(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Part 2 of TVWriter™ Classic TV Day. Part 1 is below it…because, as strange as it may be, that’s how the interwebs work.)
The NEW Dick Van Dyke Show – 50 Years Later
by Herbie J Pilato
Ten years after The Dick Van Dyke Show debuted on CBS, October 3, 1961, The New Dick Van Dyke Show premiered on CBS, September 18, 1971.
Instead of playing Rob Petrie, a TV comedy/variety writer on The Alan Brady Show, Van Dyke portrayed Dick Preston, the host of his own TV talk show. Instead of being married to Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie, Van Dyke was wed to Hope Lange as Jenny Preston.
The Petries had one son, Ritchie, played by Larry Mathews. The Prestons had two, then three children: the pre-teen Annie played by Angela Powers, a college-age Lucas, played by Michael Shea in the first two years, then Wendell Burton in the final season; Jenny would give birth to a third offspring in the second season.
The Petries lived in New Rochelle, New York, in black and white, for five seasons (until 1966). The Prestons lived in Phoenix, and later, Los Angeles, in color, for three years (until 1974).
Rob Petrie’s co-workers were funny and loyal Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and Richard Deacon. Rob’s neighbors were just as charming and engaging in the form of Jerry Paris and Ann Morgan Guilbert.
Dick Preston’s friends and fellow employees changed over three seasons, but each brought their own personal brand of likability. Marty Brill was Dick Preston’s manager Bernie Davis, who was married to Carol, played by Nancy Dussault. They, along with Fannie Flagg, as Dick’s sister ‘Mike’ Preston, and David Doyle as Ted Atwater, TV station manager, appeared in the first two years.
In the third season, Dick moved to Hollywood, became a star on the fictitious afternoon TV soap opera, Those Who Care, and had a new set of friends and co-workers. Richard Dawson and Chita Rivera (Van Dyke’s friend and former co-star from Broadway’s Bye, Bye Birdie) played neighbors Richard and Connie Richardson.
Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE