Dick Van Dyke did his best to avoid any changes on his hit series
He wanted to change everything about television, but nothing about The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Dick Van Dyke may have been a silly comedian, but he took his job as an actor very seriously. He knew being an actor came with great responsibility and the power to influence millions of people.
In 1963, the entertainment industry came under attack from individuals and groups who insisted that television should clean up its act and cut down on series that depict too much violence. This was especially true for many Westerns at the time.
Many people in Hollywood would argue that the parents, not the movie producers, should classify films and set their ratings. Dick Van Dyke agreed.
In a 1963 interview with Fort Lauderdale News, Van Dyke spoke about violence in television and film to a church group. He spoke about immorality in films and the response he received from the church group was "tremendous."
Van Dyke said he was aware of the risks involved when it came to speaking his mind about violence in television, especially considering television was his job. However, Van Dyke still got a lot of work in entertainment.
"I thought at the time that I would never work again," Van Dyke said. "The public is under the impression that nobody in our business cares. But people here do care. If I don't know what a picture is about, I call the theater manager and ask him before my kids see it."
Although Van Dyke wanted to change the way kids, teenagers and the public saw violence onscreen, he had no interest in changing The Dick Van Dyke Show. Why fix a good thing anyway?
"Shows always promote new changes and so-called improvements, but we don't claim any and we just go on our merry way," Van Dyke said in a 1963 interview with Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
Van Dyke said following The Beverly Hillbillies each week helped them stay in the race for the top series. No matter what Van Dyke thought or said, it never really seemed to affect his career. People loved him regardless of his stance on violence, fame and politics.
"I thought we had a great first show that first year but we couldn't get anybody to look at it," Van Dyke said. "The name of the show was The Dick Van Dyke Show and nobody knew who he was. There was nothing there to pique the interest. Now I think we can stand on our own."