Lucille Ball would watch The Dick Van Dyke Show rehearse from the elevated catwalk above the stage

The series was shot at Desilu Studios.

Working on The Dick Van Dyke Show sounds like a hodgepodge of talents. From Dick Van Dyke to Carl Reiner, everyone involved in the production of the series seemed to be firing on all cylinders and eager to impress. Even the ground that The Dick Van Dyke Show walked on was sacred. The series was shot at Desilu Studios, a production company founded by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Ball wasn't just involved in the series through her name; apparently, she often visited set to watch The Dick Van Dyke Show cast rehearse their scenes...without telling them she was there.

In her memoir, After All, actor Mary Tyler Moore, better known as Laura Petrie, wrote, "Lucille Ball was our landlady at the studio and would pay occasional and startling surprise calls on us, her tenants. We would be rehearsing when we would hear a laugh from an unexpected source — the catwalk above."

If you're not aware, a catwalk is typically placed higher than the stage and audience and is commonly used by crew members looking to move about without being detected.

Moore continued, "This network of wooden bridges stretched high above the set and was intended for use by the lighting department. We would look up and there she'd [Ball] be, as surprised that a laugh had escaped her as we were to hear it. There was no way of knowing how long she might have been watching before she betrayed her presence."

She continued, "The first time she visited us we reacted like little kids who had been secretly monitored by the school principal...The others laughed and chatted, but I was still speechless in her presence. She apologized for interrupting us, and moved toward the door, waving us back to our original rehearsal spaces."

However, Ball had taken notice of Moore during her visits and was inclined to tell her so.

Moore wrote, "She stopped me briefly, not a full head-on stop, but enough to make the point, and said, "You're very good." Those words had a profound effect on me for their directness and simplicity. It made me feel that if important people were watching me, I had better be very, very good."

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14 Comments

MeaTvea 17 days ago
Two great shows with fantastic casts. Timeless, classic, groundbreaking... take your pick.
BorisK 1 month ago
MTM totally rocked capris.
kito BorisK 1 month ago
100% agreed. She pretty much rocked at everything tho haha
Runeshaper 1 month ago
That's pretty cool.

Moore received a HUGE compliment from Ball there!
BorisK Runeshaper 1 month ago
I'll say! You can almost hear Lucy dragg'n on that cigarette giving MTM kudos!
Runeshaper BorisK 1 month ago
HAHAHAHA solid visual!
Nexxxtlevvel 2 months ago
I'll be 58yrs in a few days and I'm proud to say that I still watch reruns every evening on Catchy TV at 10am eastern standard time. It never gets old😊😊😊😊😊
Andybandit 2 months ago
Too bad LB was not a guest star on some of his shows. That would of been cool.
Nexxxtlevvel Andybandit 2 months ago
I totally agree. It would've been iconic😀😀😀😀
Rick Andybandit 2 months ago
If she had been used right. She was a very different style of comedy from typical Dick van Dyke Show comedy. OTOH, both Dick van Dyke and Lucille Ball could have done a great physical comedy scene.
ncadams27 Andybandit 2 months ago
She could have played herself as a guest star on the Alan Brady Show. Or Mel Cooley’s wife.
Runeshaper Andybandit 1 month ago
Agreed! (-:
BorisK ncadams27 1 month ago
More like Mel Cooley's husband ... Richard Deacon was as gay as Raymond Burr.
ncadams27 BorisK 1 month ago
True - but not his character. In the show he was married to Alan Brady’s sister. So that would have Lucy playing Mel’s wife and Alan Brady’s sister. That could be funny.
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