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Review: The Dick van Dyke Show DVD

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Review: The Dick van Dyke Show DVD

Old 06-02-01, 02:51 PM
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The old Dick van Dyke Show was really something special. Aired in the early/mid-1960's, it was forced by the standards (and censors) of the time to be funny in innocent, slapstick, and sometimes subtly sexy ways, and it truly succeeded. It's one of the rare shows that never jumped the shark and it remains funny, standing up quite well to current sitcom offerings.

A company called BFS has put out a good DVD of 6 Dick van Dyke show episodes at a great price (see below). The 6 episodes with brief descriptions are:

* A Man's Teeth Are Not His Own: Rob feels guilty over using and loving another dentist besides his buddy Jerry
* Give Me Your Walls: Rob and Laura worry about the master painter they've hired
* Never Name a Duck: Rob is stuck with some ducklings and Ritchie gets very attached to them
* Bank Book 6565696: Laura has a secret - her own bank account full of lots of $$$
* Hustling the Hustler: Buddy's black-sheep brother returns and swears he's not a money hustler anymore - or is he?
* The Night the Roof Fell In: a Rob and Laura fight - in three different versions

Obviously no sex, no lewd situations, no offensive language - just a lot of fun - and funny jokes. All of the episodes are good, with the first listed above the best, in my opinion. Carl Reiner wrote 3 (or maybe 4) of the eps here, and those are definitely the funniest of the bunch. Unfortunately he doesn't show up as Alan Brady, but there's some really great back-and-forth between Buddy Sorrell and Mel. All of the eps are from 1962 or 1963, when the show was at its peak. All of the eps are in black-and-white.

Because they are about 40 years old, the video isn't reference quality but isn't bad - they generally look better than they did on Nick at Nite a few years ago. Objects like blinds, which can look bad on DVD (even for recent stuff like Face/Off), look pretty good and hold their straight edges. The disc is single-layer despite being 156 mins. long, and indeed some scenes look overly compressed, with minor smearing and blurriness. But it's not too severe and usually occurs only when there's a lot of motion - such as Dick's dancing in the last ep. Sound is DD1.0 and sounds quite good considering the age of the show.

There are no extras at all, not even an insert in the nice keep case. The menu lets you jump to a specific episode, watch them all uninterrupted, or jump to a scene - each ep is broken into 2 chapters. You can't really expect many extras given the price, though.

Retail is only $9.98. I picked up my copy at Borders for only $6.99. (None of the Best Buys or Circuit Citys around me had it in their computers, so check out Borders or etailers). For $7, you can't really go wrong. Rewatchability is high, considering you can get some good laughs in a short period of time - just pop it in when you only have 26 mins and want a flashback to a time of good, innocent jokes.

--Jim

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