New Dick Van Dyke Show, The

The original Dick Van Dyke Show left the CBS airwaves in 1966 and its two main stars — Mary Tyler Moore and Mr. Van Dyke — plunged into movies, both with disappointing results. In 1969, they co-starred in a variety special, Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman, that led to offers to return full-time to television. Dick said no and returned to his new home in Arizona. Mary said yes and The Mary Tyler Moore Show went on the air and became a large hit. This prompted CBS to up its offer to Van Dyke…but Dick was happy in Arizona and not interested in returning to L.A. to do a new series. The solution was to remodel and upgrade a studio near Van Dyke’s new desert home and to do the show there…the first network prime-time TV show ever filmed in Carefree, Arizona and (one suspects) the last.

It was titled The New Dick Van Dyke Show though they sometimes omitted the “new,” as you might note in the tickets above. There’s no “new” on the second season ticket but there is on the third season ticket. The first two years were produced in Arizona with Carl Reiner running things, and found Dick playing Dick Preston, a talk show host at a mythical Phoenix TV station, KXIU. Hope Lange played his spouse and suffered the unenviable fate of having most of America say, “They don’t have the same chemistry he had with Mary.” Well, at least the guys at CBS said that, and as her role was downplayed and more of the action centered around the talk show, rumors circulated that Ms. Lange wanted out.

She stayed but one attempt to build an installment more around her relationship with Dick drove Carl Reiner away. Near the end of the second season, CBS rejected an episode in which the Prestons’ young daughter accidentally walked into the bedroom of Mommy and Daddy while Mommy and Daddy were having sex. This happened off-camera and Reiner insisted the scene was tastefully done, very funny and that it had been properly vetted by consultants whose opinions should be honored. CBS refused, the episode never aired and Reiner quit. The series itself was almost cancelled then but Van Dyke had a firm three-year contract and CBS had a hole in its schedule that seemed to need the show.

For what turned out to be its final season, the no-longer-new New Dick Van Dyke Show moved to Hollywood where a new creative team did a remodelling job. Apart from Ms. Lange and Angela Powell (the actress who played their daughter), the entire supporting cast was let go. Dick Preston became an actor on a daytime soap opera, and new cast members were added. They included Richard Dawson (who played a TV cooking host not unlike Graham “The Galloping Gourmet” Kerr), Chita Rivera, Barry Gordon, Henry Darrow, Barbara Rush and Dick Van Patten. Ratings went up but Van Dyke’s interest in the whole project went down and at the end of the season and after completing 72 episodes, he announced he was done with it and with series television. And he never did another series again except for Van Dyke and Company (1976), The Van Dyke Show (1988) and Diagnosis Murder (1993-2001).