The Van Dyke Show

CBS (ended 1988)


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The Van Dyke Show Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A possible reason why the series didn't work.

    The main reason this show failed was because the creative minds behind the show missed out on a major point. Dick Van Dyke will always be one of the great television legends of any era. His ability to work in front of a live audience and stay so natural remains one of his greatest gifts. Sure, his physical comedic skills are an incredible stand out but it's his relationship with his audience that has endeared him to us for decades. So why did this show fail?

    From the very first episode it's evident that the director didn't know how to photograph him. Mr. Van Dyke uses his body to comunicate as effectively as his voice. Why then was he photographed in close up and medium shots?

    Later in the same episode, he has to climb onto the top half of a bunk bed. Mr. Van Dyke is in fine form as he tries to get to the top without disturbing his sleeping grandson. The studio audience is in hysterics, Van Dyke looks great as in the days of the old Van Dyke series, yet the director neglected to pull the camera back and see Van Dyke's body in full motion. The studio audience is laughing uproariously but the television audience is limited as to what it can see because of the poor camera staging.

    During the short run of this series, Richmond Shepard, internationlly acclaimed mime, was hired for an appearance on the show. Before he left, he was asked by a friend to ask Van Dyke to have the camera pulled back so we can see what he's doing with his body. When Shepard came back from filming, he told his friend Van Dyke's reply. He said that Shepard's friend should come to Los Angeles and direct the show because he's been fighting with the director to pull back the camera.

    This was a case of a good idea for a series with a proven star that was not served in the best capacity. Too bad because it was the last time Dick Van Dyke was able to do his physical comedy on a national scale.