Long before The Dick Van Dyke Show signed off in 1966, Carl Reiner knew he had a classic on his hands, so crafting the perfect finale was just as important as producing a series that would hold up over time.
Since this is the time of year when series prepare to sign off for good (and since we recently addressed finales in EW‘s April 11 issue titled “The Art of Saying Goodbye”), EW caught up with Reiner who’s currently promoting the DVD release of The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic Mary Tyler Moore Episodes. Reiner talked about finale dubbed “The Last Chapter,” along with all the ridiculous things he could and couldn’t do in a ’60s sitcom.
Why release the Mary Tyler Moore episodes? Was she an unsung hero?
Well, she wasn’t an unsung hero very long because she — I think on the second or third show — she proved her comic chops. She had never done this kind of comedy before and she was very nervous about it but it didn’t take her long to get the swing. Just standing by and watching Morey [Amsterdam] and Rose [Marie] and Dick do their thing and very soon she was, well, Morey didn’t worry at all that she wasn’t going to be able to pull her weight. You wouldn’t know it if you saw the show because she acquitted herself so well but she was worried—actually he was worried, when we cast her he said, ‘she’s wonderful and beautiful and very talented but she’s so young. She was like 23 years old and Dick at the time was like 35 or 36 or something. But nobody ever ever believed they weren’t a couple.
Was it your idea for Mary to adopt that sing-song Oh Rob she used to do?
That was one of those natural things that happened. She just found a way—when she played the emotion correctly, when she set the line with the emotion of the moment, it worked! It became her signature. READ FULL STORY