Dick Van Dyke: ''I just kind of went with the flow''

Without knowing it, Dick Van Dyke was pretty zen.

If America has a funny bone, it's Dick Van Dyke. Few have contributed more or inspired as much. Who else has a classic sitcom and a classic musical and seems to be genuinely beloved by everyone he's worked with? To accomplish what Dick Van Dyke has in his life, one would surely need to have a concrete plan, right?

As it turns out, there's a lot more happy happenstance in the Van Dyke story than you'd expect! Back in 2011, while he was promoting his then-new memoir, "My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business," Dick Van Dyke spoke to the Arizona Republic about many of the surprises that added up to a legendary career.

For starters, all his success as an actor was totally unexpected. Sitcom accomplishments were never really Van Dyke's aim. His career progress was closer to serendipity. He just said "Yes," and kept it moving.

"The more I thought about it, I realized I never had any goals or any point of destination," said Van Dyke. "I thought I was going to be a television announcer, so everything that happened to me was a nice surprise."

That mentality helped shape his memoir, which was never planned for either. Instead, when a publisher approached him, Dick Van Dyke just said "Yes," and figured it out later.

"In life, I just kind of went with the flow, and this is like that. I just went with it," he said.

But while there may not have been a roadmap, there was one key ingredient found in The Dick Van Dyke Show that influenced the rest of Van Dyke's life and career. 

"It was just pure enjoyment," said Van Dyke of his Carl Reiner-penned sitcom, "the most creative enjoyment I've ever had. It was just play. Honestly, I haven't had that many jobs that were really hard work."


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12 Comments

Pacificsun 2 months ago
No secret and self admission, he called himself an alcoholic. Which also could've mellowed his perspective on life. Certainly not to his detriment. He was probably very adept at using opportunity to his advantage. An excellent outlook will do that to you!
Runeshaper 2 months ago
I could see Van Dyke being pretty chill 🧊
daDoctah 2 months ago
Another channel just ran a DVD marathon, and I confirmed two things on the episodes I happened to land on:

(1) While we never saw Alan Brady's receptionist "Marge", her voice is heard on an intercom in the episode "How to Spank a Star".

(2) While it's often pointed out that Alan Brady and Mel Cooley are brothers-in-law, the episode "The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart" appears to be more specific than usual when it's revealed that Mel wasn't invited to his own sister's wedding. I believe there are other obscure references where the relationship is the other way round; namely that Mel is supposed to be married to Alan's sister instead.
cperrynaples daDoctah 2 months ago
The channel is Catchy Comedy and it runs DVDS every day whereas MeTV is only on Sunday! Of course Alan himself was invisible before Carl Reiner decided to show himself!
Pacificsun daDoctah 2 months ago
Yes, I think the writers had a hard time keep track of that detail. Once used, they probably never expected anybody to notice.
Peter_Falk_Fan 2 months ago
"Sitcom accomplishments were never really Van Dyke's aim, but rather one in a series of serendipitous feats."

Maybe that's why he played a murderer in an episode of "Columbo". I remember reading that some of his fans of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" weren't too happy with him playing a bad guy.
Moody Peter_Falk_Fan 2 months ago
I remember that episode & I thought he was great. It was definitely different seeing him play such an arrogant, evil character. It just shows what a great actor he is.
Yep, and many people have never seen The Runner Stumbles in which he played a priest who has a secret affair with a nun!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 2 months ago
PS the title is ironic, it could have been called The Runner Stumbles Over The Ottoman...LOL!
LoveMETV22 2 months ago
Dick Van Dyke: I go with the flow, even if that means flowing over an ottoman.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 2 months ago
That pratfall runs so quickly on the opening, have always wondered how he did those falls so smoothly and harmlessly. In this one you can see how he sets it up with his arm. Catches the ottoman with his left knee. And rolls forward using the back of his upper right shoulder. Looks very natural, though it'd be interesting if that just came naturally. Or learned from stunt doubles or stage performers. Cool footage, thanks!!
Moody Pacificsun 2 months ago
I wonder how many times he had to practice it or how many takes before they got what they wanted. Hard to do without hurting yourself.
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