This forbidden Dick Van Dyke episode was filmed but never aired

"It was a story about behavior," but the premise was considered too risqué in the Sixties.

In the fifth season of The Dick Van Dyke Show, there’s an episode where the Petries confront that awkward parenting moment with Ritchie where they have to explain how human reproduction works.

It’s called "Go Tell the Birds and the Bees," and in it, we get to watch Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke squirm through this uncomfortable teaching moment.

What you may not have realized laughing through this episode is that The Dick Van Dyke Show wanted to go even further into awkward parenting territory with a similar episode concept that was filmed but ultimately forbidden to air because it was considered too risqué for Sixties audiences.

Van Dyke talked about the premise of this forbidden episode in a 1988 interview with The Sacramento Bee.

"We ran into a problem once on the old show with a story about our child having walked in and seeing us make love in the morning," Van Dyke said. "We didn’t show it or anything. It was a story about behavior. The kid is acting very strange, and we finally figured out that’s what must have happened."

Where in "Go Tell the Birds and the Bees," the issue Rob and Laura confront is overt, with Ritchie giving very misguided "lectures" on the birds and the bees to other kids at school and his parents needing to figure out where he got these wild ideas and how to best set him straight.

In the forbidden episode, how Ritchie felt about the birds and the bees would’ve manifested instead into physical behaviors his parents witnessed but didn’t understand. For a physical comedian like Dick Van Dyke, the hilarity of such a premise was clear, and he wished the episode had been allowed to air.

"It was a lovely little show, and we couldn’t put it on the air," Van Dyke bemoaned.

In the interview Van Dyke was promoting his short-lived 1988 series The Van Dyke Show, which was about a Broadway star who retired to live with his local theater-producing son in a small rural town.

At that moment, Van Dyke was a more mature actor, and the family dynamic he was portraying on the new show was definitely a much different look at how fathers and sons relate.

But by this point near the end of the Eighties, Van Dyke was seasoned enough to know audience tastes had proven mature enough, saying if it were written in the Eighties, no TV studio would’ve rejected the forbidden episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. The TV legend regretted the lost opportunity for physical comedy on his break-through sitcom which was so famous for just that.

"Today it wouldn’t even get anybody’s attention," he sighed.

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garyhallman 12 months ago
there was nothing wrong with promoting morals, but it was funny showing twin beds , & never showing the toilet!
PC99 32 months ago
The filmed episode was from the 1970s series The New Dick Van Dyke Show (with Hope Lange as Dick's wife), not the classic 1960s series. There are no unreleased episodes from the 1960s show - even alluding to a child walking in on their parents having sex never would have even been considered in the 1960 show.
JimmyOrsino PC99 31 months ago
You're absolutely correct, either Dick had a memory lapse or the writer of the article didn't get his facts straight. All the shows of the 60's had network reps on the set, this show never would have made it to a table read let alone being filmed.
I vote for the MeTV Millennial to have gotten it wrong.
SybilAdelmanSage PC99 29 months ago
You're right. I was one of the writers - my very first TV experience
Nala92129 32 months ago
True, networks were ridiculously puritanical back then, but are today's sitcoms an improvement? We were subjected to sickening ads from the producers of "Mom," in which a daughter chastised her blowsy looking mother about "licking cocaine crumbs" out of a shag carpet. Hollywood doesn't realize that most American families don't share their values.
kiml715 Nala92129 32 months ago
I completely agree!
TheSentinel Nala92129 32 months ago
I don't even watch Mom, period (and never have) - that show is garbage.
Mac2Nite TheSentinel 32 months ago
Huh? As an aside, if you've never watched an episode of Mom, how do you know the series is garbage?
TheSentinel Mac2Nite 32 months ago
Watching the show's promos during commercial breaks on The Price Is Right was enough to convince me that Mom is a garbage show.
F5Twitster 32 months ago
The above fails to mention whether the withheld episode is included in the complete series set of DVD's (as was the one episode of "The Twlight Zone," "The Encounter," with George Takei and Neville Brand, that was aired only once, and never rerun or included in the syndication package, but is part of the DVD and Blu-ray sets). If not, then it can't be called "complete."
cynkgreen F5Twitster 28 months ago
I guess we've already figured out there was no filmed but withheld show. Please read above to the beginning.
cperrynaples F5Twitster 28 months ago
Yes, George talked about that episode to Howard Stern! It's not on MeTV, but is included in all streaming packages!
ThomasPotter F5Twitster 4 months ago
Me TV doesn't air it, but "The Encounter" has been shown several times during SciFi's Twilight Zone marathon
jholton30062 32 months ago
I'm sure it had a lot to do with the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters, the industry's alternative to stricter government control...
Bill 32 months ago
Not surprising! There was a strict morals code in Hollywood from 1933 to 1967. In 1951, when I Love Lucy debuted, MARRIED Lucy and Desi were required to sleep in separate beds separated by a night stand. In the early 60’s Ed Sullivan would not allow The Rolling Stones to sing “spend the night together.” They had to change it to “spend some time together.” Welcome to Puritan America!
cynkgreen Bill 28 months ago
You know, this whole subject has come to mind, as lately I've been watching the Three Stooges on Saturdays on MeTV. I've seen some of those episodes are dated back to early 1940s. Yet I bet that most you guys don't associate Three Stooges with anything sexual at all. Well I didn't either, especially not having watched any for many years, probably since I was a kid. So if you have not watched them any time in recent recollection, please do, you may find an unexpected (especially for the era) level of sexuality, I sure was surprised! Maybe it was because Stooges were made to precede theater movies, which always had quite explicit sexual references as opposed to television, way further back. Not sure why that was the case...possibly tv being in the home was considered "family" or subject to viewing by children at any time?
MadMadMadWorld cynkgreen 12 months ago
Their first short was filmed in 1934, "Woman Haters" released on May 5 (today's day, 2023), 1934, 89 years old. Certainly had nothing to do with sex itself! Hahaha!
glennh3365 32 months ago
There should be a collection of forbidden episodes to stream.
GeorgeReynolds 32 months ago
It could probably be shown on MeTV these days.... I doubt they showed Ritchie inside the actual bedroom while his parents were in bed. the scene probably shows him opening the door and his parents yelling in shock to leave the room. It can't be ANYTHING like the Simpsons Family Guy or Futurama!
Runeshaper 32 months ago
I can understand why they wouldn't air that episode in the 60s. The show was GREAT regardless!
GeorgeReynolds Runeshaper 32 months ago
Try to remember.... ANYTHING SEXUAL or that hinted towards tempation of sex was TABOO!!!! A Woman had to be FULLY dressed, wearing slacks, or nylons on her legs if she was wearing a skirt or dress! Her ENTIRE torso had to be covered, and even showing a small portion of her bely button would have gotten the show banned by the censors!
The mention of exposed belly buttons brings to mind the whole I Dream of Jennie controversy.
daDoctah 32 months ago
And yet they got away with the episode "The Lady and the Tiger and the Lawyer", which makes light of a guest character who abused his ex-wives.
MadMadMadWorld daDoctah 32 months ago
Those were the days (still do today, mostly) when hate could be showed more than love!
rayforhorror daDoctah 32 months ago
Actually, I'm surprised they allowed the episode about the nude painting Laura posed for in her past, even though the painting was never shown to the audience.
Mirramanee rayforhorror 18 months ago
Likely it was allowed because the episode made it very clear that Laura had not actually posed in the nude. She posed fully clothed; the artist chose to render her in the nude (from his imagination, I would guess).
Pacificsun 32 months ago

The real hitch in these situations doesn't involve the "purity" of the networks (they've had everything imaginable pitched to them), the problem is the sponsorship who dictates what goes out to the viewers.
Moody Pacificsun 32 months ago
So true! The sponsors didn't want anything controversial to be associated with their product. They probably had more control over tv content in those days than the network censors did.
cperrynaples 32 months ago
Not the only time DVD got censored! An episode of NDVDS where Dick's daughter catches her parents having sex was dropped by CBS! By the way, this was in 1973, when their shows included All In The Family, Maude and M*A*S*H!
jeopardyhead cperrynaples 32 months ago
I thought it was aired, but just heavily censored.
That episode aired, I saw it. Nothing more than the daughter walking in with the parents under the covers, as I remember how it showed.
Read my comment!
Coldnorth cperrynaples 32 months ago
Married with children was one show that didn’t know what a censor was. Some sponsors dropped the show but they had enough for more seasons. I never knew how that got by sensors so long
cynkgreen cperrynaples 28 months ago
Yeah, strange because MASH was sure as loosey goosey as it gets, even still today!
Coldnorth Coldnorth 18 months ago
I do like Mom. The characters are always there for each other when they slip up. And they try to make their lives better. The subject of drugs or alcoholism will always be around. I try to have an open mind. But soap operas were the worst at morality and it was shown to the daytime. Some scenes were not fit for a child to watch yet they were on for years
Andybandit 32 months ago
Back in 50's, 60's, 70's, and when I was growing up in the late 70's and 80's parents did not like talk about sex to their kids.
Maverick66 Andybandit 32 months ago
Isn't that the truth! By the time my dad got around to trying to have "the talk" with me, I was so far into my teens & his discomfort was so palpable, I wanted to ask him, "What do you still need to know, dad?" I let him off the hook quickly and easily, though, and he ran out of my room faster than Usain Bolt ever could have.
Andybandit Maverick66 32 months ago
I know. I never had the sex talk. I learned it in health class in the 10th grade.
Moody Andybandit 32 months ago
I grew up in the 60s & 70s and my parents didn't have "the talk" with us either. But my wife & I did talk about sex with our 5 kids. Even though it was uncomfortable for all of us I think it was the right thing to do.
Andybandit Moody 32 months ago
Good for you about having the talk with your kids.
Michael Maverick66 32 months ago
In 1971-72 year, when I was in grade 6, someone came into talk about sex. And someone else came into talk about drugs.

Here, high school began in grade 7, so this was before that transition.
MadMadMadWorld Andybandit 32 months ago
In The Dick Van Dyke Show episode, "Go Tell the Birds and the Bees" Dick (as Rob) says (and reaches for the famous book), "Where's Dr. Spock?" Referring to the famous baby doctor's instructions on how to raise children, in that era.
ncadams27 32 months ago
They weren’t even allowed to sleep in a single bed.
justjeff 32 months ago
I only wish they had included it as a "lost episode" bonus on my DVD set of the series...
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LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 32 months ago
Yeah I couldn't think of any other acronyms or whatever you wish to call them
Like FM= frequency modulation, AD- short for advertisement, etc... there may be others, I just can't think of any.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 32 months ago
Just TV Shows:
ST ... (and the list goes on)

(I guess my brain woke up this morning. They're all over the place now!).
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 32 months ago
Well you can do that for any show/movie/network/ well anything for that matter. I was trying to think of acronyms that stood for other actual objects tangible or not. There must not be a lot.
WordsmithWorks 32 months ago
"'Today it wouldn’t even get anybody’s attention,' he sighed." So true.
Yes, sadly the age of subtlety is gone
Michael 32 months ago
But then he went onto make that classic fim, "Cold Turkey" in the lat e sixties. How could a film with Dick Van Dyke not be wholesome, I think my mother thought. So she took us. Even though it wasn't explicit, I'd never seen sex in a film before. But all those trips to the bedroom were pretty obvious. Overall, a bad film. The only reason I remember it was because I saw it.
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Michael cperrynaples 32 months ago
I was 11 when it came out. So that skews things. I think I remember the tobacco aspect, a small town gives it up for X number if days, and if successful, they win a money prize.

I think I know that from reading about it in recent times. The part I remember most is the bed is made, and I guess Dick Van Dyke's character returns for more.
cperrynaples Michael 32 months ago
There's a great ironic ending: The town gets the money, but then a President who sounds like Nixon puts a military bomb factory there!
Mike Michael 32 months ago
Interesting that so many people recall the movie Cold Turkey, but nobody seems to remember who directed it:
TV writer making his first movie as a director - fella named Norman Lear. Whatever happened to him, I wonder ...
Mirramanee Mike 18 months ago
Actually, I do remember seeing that in the credits years later when the movie was being run on TV. I was so surprised!
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