I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Season Three: 1963-64
1963-64: THE THIRD SEASON
Year-End Rating: 33.3 (3rd place)
The creative team expands with the permanent addition of Bill Persky
and Sam Denoff, who--along with Jerry Belson and Garry Marshall--make
their first significant story contributions in the third year. The new
writers work under the close supervision of Carl Reiner, who continues
as producer, story consultant, and head writer in the third season.
Jerry Paris succeeds John Rich as the series's regular director, a
position he will maintain for the final three seasons.
Rob recalls Ritchie's birth and a series of mix-ups that had him convinced
he'd brought the wrong baby home from the hospital.
Of course, as Rob discovers when he finally meets them, it's unlikely
that Mr. and Mrs. Peters could've confused the Petries' baby for their
own, since they're black. Strange as it seems now, this relatively innocuous
topper caused great controversy in 1963. After being rejected by both
CBS and the sponsor, the script was only filmed after executive producer
Sheldon Leonard offered to reshoot the ending if it didn't play to the
live studio audience. The producers were vindicated when the gag received
the longest ovation in the show's history.
Writers Persky and Denoff began their long tenure on the show with
this script, after a false start the previous year. In The Dick Van
Dyke Show: Anatomy of a Classic, authors Ginny Weissman and Coyne
Steven Sanders recount how Carl Reiner rejected the team's first submission
outright. When they returned a few months later with "That's My Boy???"
the producer was so impressed that he offered them permanent jobs. "If
I hadn't found Persky and Denoff in the third year," Reiner observed,
only half joking, "I think I would have had a heart attack."
The Petries become instant art collectors when Rob accidentally places
the high bid at an art auction.
Guest star Howard Morris--an old crony from Carl Reiner's days with
Sid Caesar in the 1950s--also directed a handful of episodes in the
show's third and fourth seasons.
The Petries discover that their marriage may not be legally binding
after Laura confesses that she lied about her age on their marriage
Rob and Laura renew their vows in a hastily arranged ceremony, even
though neither is speaking to the other.
This was the farewell episode directed by John Rich, who left the
series to direct feature films.
The Petries get an earfuI when they accidentally listen in on Millie
and Jerry over Ritchie's toy intercom.
Rob has to choose between Laura and a beautiful new neighbor for the
lead role when he directs the annual PTA revue.
Rob finds himself the life of the party in Red Hook, New Jersey, during
a temporary bout with amnesia, while Laura waits up nervously in New
Rob's exuberant Uncle George comes to New York to find a wife and sets
his sights on Sally.
Rob, Buddy, and Sally's latest assignment finds them under the gun--perhaps
literally--when a mobster asks them to pen a comedy routine for his
Executive producer Sheldon Leonard was a natural for the role of Big
Max, having played scores of Runyonesque tough guys in his career as
an actor in films and TV. The character's name was also an in-joke--Calvada
Productions was the company that owned The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Landlubbers Rob and Jerry buy a sailboat, but run aground due to their
petty squabbles on deck.
Rob hires a maid to help out around the house, but the incompetent
domestic who arrives only makes Laura's life more complicated.
Maria offers the Petries an unusual gift--a box turtle with the family's
caricature painted on its shell. The actual cartoon was sketched by
Van Dyke himself, an enthusiastic doodler.
Rob can't decide whether to testify when he discovers he's the only
witness to a jewelry-store holdup.
Alan Brady revamps his Christmas show into a Yuletide extravaganza
starring Rob, Laura, and the rest of his show's talented writing staff.
Carl Reiner makes his first full onscreen appearance as Alan Brady,
after hiding in the shadows for his occasional cameos during the first
two seasons. The producer resisted casting an actor in the role because
he didn't think a bit player would be convincing enough playing a star
of Alan Brady's magnitude. "I wanted the audience to think of Milton
Berle or Danny Thomas," Reiner said, "not some guy I hired for $600."
Rob seeks Laura's advice when he finds himself the reluctant object
of an enthusiastic young dancer's affections.
Rob faces a frigid reception from his co-workers after Laura convinces
a journalist that her husband is the brains behind The Alan Brady
The Petries stage a matchmaking competition to see whether a new bachelor
in the neighborhood prefers Sally to Laura's cousin, Donna.
An early script from Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, the talented
pair who later turned Neil Simon's Odd Couple into a hit series.
Garry Marshall would eventually forge one of the most formidable dynasties
in sitcom history with Happy Days and its family of spin-offs
in the 1970s.
Rob is overcome with jealousy when he meets one of Laura's old beaus
at the golf club and then discovers that she saved a box of his old
Rob is a big winner in poker, though it nearly costs him his friends
after they discover he's been dealing from a marked deck.
After Rob scotches Laura's elaborate plans for Ritchie's birthday party,
he faces the challenge of entertaining sixty-three screaming kids in
the Petrie living room.
Laura is convinced that Rob's recurring backache is a subconscious
sign that he really doesn't want to spend the weekend alone with her.
Sally considers leaving her job on The Alan Brady Show after
she makes a big splash on a late-night talk show.
Rob reluctantly hires Laura as interim secretary during Sally's absence.
Buddy and Rob's inability to cope with Sally's temporary absence underscores
the creative symbiosis the trio enjoyed under normal circumstances.
Not surprisingly, Carl Reiner's fictional staff had real-life counterparts
in the writers' room of Your Show of Shows. "Alan Brady was Sid
Caesar," the creator admits. "Sally was a combination of Lucille Kallen
and Selma Diamond, and Buddy was Mel Brooks."
Rob recalls how he and Laura spent their honeymoon in a dilapidated
wedding suite when he went AWOL from Camp Crowder.
Laura is jealous when Rob is appointed producer of The Alan Brady
Show as a sop to the show's beautiful, but spoiled, guest star.
This episode offers a vivid comic portrait of marital discord in the
painfully funny sequence where Laura chews her pot roast and potatoes
alone while Rob feebly explains how he dined on chicken fricassee with
the flirtatious starlet. Laura's fuming anger suggests a more complex
motivation than petty jealousy: She also resents that Rob gets to travel
through a world of movie stars and romantic temptation while she's stuck
at home with a faulty garbage disposal. Mary Tyler Moore once observed,
"Laura Petrie was nothing more than an extension of her husband and
child, but she didn't question it." But if Laura never questioned her
role, she was certainly no stranger to the frustrations of its limitations.
The actress presumably had no such complaints about the character
she played in her own series a few years later. And yet, it's doubtful
that Mary Richards would ever have considered trying to make it on her
own if the seeds of her independence hadn't been planted so many years
earlier by a headstrong young housewife in Capri pants.
The Petries are caught in a raging debate as their in-laws fight to
determine where Rob and Laura will make their final resting place.
Rob is obsessed with his new sports car, which doesn't make it any
easier for Laura to confess when she brings it home with a brand-new
Dick Van Dyke had a similar weakness for fancy sports cars. When the
episode was written, he had recently indulged himself with the purchase
of a Jaguar XKE.
Rob attempts to coax a legendary radio star out of retirement for a
guest spot on a TV special.
Laura encounters a long-forgotten skeleton from her closet when a nude
oil portrait bearing her face surfaces at a prominent gallery.
A classic episode that features Carl Reiner in one of his best guest
roles, as the newly respectable bohemian artist Serge Carpetna.
Rob ventures into a steamy honky-tonk to catch an old buddy's nightclub
act and winds up in jail on vice charges.
Laura and Rob suspect the worst after they spot Jerry having dinner
at a fancy restaurant with a beautiful blonde.
Worried that he might be going prematurely bald, Rob consults a quack
who administers a bizarre vinegar-and-oil treatment.
Rob is unable to share Laura's enthusiasm for a creative-writing course
after he begins to suspect her attentive instructor's motives.