Image Entertainment released a “Fan Favorites” DVD set of 20 episodes last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic program. I used to watch it back when “Nick at Night” ran shows that were older than me.
And like “I Love Lucy,” there’s a timeless quality that keeps it fresh, thanks to the immense charms of its cast.
Appropriately enough for my circumstances, the first episode was “The Sick Boy and the Sitter,” in which Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) must convince his wife, Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), to go to the boss’ party and leave their not-quite-sick son at home with a sitter. Laura’s in full overprotective mom mode, of course.
Other great episodes in the set include “Big Max Calvada,” where Rob and his writing crew at “The Alan Brady Show” must write an act for a mob boss’ hack nephew, and “Coast to Coast Bigmouth,” in which Laura blabs to the nation about Alan Brady’s (Carl Reiner) toupee. There’s a great bit that, it turns out, was at least partially improvised with Reiner and his fleet of toupees.
In all, there are 20 episodes in the set, plus lots of extras. I was sure to check out “Head of the Family,” Reiner’s original pilot for the show. While it had its moments, it was a wise decision to bring in Van Dyke, a master of physical comedy and the ottoman pratfall.
Van Dyke and Moore (“Oh, Rooob!”) are comic gems, but the contributions of Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam as Van Dyke’s cohorts Sally Rogers and Buddy Sorrell are invaluable. It was the perfect workplace/homelife sitcom for its day — for any day really.
As for my cold, maybe it was just coincidence of timing, but I woke up the next day with a clear nose. Thanks, Image, for that spoonful of sugar.