Saturday, July 16, 2011

Episode 158: The Last Chapter

Unlike another popular TV show of the time -- "The Fugitive" -- the "Dick Van Dyke Show" left the air not with a bang but a whimper. Except for brief scenes at beginning and end, the final episode consists solely of repeated scenes from three earlier episodes.

Episode 157: The Gunslinger

An extended dream sequence that's a parody of the classic Western, "High Noon" -- complete with a nice imitation of Gary Cooper by DVD.

The episode contains what I believe is the only scene of the entire series that was filmed outdoors -- Rob riding on his horse in the Old West town. (There was one other brief outdoor scene in an earlier episode, but it was stock footage of a car driving along a highway and no characters were visible).

Sally: "Here's your favorite -- fried chicken."

Rob: "Oh boy, and hominy grits!"

Sally: "Oh, I don't know, about forty or fifty..."


Rob: "Hi, Buck. Howdy, Frank. Howdy, Jesse. Howdy, James. Howdy, Doody."

Episode 156: Love Thy Other Neighbor

Jerry and Millie feel threatened by the Petries' new neighbors, who seem to be replacing the Helpers in Rob's and Laura's affections.

Joby Baker has the distinction of having played not one, but two, of the most annoying characters on the DVD Show: The fake bullfighter, and the husband of Laura's childhood friend who moves in next door.

Rob: "You willing to give up your trip to Italy?"

Laura: "Why?"

Rob: "Well, I'm gonna try and get a couple of more tickets, and that's just about what it's gonna cost."

Laura: "Well, it'd be worth it anyway."

Rob: "I don't know, I bet the first day off the boat I'd meet four Italians I like better than Jerry."

Episode 155: You Ought to be in Pictures

Rob has a chance to star in a movie made by an old Army buddy -- but turns out to have no acting ability.

Adamo sighting: Waiter at restaurant.

The Curious Geometry of the Petrie House -- Part 2

In an earlier blog entry, I noted the unlikely configuration of the Petries' house. The episode "The Man from My Uncle" highlights the difficulty of trying to draw a floor plan for the house that would make sense in real life, and still fit the clues we're given about the layout of the Petrie home.

I'm aware of at least two attempts by others to draw a floor plan: One is in a book of blueprints of various fictional TV houses; the other is an online picture that I found by browsing the web. Both versions arrive at solutions that ignore many clues given during the episodes of the DVD Show. One of them even contains numerous blatant discrepancies that conflict with what is plainly seen on the show. So I decided to try my own solution.

The main problem is the part of the house containing the den (or guest room) and Richie's room. Here's what we know about the rooms:

The den -- this room, which we never see (except for its entrance off the living room), must extend off to the right, as viewed from the living room -- because every character who enters the room turns right -- every single time.

Richie's room -- From "The Man From My Uncle", we know that Richie's room:
(a) has a window facing the house across the street
(b) is reached by a hallway, and is entered by approaching from the left of the hall, as seen from inside the room.

Item (a) is no problem; that would position the room to the left of the den, as seen from the living room; and that fits with the wall that can be seen through the open front door of the house. But item (b) is a real problem. How can you go past the den, enter from the hall on the correct side, and be at the front of the house -- unless the layout is something like this:
It's a layout that makes no sense. No architect would design a hallway that wraps completely around a room, as this hall wraps around the den. Yet this layout seems to be required in order to make everything fit together as shown on the program.

Then I figured out a possible solution. What if the Petrie home were situated inside a curve on Bonnie Meadow Road? There is such a location on that street.

In that case there would be multiple houses, in different directions, visible from rooms in the house -- like this:

Now everything falls into place. Richie's room is located like this:
Richie's bedroom window still looks out across the street -- but at a 90-degree angle from the front door. The den is not surrounded by the hallway, but instead has exterior walls with windows on one or even two walls of the room.

The rest of the house is fairly easy to lay out. The following drawing is certainly not to scale; distances and angles are too hard to determine on a 2-D television screen. Green areas are those we see on the show; yellow areas are never seen, and therefore are purely speculative on my part.

I've left out the positioning of the basement, and the stairs to the basement. You can only go so far with a project like this...

1 - Front Door
2 - Coat closet
3 - Den (the little wall inside the door is awkwardly placed. Perhaps it's a structural element -- maybe made necessary by the boulder in the basement?)
4 - Step up/down
5 - Bay window
6 - wood stove on brick hearth
7 - Pass through window to kitchen
8 - Ottoman
9 - Piano (usually seen only at parties; once seen against this wall of the room)
10 - Kitchen
11 - Broom closet
12 - Sliding glass doors
13 - Laundry room (never seen but once mentioned; this seems like a logical location)
14 - Garage (orienting the garage in this way makes sense if the street curves around the house as I've speculated)
15 - Wood deck (I've assumed the arms of the U shape; it would explain why the Helpers don't come in straight from outside the sliding door, and also gives a location for the grill (16) that was implied in that location in one episode.
17 - Master bedroom. I've drawn it as a trapezoid instead of a rectangle, as a close observation of the room while watching the show reveals an angle > 90 degrees between the wall with the window, and the wall the beds are against.
18 - Master bath
19 - Hall to Richie's room
20 -Richie's room
21 - Bath
22 - Window used by G-Man for stakeout
23 - Driveway
24 - To Millie and Jerry's house
25 - Bonnie Meadow Road

Episode 154: The Man from My Uncle

A G-Man establishes a stake-out in the Petrie house, where Rob's attempts to become part of the mission almost ruin it.
Food note: Laura makes a plate of homemade Nut Chewies for the agent.

Rob: “Is there anything we can do, Mr. Bond?”
Mr. Bond: “You haven’t had dinner yet, have you?”
Rob: “No.”
Mr. Bond: “Why don’t you have dinner.”
Rob: “Right. Come on, Honey, it’s a dinner break.”
Laura: “Well, how can he spy with a bad tooth?”
Rob: “Honey, those guys are trained to spy with bamboo shoots under their fingernails.”
Laura: “I didn’t make your dinner!”
Rob: “Well, not since yesterday.”
Laura: “Rob, I’m sorry. What -- what would you like?”
Rob: “Well, uh, make something very light, Honey. I might have to, you know, move.”
Rob: “Mr. Bond?”
Mr. Bond: “What?”
Rob: “Can I have the binos?”
Mr. Bond: “The what?”
Rob: “The binocs?”
Mr. Bond: “Oh, the binoculars.”
Rob: “Yeah, check.”
Rob: “Hey, Mr. Bond – I took a picture with this infrared camera.”
Mr. Bond: “Of what?”
Rob: “Well...of you sleeping.”
Mr. Bond: “Mr. Petrie, why did you do that?”

Episode 153: Obnoxious, Offensive Egomaniac etc.

Rob, Laura, Sally, and Buddy break into Alan's office -- and then his home -- to try to retrieve a script that contains insults they forgot to ink out before sending to Alan.

Rob: “I see dark, but I see lighter patches of dark.”
Rob: “I didn’t know I get claustrophobia!”
Rob: “I didn’t know I had fear of heights!”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Episode 152: A Day in the Life of Alan Brady

Rob and Laura must combine an anniversary party for Millie and Jerry with a filmed documentary about Alan Brady.

Adamo sighting: As usual, a party guest a the Petrie house.

Rob: "All right; everybody start milling around now, like it's a normal party. Just milli-- uh -- wai -- hold it folks! Stop the milling, will ya? It's no -- just act plain!"

The Alan Brady Show

In "Talk to the Snail", Alan Brady states that his show is ranked #7. Mel corrects him, indicating the show is #17. Is that good, or bad? Consider the competition the "Alan Brady Show" would have had, if it had been a real program in the 1965-66 season:

First, there were nearly a dozen variety shows at that time -- that type show had not yet begun to die out, though it would do so shortly. Alan would have been competing with, among others: Andy Williams, Steve Lawrence, Red Skelton, Danny Kaye, Dean Martin, Jimmy Dean, the King Family, the Smothers Brothers, Jackie Gleason, Lawrence Welk, and Ed Sullivan.

Sitcoms, however, were dominating the ratings, with "The Lucy Show", "The Andy Griffith Show", "Bewitched", "Gomer Pyle", "Hogan's Heroes", and "The Beverly Hillbillies" all in the top 10. Others in the top 20 included "My Three Sons", "Get Smart", "Green Acres" ---- and, of course, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (on Wednesday nights).

Other programs of note included the game show "I've Got a Secret", "Gilligan's Island", "Daniel Boone", "The Man From UNCLE", "Flipper", "Lassie", "Petticoat Junction", and "I Dream of Jeannie". The number one show overall? Bonanza, then in its seventh season.

Considering the fact that many of these shows can still be seen in syndicated re-runs almost 50 years later, it's safe to say that the '65-'66 season was a strong one -- and that Rob, Sally, and Buddy were doing very well if they were keeping an obsolescent program type in 7th -- or even 17th -- place.

Episode 151: Talk to the Snail

Thinking that Alan Brady is about to cut the writing staff, Rob, Buddy, and Sally consider taking a job writing for a puppet.

Jelly Bean appears to be a gastropod version of Topo Gigio, the little mouse puppet who was appearing regularly at the time on the "Ed Sullivan Show". But the similarity was only physical; while Topo Gigio was a sweet, shy, gentle creature, Jelly Bean was rude, arrogant, and prone to violence.

Episode 150: Long Night's Journey Into Day

Laura spends a nervous evening at home alone, as Rob, Richie, and the Helpers go on a fishing trip without her. Millie contributes to her anxiety by making a reference to the shower scene in Psycho.

Along with her new hair style, Laura continues the modernization of her look by wearing white go-go boots; just a month before this episode aired, a song about such footwear became a hit song.


Laura: "What's the number there?"

Rob: "9."

Laura: "Go ahead."

Rob: "9, that's it."

Laura: "9 is it?"

Rob: "Well, yeah, Apple City 9, it's a small town, honey."

Episode 149: Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy

One of the most unusual episodes of the series. It does have the normal quota of laughs, but concludes with a solemn depiction of Buddy's 30-years-delayed bar mitzvah -- with his honored guests including Mel Cooley.


Buddy: “There’s these two big recording stars, but big. And they fall in love and decide to get married, but I don’t think it’ll work out – he’s 45 and she’s 33 1/3.”

Episode 148: Dear Sally Rogers

More than four years after the first episode utilizing the theme of Sally being single -- and hating it -- here is the final episode repeating that theme.

Continuity issue: Talk show host Stevie Parsons is played by a different actor from the last time the character appeared.

Sally: “I know, Rob, but I’ve used up all my best stories.”
Buddy: “So dazzle ‘em with your beauty!”
Sally: Ah, thanks, Buddy, I don’t need flattery – I need a joke.”
Buddy: “That was a joke.”

Sally: “It’s signed ‘Box Seven Oh Three Oh’. Gee, that’s a nice number.”

Buddy: “’Seven Oh Three Oh’? I bet it’s not his real number.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Episode 147: Remember the Alimony

The final Army days flashback of the series takes place not at Camp Crowder, but at Rob's later post in Anchor, Texas; eight miles from the Mexican border, and in a location so remote that Rob confesses to Buddy and Sally that, though he lived there once, he doesn't really know where it is. (Unlike Crowder, Anchor is a fictional location -- as is El Diablo, the Mexican town Rob and Laura visit).

Food notes: When Rob burns the steaks on the grill, he asks Laura to call "Chicken Little" for delivery. Though fast food had been around for a while, I'm assuming delivery was still relatively novel at that time.

Also, when Richie enters the kitchen wearing a sombrero and serape, Buddy makes a quip that sounds like a reference to the Frito Bandito (although, according to the linked article, that ad campaign started a year or two after this DVD episode).

Rob: “Why don’t you run outside and watch the steaks burn?”
Richie: “Again? Yay!”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Episode 146: The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart

Rob, Buddy, and Sally encourage Mel to stand up to Alan Brady -- with disastrous results.

Rob: “Buddy, you want us to leave you here?”
Sally: “No, we can’t. We don’t have a sitter for him.”
Rob: “We got any dessert?”
Laura: “You ate it.”
Rob: “What was it?”
Laura: “Bavarian Cream Pie.”
Rob: “Oh, darn, I love that! Is there any more?”
Laura: “Darling, you had two helpings.”
Rob: “Oh, darn! Why didn’t you tell me?”

Episode 145: The Curse of the Petrie People

Laura inherits the Petrie family heirloom: A large gold brooch shaped like the continental United States, with gemstones marking the cities where Petrie men were born.

The Petrie clan is far-flung, with various generations born in Seattle, Phoenix, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey (and Rob in Danville, Illinois, and Richie in New Rochelle).

Laura: “I hope I justify your, your trust, and, and when Richie gets married...”
Clara: “I trust that whoever the girl is, you will make sure she deserves that.”
Buddy: “Hey, why don’t we get some kid now and put her on probation?”
Sam: “See that empty setting there in Pittsburgh? That was Uncle Jonah.”
Laura: “’Was’?”
Sam: “Yeah, stone dropped out, Uncle Jonah dropped dead – pow!”
Rob: “Well, Uncle Jonah was an old man, he was eighty seven.”
Sam: “But he died, and that’s the important thing.”
Clara: “But, Sam, it was six months later.”
Sam: “There’s nothing more horrible than a slow, lingering death!”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Episodes 143-144: I Do Not Choose to Run/The Making of a Councilman

The final two-part episode of the series. Rob is asked to run for New Rochelle City Council -- but he's not sure he's up to the job, especially after he meets his intellectually intimidating opponent. Nevertheless, he wins the election. Then his status as city councilman is never again mentioned on the show.

At the time of Rob's election, New Rochelle is at its population peak, with about 76,000 residents. The population then begins to decline for the next three decades, before starting a comeback at the beginning of the 21st century:

Adamo sighting: The only one of the five reporters at the press conference who doesn't ask a question.

Buddy: “Rob, you want my advice?”
Rob: “No.”
Buddy: “Good decision; now while you’re in the mood, make another one!”
Sally: “Rob, you’ll be fine once you get there.”
Rob: “Yeah, I think that’s what they said to the captain of the Titanic.”
Laura: “Look, it says right here that Lincoln was only a private in the army. You were a sergeant, a much better leader.”
Rob: “He wasn’t promoted because he spent most of his time in an Italian prison camp.”
Sally: “Well, at least he ate well.”

Episode 142: Bad Reception in Albany

Rob and Laura are in Albany for a wedding -- but first, Rob must scramble to find a television somewhere in his hotel so he can watch a show he's been ordered to see by Alan Brady.

Rob: “Do you happen to know the name of a church in town here that’s named after a famous child actor?”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Episode 141: Who Stole My Watch?

Rob's new birthday watch goes missing -- and he may lose all his friends, who resent being treated as suspects.

Mary Tyler Moore exhibits a new hairstyle, very different from her past look, that will continue to the end of the series.

Laura: “Will you tell me why in the world Buddy gave you a Samurai sword?”
Rob: “Honey, Buddy shops at the war surplus store. It was either this or green underwear.”
Rob: “We turned that house inside out.”
Buddy: “I hope it doesn’t rain!”
Laura: “Well, I called Buddy, Sally, Mel, Jerry and Millie.”
Rob: “Anybody turn us down?”
Laura: “Buddy, Sally, Mel, Jerry and Millie.”

Episode 140: Fifty Two Forty Five or Work

Rob recalls the time he was laid off from his writing job with the Brady show, right after he started working there -- and with bills to pay and a baby on the way.

It's interesting to see the Petrie living room with no furniture in it; I hadn't noticed before that the hearth extends out into the room -- it's normally hidden by the love seat that's near the fireplace.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Episode 139: You're Under Arrest

Rob is the chief suspect in a crime for which he has no alibi.

Rob: “Look, I’m gonna have to get back up to New Rochelle. I’ll probably clear it up in about ten minutes.”
Buddy: “Yeah, that’s what Al Capone said on his way to the income tax office.”

Episode 138: See Rob Write -- Write, Rob, Write

Rob and Laura write competing versions of a children's story.

Rob: “It was a bright sunny day. The sky was blue, the breeze was warm, and the grass was the greenest green ever. It was going to be a happy day for Danny.”
Sally: “Sure, he didn’t have to listen to this.”
Rob: “Danny sat in his room. The wind howled outside – whooOOooOOoo! The black clouds rolled; there was thunder – BOOOM! And the lightning crashed – chhkkhhhkkkkkkkk!”
Buddy: “Gee, I wonder whose story this is?”
Rob: “Danny closed the window – shhhh-tunk.”
Buddy: “Shh-tunk?”
Rob: “Suddenly, he heard his mother come upstairs – tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock.”
Sally: “His mother sounds like a clock.”
Rob: “His mother was very angry. She had told Danny to stay in his room. Danny was morose.”

Episode 137: Body and Sol

This is the last of the Camp Crowder flashback episodes (though there is one more flashback to Army days, it does not take place at Crowder). Rob tells Buddy and Sally about the time he fought "Boom Boom" Bailey for the camp middleweight championship.

Another opportunity for DVD to show off his physical comedy chops, as he performs an hilarious series of boxing ring gags.

Rob: “Everybody in the Army had to fight three fights.”
Buddy: “Yeah, that’s right: the Germans, the Japanese, and the Italians.”
Sol: “Take a little sniff of this, Rob. You feel better now, huh?”
Rob: “No, no... now I feel the pain.

Episode 136: Go Tell The Birds and the Bees

Richie gets himself, Rob, and Laura in trouble by telling his schoolmates stories about where babies come from.


Laura: "At the PTA meeting, you yourself said she was a great teacher."

Rob: "No, I said she was built great for a teacher."

Dr. Gormsley: “I’m awfully sorry I was late. I was in the the principal’s office.”
Rob: “The principal? What’d you do?”
Laura: “Your father told you about Mister Cabbage and the tomato lady?”
Rob: “Now you know why I hate coleslaw.”

Annoying Characters: Part 2

In an earlier post, I listed some of the annoying characters encountered by Rob and Laura. It's time for an update:

Neil Schenk -- Rob's leeching friend; shows up only when he needs a favor.
Buzzy Potter -- another of Rob's Army pals; weasely and dishonest, steals the song "Bupkis".
Freddie Helper -- Richie's friend; whiny, cheats at cards, poor manners, bosses Richie.
Manuel -- loud, overly ingratiating cook pretending to be a bullfighter; promises to do chores in exchange for room and board, but never finishes any job.

Episode 135: Viva Petrie

The Petries are reluctant hosts to a visitor from Spain, who claims to be a bullfighter.

This is a sequel of sorts to the episode "Turtles, Ties, and Toreadors."

Food note: Manuel prepares paella for the Petries' dinner party. Buddy, especially, likes the dish, describing it as "rice with a lot of food in it."

Laura: “A bullfighter’s suit!”
Buddy: “Hey, you got one in a double breasted?”

Episode 134: Odd, But True

When Richie and his friend Freddie use a marker to connect the freckles on the back of a sleeping Rob, the result is an outline of the Liberty Bell. Millie submits the story to "Odd, But True" (a take-off on "Ripley's Believe It Or Not").

Sally: “You remember when I told you you had two and a half?”
Buddy: “Yeah?”
Sally: “You only got one and a half, you lose a point for stupidity!”

Episode 133: The Great Petrie Fortune

Rob inherits a roll-top desk from his great-uncle Hezekiah -- along with a mystery that, if solved, might lead to a more valuable inheritance.

DVD plays Uncle Hezekiah -- a character very similar to the elderly banker he played in "Mary Poppins".

Rob: “There’s a lot of little cubbyholes, there’s no cubbies in ‘em.”
Rob: “Buddy, a numismatist is a coin expert.”
Buddy: “Oh. Well, these are old coins – get an old mismatist.”
Buddy: “Hey, I got one!”
Rob: “Is the buffalo on a plain?”
Buddy: “No, the plane left, he’s on a bus.”
Mr. Harlow: “If you hold onto these, in time they’ll be worth, oh, seven or eight thousand dollars.”

Rob: “When?”

Mr. Harlow: “About the turn of the century.”

Buddy: “That’s a pretty slow turn, you don’t even have to put your hand out for that one.”

Episode 132: Draw Me a Pear

Rob and Laura take an evening painting class; the pretty instructor has designs on Rob.

Adamo sighting: An art student who paints still lifes of garbage.

Rob: “ Hey, Mil, could you watch that thing on World War I and tell me how it comes out?”
Millie: “I can tell you right now how it comes out – we win.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did the Dick Van Dyke Show "Jump the Shark"?

Many long-running TV shows eventually "jump the shark". Did the DVD Show ever do so?

Season 5 had some excellent episodes: "The Great Petrie Fortune"; "See Rob Write; Write, Rob, Write"; "The Man From My Uncle"; and the unusual "Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy".

But there were some unsatisfying episodes as well: "Draw Me a Pear"; "Viva Petrie"; "You Ought to Be in Pictures".

However, all the seasons had their good and not-so-good episodes. What made Season 5 a little different from the others is that the series began to have a slightly different feel.

Seasons 1-4 seemed to be more or less frozen in time. With a few exceptions, you can watch the episodes from those seasons in random order. But in Season 5, things started to change some. It's as if everyone became a bit restless. Rob's hair was longer; Laura adopted a very different hairstyle in the middle of the the season. Rob's focus had always been on his home and his job; now he ran for city council. An old friend of Laura's moved, with her husband, into the neighborhood -- seemingly threatening the bond between the Helpers and Petries. Alan Brady acknowledged that his show would someday come to an end. Richie was well past the age when he was the cute little kid singing "You're the Top".

Did the Dick Van Dyke Show ever "jump the shark". No, it never did; but I have a feeling it might have, if it had continued on to Season 6.

Episode 131: No Rice at My Wedding

Yet another flashback to Rob's Army days; and yet another former beau of Laura's.

Clark Rice is played by Van Williams, who just a year later would star as "The Green Hornet" on that short-lived series.

Adamo sighting: A soldier at the back of the rec hall during the drawing for the "Bivouac Baby" contest.

Episode 130: The Ugliest Dog in the World

In a parody of "My Fair Lady" (the movie version of which had been released the previous year), Rob and Laura temporarily adopt an extremely ugly dog, but can't keep it. All ends well, though, as a dog salon owner pretties up the dog, then asks if he can keep it.

Adamo sighting: Assistant at the "Puppy Palace" dog salon.

Episode 129: Uhny Ufts

Working at the office at 3am, Rob sees a flying saucer out the window.

Fictional product note: To stay awake, Rob takes an over-the-counter pill called a "Nervy Dervy".

The designer of the saucer, whom Rob and Buddy finally meet, was apparently a genius of uneven talent: He  invented an anti-gravity device to power his toy saucer; but was unable to make a recorded message say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Uhny Ufts".

Episode 128: Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth

Laura carelessly reveals, on a widely-viewed TV program, the long-kept secret that Alan Brady is bald.

The first episode of the 5th and final season of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Episode 127: A Farewell to Writing

Rob spends a few days in a  remote cabin in an attempt to finish the novel he's been working on for years; but he develops an acute case of writer's block.

Episode 126: There's No Sale Like Wholesale

Buddy infuriates Sally with his incessant claims that he can get anything at wholesale prices -- including a fur coat for Laura.

Buddy: “Everything will be open and aboveboard. Hello, Mike? This is Tony Morrello.”
Sally: “You know Rob well enough to know when he says ‘well, you see, uh, you see – cough’, he means ‘yes’.”

Episode 125: Br-rooom, Br-rooom

Rob buys a "Geronimo" motorcycle -- against Laura's wishes.

Rob's bike, which he called "Big Red", was a very small one -- not much bigger than a moped and light enough to be picked up easily by one person.

Money note: According to the menu board at the outdoor food counter where Rob stops for tea, customers can get a BBQ sandwich, fries, and a cold drink for $1 -- with change back.

Rob: “I hate tuna casserole!”
Laura: “A minute ago, you said you liked tuna casserole.”
Rob: “A minute ago, I had a motorcycle.”
Rob: “If it hadn’t been for Doris, I’d have been in jail.”
Laura: “Who’s Doris?”
Rob: “Doris is the girl I was with. She kept me out of trouble, honey.”
Laura: “You, uh, think so, huh?”

Episode 124: Baby Fat

Alan is about to star in a Broadway play -- but is disappointed that the play doesn't have enough laughs. He asks Rob to ghost-write some new lines for the play.

Food note: Rob has a sardine sandwich on white bread, with tomato and onion.

Buddy: “Hey, why don’t they call these meetings some time when I’m not having a snack?”
Sally: “There is no such time, Mighty Mouth!”
Laura: “I always thought when you wrote a play I’d be able to run around the neighborhood and say, ‘Hey there, my husband wrote a play!’. Now all I can say is, ‘Hey there!’.”

Episode 123: A Show of Hands

Rob and Laura accidentally dye their hands black -- just hours before they're due at a dinner celebrating racial understanding.

Sally: “I can’t go – I’m sorry.”
Rob: “Why not?”
Sally: “Well, because my hair is full of beer and eggs right now.”
Rob: “How did you get beer and eggs in your hair?”
Sally: “I was attacked by a band of bootleg chickens.”
Laura: “Rob, how can you think of eating at a time like this? Come on, let’s get dressed, we’ll probably miss dinner, I’m starved.”

Episode 122: One Hundred Terrible Hours

Rob tells a magazine interviewer about the time he was working as a radio DJ -- and got an interview with Alan Brady for his writing job.


Interviewer: "What was your first job?"

Rob: "I had a lemonade stand."

Interviewer: "No, I mean after the Army."

Rob: "I had a lemonade stand, by the train station. That lemonade kept us alive, that and hot dogs."

Episode 121: Never Bathe on Saturday

During Rob and Laura's weekend getaway at an expensive Manhattan hotel, Laura takes a bath -- with unexpected consequences.

This episode included several actors who appeared numerous times on the DVD Show: Bernard Fox as the house detective (previously the writing teacher who hit on Laura, and the father of the little girl who beat up Richie); Bill Idelson as a bellboy (previously Herman Glimsher, Sally's boyfriend); Kathleen Freeman as a maid (previously owner of the boarding house where Rob and Laura spent their honeymoon); and Johnny Silver as a room service waiter (appeared in several episodes, usually as a waiter).

Rob: “Only a husband can blow the lock off a bathroom with his wife in the bathtub with nothing on and her -- and her toe stuck in a pipe! Now call me a prude if you like!”
Engineer: “Tell me, is that toe similar to the one that’s stuck in the pipe?”
Laura: “Well, of course it is. Why?”
Engineer: “Wouldn’t want to nip off any of this little piggy. That’s the one that went to market.”

Frank Adamo

Frank Adamo was DVD's assistant and stand-in on the show. From the early days of the series, he was often used as an extra (it seems the Petries seldom had a party at their house that Frank didn't attend), and occasionally he had small speaking roles. By my rough count, he had appeared in almost a quarter of the episodes as of the end of the fourth season.

Episode 120: Anthony Stone

Sally seems to have met her dream man: Handsome, wealthy, and devoted to her. But there's a problem... and then another problem...

Adamo sighting: Flower delivery man.

Buddy: “Did you get to do any of those crazy native dances?”
Sally: “Oh, sure, every night.”
Buddy: “With who?”
Sally: “Crazy natives!”
Rob: “My, my, my, my name is, Robert, uh, no... Robert No... like the doctor, No.”
Sally: “Did you get the alligator shoes?”
Laura: “No, I got lizard. Uh, Darling, what do you think?”
Rob: “Well, I can’t tell the difference.”
Buddy: “Oh, those are lizard – if they were alligator, they’d be this big.”

Friday, July 8, 2011

Episode 119: Your Home Sweet Home Is My Home

Rob explains to his tax accountant why he pays Jerry $37.50 a year.

There are a number of continuity issues around the Petries' homes. In "Fifty Two Forty Five or Work", Laura is pregnant, and the couple has just moved into the New Rochelle house. But in Where Did I Come From?", Rob and Laura depart from their old house to the hospital for Richie's birth. Then in "That's My Boy??", they come home from the hospital to the new house, in New Rochelle.

In "Hustling the Hustler", we see a nicely decorated basement in the Petries' home, with a pool table in it. But in this flashback episode, we see them buying their New Rochelle house -- and it has a giant boulder in the basement. In addition, it's stated that the Helpers' house is a mirror image of the Petries' -- but that's not the case, as shown in numerous episodes that feature the Helper home.

Rob: “Three hundred dollars? I ought to be able to get a better friend than Jerry for that!”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rob's Hit Song!?

Unfortunately, the song written by Rob and his Army pal "Sticks" Mandalay failed to chart -- apparently selling fewer than 1,000 copies in the first few weeks. It's hard to believe the song fared so poorly; after all, this is a catchy number:

Episode 118: Bupkis

Rob is surprised to hear, on the radio, a song he wrote years earlier while in the Army.

Laura: “Darling, how much is a million times two cents?”
Rob: “Oh, honey, I’ll never see the day that sells a million!”
Laura: “How can you be so sure?”
Rob: “If this reaches a half a million, I’ll kill myself!”