Mary Tyler Moore And The Other Man

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! This week, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dick Van Dyke And The Other Woman, a classic comedy variety special that was first broadcast by CBS on April 13, 1969. Written by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff with Arnold Kane, this one-off hour-long show reunited former TV spouses Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, and ended up being CBS’ most-watched special of the 1968-’69 season — with a 31.2 rating and a 49 share. As a result, within six months of this broadcast, both stars had deals with the network to return to series television; Moore came back with The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the fall of 1970, and Van Dyke followed with The New Dick Van Dyke Show a year later.

Reviews of Dick Van Dyke And The Other Woman at the time were mostly positive (not a unanimous rave, but still fairly good), and even though there were no resulting Emmy nominations, it was considered by all parties to be a great success. In fact, most of the commentary on this special today focuses on just how important it was for the performers — particularly Moore, whom Van Dyke graciously spotlighted as his equal (if not his better half). But it also was vital for the network, which was having increasing difficulty fending off NBC in their annual Nielsen battles. In re-signing stars who not only had huge followings from a recent CBS hit, but who also represented the kind of “sophisticated” (read: not Gilligan’s Island or The Beverly Hillbillies) programming that the network was forever looking for an excuse to pivot towards, CBS was signaling a new era — one that seemed to call upon the past, but was actually — and this is especially true of Moore’s series — going to help usher in the future.

Dick Van Dyke And The Other Woman was vital in launching this future, and watching it today is a delight. The musical numbers are charming, the comedy is well-laid, and the chemistry between the performers is as strong as ever. I wish it was on DVD — there must be prohibitive music rights issues — but I’m confident that some day it will be. As of this writing, it’s not hard to find; getTV showed the special several years ago, and this version can be found on YouTube. Unfortunately, it cuts out a good ten minute chunk — which includes a one-man skit starring Van Dyke and a musical salute, from Moore, to American women… Fortunately, I have a copy of the FULL show, and for subscribers hoping to obtaining this version (for your private, scholarly, and non-commercial purposes), if you kindly comment below to alert me of your interest, I will send it to you (along with the edited, but better quality, getTV cut).

And, in the meantime, here’s an extended clip from the special — a musical-comedy sequence called “Life Is Like A Situation Comedy.” (Though featured on getTV’s edit, this is taken from the lower quality, but COMPLETE, version that isn’t currently on YouTube.) Enjoy!

 

 

Come back next week for another Wildcard post! And stay tuned Monday for a new Musical Theatre rarity!

26 thoughts on “Mary Tyler Moore And The Other Man

  1. I got a copy of this on tape years ago, and I’ve dubbed it to DVD, but I’d love to see a cleaner copy. Thanks for offering!

  2. Hi, Jackson! Would love to have a copy of the complete special. From what I have seen of it, it wisely avoids writing Van Dyke and Moore as just the Petries again, but under their real names. The chemistry is still there, but it’s not a rehash of The Dick Van Dyke Show, tempting as that might have been for all concerned.

    • Hi, Lee! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      You’re right; the script wisely acknowledges THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, but doesn’t make the performers synonymous with the Petries. In particular, Moore is allowed to stretch her wings — vital, I think, for what was to come with her…

      Also, I have emailed you at your gmail address.

  3. After their mutual vain attempts at movie stardom, it was such a delight to see these two back where they really belonged: on TV. Granted, “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” wasn’t much when compared with the original and the groundbreaking “Mary Tyler Moore Show”, but after the fizzled response to “Fitzwilly”, “Some Kind of a Nut”, and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, I’m sure that series TV was a welcome haven of sanity. Thanks for sharing the video. I’ve not seen it in years and I’m looking forward to it!

    • Hi, Radiovoice! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Not sure I would call their ambitions post-THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW “vain,” but I do agree that they both worked best in the television medium.

      I have emailed you at your aim address.

  4. I remember watching reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show on daytime television, and then watching this amazing special in prime time and becoming even more starstruck with MTM and DVD! I had no idea the YouTube version left out 10 minutes. It would be great to see if I remember the missing section!

  5. How wonderful it would be to see the special that spawned both of their follow-up shows! I’ve been revisiting the first year of MTM and this timing is perfect. Please include me as well. Again, thanks for these treasures.

  6. Thanks for offering to share these – I’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to view them for my private, scholarly, and non-commercial purposes. Much appreciated!

  7. I would also love to see this! MTM was feeling low after the disaster of the Broadway musical BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S so this was a “lifesaver”.

    • Hi, bobster427! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Not to mention a series of cinematic endeavors that didn’t live up to expectations…

      I have emailed you at your AOL address.

  8. I’ve never seen this special and would love to. I had my theory about why the special received no Emmys and wasn’t even nominated, and I was right. It just missed the Emmy cutoff for the 1968-69 season and when it came time a year later not enough people remembered it. What a shame, although Dick and especially Mary would be getting lots more Emmy love in the days to come.

    • Hi, Mark! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Perhaps — but of the six one-off specials to receive a nomination for the 1970 Emmys, one debuted in March ’69 and another in May.

      Actually, I think the show was victim to an Emmy season that didn’t have a lot of categories for variety one-offs. As reviews of the time indicated, the main attraction for this hour-long special wasn’t the direction, the production, or the writing, but the stars themselves. I think if there had been separate awards to acknowledge the leads’ efforts in a single program — variety or musical, we’d have been much more likely to see a nomination or two.

      Also, I have emailed you at your gmail address.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.