& # 39; The Dick Van Dyke Show & # 39; remains a distinctive achievement in Carl Reiner's long list

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However, his main achievement remains "The Dick Van Dyke Show", the ground-breaking comedy series that represented many of Reiner's dozens of Emmy, and thanks to reruns, retrospectives, and the occasional primetime special, it never seems disappear.

The various stories about the show, which premiered in 1961, have been told over the decades, but Reiner's death at the age of 98 is reason enough to celebrate and retell them again. As Reiner was supposed to star in the series to begin with, they shot a pilot, before opting to choose Van Dyke, with Reiner switching to the occasional role of his mercurial boss, Alan Brady.

Drawing on Reiner's experiences with Caesar, Van Dyke played Rob Petrie, the lead writer on a Brady comedy show. The stories ranged from Rob's life at work to home, finding comedy gold in both places.

The series also launched the career of Mary Tyler Moore, playing Rob's wife Laura. As Reiner always said, he had auditioned numerous actresses, and was beginning to despair of finding the right one, when Moore walked in and started reading.

"I made my hand like a claw like in the machines in the carnival that take candy out of things, and I crossed the room, I went to his head, and I grabbed the top of his head and I said: 'Come with me & # 39; ", Reiner recalled on the Conan O & # 39; Brien show several years ago. Then he walked her down the hall to producer Sheldon Leonard, exclaiming, "I found her!"

More than 150 episodes followed, including several memorable classics. The highlight was that Rob convinced himself that the wrong baby had been brought home from the hospital, Laura recklessly announced to the world that Brady was wearing a toupee, and the couple's son Richie discovered the origins of his unusual second. name, Rosebud.

Reiner has said that he consciously avoided thematic references when writing the show, one of the reasons it has been so timeless. In a 2003 interview, he recalled that he had refused to produce a sixth season despite being offered a lot of money to continue. "We knew we had started repeating ourselves, and when you get to that, it's time to stop," he said.

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" could have stopped, but Reiner never did. Citing activity as a key to longevity, he became the oldest Emmy nominee in 2018, for the HBO documentary "If You're Not on the Obit, Eat Breakfast," about people who are still vital in their 90s and plus.
"If you can't laugh," says Reiner in the documentary, "life would be pretty empty."

By that measure, Reiner spent his life making everyone else a little fuller.

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