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The Dick Van Dyke Show The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 13 Timothy E

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Posted February 06 2013 - 01:02 PM

The Dick Van Dyke Show would have been very different had the original pilot starring Carl Reiner become the series. Thankfully, Reiner remained behind the scenes writing and producing The Dick Van Dyke Show and appearing in front of the camera occasionally as Rob Petrie’s boss, Alan Brady. Image has followed up its sublime release of all 5 seasons of The Twilight Zone with this complete series set of The Dick Van Dyke Show which, like the release of that other great series, has excellent video and audio and a wealth of special features for fans of the show.


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THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW The Complete Series BLU-RAY


Studio: Image

Year: 1961-1966

Rated: Not Rated

Film Length: 916 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Mono DTS-HD

Release Date: November 13, 2012


The Series


Johnny Carson was rumored to have been considered for the role of Rob Petrie before Dick Van Dyke was cast in the role. Dick Van Dyke was perfectly cast in the role of Rob Petrie. If Lucille Ball was the great TV comedienne, then Dick Van Dyke was her male counterpart. Van Dyke was always a fan of slapstick comedians like Stan Laurel, with whom he developed a friendship, and Van Dyke’s gifts for physical comedy certainly place him within the ranks of his idols. Although Van Dyke’s Robert Petrie is not a clown to the same extent as Lucille Ball’s Lucy Ricardo, The Dick Van Dyke Show still shares some common ground with I Love Lucy, including the "show within a show" concept: in I Love Lucy, Lucy was always trying to get into Ricky’s show down at the club, and in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob Petrie is a writer for The Alan Brady Show in New York City, and both series took opportunities to give viewers a look at the show within the show. Both shows were also filmed in front of a studio audience with 3 cameras. (Of the 158 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, only 3 were not filmed with a studio audience, 2 for production reasons and the other was the first episode filmed following the assassination of President Kennedy.)


Rob Petrie(Dick Van Dyke) commutes from the suburbs where he resides with his wife Laura(Mary Tyler Moore) and son Richie(Larry Mathews). Rob’s collaborators in the writers room at The Alan Brady Show are Buddy Sorrell(Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers(Rose Marie). Mel Cooley(Richard Deacon) is the long-suffering producer of the show and Alan Brady’s brother-in-law who endures repeated insults from Buddy. The Petries’ neighbors Jerry Helper(Jerry Paris) and Millie Helper(Ann Morgan Guilbert) also feature prominently in a number of episodes. Carl Reiner came up with the likes of Woody Allen and Larry Gelbart as a writer for Sid Caesar for Caesar’s Hour and Your Show of Shows, and Reiner apparently used many of his personal experiences as fodder for The Dick Van Dyke Show.


The "regular" opening of The Dick Van Dyke Show which features Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman did not appear until the second season. The first season had a different theme song presented over a still montage from the series. There were several variations of the opening credits that began in the second season, one in which Rob trips, one in which he does not, and a third in which he walks around the ottoman and then stumbles. When these episodes aired originally in the 1960s, gamblers would actually place bets regarding what would be the result of Rob’s interaction with the ottoman during that week.


The episodes in this 15 disc set appear appropriately in production order rather than airdate, with one exception. The last episode in this set is appropriately entitled "The Last Chapter." This episode was the last first run episode, and it aired originally on June 1, 1966. "The Last Chapter" was intended to provide closure for the entire series, and it is included last appropriately, even though it was not the last episode produced. (That honor goes to "The Gunslinger" which actually aired one week prior to the series finale.)


All episodes seem to be complete and uncut, and the running lengths of each episode seem to confirm this, being in the 25 to 26 minute range without commercials. A nice option with many episodes allows the viewer to select inclusion of sponsor bumpers that appeared originally after the opening credits and immediately prior to the closing credits. The episodes may also be viewed without these commercials, but the option to include them within the program is a nice nostalgic touch.


Video


The Dick Van Dyke Show appears on Blu-Ray in 1080p in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio as originally filmed and broadcast on CBS-TV. The new 1080p high definition transfers of this series created from the original camera negatives are excellent. Some minor flaws in the original negatives are apparent occasionally, but this is so minimal as to be virtually non-existent. As with The Twilight Zone sets released by Image, The Dick Van Dyke Show has never looked so great as it does now on Blu-ray. Minor grain is apparent, with solid blacks and excellent fine detail.


Audio


The Mono DTS-HD track is excellent, with little of the crackle, hiss, or inconsistency of sound volume that we expect to hear on television shows from this era. The Dick Van Dyke Show has certainly never sounded as good in the past as it does with this set.


Special Features


The special features are comprehensive and include all of the following:


(Features marked with an asterisk (*) are new to this collection and were not included in the original complete series DVD set.)


Season 1 - Disc 1


CBS Promo: This aired originally on January 26, 1962, during Password.
Head of the Family: This is the original pilot episode filmed with Carl Reiner playing Rob Petrie opposite a different cast of actors.
Carl Remembers Pilot
Carl & Sheldon Remembers Pilot
The Cast Remembers ‘My Blonde-Haired Brunette’

Season 1 - Disc 2

The Cast Remembers Buddy
‘Where Did I Come From?’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick van Dyke

Season 1 - Disc 3

‘I Am My Brother's Keeper’ Dick Van Dyke Promo
‘The Sleeping Brother’ Commentary by Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner
Carl, Rose and Morey remember Dick’s Physical Comedy
Emmy Awards (1961-1962) Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl Reiner by Paul Reiser: This is the tribute to Reiner upon his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 by The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences.
* 50th Anniversary Q&A - Q&A session with Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Garry Marshall

Season 2 - Disc 1

* Kick the Habit Anti-Smoking PSA
Remembering the ‘Bank Book’
‘The Attempted Marriage’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
‘My Husband is Not a Drunk’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
‘A Bird in the Head Hurts’ Commentary by Rose Marie, Larry & Ann
Remembering the Ottoman
Remembering Rob and Laura
Remembering Buddy and Sally
Emmy Awards (1962-1963) Outstanding Directorial and Program Achievements in Comedy

Season 2 - Disc 2

Remembering Dick’s Sneezing (in 'Gesundheit, Darling')
Remembering Jerry Paris
‘It May Look Like a Walnut’ CBS Promo
Making ‘It May Look Like a Walnut’
* ‘It May Look Like a Walnut’ Color Test
Emmy Awards (1962-1963) Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

Season 2 - Disc 3
‘When a Bowling Pin Talks, Listen’ Family Cavalcade Promo
‘All About Eavesdropping’ Commentary by Rose Marie, Larry & Ann
Remembering "Oh, Rob"
* Safety Council Reel
* Dick on The Danny Kaye Show

Season 3 - Disc 1

‘That’s My Boy’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
Remembering "That's My Boy"
‘Laura’s Little Lie’ Promo
Remembering the Betty Lou
Remembering Sheldon Leonard
Sheldon on the Role of Executive Producer
The Danny Thomas Show: This episode aired originally on October 21, 1963, and featured Morey Amsterdam as Buddy Sorrell.

Season 3 - Disc 2

Remembering Joe Coogan
Rehearsal Footage from ‘A Day in the Life of Sheldon Leonard’
The Cast Plays ‘Stump the Stars’
Emmy Awards (1963-1964) Outstanding Writing & Directing Achievement in Comedy

Season 3 - Disc 3

Remembering Alan Brady
‘October Eve’ Commentary by Carl Reiner & Dick Van Dyke
Remembering October Eve
* Mary on The Danny Kaye Show
Dick and Mary on "Van Dyke & Company"
Emmy Awards (1963-1964) Outstanding Continued Performance by Actor/Actress in a Series
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl by Steve Martin and George Clooney
Nick at Nite Promos

Season 4 - Disc 1

Remembering Don Rickles
Clip from the Animated Program "The Alan Brady Show": This special written by Carl Reiner aired on TV-Land originally on August 17, 2003, with Reiner reprising his role as Alan Brady.
Remembering the Pink Pills
* Mary on The Danny Thomas Show
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl by Dick Van Dyke
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl by Ray Romano and Brad Garrett
Season 4 - Disc 2

DVD Exclusive Awards: The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season One (Best Overall DVD, TV Program)
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl by Rose Marie, Larry Mathews, Bill Persky
Diagnosis Murder: Dr. Mark Sloan Meets Rob Petrie
Dick Sings the Theme Song at the Hollywood Bowl (2001)

Season 4 - Disc 3

‘Never Bathe on Saturday'’Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
Remembering ‘Never Bathe on Saturday’
‘Baby Fat’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
‘Baby Fat’ Commentary by Garry Marshall
Remembering ‘Baby Fat’
Remembering the Motorcycle
The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered
Emmy Awards (1964-1965) Outstanding Program Achievement in Entertainment
Nick at Nite Promos

Season 5 - Disc 1

‘Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth’ Commentary by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
Remembering Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth
Emmy Awards (1965-1966) Outstanding Comedy Series
* TV Academy Tribute to Carl by Garry Shandling


* ME-TV Promo for My Blonde-Haired Brunette (Season 1)
* ME-TV Promo - Package 1
Remembering ‘4 1/2' and ‘The Allen Brady Show Goes to Jail’

Season 5 - Disc 2

Keep Your Fingers Crossed (Theme From The Dick Van Dyke Show)
Remembering Richard Deacon
‘Dear Sally Rogers’ Commentary by Rose Marie, Larry Mathews and Bill Idelson
Remembering Sally
Emmy Awards (1965-1966) Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series
* ME-TV Promo - Package 2
1992 Comic Relief clip
2003 TV Land Awards clip
Nick at Nite Promos

Season 5 - Disc 3

Remembering Buddy’s Bar Mitzvah‘The Gunslinger’ Commentary by Carl Reiner & Dick Van Dyke
Remembering ‘The Gunslinger’
Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman - If Men Could Cry
TV Land Promo for The Dick Van Dyke Show
Theatrical Trailer - The Art of Love
The New Dick Van Dyke Show Preview


The special features include pretty well everything one could hope for, with 2 exceptions. The Alan Brady Show television special written by Carl Reiner that aired originally on TV-Land on August 17, 2003, is not included in its entirety, although a clip is included here. The other omission is The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, a reunion special that aired originally on CBS on May 11, 2004. The special featured all of the surviving cast members, including Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Larry Mathews, Carl Reiner, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, Jerry Paris, and Ann Morgan Guilbert.


Each season consisting of 3 discs comes enclosed in an individual clamshell case with all five cases enclosed by an attractive cardboard slipcase as pictured.


Conclusion


The Dick Van Dyke Show is one of the great TV series of all time, up there with The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and it deservedly follows those 2 series to release in high definition on Blu-ray. The video and audio transfers of this series are excellent. The special features included with this release are almost as comprehensive as any fan could hope for. Although I nitpick on a couple of omissions in the special features, there is so much great material that is included to add value and enjoyment to this set. The cast’s remembrances regarding various episodes and events, as well as the contributions by other comedians and cast members’ appearances on other series are not mere filler but should be considered as essential viewing for anyone who enjoys the series. The Dick Van Dyke Show The Complete Series on Blu-ray comes highly recommended.





#2 of 13 Steve...O

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Posted February 06 2013 - 01:25 PM

Thanks for a comprehensive and well written review, Tim.


This looks like a stellar set and a worthy upgrade with one exception....I really wish Image would have provided English subtitles, as they did with their excellent TZ BDs (which I own).  The lack of a fairly basic option such as this is why I didn't pull the trigger when Costco had this set for $119.xx over Christmas.  People use them for different reasons (including late night viewing that won't disturb the house) and it seems a shame not to include them on what is generally regarded as one of the top sitcoms of all time.


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#3 of 13 Jack P

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Posted February 06 2013 - 01:54 PM

I will be looking forward to this! My set arrives tomorrow, $73 from Amazon with gift card trade-ins.

#4 of 13 Mike Frezon

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Posted February 06 2013 - 02:23 PM

Great review, Tim...of a great series.


I will bite on this set...eventually.  I bet there will be some really good deals on this next Black Friday...


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#5 of 13 Guest__*

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Posted February 07 2013 - 02:10 PM

I want this so badly. Can't afford it right now, though. Hopefully, on Black Friday....



#6 of 13 Brian McP

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Posted February 07 2013 - 03:32 PM

I got this at a discount on Amazon, thanks to a sainted person on this Forum, and believe me, it doesn't get better than this. I might also recommend the "Van Dyke & Company" complete series set -- quite different to DVDS as it is Dick hosting his own variety show, meeting a pretty inglorious end due to network changing time slots and the eventual bad ratings. Can't tell if Dick was ever bitter about how the show ended (although his farewell in the show's last episode leaves the viewer in no doubt how he felt at the time) but as is, I see that show as an undiscovered jewel for fans of shows of that era -- if he and the writers had kept up with the pace they had set up in these episodes, it would have run them all into the ground in a year or two. Considering the original release of the bluray set of DVDS was close to $300.00, why wait and deny yourself all these laughs and beautiful black and white film grain? I'm waiting for the bluray Buster Keaton Film Collection's price to go north before I get it....won't be holding my breath for that to happen....

#7 of 13 Jack P

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Posted February 07 2013 - 04:12 PM

My set arrived today! This has always been my favorite sitcom, but now it's like rediscovering it all over again. I started with the original "Head Of The Family" pilot followed by the series pilot 'Sick Boy And The Sitter". After one sees the former, it's miraculous that Sheldon Leonard saw potential in saving the format, because frankly there isn't much good about the pilot. Reiner had 13 prepared scripts and he chose a poor one for the pilot that also revealed what a horrible actor the kid he cast as Richie was. For all the complaints I have heard about how Larry Mathews as Richie could be overly cute, once you see what a monster Gary Morgan is in "Head Of The Family" you'll never have an unkind word to say about Larry again! Seeing the remastered "Sick Boy And The Sitter" brings out so much new exceptional detail that frankly, Dick Van Dyke's makeup is easily noticable. The background props are also fascinating to look at too. It's going to be fun going through this! The one question I haven't seen resolved is whether the Kent Cigarette ads that were included as Easter Egg bonuses in the original DVD releases are retained this time.

#8 of 13 Mark-P

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Posted February 08 2013 - 08:22 AM

You really shouldn't shorten DTS-HD Master Audio to DTS-HD as that is easily confused with DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. If one really feels the need to shorten it, then just say DTS-MA :)

#9 of 13 The Obsolete Man

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Posted February 11 2013 - 07:48 AM

My set arrived today! This has always been my favorite sitcom, but now it's like rediscovering it all over again. I started with the original "Head Of The Family" pilot followed by the series pilot 'Sick Boy And The Sitter". After one sees the former, it's miraculous that Sheldon Leonard saw potential in saving the format, because frankly there isn't much good about the pilot. Reiner had 13 prepared scripts and he chose a poor one for the pilot that also revealed what a horrible actor the kid he cast as Richie was. For all the complaints I have heard about how Larry Mathews as Richie could be overly cute, once you see what a monster Gary Morgan is in "Head Of The Family" you'll never have an unkind word to say about Larry again! Seeing the remastered "Sick Boy And The Sitter" brings out so much new exceptional detail that frankly, Dick Van Dyke's makeup is easily noticable. The background props are also fascinating to look at too. It's going to be fun going through this! The one question I haven't seen resolved is whether the Kent Cigarette ads that were included as Easter Egg bonuses in the original DVD releases are retained this time.

Yeah. They're there... but not on season 1. Kent didn't become a sponsor until season 2. So when you get to S2, You'll have the option of playing the Kent commercials as part of the episode. I recently bought DVDS Complete on Blu, myself. And, yeah, after seeing the kid in Head of the Family, Larry Matthews is a wonderful breath of fresh air. In fact, I never saw him as overly "cute" or annoying at all. He seems like he's a real kid as opposed to the usual Hollywood smart-alec every Sitcom since has relied on. Or, worse, a little whiny monster like Richie was in Head of the Family. I also agree with the detail being present now. You can tell that the writer's room lamp is actually covered with chess pieces on a chess board pattern, read the stuff on the writer's room walls, and so on. In fact, you can really see Dick Van Dyke's stress-induced cold sore in the pilot, and the heavy make-up job they did to attempt to cover it.

#10 of 13 Rob_Ray

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Posted February 11 2013 - 09:07 AM

I noticed for the first time watching the BluRay that, in the pilot episode, the center counter in the kitchen was leveled with a small block of wood on the floor. It probably wobbled during rehearsals when Richie had to crawl into it.

#11 of 13 gregstaten

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Posted February 15 2013 - 07:25 AM

Have made it all the way through the first two seasons and have been having a blast doing so. What I found interesting, especially in the first season, was how often a shot was just slightly out of focus. Probably noticed this on the Moviola in the edit bay, but certainly it was never noticeable before this HD transfer! (This isn't a transfer issue - you can see that the grain is in focus, just the shot pulling was a bit off.) Only saw this occasionally in season 2. Guess they got a better focus puller! -greg

#12 of 13 Guest__*

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Posted February 15 2013 - 09:47 AM

Have made it all the way through the first two seasons and have been having a blast doing so. What I found interesting, especially in the first season, was how often a shot was just slightly out of focus. Probably noticed this on the Moviola in the edit bay, but certainly it was never noticeable before this HD transfer! (This isn't a transfer issue - you can see that the grain is in focus, just the shot pulling was a bit off.) Only saw this occasionally in season 2. Guess they got a better focus puller! -greg

Some of The Lucy Show shots are the same. Symptomatic of a three-camera shoot on the fly, I guess.

#13 of 13 gregstaten

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Posted February 20 2013 - 05:49 AM

Some of The Lucy Show shots are the same. Symptomatic of a three-camera shoot on the fly, I guess.

Don't know if I'd say "on the fly," but certainly I'd agree that it is likely symptomatic of early multicamera shoots. They were still learning how to do it back then - both the camera operators / focus pullers and the talent - and it is very likely that the focus puller either mis-measured/mis-marked (or just didn't pull focus correctly) or the actors didn't hit their marks. And of course back then there was no video assist so the focus puller had nothing to look at and couldn't make corrections on the fly as they can today. (I would also bet they generally had slower lenses on television stages back then.) And considering the real resolution of broadcast transmission equipment and televisions back in the early sixties slightly soft shots likely weren't a concern. -greg





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