How flop led to fame for Dick Van Dyke
A bump in the road led to better things.
There's an old adage in Hollywood that says, "You're only as good as your last project." Memories are so fickle, especially when it comes to entertainment, and there are only so many impressions an artist can make. The truth in that saying may be up for debate, but it does hint towards the importance of one's reputation in a business that's constantly changing. Sometimes, a movie or a show is bad enough to ruin a person's career.
A failure doesn't always spell disaster for all parties involved. Sometimes it can be merely a turning point. This was the case for Dick Van Dyke early in his show business career. While there's plenty of pressure involved in a person's first big break onstage, but for Van Dyke, it was just another job.
After a series of onscreen hosting gigs that didn't lead to very much, Dick Van Dyke headed for the stage. A TV friend suggested him for a part in Broadway's The Girls Against The Boys, and the stage was set for a legendary debut. Except, that didn't happen, and the show closed after just two weeks.
Van Dyke later described the show as "a definite turning point" in a 1960 interview with the Associated Press.
While the show was a dud, the one thing that did capture the public's attention was Dick Van Dyke's performance. The show was critically derided, but Van Dyke received a ton of praise in the press.
That good press led to his second Broadway gig, a starring role in Bye, Bye Birdie. This was where Van Dyke began gaining much more momentum, building towards his own series, The Dick Van Dyke Show. But while that was all in his future, Van Dyke reflected on his good-bad fortune.
"I'm probably making a lot more money than if we had run," said Van Dyke about his initial Broadway arrangement. It wasn't a great show, but it led to great things.
"I'm lazy by nature but I've worked hard. I've been luckier than most, for I've never really had to pound the pavements or beat out my brains for work."
Sometimes even missteps are part of the path.