I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Season Five: 1965-66
1965-66: THE FIFTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 23.6 (16th place)
After the show's creators announce their intention to quit while they're
ahead of the game, the series ends its celebrated run at the close of
the fifth year. Carl Reiner trades off producer's chores with story
consultants Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, who maintain the show's high
standards in a final season that includes some of the show's most fondly
Fifth-year scripts are contributed by a wide array of writers, including
notable efforts from Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, Carl Kleinschmitt
and Dale McRaven, John Whedon, and, as usual, Bill Persky and Sam Denoff.
Laura faces Alan Brady's wrath after a fast-talking game-show host
goads her into admitting that the star wears a toupee.
Rob hopes a few days of seclusion in a mountain cabin will motivate
him to complete his novel, but it nearly drives him stir-crazy instead.
Rob expends most of his efforts on avoiding writing, as he perfects
his paddle-ball swing and horses around with a pair of cowboy six-shooters
he finds in the cabin. The producers knew Van Dyke well enough to know
they couldn't go wrong by leaving Rob Petrie alone in a room filled
with funny props.
No one seems to believe Rob's claim that he's seen a flying saucer
hovering outside the office window.
A homely mongrel becomes the temporary ward of the Petries after his
abbreviated appearance on The Alan Brady Show.
Rob recalls his only serious competition for Laura's hand, a charming
Army corporal who won a date with her in a USO charity auction.
Laura suspects that Rob's comely drawing instructor may be interested
in something other than her husband's artistic abilities.
Rob discovers that he's the heir to a mysterious fortune that's hidden
somewhere in his Uncle Hezekiah's rolltop desk.
Rob becomes a reluctant candidate for the "Odd But True" newspaper
column when Ritchie connects the freckles on his back and discovers
the Liberty Bell.
Bill Persky and Sam Denoff begin their stint as producers with this
episode, after Carl Reiner takes a temporary leave to appear in The
Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.
Rob and Laura attempt to find work for a newly landed immigrant whose
only occupational skill is professional bullfighting.
After Ritchie regales his schoolmates with tall tales about where babies
come from, Rob sits him down and tells him the real story.
Rob recalls his short-lived career as Pitter Patter Petrie--middleweight
champ of the U.S. Army Special Services.
Writer Garry Marshall has a cameo as the referee of Rob's boxing match.
The Petries find themselves locked in literary competition after Rob
volunteers his help on a children's book that Laura's writing.
Rob has difficulty coming up with a plausible alibi when the police
accuse him of taking part in a barroom brawl.
Rob recalls the financial strain that forced him to take a job writing
copy for an electronics catalog during his first hiatus from The
Alan Brady Show.
Rob plays amateur sleuth when his new watch turns up missing and he
becomes convinced it was stolen by one of his friends.
Rob's stirring speech at a citizen's meeting brings him an unexpected
nomination for a seat on the New Rochelle City Council.
Arte Johnson, later a star of NBC's Laugh-In, has a role as
the high-powered media coordinator of Rob's political campaign.
Rob has second thoughts about running for city council after he meets
his eminently more qualified opponent.
Wally Cox, star of TV's Mr. Peepers in the early 1950s, plays
Rob's well-versed competitor, Lincoln Goodheart.
Laura single-handedly destroys generations of Petrie family tradition
when she accidentally crunches a garish heirloom brooch in the garbage
Mel loses his job after Rob convinces him to stand up to Alan Brady's
Rob and Laura recall a hectic trip to Mexico that almost spelled the
end of their new marriage.
Sally's televised plea for a husband on a late-night talk show yields
unexpected results--including a letter from Mr. Right.
This episode suggests one possible conclusion to the bittersweet saga
of Sally's oft-stalled love life when her secret admirer is revealed
to be Herman Glimscher.
Dick Schaal plays talk-show host Stevie Parsons. The talented character
actor would hit his stride a few years later as a recurring player on
The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its offspring.
Buddy's strange behavior has Rob and Sally completely puzzled until
they discover he's been nervously preparing for his belated bar mitzvah.
Rob encounters endless difficulties at a hotel in Albany when he tries
to find a functioning TV set during the annual convention of the Seals
Fearing that network budget cuts might cost him his job, Rob interviews
for a position as staff writer for a talking snail.
As Sally's date, Henry Gibson recites "Keep A-Goin'," the poem that
would be his trademark on NBC's Laugh-In. Jellybean the Snail
is brought to life by ventriloquist Paul Winchell.
Pandemonium results when Alan Brady arrives at Millie and Jerry's anniversary
party with a documentary-film crew recording his every move.
Assistant director John C. Chulay has a cameo as the director of the
Rob, Buddy, and Sally try to retrieve a script that contains less-than-flattering
descriptions of their arrogant boss before he has a chance to see it.
The Petries' dull weekend is enlivened by the arrival of an unlikely
secret agent who wants to conduct a stakeout from Ritchie's bedroom.
When Rob is cast opposite a voluptuous Italian in an underground film,
Laura keeps a close watch on the star chemistry.
Jack Winter won a Writer's Guild Award for this script, which features
Rob at his most endearing as a would-be actor who can barely stammer
out a line and fumbles even worse when he's called on to kiss the beautiful
starlet. Ever the dutiful husband, he first asks his wife, "May I?"
Jerry and Millie fly into a jealous fit when Rob and Laura begin spending
time with a new couple on the block.
Joby Baker, a favorite of writers Persky and Denoff, made his second
appearance of the season in this episode. In 1967, the writers would
co-star the actor in Good Morning World, a series that bore distinct
echoes of Dick Van Dyke--including a set design that afforded
an unsettling glimpse of what the Petries' living room might have looked
like in full color.
Laura and Millie spend a terrifying night with only a mynah bird to
keep them company after Rob and Jerry go off for a weekend fishing trip.
Under Jerry's anesthetic, Rob dreams that he's a sheriff in the Old
West, the only man who can save the town from the threat of Big Bad
For the last episode of the series filmed, the cast and crew allowed
themselves the final indulgence of this irreverent parody of the Old
West--a well-earned release of all the silly gags and priceless puns
they managed to restrain during five seasons of the most deceptively
disciplined comedy on television.
Laura excitedly reads the completed manuscript of Rob's autobiography,
a comical look at the life and times of a TV comedy writer and his loving
High points in the colorful saga of Rob and Laura Petrie are recounted
in flashbacks of Rob's stuttering marriage proposal, his faltering stumble
down the aisle, and Laura's eventful trip to the maternity ward. The
show finally ends where it began, as Carl Reiner's Alan Brady announces
his plan to produce and star in a TV show based on the real-life story
of a TV comedy writer.
When The Dick Van Dyke Show voluntarily left the air in 1966,
it had already distinguished itself as the most-honored show of its
time, and its demise would be lamented by viewers in living rooms all
across the country. With intelligence and keen wit, the show proved
that a sitcom for grown-ups could not only survive, it could thrive.
Thankfully, the lesson wasn't lost on the next generation of TV creators. When Mary Richards, Archie Bunker, and Barney Miller arrived to burst the floodgates of intelligent, meaningful TV comedy in the 1970s, all they had to do was fling open the door that Rob Petrie had so thoughtfully left ajar in 1966