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"The Dick Van Dyke Show Season 5" -- A Personal Review


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#1 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 04 2004 - 02:12 AM

THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW: SEASON FIVE

Posted Image

No. of Episodes: 31.
No. of Discs: 5 (Single-Sided; All "Region Free").
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame OAR (1.33:1).
Audio: English only 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono.
Color/B&W: Black-and-White.
Subtitles: None.
Closed Captioned?: No.
MSRP: $69.99.
Release Date: June 29, 2004.

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There have been countless TV shows aired since the "boob tube" was invented, but there's one particular series that entered American living rooms from 1961 to 1966 that stands head and shoulders above 95% of the rest of the pack (in my opinion) -- and it starred a skinny "human waterfall" named Dick Van Dyke and a pretty, toothy, young actress by the name of Mary Tyler Moore. "The Dick Van Dyke Show", created by Carl Reiner, shall forever remain one of finest programs in television history. Very few shows can match it for its just flat-out "entertainment" value, nor for its high re-watchability factor. I watch these Van Dyke episodes often, and have yet to tire of Rob & Laura & Company. These characters are truly in a class by themselves.

Image Entertainment's splendid final effort in its series of Dick Van Dyke Show full-season boxed sets provides viewers with all 31 episodes of the show's fifth and last season (1965-1966), meaning that all 158 classic Van Dyke Show episodes are now available on the DVD-Video format, via the five multi-disc sets distributed by Image Entertainment, Inc.

Congratulations and high praise must go to Image Entertainment for producing five such fine DVD boxed sets, and for getting them onto the market so quickly. Season sets #1 and #2 were both released on October 21, 2003, with subsequent releases occurring on February 24, April 27, and June 29 of 2004. So, in just the short space of 8 months, every single episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show has been made available. That timeframe is practically "overnight" when talking of TV products coming out on DVD, especially when considering how sluggish and slow-in-coming some titles have been when it comes to hitting store shelves.

SEASON FIVE --- Most TV shows seem to go downhill in quality (writing-wise) with the passage of time. I do not believe such a malady plagued Carl Reiner's baby, "The Dick Van Dyke Show". There are many, many good-as-gold episodes to be found in the cast's swan-song season. Such as: "Coast-To-Coast Big Mouth" (which is among my all-time favorite V.Dyke entries!), "You're Under Arrest", "The Curse Of The Petrie People" (which features Laura dropping "that ugly brooch!" down the kitchen garbage disposal), "Long Night's Journey Into Day", and the final episode of the series to be filmed -- a very funny Western spoof entitled "The Gunslinger".

The overall quality of the writing and the acting in this series was consistently excellent, in my opinion, throughout the entire show's run --- From the perfectly-charming debut episode, "The Sick Boy And The Sitter" (aired October 3, 1961), right through to the final episode, "The Last Chapter", which originally aired on June 1, 1966. (NOTE --- "The Gunslinger", as mentioned above, was actually the cast & crew's final episode filmed. But "The Last Chapter" was the last show to hit the airwaves.)

The episodes on these five "Region Free" discs are presented in their original uncut form (with an average running time of slightly more than 25 minutes each, including all credits).

VIDEO/AUDIO QUALITY --- Excellent (again)! Just like the four sets that preceeded it, the fifth-season episodes look just great on DVD. A few minor blemishes pop up from time to time, but not many. Clarity is just marvelous for a show of its age. The DVD transfers for all five of these stellar Dick Van Dyke Show boxed sets were taken from the original 35-mm. films of the episodes (which have been stored in temperature-controlled vaults in Hollywood). Since the "original" film sources were used here, we see a lot better quality than if second-generation filmed (or taped) source prints had been utilized to create the Digital Masters for these boxed sets. And this extra quality definitely shines through on each of these Image discs.

In the first four Van Dyke seasonal boxed sets, a few episodes suffered from a small amount of video "flickering" (or slight blurriness), as has been discussed here @ HTF in other threads. I've noticed the majority of the episodes affected by this minor flickering/fluttering problem seemed to occur in Season 1. With a few also in Season 2, and even fewer in Seasons 3 and 4.

I've yet to watch every minute of every Season-Five episode, but the shows I've viewed thus far have not had any of the flickering/blurriness problems. Posted Image

Some of the episodes look a bit grainy...but I'm guessing this is grain that's *supposed* to be there (being that the shows were recorded on FILM instead of videotape).

Overall, I'd say the PQ is excellent for Season Five (as well as Seasons One thru Four, too). These programs have probably never looked better than what we see on these DVD-Video discs.

The audio is presented in its original Mono (2.0 Dolby Digital Mono), and merits good marks for clarity as well. I have no trouble hearing any of the snappy dialogue at all. Very good mono sound here. And the audio seems (to me) as if it's been encoded onto the discs at a slightly higher volume level, which I like very much. Posted Image

PACKAGING --- In the previous tradition of these Image sets, the fifth DVD-on-DVD installment gives us a nice sturdy outer slipcase to hold the 5 individual ("ThinPak") plastic cases. The outer slipcase, consistent with Seasons 1 through 4, is presented in the guise of an old-fashioned black-and-white TV set, with an area cut out of the "screen" portion of the television monitor which holds a removable lenticular (3-D type) "motion picture" card, showing an image from the Van Dyke Show. Season Five's 3-D picture shows Rob & Laura Petrie dancing in the living room of the Petrie home. This image comes from the second-season episode, "Ray Murdock's X-Ray".

The "3-D" motion lenticular card used for Season Five really doesn't work all that well. That is -- I find it difficult to move the box around in such a perfect way to make it look like a truly "seamless" piece of motion-picture film. Same with the Season-Four box cover (which has Laura opening the boat in the Petrie living room). That one from Season 4, in fact, is definitely taken from TWO different pieces of film, making a seamless "flow" of the lenticular image difficult to achieve.

To tell the truth, I'd have preferred just an ordinary publicity-style picture for the inside of the "mock TV screens" on the 5 season sets. But, oh well, the box covers are pretty nifty as is; and their uniqueness is also a plus.

Each of the five separate slim cases housing the Van Dyke discs have different cover-art sleeves. These unique cover-art pictures are simply terrific. Information on each disc's episodes is also shown on all the individual cases, with episode numbers, air dates, film dates, a brief program description, and chapter title listings.

A great deal of thought and care obviously went into the packaging design and presentation, and it shows. The makers of these sets knew that many buyers (like myself) would want this classic TV series presented in a way so the sets would be deemed "collector's items". And Image's attractive, user-friendly, and (above all) durable way of packaging these Dick Van Dyke Show sets have not disappointed. The "collectability" feel is definitely there in each of these boxed sets.

MENUS --- Straight-forward and to-the-point. Simplicity at its finest. Which is just fine by me. No fancy, slow-to-get-there, animated transitions from one menu to another. The Season-Five Main Menu is structured the same as the previous sets in this series. Upon initial disc load-up, the show's theme song plays (one time), then stops. But even this can easily be quickly bypassed by pressing "Top Menu" on your remote. Each of that disc's 6 or 7 episodes are listed on screen right from the Main Menu (plus added options at the bottom of the screen for "Special Features" and "Play All Episodes").

Each episode has its own sub-menu, with chapter listing, plus an "Extras" area on some episode sub-menus, which will take you to any bonus features connected with that particular program.


BONUS FEATURES .................................................. ..........

>> 2 Audio Commentaries with Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke (for the episodes "Coast-To-Coast Big Mouth" and "The Gunslinger").

>> 1 Audio Commentary featuring the trio of Rose Marie ["Sally Rogers"], Larry Mathews ["Ritchie Petrie"], and Bill Idelson ["Herman Glimsher"] -- for the episode "Dear Sally Rogers"). .... NOTE: The packaging (as well as the info on the disc in question) claims that Ann Morgan Guilbert ["Millie Helper"] provides the third voice for this audio commentary track (instead of Larry Mathews). This information is incorrect. Guilbert isn't on this commentary. It's Mathews instead.

A few more commentaries by Carl & Dick would have been nice for Season #5. But, I'm just wondering if possibly one of the reasons we didn't get more than just the 2 from those two men is because they might have been getting just a wee bit sick & tired of doing them when it came around to recording the commentaries for this final, fifth-season compilation. (They're not any spring chickens, ya know.) Posted Image

Anyway, I'll take whatever they want to give us (obviously Posted Image). And listening to Dick and Carl Reiner on these Commentary Tracks is always fun. They seem to be having quite a bit of fun as they watch these episodes again for the first time in many moons (so they said).

>> Clip from the April 1969 TV Special "Dick Van Dyke And The Other Woman" (Length -- 6:57). .... This bonus is priceless! It's not a song-and-dance clip with Dick and Mary (probably because no music rights could be secured for such a clip), but instead a "look back" at "The Dick Van Dyke Show". A film clip is provided from the episode "The Impractical Joke", and you'll appreciate the excellent picture quality on these boxed sets even more after seeing this clip, which obviously hasn't been re-mastered or cleaned up too much. But what makes this bonus feature priceless is an "outtake" from the fifth-season episode "You Ought To Be In Pictures", which is actually an "alternate take" of a scene in that episode. In this hilarious "alternate" version of the scene, Rob (Dick) deliberately goes way "over the top", as he overacts, cries, and carries on in baby-like fashion. You'll be rolling on the floor after seeing this! Posted Image I'm very glad this "outtake" clip was provided for this DVD release.

>> Video footage from the 2003 "TV Land Awards" (9:36). .... This is a series of acceptance speeches made by the Van Dyke Show's cast members. Carl Reiner steals the moment here, with several humorous quips, proving that his comic mind was still razor-sharp even as he approached the age of 81. Posted Image

>> 1992 video clip from "Comic Relief" (6:12). .... This clip features Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams, along with the main cast members of the Van Dyke Show. This is a "scripted" plea for donations to "Comic Relief" by the Van Dyke cast. It certainly doesn't have a "spontaneous" feel at all. But it's still nice to see the gang together again after so many years off the air.

>> Sketch featuring Dick with "Mama" Cass Elliot (5:33). .... This comedy sketch (in color) comes from Cass Elliot's 1973 TV Special "Don't Call Me Mama Anymore". .... Is the skit about "Romeo & Juliet" or "Laurel & Hardy"? Watch and find out. (It's a bit of both, actually.) Posted Image

>> Cast interview footage (snipped from the 1994 CBS-TV Special, "The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered").

>> CBS promo for "The New Dick Van Dyke Show" (1971-1974). .... In addition to the 30-second video clip advertising the show, this bonus also offers up some very interesting information about Dick's short-lived second sitcom, via a series of text screens (including cast lists). Very informative and well-done.

>> A "TV-Land" promo clip for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (0:30).

>> Emmy Awards footage. ... We get to see three separate awards dished up in these color clips from the Emmy telecast of May 22, 1966. Picture quality is pretty good. Not perfect, but certainly good enough. (And check out the hairdo on Mary Tyler Moore!)

>> Don Rickles Remembers His 2-Part Episode (7:05). .... The two-parter in question, which had Rickles (as "Lyle Delp") robbing the Petries in an elevator (at "comb-point"), was actually from season four. But this look back by Rickles is included in the Season 5 set. Carl Reiner introduces this bonus segment, telling us it's kind of a "flashback" to the Season 4 DVD boxed set (a la several of the Van Dyke Show episodes over the course of the series, which featured flashbacks). Posted Image LOL! Posted Image

There's not really too much of substance on this Don Rickles' bonus feature. We see scenes from the two-part episode while Rickles (off camera) comments on the shows, much like how a regular Episode Commentary Track would be. Don doesn't say much here. I wish he'd gone into more detail about the filming of this excellent two-part program.

>> Theatrical Trailer (in B&W) for "The Art Of Love", a 1965 feature film co-starring Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner (0:47).

>> Photo Galleries for many episodes (although there aren't as many here as in the other seasonal sets). .... Each of the Photo Galleries is on a "timed" self-running track, but each picture can be "paused" for a longer look. One of the Galleries shows a CBS-TV "Promo Card" that was used by the network to advertise the series.

>> Four-page collectible booklet, which includes Van Dyke Show facts, photos, and mini-bio pieces on Richard Deacon and Carl Reiner.

>> Sheet Music to the Van Dyke Show Theme Song (this very minor extra is just a photo of the sheet music; it takes up one text screen).

EASTER EGGS --- Several "Nick At Nite" TV promos are buried as "Eggs". There's at least one Egg on each of the five discs in this set. Go to any of the episode sub-menus and start scrolling down the various chapters. With any chapter highlighted (it varies by Egg), click "Left Arrow" on the remote control. If there's an "Egg" there, the "highlighted" area will move from the chapter title to the upper right-hand corner of the screen (where there's an artist drawing of Dick Van Dyke). If you see a "glow" around Mr. Van Dyke's head, you know you've hit an Easter Egg. Press "Enter" or "Play" at this stage, and be taken to the Nick @ Nite promotional clips.

Image Entertainment and Paul Brownstein Productions have done a bang-up job of unearthing gobs of great bonus features to place on the five "Dick Van Dyke Show" seasonal boxed sets. About the only thing missing that would have been nice to have on these sets are the many bloopers and outtakes from the series. (Although the inclusion on this fifth-season collection of that previously-mentioned "alternate take" from one episode is certainly better than nothing.)

I have a poor-quality VHS tape that contains approximately 25 minutes of Van Dyke Show bloopers and outtakes, so I know that many bloopers do exist in the vaults--somewhere.

Such deleted material would have capped off these DVD-on-DVD sets very nicely, IMO. But even without them, the totality of the bonus material included on the five boxed sets is really quite remarkable (considering the age of this TV program).

I believe, in fact, the only reason that the blooper reels were not presented as a part of these sets is because of Carl Reiner's own desire that they not be put on the DVDs. Carl has stated that he'd rather not have his famous Van Dyke Show cast be seen "out of character" while filming the episodes, which DOES happen often in the batch of outtakes I've seen via my VHS cassette.

So, it's only proper to honor Mr. Reiner's wishes on this matter, which obviously was done with regard to the final DVD products that have been placed on the market.

But, who knows, maybe Carl will change his mind about the bloopers some day in the future; and perhaps those very funny outtakes will one day end up on the DVD-Video format. (I'm hoping so; so I can replace that awful VHS copy of bloopers.) Posted Image

BLOOPER ADDENDUM -- The video below contains approximately 4.5 minutes of "Van Dyke Show" bloopers and outtakes:



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Here's a complete Episode Guide for Season Five of "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Creator Carl Reiner and Company produced thirty-one programs during the fifth and final year of this smart CBS sitcom. All of them look terrific in this multiple-disc DVD collector's set.

This episode list reflects the order in which the programs are presented within this DVD collection, arranged in sequence by "Production Date" (the date of filming the show), which does not always necessarily match the "Air Date" chronology.

The original CBS-TV "Air Dates" are listed in parenthesis:

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THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW -- SEASON #5 (1965-1966):

128. Coast-To-Coast Big Mouth (First Aired: 9/15/1965)
129. Uhny Uftz (9/29/1965)
130. The Ugliest Dog In The World (10/6/1965)
131. No Rice At My Wedding (10/13/1965)
132. Draw Me A Pear (10/20/1965)
133. The Great Petrie Fortune (10/27/1965)
134. Odd But True (11/3/1965)
135. Viva Petrie (11/10/1965)
136. Go Tell The Birds And The Bees (11/17/1965)
137. Body And Sol (11/24/1965)
138. See Rob Write, Write Rob Write (12/8/1965)
139. You're Under Arrest (12/15/1965)
140. Fifty-Two, Forty-Five Or Work (12/29/1965)
141. Who Stole My Watch? (1/5/1966)
142. Bad Reception In Albany (3/9/1966)
143. I Do Not Choose To Run (1/19/1966) **
144. The Making Of A Councilman (1/26/1966) **
145. The Curse Of The Petrie People (2/2/1966)
146. The Bottom Of Mel Cooley's Heart (2/9/1966)
147. Remember The Alimony (2/16/1966)
148. Dear Sally Rogers (2/23/1966)
149. Buddy Sorrell, Man And Boy (3/2/1966)
150. Long Night's Journey Into Day (5/11/1966)
151. Talk To The Snail (3/23/1966)
152. A Day In The Life Of Alan Brady (4/6/1966)
153. Obnoxious, Offensive Egomaniac Etc. (4/13/1966)
154. The Man From My Uncle (4/20/1966)
155. You Ought To Be In Pictures (4/27/1966)
156. Love Thy Other Neighbor (5/4/1966)
157. The Last Chapter (6/1/1966)
158. The Gunslinger (5/25/1966)

** = Two-Part Episode

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This fifth DVD set from Image Entertainment follows in the stylish and plush footsteps of each of its four foregoers, featuring cool packaging and tons of bonus features. If you've got the other sets in this series, you're gonna want this one too...without a doubt!

Van Dyke Show Trivia & Tidbits (And Guest Star Info) ...................................

>> The show walked away with four more Emmy Awards for its fifth and final season on the air, running its final total to 15 Emmys won during the show's 1961-1966 network run. The series copped at least one Emmy prize each and every year it was in production; and won a minimum of two of the coveted TV trophies during each of its last four seasons.

>> Character actor Richard Deacon ("Mel Cooley"), who sadly passed away at age 63 in August 1984, was one busy actor during several of the years he was doing the Dick Van Dyke series. In addition to being an integral (and extremely funny) part of the excellent cast on the Van Dyke Show, Richard, at the same time, was also co-starring on another top sitcom of the era, "Leave It To Beaver", in which he played the rather snobbish and overbearing "Fred Rutherford". He appeared in both shows from 1961 to 1963 (when "Beaver" finished up its successful six-year network term). "Deac", as he was affectionately known, also made brief appearances in a whole slew of major motion pictures during this very same "Dick Van Dyke Show" time period, including "Lover Come Back" (1961), "That Touch Of Mink" (1962), "The Birds" (1963), and "Hud" (1963), among others.

>> The Dick Van Dyke Show didn't rely heavily upon the appearances of "guest stars" throughout the course of its five seasons. And, due to the caliber of its strong and highly-appealing regular cast members, they really didn't have any need to feature outside talent very often. In fact, in my opinion, the very best episodes shine the spotlight on ONLY the regular cast members (Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Richard Deacon, Jerry Paris, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Carl Reiner, and Larry Mathews).

However, several guest stars would pop up in the episodes from season to season. In case you're interested, here's a fairly comprehensive list of the major "Guest Stars" who put in at least one appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show .........

Jerry Van Dyke, Don Rickles, Jack Albertson, Vic Damone, Sue Ann Langdon, Bob Crane, Everett Sloane, Richard Dawson, Robert Vaughn, Greg Morris, Howard Morris, Denver Pyle, Strother Martin, Edward Platt, Jack Carter, Ed Begley, Billy DeWolfe, Arte Johnson, Wally Cox, Michael Constantine, Godfrey Cambridge, plus show executives Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard.

In addition, many other veteran "character" actors were highly visible throughout the 158 episodes of the series (usually in smaller roles). Such as: Allan Melvin, Dabbs Greer, Johnny Silver, Bill Idelson (who played "Herman Glimsher"), Jamie Farr (who played the "Snappy Service" man), J. Pat O'Malley, Jesse White, Amzie Strickland, Madge Blake, Ken Lynch (who's almost *always* a cop every time you see him in any TV show), Sandy Kenyon, Peter Leeds, Will Wright, Ross Elliott, Lennie Weinrib, Henry Gibson, Jerry Hausner, Marty Ingels, Isabel Randolph, Bernard Fox, Herbie Faye, William Schallert, Joby Baker, Herb Vigran, Jane Dulo, Ray Kellogg, Charles Aidman, Barney Phillips, Doris Packer, Jackie Joseph, Burt Mustin, Ken Berry, Ned Glass, Doris Singleton, Valerie Yerke, Bernie Kopell, and Frank Adamo. Adamo, who also served as Dick Van Dyke's "personal assistant", logged more bit parts during the series than any other actor, often popping up as a delivery boy, a waiter, or a party guest, etc.

For five complete TV seasons, the flawless regular cast, along with all of the above guest stars and extra bit players, helped make "The Dick Van Dyke Show" the high-quality, humor-filled program that it was. And thanks to these fabulous DVD boxed sets, this endearing TV series can be re-visited again and again .... and again!

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Lyrics to the Van Dyke Show Theme ("Main Title"; Written by Morey Amsterdam):

Posted Image

>>> "So you think that you’ve got trouble ... well, trouble’s a bubble,

So tell ol’ Mr. 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 livin’ ... is lovin’ ... and givin’

You’ll be there when the winning dice are tossed.

A smile is just a frown that’s turned upside down

So smile and that frown’ll defrost.

And don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed!"
<<<


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#2 of 183 Steve...O

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Posted July 04 2004 - 03:12 AM

I bow in awe of you sir. What an excellent write-up and review. Thank you. I've bought S1 - S4 and haven't regretted any of it yet (still trying to make it through all those sets).

I haven't purchased S5 yet because I'm still reeling from the bundle I dropped on the DDD sale Posted Image I admit to being a bit concerned when I read of the problems others have had with certain discs in this collection. I take it you didn't have any problems.

I have really enjoyed your reviews and insight into these releases. Although I was a Van Dyke fan (primarily from Diagnosis Murder), I was never the mega fan you are, but you've certainly increased my appreciation and awareness of this great man and this great show. Thanks again!

Steve
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#3 of 183 george kaplan

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Posted July 04 2004 - 03:21 AM

Thanks David.

One question. I know you haven't watched all the episodes yet, but have you sampled from all 5 discs? The reason I ask, is that there's another thread where some concern has been raised about disc 5 (and maybe disc 4).
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

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#4 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 04 2004 - 03:29 AM

Thank you, Steve. Very much. Posted Image

Quote:
I admit to being a bit concerned when I read of the problems others have had with certain discs in this collection. I take it you didn't have any problems.
Not a bit of trouble. No pixellating; no freezing; no problem with discs loading up. So far, that is. I haven't been through every minute of each disc (have just poked around here and there, sampling each disc's content thus far).

I, too, was concerned by the comments of problems with some of the S.5 discs. But so far, so good with my copy. I have my fingers crossed (like in the Van Dyke Theme Song I posted above; hehe Posted Image), and hope that I do not run into any bad discs.

Some people on www.sitcomsonline.com said they couldn't even get Disc 5 to load at all! Player couldn't read it. But my player loaded it, no prob. Strange.

BTW --- To extend my already War-&-Peace-length review from above Posted Image ----
I should add for all you DVD-On-DVD collectors that on Disc 5 (the one some people can't load evidently), Image Ent. has done a smart thing with regard to the "episode order" of the final two shows in the series.

Eps. 157 and 158 are shown (technically) "out of official Film-Date Order", so that the "Last Chapter" episode (which was the last AIRED episode in June 1966) does indeed show up as the last episode on the S.5 set.

I like the fact that Image/Brownstein/et al used their noodle(s) with regard to this matter (I was wondering if they *would*, in fact, reverse these two shows; seems logical to do so, since "The Last Chapter" so obviously is the series' finale).

And it makes sense for the people who like to use "Play All", too....since "The Last Chapter" will now be, well...the LAST chapter. Posted Image

#5 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 04 2004 - 03:31 AM

Quote:
One question. I know you haven't watched all the episodes yet, but have you sampled from all 5 discs? The reason I ask, is that there's another thread where some concern has been raised about disc 5 (and maybe disc 4).

Yes, George.
See above post.
Posted Image

#6 of 183 Jay*W

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Posted July 04 2004 - 10:42 AM

David wrote:

Some people on www.sitcomsonline.com said they couldn't even get Disc 5 to load at all! Player couldn't read it. But my player loaded it, no prob. Strange.

David,

That's the problem I experienced. My Sony doesn't even recognize Disc 5. Out of curiosity, what brand of player do you have?

#7 of 183 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted July 04 2004 - 11:01 AM

David, thanks for the detailed and complete review of this set. I'm glad to have all 5 of these in my collection.

#8 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 04 2004 - 07:53 PM

Quote:
Out of curiosity, what brand of player do you have?
Panasonic RP-62.

#9 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 05 2004 - 02:50 AM

When watching a TV show or movie, have you ever wondered something about the program that's really totally meaningless in the large scheme of things -- but it just kind of bugs you, or you're curious about how they did some small part of the script.

One such moment for me from the Dick Van Dyke series occurred when I was watching the Season-Two episode "The Cat Burglar". ......

For some reason (after watching the ep. probably dozens of times over the decades) I started to wonder: Gee, I wonder if Dick Van Dyke is REALLY walking around the set with a LOADED rifle (after hearing a burglar in the house)? Posted Image

In this funny episode, we can physically SEE Rob place the bullet into the rifle and work the bolt (after digging said bullet out of Laura's music case, which proved a tad problematic...and hysterical).

My guess would be that during one of the "cuts" to another camera angle, the producers/director probably instructed Dick/(Rob) to remove the bullet, so that he wasn't actually carrying a loaded weapon around the soundstage (and pointing it at people [potentially] through the closet keyhole at one point Posted Image).

Don't ya figure that's the case?

Gee...what odd things a person can think about sometimes, huh? Posted Image

Another "odd" thing in a Van Dyke episode ("A Man's Teeth Are Not His Own") that's always kinda "bugged" me a little -- Isn't it a TAD bit strange for Rob to suffer the kind of severe, I-can't-stand-it pain immediately after breaking a tooth on the bone in his chicken sandwich?

I've broken teeth, and it didn't cause such agonizing pain that I was jumping around the room in tears right afterward. That kind of pain (for me) has been reserved for teeth that have been ignored for years and require a root canal as a result. Posted Image In fact, very little pain resulted immediately from teeth I have broken off.

What's your experience with this? Did the Van Dyke script "overdo" the "pain" part just a smidge? I'm inclined to say yes. (But, it was funny nonetheless.)

Sally -- "You broke your tooth on a bone?!"
Buddy -- "Well, I don't think he broke it on the mayonnaise." Posted Image

#10 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 05 2004 - 03:31 AM

Want still more Van Dyke Food For Thought? (aka: Completely meaningless stuff that only fanatics would ever think of. Posted Image) ..........

OK. Well, tell me if this next one ain't kinda odd (script-wise by Mr. Reiner & company). ..........

In the episode I mentioned above, "The Cat Burglar", can anyone explain the logic of these burglars? They go to the trouble of breaking silently and undetected into the Petrie home, and are able to get out of the house unnoticed with the dining-room set. So, what do these bonehead burglars decide to do? -- Do they take their loot & run for the batcave? No. Instead, they decide to LEAVE THE MERCHANDISE BEHIND (when they obviously could have just taken it off the premises at the time of the middle-of-the-night theft). Posted Image

They leave the dining set in the toolshed on the Petrie property so they can run the further risk of getting caught and come back later to pick it up.

Why not just steal it and take it with them? Makes no sense to me. Another odd thing about these very "neat" and orderly thieves (besides their placing cushioning, protective packing papers all around the table & chairs in the cartons they hide in the toolshed) is the fact they neatly place the dining table's tablecloth and china and silver in perfect arrangement after their crime.

Can you imagine a thief taking the time to physically arrange every spoon & knife & cup/saucer perfectly on the tablecloth ON THE FLOOR after pilfering a dining table? Did they actually think the owners of the house wouldn't notice the table being gone by just the fact that the tablecloth and assorted eating accessories were placed as they were when the table was there? LOL! Posted Image (Well, maybe if Rob & Laura lived in Japan, where they eat on the floor. Posted Image)

Then there's the somewhat odd statement made by the police detective at the end of the episode --- when he says to Rob: "The next time you lock a crook in your bedroom, make sure all the windows are locked."

I scratch my head when hearing this and say "Huh?". WHY would Rob's locking the bedroom window have prevented the crook from simply flipping the window lock
and still opening the window to escape? Since when do windows lock ON THE OUTSIDE, or with KEYED locks? Posted Image

#11 of 183 Eric Paddon

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Posted July 05 2004 - 06:21 AM

Another thing about that episode is how Laura calls Rob at the office to tell them the crooks are there to pick things up and Rob bolts up and tells her to stall them until he gets home. I think the writers forgot how long a trip it actually is between midtown Manhattan and New Rochelle because that would mean Laura would have had to stall them for an hour at least!

#12 of 183 Carlos Garcia

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Posted July 05 2004 - 12:22 PM

Quote:
Can you imagine a thief taking the time to physically arrange every spoon & knife & cup/saucer perfectly on the tablecloth ON THE FLOOR after pilfering a dining table?

Not unless Felix Unger turned to crime.
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#13 of 183 Eric Paddon

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Posted July 05 2004 - 12:48 PM

There are several great TV historyt in-jokes in a few Van Dyke episodes that are worth noting since they don't get mentioned in any of the supplements.

1=In the aforementioned "Cat Burglar" episode, Rob feeling good about the case being solved says to the detective, "That's a Mark Seven!" which gets a look of bewilderment from him, and laughter from the audience. What makes this a great in-joke is the detective who reacts dubiously to this is played by Barney Phillips who played Jack Webb's partner on "Dragnet" for a year before Ben Alexander took over.

2=In "Honeymoons Are For The Lucky" we flash back to how Rob was unable to get a three day pass for his honeymoon with Laura because someone on the army base had been stealing wine. His buddy Sol, played by Allan Melvin, says he knows that the guilty party is Henshaw, which was Melvin's character on "Sergeant Bilko."

3=In "The Man From Emperor" the Hugh Hefner like publisher speaks on the intercom to his secretary "Sam". Mary Tyler Moore supplies the voice, and there is a titter from the audience as they figure out the injoke here since Mary's first claim to fame was as the heard but never seen "Sam" on "Richard Diamond" a decade before.

#14 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 05 2004 - 08:18 PM

Thanks Eric. Posted Image

You see, I'm not the ONLY Dick V. Dyke Show fanatic around here! I've known Eric was one for some time now. (LOL.) Posted Image

Quote:
I think the writers forgot how long a trip it actually is between midtown Manhattan and New Rochelle because that would mean Laura would have had to stall them for an hour at least!
Very true. There's even such a reference as to how long it takes in the very first episode ("Sick Boy And The Sitter"), when Laura reminds Rob: "It takes 53 minutes to get here from New York and you know it."

#15 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 05 2004 - 08:26 PM

Other "oddities" ...............

The "Magic Piano" that appears and disappears. It's only in the living room AS NEEDED, it seems. Then it'll disappear for several months. Posted Image

And then there's the "Rock in the basement" predicament. .... In "Hustling The Hustler" we get to see the Petrie basement for one of two times, and there's a pool table down there (which Rob said in an earlier flashback episode would only fit in the basement if he "used chop sticks for cues"). That's because, of course, of the huge rock that's taking up much of the basement's floor space. Posted Image

But in the "Hustler" episode, we see NO evidence of the rock; and they aren't using "chop sticks for cues". Looks like a "regulation" 4' x 8' [or 4.5' x 9'] pool table to me.

I love the ending to the "pool-playing" episode, with Laura making the "impossible" shot. I myself have attempted the trick pool shot that Laura made. And I was able to make it too! (I have an "Olhausen" 4x8 table on which I practice that shot. Posted Image)

From the "pool" ep., Dick looks to me like he's got a pretty good pool stroke, too. He makes a nifty trick shot in that episode as well.

Note Dick's "ambidexterity" in the pool episode as well. He exhibits both his left-handedness and his right-handedness in this episode, as he plays pool left-handed but signs the check to Blackie Sorrell right-handed.

Via all the episodes of the series (as a whole), it appears to me that the ONLY thing Dick does right-handed is write. He throws, eats, plays pool, plays tennis, etc., all left-handed.

#16 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 05 2004 - 11:48 PM

NOTE REGARDING SEASON-FIVE AUDIO COMMENTARIES -- The S.5 packaging is wrong regarding the Audio Commentary participants for the episode "Dear Sally Rogers".

Ann Guilbert ("Millie") is not on this commentary. It's Larry Mathews ("Ritchie") instead of Ann.

I've revised my review above to reflect this change.

#17 of 183 Jay*W

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Posted July 06 2004 - 02:34 AM

David,

Thanks so much for another wonderful review. The disappointment of the compatibility problems with my Sony hasn't dampened my enthusiasm.

Jay

#18 of 183 David Von Pein

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Posted July 06 2004 - 03:19 AM

Thanks Jay. Posted Image

PQ issue re. the "See Rob Write" S.5 episode -- You'll notice in the second half only of this ep. some white "blobs" flickering on & off the screen. Obviously Image/Brownstein weren't able to "clean up" this episode quite as well as most of the others. The first half of it looks great though. Plus, the odd "blobs" don't hamper the image TOO greatly anyway.

That's just what we have to live with I guess, considering the 40-year-old status of these original prints. Obviously, they weren't filmed yesterday.

#19 of 183 Eric Paddon

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Posted July 06 2004 - 06:35 AM

Compared to shows like "Happy Days" and "The Odd Couple", the Van Dyke Show is actually quite strong in terms of a general sense of continuity. However, after awhile you can start noticing things where the continuity slips up.

#1-How many kids do Jerry and Millie Helper have? In a couple episodes we see a son Freddie, and in a first season episode there was a daughter Ellen (never referred to again) but in two episodes several seasons apart there is a reference to a daughter Patty.

#2-In the first season, Mel Cooley is Alan Brady's brother-in-law because Mel married Alan's sister but by season five this has become Alan being married to Mel's sister.

#3-Alan's wife in Season 1 "Punch Thy Neighbor" is mentioned as Barb, but in Season 5 "Obnoxious, Offensive Egomaniac" Mel says it's Margaret (though the way he mentions it is implausible since the scene suggests Rob, Laura, Buddy and Sally don't even know!)

#4-In Season 3 "The Ballad Of The Betty Lou", Alan Brady is mentioned as having a yacht (which is why Rob and Jerry buy a boat) but in Season 5 "A Day In The Life Of Alan Brady" Alan is described as not having a yacht because he's rented one.

#5-Watch the Army flashback episodes and you'll notice a lack of consistency in the number of sergeant stripes Rob has (not to mention the lack of consistency in the name of his best friend, known variously as Sol Pomery, Sam Pomeroy, Sol Pomerantz and Sam Pomerantz).

None of these rank in the category of gaffes like the disappearing Chuck Cunningham or the multiple ways Felix and Oscar first met, but they're still fun to spot. I think some of the lapses that took place in season 5 could be partly explained by Carl Reiner's absence for half a season while he was filming "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming."

#20 of 183 Carlos Garcia

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Posted July 06 2004 - 08:29 AM

Quote:
None of these rank in the category of gaffes like the disappearing Chuck Cunningham or the multiple ways Felix and Oscar first met, but they're still fun to spot. I think some of the lapses that took place in season 5 could be partly explained by Carl Reiner's absence for half a season while he was filming "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming."


Well, since Garry Marshall also had a hand in TDVDS, it could be possible it's his hand that creates the continuity mess. He will always be known to me as the "King" of bad continuity!
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