced it and no one corrected him.

The title of the show came about at the last minute. However, everyone was worried that no one would watch the show as Dick Van Dyke was a household name. Rose Marie, who played Sally Rogers, even quipped, "What is a Dick Van Dyke?" (In the walnut episode, guest star Danny Thomas says, "What is a Danny Thomas?").


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