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L E’s Stories – “A Chimney Sweep’s Lucky As Lucky Can Be” – Salute To Dick Van Dyke: A Comedian And Entertainer Of The Highest Order

Dick Van Dyke is an American actor, comedian, writer, singer….and dancer….whose award-winning career has spanned seven decades….which is basically Bone Daddy’s entire life….so, that fact alone makes Van Dyke worthy of me telling his story today….cuz over the course of BD life, he has been entertained on many many occasions on television and “the silver screen”…..while performing comedy skits, doing song and dance music, performing drama on Broadway or delivering feats of physical comedy….therefore, Dick Van Dyke has brought many “chuckles and belly laughs” to our original Sportsphile….while leaving lasting impressions of joyful moments like when the chimney sweeps sang and danced on the rooftops of London while performing “Step In Time” in the memorable movie, Mary Poppins.                                                        

Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke – “Step In Time” – From The Movie “Mary Poppins”                                                          

Comedy – 1947 To Present – Special Film – Dick Van Dyke Biography And Tribute

Van Dyke first gained recognition on radio and Broadway….then he became known for his role as Rob Petrie on the CBS television sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show….which ran from 1961 to 1966…..plus he gained significant popularity for roles in the musical films Bye Bye Birdie in 1963….Mary Poppins in 1964….and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968.  His other prominent film appearances include roles in The Comic in 1969)….Dick Tracy in 1990….Curious George in 2006….Night at the Museum in 2006…..Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014….and Mary Poppins Returns in 2018.  Other prominent TV roles include the leads in The New Dick Van Dyke Show from 1971 to 1974….Diagnosis: Murder from 1993 to 2001….and Murder 101 from 2006 thru 2008….in which both co-starred his son Barry.                                                                         

Music – 1963 – Dick Van Dyke & Janet Leigh – “Put On A Happy Face” – From The Movie “Bye Bye Birdie”                  

Van Dyke is the recipient of five prime time Emmy Awards….a Tony Award……and a Grammy Award…..and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995…..as he received the Screen Actors Guild’s highest honor, the SAG Life Achievement Award, in 2013…..while he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard….and has also been recognized as a Disney Legend.                                                      

Music – 1968 – Dick Van Dyke & Sally ann Howes – “Music Box Dance” – From Movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Dick is the older brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke (1931–2018)….who sometimes appeared as his brother in The Dick Van Dyke Show….but is best known for a role in the TV series Coach.  Van Dyke is a Dutch  surname….albeit he has English, Irish and Scottish ancestry as well….as his family line traces back to Mayflower passenger John Alden.  Van Dyke’s mother’s family was very religious….and for a brief period in his youth, he considered a career in ministry….although a drama class in high school convinced him that his true calling was as a professional entertainer.  In his autobiography, he wrote, “I suppose that I never completely gave up my childhood idea of being a minister. Only the medium and the message changed. I have still endeavored to touch people’s souls, to raise their spirits and put smiles on their faces.”….and even after the launch of his career as an entertainer, he taught Sunday school in the Presbyterian Church….where he was an elder….as he continued to read such theologians as Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer…..who helped explain in practical terms the relevance of religion in everyday life.                                                                                                                                                        

Comedy – 1947 To 2020 – Special Interview – “Fun With Dick Van Dyke And Jerry Van Dyke”
 

Van Dyke left high school in 1944, his senior year, intending to join the United States Army Air Forces for pilot training during World War II. Denied enlistment several times for being underweight, he was eventually accepted for service as a radio announcer before transferring to the Special Services and entertaining troops in the continental United States.  He received his high school diploma in 2004 at the age of 78.                                                                                                                                                                           

Comedy – 1962 – Special Comedy Monologue – Dick Van Dyke As A TV Set

During the late 1940’s, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois….. when In 1947, he was persuaded by pantomime performer Phil Erickson to form a comedy duo with him called “Eric and Van—the Merry Mutes.” ….as the team toured the West Coast nightclub circuit…. while performing a mime act and lip synching to old 78 records….when they brought their act to Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1950’s….and performed a local television show featuring original skits and music called “The Merry Mutes”.                                  

Comedy – 1963 – The Dick Van Dyke Show – “The Longest Laugh”

 

Comedy – 1960 – The Perry Como Show – With Dick Van Dyke Comedy Routine – “Gunfight At High Noon”                

In November 1959, Van Dyke made his Broadway debut in The Girls Against the Boys…..then he then played the lead role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, which ran from April 14, 1960, to October 7, 1961.  In a May 2011 interview with Rachael Ray, Van Dyke said that when he auditioned for a smaller part in the show he had no experience as a dancer….and that after he sang his audition song, he did an impromptu soft-shoe out of sheer nervousness….when Gower Champion, the show’s director and choreographer, was watching, and promptly went up on stage to inform Van Dyke he had the lead role.  An astonished Van Dyke protested that he could not dance….to which Champion replied….“We’ll teach you”…..as that musical won four Tony awards including Van Dyke’s Best Featured Actor Tony in 1961…..then in 1980, Van Dyke appeared in the title role in the first Broadway revival of The Music Man.                       

Music – 1980 – Broadway Show “The Music Man” With Meg Bussert & Dick Van Dyke Performing “Marian”            

Van Dyke’s start in television was with WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6 (NBC)….while 1st as a single comedian….and later as emcee of a comedy program.  Van Dyke’s 1st network TV appearance was with Dennis James on James’ Chance of a Lifetime in 1954…..then he later appeared in two episodes of The Phil Silvers Show during its 1957–58 season…..and he also appeared early in his career on ABC’s The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom and  NBC’s The Polly Bergen Show.  During this time a friend from the Army was working as an executive for CBS television…..who recommended Van Dyke to that network…..and out of this came a 7-year contract with the network.  During an interview on NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! program, Van Dyke said he was the anchorman for the CBS morning show during this period with Walter Cronkite as his newsman.                                                                                                             

Comedy – 1965 – The Dick Van Dyke Show – “Drunk Uncle Impression”

 

Comedy – 1963 – The Dick Van Dyke Show – The Christmas Show With The Allen Brady Chorus

From 1961 to 1966, Van Dyke starred in the CBS sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which he portrayed a comedy writer named Rob Petrie. Originally the show was supposed to have Carl Reiner as the lead but CBS insisted on recasting and Reiner chose Van Dyke to replace him in the role.  Complementing Van Dyke was a veteran cast of comic actors including Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Paris, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Richard Deacon and Carl Reiner (as Alan Brady)….as well as 23-year-old Mary Tyler Moore….who played Rob’s wife Laura Petrie.  Van Dyke won three Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series….and the series received four Emmy Awards as Outstanding Comedy Series From 1971 to 1974, Van Dyke starred in an unrelated sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which he portrayed a local television talk show host…..and although the series was developed by Carl Reiner and starred Hope Lange as his wife ….and he received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance…. the fact is the show was less successful than its predecessor….and Van Dyke pulled the plug on the show after just three seasons.   In 1973, Van Dyke voiced his animated likeness for the October 27, 1973 installment of Hanna-Barbera’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, “Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke,” the series’ final first-run episode. The following year, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his role as an alcoholic businessman in the television movie The Morning After in 1974….after which he revealed that he had recently overcome a real-life drinking problem…..while saying that he was an alcoholic for 25 years.  That same year he guest-starred as a murderous photographer on an episode of ColumboNegative Reaction.                                                                                                                                             

Comedy – 1961 To 1966 – Special Montage Of The Dick Van Dyke Show

 

 Comedy – 1965 – The Dick Van Dyke Show –“Coast To Coast Big Mouth”                                                                

Van Dyke returned to comedy in 1976 with the sketch comedy show Van Dyke and Company….which co-starred Andy Kaufman and Super Dave Osborne…..when despite being canceled after three months, the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety Series.  After a few guest appearances on the long-running comedy-variety series The Carol Burnett Show…..when Van Dyke became a regular on the show in the fall of 1977…..however, he only appeared in half of the episodes of the show’s final season….and for the next decade, he appeared mostly in TV movies….in which one atypical role was as a murdering judge on the 2nd episode of the TV series Matlock in 1986 starring Andy Griffith…..then in 1987, he guest-starred in an episode of Airwolf, with his son Barry Van Dyke….who was the lead star of the show’s 4th and final season on USA Network. In 1989, he guest-starred on the NBC comedy series The Golden Girls portraying a lover of Beatrice Arthur’s character…..which earned him his first Emmy Award nomination since 1977.                                                                                                                                   

Comedy – 1977 – Episode Of The Golden Girls – “We’re Going To Jail” – With Dick Van Dyke


Comedy – 1976 – Dick Van Dyke Variety Sketch Show – With Special Guest Lucille Ball

His film work affected his TV career…..as the reviews he received for his role as D.A. Fletcher in Dick Tracy led him to star as the character Dr. Mark Sloan 1st in an episode of Jake and the Fatman  ….then in a series of TV movies on CBS that became the foundation for his popular television drama Diagnosis: Murder….which was a series that ran from 1993 to 2001….with son Barry Van Dyke co-starring in the role of Dr. Sloan’s son Lieutenant Detective Steve Sloan…..and also starring on the same show was daytime soap actress Victoria Rowell as Dr. Sloan’s pathologist/medical partner….Dr. Amanda Bentley…..and Charlie Schlatter in the role of Dr. Sloan’s student, Dr. Jesse Travis…..whereas, Dick Van Dyke continued to find television work after the show ended….which included a dramatically and critically successful performance of The Gin Game…..which was produced for television in 2003 that reunited him with Mary Tyler Moore.  In 2003, he portrayed a doctor on Scrubs. A 2004 special of The Dick Van Dyke Show titled The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited was heavily promoted as the 1st new episode of the classic series to be shown in 38 years…..when he and his surviving cast members recreated their roles…..and albeit was nominated for a prime time Emmy, the program was roundly panned by critics.  In 2006 he guest-starred as college professor Dr. Jonathan Maxwell for a series of Murder 101 mystery films on the Hallmark Channel.                                                                                                                                                       

Comedy & Music – 1962 – The Dick Van Dyke Show Cast Sings – “I Am A Fine Musician”

 

Comedy – 1962 – The Dick Van Dyke Show – “The Curious Thing About Women”
 

Van Dyke began his film career by playing the role of Albert J. Peterson in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie in 1963….when despite his unhappiness with the adaptation due to its focus differing from the stage version in that the story now centered on a previously supporting character….still the film was a success.  That same year, Van Dyke was cast in two major roles….with one as the chimney sweep Bert, and as bank chairman Mr. Dawes Senior, in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins in 1964…..when for his scenes as the chairman, he was heavily costumed to look much older….and was credited in that role as “Navckid Keyd” (at the end of the credits, the letters unscramble into “Dick Van Dyke”).  Van Dyke’s attempt at a cockney accent has been lambasted as one of the worst accents in film history, cited by actors since as an example of how not to sound.  In a 2003 poll by Empire magazine of the worst-ever accents in film….he came in 2nd to Sean Connery in The Untouchables, despite Connery winning an Academy Award for that performance.  According to Van Dyke, his accent coach was Irish, who “didn’t do an accent any better than I did”….and that no one alerted him to how bad it was during the production.  Still, Mary Poppins was successful on release and its appeal has endured….as the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee” which Van Dyke performed in Mary Poppins, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the Sherman Brothers, the film’s songwriting duo.                                                                                                                                                          

Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke – “Chim Chim Cher-ee” – From The Movie “Mary Poppins”

 

Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke & Julie Andrews – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – From The Movie Mary Poppins                                                                                                                                                                        

Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke – “The One Man Band” – From The Movie “Mary Poppins”                                               

Many of the comedy films Van Dyke starred in throughout the 1960’s were relatively successful at the box office, including What a Way to Go! with Shirley MacLaine, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.FitzwillyThe Art of Love with James Garner and Elke Sommer, Some Kind of a NutNever a Dull Moment with Edward G. Robinson and Divorce American Style with Debbie Reynolds and Jean Simmons.  But he also starred as Caractacus Pott (with his native accent, at his own insistence, despite the English setting) in the successful musical version of Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968….which co-starred Sally Ann Howes….and featured the same songwriters The Sherman Brothers….and the choreographers Marc Breaux and Dee Dee Wood as Mary Poppins.                                                                                                                        

Comedy & Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke & Julie Andrews – “The Penguin Dance” – From The Movie “Mary Poppins”                                                                                                                                                                               

In 1969, Van Dyke appeared in the comedy-drama The Comic….which was written and directed by Carl Reiner…..as Van Dyke portrayed a self-destructive silent film era comedian who struggles with alcoholism, depression and his own rampant ego.  Reiner wrote the film especially for Van Dyke….who often spoke of his admiration for silent film era comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and his hero Stan Laurel.   Also in 1969, Van Dyke played Rev. Clayton Brooks, a small-town minister who leads his Iowa town to quit smoking for 30 days to win $25 million (equal to $174,296,733 today) from a tobacco company in “Cold Turkey”….albeit that film was not released until 1971.                                                                     

Movie – 1969- Movie Clip From “The Comic” – Starring Dick Van Dyke

On Larry King Live, Van Dyke mentioned he turned down the lead role in The Omen which was played by Gregory Peck…..as he also mentioned his dream role would have been the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.  Twenty-one years later in 1990, Van Dyke….whose usual role had been the amiable hero….as he took a small but villainous turn as the crooked DA Fletcher in Warren Beatty’s film Dick Tracy.  Van Dyke returned to motion pictures in 2006 with Curious George as Mr. Bloomsberry…..and as villain Cecil Fredericks in the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum  He reprised the role in a cameo for the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009…. but it was cut from the film.  It can be found in the special features on the DVD release. He also played the character again in the 3rd film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014…..then in 2018, Van Dyke portrayed Mr. Dawes Jr. in Mary Poppins Returns…..as he had previously portrayed both Bert and Mr. Dawes, Sr. (Mr. Dawes, Jr.’s late father), in the original film.                                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1964 – Dick Van Dyke & David Tomlinson Sing “Tuppance” – From The Movie “Mary Poppins”

 

Movie & Music – 2018 – Clip From Movie “Mary Poppins Returns – Dick Van Dyke As Mr. Dawes Jr.

Van Dyke received a Grammy Award in 1964, along with Julie Andrews, for his performance on the soundtrack to Mary Poppins In 1970, he published Faith, Hope and Hilarity: A Child’s Eye View of Religion a book of humorous anecdotes based largely on his experiences as a Sunday School teacher.  Van Dyke was principal in “KXIV Inc.” and owned 1400 AM KXIV in Phoenix (later KSUN) from 1965 to 1985.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Comedy – 1974 – The Dick Cavett Show – Interview With Comedian Dick Van Dyke As He Talks Openly About His Alcoholism

As an a cappella enthusiast, he has sung in a group called “Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix” since September 2000. The quartet has performed several times in Los Angeles as well as on Larry King Live, The First Annual TV Land Awards….and he sang the national anthem at three Los Angeles Lakers games including a nationally televised NBA Finals performance on NBC.  Dick Van Dyke was made an honorary member of the Barbershop Harmony Society in 1999.                                                                                                       

Music – 2016 – Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix Live At Denny’s Restaurant Sing “Chitty Bang Bang”                        

Van Dyke became a computer animation enthusiast after purchasing a Commodore Amiga in 1991. He is credited with the creation of 3D-rendered effects used on Diagnosis: Murder and The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited. Van Dyke has displayed his computer-generated imagery work at SIGGRAPH, and continues to work with LightWave 3D.                                                                                                                                                        

Comedy – 2016 – Dick Van Dyke Interview – “Create Until You Die”                                                                            

In 2010, Van Dyke appeared on a children’s album titled Rhythm Train, with Red Hot Chili Peppers  drummer Chad Smith and singer Leslie Bixler…..as Van Dyke raps on one of the album’s tracks….which speaks to just how talented of an entertainer this man was…..and when you watch the video, you get to see the joy that this man exudes when he is working…..for it seems to this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile that Van Dyke would have been a joy to work with on the set.  I have to say that the entertainers of the Greatest Generation…..as well as those from the Baby Boomer Generation…..have blessed the world with multi-faceted talents that included comedy, song and dance, drama and mime….and we at ImaSportsphile are thrilled to be conserving video examples of their talents.

                        

Music – 2010 – Leslie Bixlet + Dick Van Dyke – “The Rhythm Train” – As Van Dyke Raps

In 2017, Van Dyke released his first solo album since 1963’s Songs I Like. The album, Step (Back) In Time, was produced by Bill Bixler (who also played sax), with arrangements by Dave Enos (who also played bass) and features noted musicians John Ferraro (Drums), Tony Guerrero (Trumpet & Vocal duet), Mark LeBrun (Piano), Charley Pollard (Trombone) and Leslie Bixler (Vocals). Step (Back) In Time was released by BixMix Records and showcases Van Dyke in a jazz and big band setting on classic songs from the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s.  Van Dyke recorded a duet single for Christmas 2017 with actress Jane Lynch. The song, “We’re Going Caroling,” was written and produced by Tony Guerrero for Lynch’s KitschTone Records label as a digital-only release.                                                                                                                           

Music – 2017 – Dick Van Dyke & Jane Lynch Duet – “We’re Going Caroling”                                                              

When Dick Van Dyke’s entertainment career is finally “said and done”…. which most likely will be when he is “dean and gone”….one thing for sure will be said of him…..that he left a lasting legacy of the wide spectrum of his talents….for he was a true entertainer of the highest order….as he brought laughter in abundance….with joy and memories abounding….for we here at ImaSportsphile feel that the videos provided in this story are evidence of Dick Van Dyke’s talents…..and for these things we are forever grateful.

 

Comedy & Movies – 2020 – The Movie “Mary Poppins Returns” Highlights The Presence Of Dick Van Dyke In The Film

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