DISCLAIMER: This post popped into my head when there was a brief online rumor that Dick Van Dyke had passed away. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. Mr. Van Dyke is still with us as of this writing, but all points made below are still applicable. END DISCLAIMER
With the popularity of Mad Men, I'd become more convinced than ever that I'd been born too late. I would have loved to have been a part of advertising or television back in the late 50's and early 60's when it was truly in it's heyday.
But the more I thought about it, I realized that I didn't really want to live in that era. For better or worse, I'm a child of the late 20th Century, the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation and while I sometimes miss having only three networks, the minuses by far outweigh the benefits. After careful consideration, I came to an inescapable conclusion. It wasn't when I wanted to live...it was who I wanted to be.
I wanted to be Rob Petrie.
Rob Petrie, if you don't know (and shame on you if you don't) was the main character in "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and was played by (duh) Dick Van Dyke. Rob was the man. Stylish, classy and funny, he was the head writer of The Alan Brady Show which was an homage to series creator Carl Reiner's tenure on the various Sid Caesar comedy-variety shows of the 50's.
Who wouldn't want to have Rob's life? He wore snappy suits to work. He spent all day writing comedy with Buddy & Sally, then went home to the ridiculously beautiful Mary Tyler Moore who made a pair of Capri pants & a sweatshirt look like a million bucks. Sure, there were irritations: Show producer Mel Cooley was a pain, son Richie was kind of annoying and there was always that stupid ottoman to contend with, but Rob pretty much had it all.
I know it was a sitcom & bears no resemblance to real life then or now. But it all looked so fun. I can't imagine a better job than being paid to be funny all day long or to occasionally put on talent shows with your friends. It was a more innocent time.
I'll probably never get the chance to meet Carl Reiner or Dick Van Dyke and tell them how much creating that world meant to me. It was one of the reasons I decided to go into television and even later improv. While my experiences haven't been the same, I can say that for the most part, they have been fun.
So I raise a glass to Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon. I'm going to trip over an ottoman every once in a while in your honor.