Although the ratings of The Dick Van Dyke Show had diminished since the series' all-time high during its third season, the show was still among CBS' most popular offerings -- and one of the network's most prestigious efforts, with four Emmy awards and two Golden Globes to its credit. Even so, star Dick Van Dyke and series creator Carl Reiner were both of the opinion that the series had been taken as far as it could go, and to keep it on the air any longer might tarnish its luster. Thus, by mutual consent, star and creator agreed that the fifth season of The Dick Van Dyke Show would be its last. Not that they intended to go out with a whimper; indeed the season five episodes include some of the best half-hours ever produced for any series anywhere. The season opener is the classic, Emmy-winning "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth," in which Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore), the wife of "The Alan Brady Show"'s head writer Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke), inadvertently informs the entire TV viewing public of America that the vainglorious Alan Brady (Carl Reiner) wears a toupee.
Subsequent superb episodes include "The Great Petrie Fortune," in which a "living will" left behind by Rob's Uncle Hezekiah (also played by Dick Van Dyke) yields an unexpected treasure; "Go Tell the Brids and Bees," wherein Rob and Laura's son, Richie (Larry Mathews), foments a mini-scandal by telling his school friends the facts of life -- which are nowhere near factual; "The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart," in which Alan Brady's long-suffering producer (and brother-in-law) Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon) finally works up the gumption to tell Alan off -- and gets fired for his troubles; "Dear Sally Rogers," a showcase for Rose Marie as Rob's coworker Sally, who gets more than she bargained for when she advertises for a husband on "The Stevie Parsons Show;" "Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy," a superb blend of hilarity and pathos as comedy writer Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) secretly prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, some thirty years late; and "Talk to the Snail," guest-starring Paul Winchell as an oddball ventriloquist to whom Rob goes for a job when he thinks he's been fired. Although the final episode to be telecast was the "clip show" "The Last Chapter," the last episode to be filmed was "The Gunslinger," an all-stops-out western spoof with an endless stream of quotable dialogue -- and the only Dick Van Dyke Show ever to feature an "exterior" filmed sequence. ~ Hal Erickson
Cast & Crew
Dick Van Dyke - Rob Petrie
Mary Tyler Moore - Laura Petrie
Rose Marie - Sally Rogers
Morey Amsterdam - Buddy Sorrell
Richard Deacon - Mel Cooley