Van Dyke & Company (Funniest Show on Television)

Dick Van Dyke hosted and starred in this short-lived series back in 1976.  Lasting only 12 episodes, it still won an Emmy for Best Variety Show.  What happened?

The pilot episode scored big in the ratings, but in that brief half season, NBC would change its time slot three times.

Bob Einstein (later known as “Super Dave Osborne”) frequently appeared and was on the talented list of writers.  (Steve Martin wrote some of the first show.)

Today the show has become known as the first to give Andy Kaufman his first recurring role.  HIs appearance provides the most laugh out loud moments, his best line being:  “I don’t know if you’re laughing at me or with me.”

A large number of guest stars appeared including Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball, Chevy Chase, Tina Turner, John Denver, Lola Falana, Bobbie Gentry, Hal Linden, Flip Wilson and Freddie Prinze.

Van Dyke & Co. crossed the line between reality, frequently interrupting the show with “Special Bulletins” which was discontinued because the less than hip viewers thought they were the real thing.  (The last bulletin was that a number of L.A. Rams players were being traded for Quasimodo.)

The “Bright Family” was a running gag about the dumbest family on Earth.

Van Dyke would mention guest stars he asked to appear who refused – then he would destroy their image.  (Throwing paint on a portrait of Dean Martin, crushing a statue of Nureyev.)

In the final show, Dick is asked to say goodbye, instead he does an abrupt turn and walks off.  Was this a message?

Van Dyke & Company is available on DVD.

Text © 2022 – EricReports

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