Dick Van Dyke married his first wife on a radio show
The actor's big day was broadcast.
Dick Van Dyke has been a familiar face on our screens for decades, but he also had a very successful career as a radio DJ in the 1940s. Also on the radio? Dick Van Dyke's wedding!
In 1948, Van Dyke married his first wife, Margerie Willett, as part of a radio show entitled Bride and Groom. The radio series broadcasted from 1945 to 1950, and each episode focused on an engaged couple who would be married on the broadcast. In the book, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, John Dunning wrote of the show, "During its five-year run, Bride and Groom told the stories of almost 1,000 new couples. Though the actual ceremony was performed privately in a small chapel adjoining the Chapman Park Hotel, where the broadcast originated in Los Angeles, the couple was introduced before and interviewed immediately afterward. A couple each day was united. They got on the show by telling their stories in letters to producer John Reddy. He made the selections by the human interest he found there. Occasionally a golden wedding anniversary was celebrated."
Crucially, Dunning also explained that the newlywed couple did not walk away from the show empty-handed. He wrote, "Each couple was given wedding rings, appliances, silver, and other gifts and was sent on a 'flying honeymoon' to a location of their choice."
Van Dyke actually spoke about the experience during an interview with Newsday (Suffolk Edition), and he actually had a very rational explanation as to why he and his then-wife chose to appear on the program. He said, "They gave us furniture and a honeymoon and paid for the ring. That was the only way I could afford to get married."
Still, eighteen years later, Van Dyke and his wife decided that they wanted to get married again, properly this time. He said, "We always talked about doing it again." However, he clarified that this wedding wouldn't be like the last, particularly in terms of size. He explained, "There'll just be the two of us and the minister. We had a crowd last time."