32 behind-the-scenes photos that prove The Dick Van Dyke Show cast were total characters

"Nobody asked the question, ‘Has anybody heard of Dick Van Dyke?’"

Images: The Everett Collection

When The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered, history seems to forget that nobody actually knew who Dick Van Dyke was.

In an interview with the Archive of Amerian Television, Van Dyke explained that it wasn't that he was some huge star that led the show's name to change from Carl Reiner's original title Head of the Family to the show's eventual name The Dick Van Dyke Show. Instead, he said it had more to do with how Reiner's title didn't say anything about the workplace sitcom side of the show, which was a big part of what made the Sixties series so groundbreaking.

So, they tossed around names like Double Trouble, but eventually Van Dyke recalled that someone pointed out how Make Room for Daddy later got changed to The Danny Thomas Show, simply because that's how people referred to it. Predicting the same thing might happen with Van Dyke's vehicle, Van Dyke said it was out of an inability to come up with something better that led the hit sitcom to be named for him. "Nobody asked the question, ‘Has anybody ever heard of Dick Van Dyke?’ No, they named it [that] after want of a better name," Van Dyke said modestly in his interview.

Still, what The Dick Van Dyke Show lacked in a big name for its debut, they more than made up for in seriously experienced stage players. Van Dyke called out Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam for establishing the show's perfect sense of comedic timing, "From the very beginning, it was a lot of fun because Morey and Rosie were two people who had comedy timing like nobody in the world. You just rode on top of that rhythm that they set up.”

Then, of course, there's the show's breakout star Mary Tyler Moore, who eventually went on to influence TV's future even more, first in her own hit workplace sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then as the co-founder of MTM Enterprises. Van Dyke remembered how instantly Moore responded to the experienced players suddenly surrounding her, "It was just fascinating to watch Mary Tyler Moore just grasp it so quickly, from the first day. She saw what was happening and played on it.”

The chemistry of this cast led to a ton of laughs, which made us wonder: How much fun did these total characters have behind the scenes while putting together this singular sitcom? As you scroll through the photos below, you'll find the answer to that is as clear as this cast is talented.

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KennethGrueschow 6 months ago
Rose Marie was also Myrna on The Doris Day Show
ELEANOR 6 months ago
NOT!!! These are NOT behind-the-scenes photos. They are all publicity shots carefully staged and expertly filmed by talented photographers with hair and make-up carefully done. And none of them have captions. Photos are always better with captions.
MarkJamesMeli ELEANOR 1 month ago
Right, these pictures were taken most likely for TV Guide and other magazines of the era. A lot of them are referencing episodes, and would be published during the week those specific episodes were to air. All of them depict the characters that the actors play very well. I don't even know if, beyond cast photos, any shows take pictures like this anymore.
great1 6 months ago
Regardless if these were staged or impromptu...some were obviously
from specific episodes (Robby Baby and his new motorcycle or the
bandaged Rob after his skiing trip)...Rob's expression of pain was very
entertaining...if pain CAN be funny?!
Pacificsun 6 months ago
For the most part these aren't really "impromptu" pictures such as the ones shown of MASH (see other thread). The majority are publicity stills, meaning well staged. You can actually see the difference between truly behind-the-scenes photos, publicity because of how hair and makeup is done. If the actors look like they do for the show, they are staged.
Greg 6 months ago
My gosh Mary was a beautiful woman
dangler1907 6 months ago
Did Mary Tyler Moore ever, in her entire life, take a "bad picture"? I would find it hard to believe ...
daddio 6 months ago
Not ONE picture of Carl Reiner?? REALLY??
dangler1907 daddio 6 months ago
There are 2 that I can see. Not bad for someone who wasn't a regular cast member.
MrsPhilHarris daddio 6 months ago
I only see one.
anthony 6 months ago
MTM had really beautiful eyes.
cperrynaples 6 months ago
Very interesting to see these stars in color! DVD wasn't in color because CBS wouldn't pay Carl Reiner the money to upgrade and he quit just before color became mandatory!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 6 months ago
Yes, am surprised at how naturally tan DVD was/is.
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 6 months ago
Looks like a glazed ham.
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