Charlie Chaplin and Modern Times

 

This one is mentioned here because of the sheer physicality of the role of the tramp in this film. With the machine scene and the skating, what he performs here is utterly amazing. This type of stuff would not be done with a live person today as he did it then, but with CGI.

Modern Times StuntsCharlie Chaplin had taken to the roller skates before in 1916’s The Rink, but his crowning moment on the little wheels came in this classic. He and Paulette Goddard don the skates in the fourth floor toy room of a department store and he glides around ever-so-gracefully, blindfolded, right next to a precipice, while gorgeous gamin’ Goddard stumbles around trying to warn him. It’s classic. And still hair-raising! The effect, however, was created using a matte, so there was actually no huge drop and no risk to the actor. His blindfold, meanwhile, was a see-through mesh. But he did all the skating himself — devoting a whopping eight days to the short scene.modern

Modern Times was directed by Charlie Chaplin for Charles Chaplin Productions.

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia:  Charlie Chaplin Studios is a motion picture studio built in 1917 by silent and sound film star Charlie Chaplin just south of the southeast corner of La Brea and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

After being sold by Chaplin in 1953, the property went through several changes in ownership and has served at various times as Kling Studios, the Red Skelton Studios, the shooting location for the Adventures of Superman and Perry Mason television series, and as the headquarters for A&M Records and Jim Henson Productions. In 1969, it was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

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Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible II

 

Yes, Tom Cruise is on my list for the myriad of stunt work that he performed himself in this movie.  Most notable are the amazing motorcycle stunts he performed and the opening free climbing sequence. If you’re surprised to find out that Tom Cruise does most of his own stunts then you obviously haven’t seen any of his work in the Mission Impossible movies as well as his stunts in Knight and Day, Minority Report, and Jack Reacher.mission--impossible-ii

The studio expressed concern over the safety of filming Ethan Hunt’s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing. Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. John Woo was so scared each time but “Tom insisted on doing it”. He tore his shoulder when performing Hunt’s jump from one part of the cliff to another. The famous rock climbing sequence was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. On a few of the shots after Tom Cruise hurt his shoulder, Ron Kauk was the climbing double and the overhang stunt was performed by main stunt double, Keith Campbell.mission motocycle

The motorcycle stunts were highly choreographed affairs. If you’ve seen John Woo’s other work it does remind you of his slow-mo gun battles in A Better Tomorrow, only now it’s on Triumph Motorcycles; Speed Triple and Daytona. But it’s no less spectacular. Tom Cruise obsessively practiced his motorcycle prowess for weeks before the sequence was shot.  A few of the scenes needed cables, but for the most part, Cruise does it all without.Mission-Impossible-II-Ethan-Hunt-Tom-Cruise-knife-eye

Another quick nod to the dagger in the eye bit that Cruise insisted on.  He wanted to use a real dagger and put it a quarter inch away from his eyeball (with the use of a cable for mathematical precision) with co-star Dougray Scott using all his strength for realism.  May sound like no big deal, but you put a needle sharp edged blade a quarter of an inch to your eye and see if you flinch.

Mission Impossible 2 was directed by John Woo for Paramount Pictures.

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

  • Tom Cruise
  • John Woo
  • Keith Campbell
  • Ron Kauk
  • Dougray Scott

Glossary of Stunt terms as defined Wikipedia:  Motorcycle stunt riding, sometimes referred to as simply stuntriding, is a motorcycle sport characterized by stunts involving acrobatic maneuvering of the motorcycle and sometimes the rider. Common maneuvers in stunt riding include wheelies, stoppies, and burnouts. Sport bikes have become a common vehicle for stunts.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Best Stunts of the Year List 1920-1929

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1920-1929 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1920:  The Mark of Zorro

First time on the list for Zorro (not the last), and for Douglas Fairbanks.  The Mark of Zorro represents the first in a line of Adventure films and Douglas Fairbanks was technically the first swashbuckler, an adventure actor that does a lot of the stunts himself.  He was an incredible athlete, by all accounts, and this film showcases that ability very nicely.zorro 2

1921:  Never Weaken

Harvey Parry admitted on his death bed that he doubled Harold Lloyd on some of the stunts in this movie.  This comedy movie would make way for all the dangerous slapstick comedies to come by Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton.never tumblr_njqmx6K3Gr1rdfgw4o1_500

1922:  Robin Hood

Great example of Douglas Fairbanks at the top of his game, but in this case he’s helped out by his stunt double, Charles Lewis in several stunts.  This is also the first time Robin Hood makes the list (also, not the last) and it’s interesting to me that several movies hit the list multiple times.  You’d expect that with movie series like James Bond, being highly stunt driven, but still seems like a surprise when it’s just different versions of the same movie, like Robin Hood and Zorro.robin-hood

1923:  Safety Last!

The second half of this film, where he is climbing up each floor of a building is sheer brilliance.  It’s nerve-wracking!  The final few moments hanging from the clock is as iconic a film moment as you get.  It’s a single-solitary slice of film that represents everything that being a stunt performer is all about.  This would be the poster boy for the stunt movement.  In fact, this should be the award they give out at the Academy Awards for Stunts, a Golden Statue of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock tower.safety last

1924:  Sherlock, Jr.

This is the period where Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton keep out-doing each other every film.  But, I will add, that this particular film is just about my favorite stunt film of all time.  It would definitely be in the top ten for best stunts of all time, it’s that great.  Buster Keaton not only blows your mind with the stunts in this film, but it’s also an incredible film cinematically and some of the techniques he develops with this film are revolutionary.sherlock buster

1925:  The Prince of Pep

This was where Richard Talmadge was trying to be an actor, but he soon found out that his talents lay with Stunt work.  He goes on to be a fantastic Stunt Man and Stunt Coordinator in the years to come. In this one, he has a nifty gag where he jumps from the rooftop of one building through the window of the next building.  He makes it look easy.pep2

1926:  The Devil Horse

Yakima Canutt is generally thought of as the grand-daddy of all stuntmen…not that he actually gave birth to all of them, just that he was a big reason why stunt work has legitimized as much as it is right now. He developed techniques for safety and paved the way for most of the stunt men to work behind the camera as an action director or second unit director and as a stunt coordinator.  In this film he shows his early chops as a rodeo star as he rides the devil horse, Rex.yakima captured

1927:  Wings

This film won the first Academy Award for Best Picture, but thanks to Dick Grace, has some great flying stunts in it as well.  No-one crashed a plane on cue better than he did.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

1928:  Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Another great film from Buster Keaton.  This one is another one of those iconic images that help to propel the whole stunt world forward, an amazing stunt, where Buster just stands in one spot as the whole front of the building falls around him.  Could have easily killed him if he was just a little bit off his mark.  Great stunt.Steamboat bill Jr

1929:  Tarzan the Tiger

Every wonder where Tarzan got his signature yell and signature swing from tree to tree from?  Yep, from this movie.  They used it in every Tarzan movie after that.  Frank Merrill was very athletic and did all his stunts in a skimpy loin-cloth.tarzan07

For more information about these stunt performers and these movies, including a lot of great trivia, please look for their chapters in the new movie stunt book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Stunt Man and Stunt Pilot for The Phantom

 

The acting in this film is pretty bad, but I still think it’s a fun flick for a “Stuck In A House With A Killer” flick.  What it doesn’t have in the way of  good actors it easily makes up for in the thrills it provides. Right from the start, it sets itself apart by one of the slickest craziest stunts I’ve ever seen, especially when you know that this was done in 1931!  phantom storyboard

It starts off in a penitentiary, where a warden is getting ready to execute a killer known as The Phantom. As they prepare the electric chair, the Phantom scales a 20-foot wall, and jumps on a nearby moving train.  If that’s not enough, wow, the Phantom then jumps on a rope ladder hanging underneath a plane and then flies away. The only problem is, (ironically, befitting the title of the film itself) I have no idea who performed the stunt and who the stunt pilot was.  I’ve looked under all the rocks I know of and it appears the knowledge of who these stunt performers are, are lost in time.

Look for the stunt to occur starting around 1:55 on the counter.The Phantom Stunt

The Phantom was directed by Alan James (Alvin J. Neitz) for Supreme Pictures. Alan James, as you’ll notice, was the director of Canyon Hawks, the nod of the Best Movie Stunt for 1930, so you know he believes in good stunts!

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia:

Supreme Pictures:  A.W. Hackel (December 18, 1882 – October 22, 1959) was an American film producer who founded Supreme Pictures in 1934.  Hackel contracted Bob Steele for 32 of his Westerns, for example Alias John Law in 1935.  In 1936, Republic Pictures needed more Westerns and made a deal with Hackel who released his films through Republic.  After the demise of Supreme Pictures in 1942, Hackel released through Monogram Pictures. All of his pictures were Westerns with the exception of Am I Guilty? (1940), a race film, and The Flaming Urge (1953), a crime film.

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Buster Keaton and Steamboat Bill Jr.

 

It’s an iconic image, a cyclone ravages a small town and blows the front of the building down.  As it falls, a man (Buster Keaton) walking away from the building miraculously survives as he stands on a spot where an open window just happens to be, as the building falls around him.  It’s a stunt where just the slightest miscalculation would have killed him.  The stunt was performed with an actual full-weight wall. Half the crew walked off the set rather than participate in a stunt that would have killed Keaton if he had been slightly off position.Steamboat bill JrSteamboat bill jr 2

Legendary Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan has often cited Keaton’s acrobatics—and this stunt in particular—as one of his primary influences. He tips his hat to Keaton in Project A2 by having a falling building front. This movie was also used as a model for Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse’s first cartoon with sound. It’s interesting to note, Buster Keaton’s sister Louise doubled for Marion Byron during the cyclone scene.Steamboat Bill Jr stunts

Steamboat Bill Jr. was directed by Charles Reisner for Buster Keaton Productions.

Things to look up (go to IMDB):

  • Buster Keaton
  • Charles Reisner
  • Steamboat Bill Jr.
  • United Artists
  • Louise Keaton

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

John Wayne and The Sons of Katie Elder

 

Less that four months after the operation to have his left lung removed, still having considerable trouble breathing, John Wayne embarked on one of his most strenuous roles ever, gunfighter John Elder in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965). It was a part that required Wayne to ride hard, fall off horses and repeatedly dive into frigid mountain waters.sonskatie-93

“On location in Durango, Mexico, he amazed me,” the film’s producer Hal Wallis stated in his autobiography. “Even though he was functioning on one lung and had a terrible scar running down his back, he showed no sign of illness or weakness. He did this own riding, roped in steers, rounded up cattle, and handled the fight scenes without a double. Only occasionally, in high country, was he short of breath.” John Wayne shows up again here as the nod for the Best Movie Stunt for 1965, exactly 20 years after his first appearance on the list with the Best Movie Stunt for 1945 for Back To Bataan.

It’s interesting to note the name “Kate Elder”, was one of several names used by Mary Katherine Horony Cummings, better known as “Big Nose Kate”, a western icon and sometime companion of Doc Holliday. It’s also interesting that not only did Henry Hathaway direct this film as well as our Best Movie Stunt for 1964, Circus World, but also four years later, Hathaway also directed John Wayne in his Academy Award-winning role of Rooster Cogburn in the original screen version of True Grit.sons john elderThings to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Yakima Canutt and Canyon Hawks

 

There’s a scene in this one where Yak drives an open wagon driven by two horses straight down a precipitous hill that just blows the mind! The scene is shot with a group of men on horses watching from the top, obviously afraid of riding their own single horses down the hill – let alone a wagon with two horses attached – and Yak sitting in the seat in the middle at the front! Also, just watching Yak handle his six-shooters is like watching a Wild West Show.canyon hawkes storyboard

When rodeo riders invaded Hollywood, they brought a battery of rodeo techniques that Canutt would expand and improve, including horse falls and wagon wrecks, along with the harnesses and cable rigs to make the stunts foolproof and safe. Among the new safety devices was the ‘L’ stirrup, which allowed a man to fall off a horse without getting hung in the stirrup. Canutt also developed cabling and equipment to cause spectacular wagon crashes, while releasing the team, all on the same spot every time. Safety methods such as these saved film-makers time and money and prevented accidents and injury to performers.Canyon Hawks stunt

It was these early movies where Yakima met John Wayne. Canutt taught Wayne how to fall off a horse. Canutt and Wayne pioneered stunt and screen fighting techniques still in use. The two worked together to create a technique that made on-screen fight scenes more realistic. Wayne and Canutt found if they stood at a certain angle in front of the camera, they could throw a punch at an actor’s face and make it look as if actual contact had been made. Much of Wayne’s on-screen persona was from Canutt. The characterizations associated with Wayne – the drawling, hesitant speech and the hip-rolling walk – were pure Canutt. Said Wayne, “I spent weeks studying the way Yakima Canutt walked and talked. He was a real cowhand.”

Canyon Hawks (1930) was directed by Alan James (as Alvin J. Neitz) and J.P. McGowan for National Players.canyon Yakima Rodeo

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB):

Glossary of film terms as defined by Wikipedia:

  1. Gunspinning – This refers to the old west tradition and Hollywood legend of a cowboy gunslinger twirling his pistol around his trigger finger. Gunspinning is a western art such as trick roping, and is sometimes referred as gunplay, gun artistry, and gun twirling. Gunspinning is seen in many classic TV and film Westerns, such as Shane and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The majority of gunspinning is seen as a precursor to putting the gun back in its holster. It may be used as a fancy ending to a trick shot, or just to impress or intimidate an opponent.  Watch Kirk Douglas in Man Without a Star if you want to see someone really good at it.  Douglas said later in one of his autobiography’s, “In my favorite scene, I twirled a gun; flipped it into the air, from side to side, behind my back, and fired it. This was basically juggling, with some additions. We filmed it in one take, no cuts, so you could see that there was no magic, no special effects, to it.”

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Vic Armstrong and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

 

The stunt where he jumps from a horse onto a German tank was voted one of the Top Ten film stunts of all time by a panel of experts and Sky Movies viewers in the UK in 2002.  In 2001, the Academy presented Vic Armstrong with a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for development of the Fan Descender and use of it throughout the years.jones45

Vic Armstrong wrote a very good account of this stunt in his autobiography, The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman: My Life as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Superman and Other Movie Heroes.  According to The Guinness Book of World Records, he is the world’s most prolific stuntman.

Another interesting point is, Sean Connery was always Steven Spielberg’s first choice to play Indiana Jones’s father, as an inside joke to say that James Bond is the father of Indiana Jones. If that had failed, Gregory Peck and Jon Pertwee were back-up choices for the role. Spielberg had always wanted to do a Bond film but did Indiana Jones as a James Bond type character. In keeping with the James Bond theme, the movie has many Bond movie co-stars: John Rhys-Davies, Alison Doody, Julian Glover, Stefan Kalipha, Pat Roach, Eugene Lipinski and Vernon Dobtcheff.jones23

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was directed by Steven Spielberg for LucasFilm.

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Vic Armstrong
  • Harrison Ford

Glossary of stunt terms as defined by Wikipedia: Fan Descender – Modern technology and new materials have contributed enormously to the stunt business. In the early days, stuntmen would perform high falls onto hay, but this was replaced by the miracle of empty cardboard boxes, which, when stacked correctly, would collapse and break the fall. Jackie Chan and his popular stunt team, still use this technique. As they say: ‘it isn’t the fall that hurts but the stopping’! Cardboard boxes have since been superseded by the airbag, with multiple chambers to stop it collapsing if it develops a tear. The multi-chamber airbag has enabled stuntmen to fall more safely from much greater heights.jones54

A device called a ‘fan descender’, which was invented in the early 1980s by Vic Armstrong for a movie called Green Ice, enables a stunt person to fall from great heights at a controlled speed. It has been used all over the world, on such movies as the Indiana Jones trilogy, through to Titanic, and recently earned an award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

Buster Keaton and Sherlock Jr.

 

Comedy director Leo McCarey, recalling the freewheeling days of making slapstick comedies, said, “All of us tried to steal each other’s gagmen. But we had no luck with Keaton, because he thought up his best gags himself and we couldn’t steal him!” The more adventurous ideas called for dangerous stunts, performed by Keaton at great physical risk. In his own right, Buster Keaton was an amazing acrobat and stuntman. It’s interesting that the majority of the working stuntmen of this era, did so as comedians. This film is arguably Keaton’s best example of his work overall as a stunt performer.sherlock crzy

Harvey Parry, addressing the rumors that Buster Keaton used stunt doubles rather than doing the stunts himself said, “To my knowledge, [he] never had a double. I’ve heard a couple of fellows say they doubled him, but I have never seen this happen. This man was a very clever acrobat . . . I don’t think I could have done [stunts] the way he wanted them. His fall was a different fall. He didn’t just slip and fall down. He’d do a lot of things before he fell down. That’s the way Buster was. You can’t double a guy like that.”Sherlock jr stunt

Sherlock Jr. was directed by Buster Keaton for Buster Keaton Productions, he did it all. I will be straightforward and say that I’ve always liked Buster and think that Steamboat Bill Jr. and The General are fantastic and has some really great sequences, but the motorbike sequence in Sherlock Jr. is just unbelievable. It’s my favorite sequence in all of his films and the first time I saw it, my eyes just popped out of my head.  It’s amazing what he was able to do back then, but just imagine anyone attempting to recreate this today.  It simply couldn’t be done without CGI and special effects. It’s just amazing.sherlock water-tank

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

sherlock keatonGlossary of film terms as defined by Wikipedia:

  1.  Slapstick – Slapstick is a type of stick/clapper used in slapstick comedy,it is used to create sounds of slapping so you do not have to make the sound whilst acting slapstick is also a type of broad, physical comedy involving exaggerated, boisterous actions (e.g. a pie in the face), farce, violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.sherlock jr

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

The Dick Van Dyke Show – 1961 Comedy

 

The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, until June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Mary Tyler Moore. It centered on the work and home life of television comedy writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke). The show was produced by Reiner with Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. The music for the show’s theme song was written by Earle Hagen.

Now in my humble opinion, The Dick Van Dyke Show, is the best sitcom ever. Many might disagree, but it still won 15 Emmy Awards overall. Plus in 1997, the episodes “Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth” and “It May Look Like a Walnut” were ranked at 8 and 15 respectively on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. Also in 2002, it did rank at 13 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked at 20 on TV Guide’s list of the 60 Best Series.

Premise – The two main settings consist of the work and home life of Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), the head writer of a comedy/variety television show (the fictitious The Alan Brady Show). Many scenes deal with Rob and his co-writers, Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie). Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon), a balding straight man and recipient of numerous insulting one-liners from Buddy, was the show’s producer and the brother-in-law of the show’s star, Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). As Rob, Buddy, and Sally write for a comedy show, the premise provides a built-in forum for them to be making jokes constantly. Other scenes focus on the home life of Rob, his wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), and son Richie (Larry Mathews), who live at 148 Bonnie Meadow Road in suburban New Rochelle, New York. Also often seen are their next-door neighbors and best friends, Jerry Helper (Jerry Paris), a dentist, and his wife Millie (Ann Morgan Guilbert).

Dick Van Dyke Show 2Little Known Facts
• Mary Tyler Moore usually wore Capri pants on the show, but the Network didn’t like it. So they required the producers to put her in a skirt or a dress for a specific number of scenes per episode. So they filmed a scene where she goes into the kitchen in Capri pants and came out shortly thereafter wearing a skirt. The Network eventually relented.
• Because of Moore, Capri pants became a huge fashion craze in the early 1960s.
• The office where Rob works is a re-creation of the writers’ bullpen from Your Show of Shows, where Carl Reiner worked as a young writer. The character, Rob Petrie, was based on Reiner and the character, Buddy Sorrell, was based on Mel Brooks. The role of Alan Brady, was based on Sid Caesar.
• Reportedly Mary Tyler Moore told the producers she was older than she really was in order to get the role of Laura. Carl Reiner later incorporated this into the show causing Rob and Laura having to get re-married because Laura had lied about her age.
• Carl Reiner would often ask cast and crew members about funny things that had happened to them, then he would write episodes about these occurrences. As a result, many episodes of the show were based on actual events.
The Dick Van Dyke Show was the last show to be shot entirely in black and white. The show was due to be shot in color after the fifth season, but never happened because of the cast and producers’ decision to end the show after five seasons.
• For the first three seasons, Alan Brady’s face was never shown but his voice was heard rarely, because Carl Reiner wanted to get a big star to play Alan. Reiner eventually decided to take on the role himself.
• Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore played a married couple so convincingly on the show that many viewers actually thought they were married in real life. They have remained close friends ever since.
• Carl Reiner was careful not to use any 1960s slang in the show. In fact, references to any time period or current events are very few and far between.
• According to Dick Van Dyke, viewers used to make bets (during the opening credits of seasons 2, 3, 4 & 5) on whether or not Rob Petrie would stumble over the Ottoman.
• Rose Marie’s husband, Bobby Guy, died during the series. This caused her to want to quit the show. Director John Rich talked her out of it and she stayed until the series’ end.
• Dick Van Dyke’s personal assistant, Frank Adamo, can be seen in numerous episodes as a waiter, delivery man, walk-on, or just a face in the crowd. He was always un-credited.
• Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon were actually close friends. According to Deacon, many of the best insults Buddy hurled at Mel were worked out while the two went out for a drink after work, or a screen filming time out.
• Dick Van Dyke took a big chance agreeing to do this show because in order to do it, he had to leave the Broadway hit show Bye Bye Birdie for which he won a Tony Award. If the show was not a hit, he would have been out of work.
• Johnny Carson was a runner-up for the role of Rob Petrie.
• The show’s production company was called Calvada Productions. The name came from the names of all of the key persons involved in production: Carl Reiner, Sheldon Leonard, Dick Van Dyke and Danny Thomas.
• Dick Van Dyke was concerned that the age difference between he and Mary Tyler Moore would not be convincing as husband and wife, but their on-screen chemistry soon dispelled that fear.
• Laura’s maiden name was changed from Meeker to Meehan following Mary Tyler Moore’s divorce from her first husband, Richard Meeker.
• As soon as Rose Marie signed her contract, she immediately suggested Morey Amsterdam for the role of Buddy Sorrell.
• During Richard Deacon’s first season as Mel Cooley, on The Dick Van Dyke Show, he was also finishing up the last season as Fred Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver.
• Morey Amsterdam wrote lyrics to Earle Hagen’s famous musical theme, but they were never used. The lyrics can be heard as a bonus on The Dick Van Dyke Show season 4 DVD’s and blue-ray discs.
• During the final season, Carl Reiner temporarily gave up his producer duties in order to appear in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.
• The running gag about Alan Brady’s toupee was based on Max Liebman, the producer of Your Show of Shows.
• The task of casting Laura proved to be the most difficult. About 60 actresses auditioned for the role before Mary Tyler Moore was chosen. She almost didn’t go to the audition, but was persuaded by her agent.
• Dick Van Dyke’s favorite episodes from the entire run of The Dick Van Dyke Show are: #5 – The Attempted Marriage, #4 – It May Look Like a Walnut, #3 – I’d Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head at All, #2 – Never Bathe on Saturday, and his top favorite, # 1 – Where Did I Come From?.

Dick Van Dyke Show Emmy awards pic 3