CBS honored the legendary performer’s 98th birthday with their newest special on Thursday night, Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic.
Rob Reiner, son of the late Carl Reiner (creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show) kicked off the festivities by quoting his father. The late Reiner had also described Van Dyke as the most talented performer that he ever knew. This is someone who can sing, act, and do physical comedy. As the younger Reiner said, Van Dyke is in a class with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. There’s no denying this–look at his background.
“I will never ever find a better me than Dick,” Carl Reiner once said about casting Dick Van Dyke.
The special features a mix of musical performances and clips from throughout the performer’s career. Some of the montage sequences are backed by one of the songs made famous by Dick Van Dyke’s singing. Other sequences are clips that speak for themselves. When it comes to the musical performances paying tribute, let’s just say that Zachary Levi should never be allowed to sing with a British accent ever again. I know that Dick Van Dyke got a beating for it when he used a Cockney accent in Mary Poppins but Levi’s singing was just atrocious. I almost think he was doing that deliberately.
In addition to all the festivities, Van Dyke, who turned 98 on December 13, is able to reminisce on his career. He told Rob Reiner that Carl Reiner was the most evenly-balanced human being he had ever met. Van Dyke mentions Reiner and Norman Lear as the two greatest men he ever knew. The fact that they also mention Lear’s passing shows just how recent the taping is.
The Dick Van Dyke Show was so groundbreaking that people also thought that he was married to Mary Tyler Moore in real life.
Leave it to Mel Brooks to get some laughs while wishing him a happy birthday. Because Mel Brooks!
During Dick’s conversation with Ted Danson, we learned that people would gamble over the physical comedy that Dick would do on set.
Not surprisingly, there is also a spotlight on Dick’s physical comedy. Dick had borrowed from the great Stan Laurel. Today’s generation has borrowed from Dick.
Make no mistake that the GRAMMY, Emmy, and Tony Award winner has inspired generations of performers. The special honors the legend for his incredible contributions to the arts and entertainment. The tribute will travel back in time to the iconic set of The Dick Van Dyke Show. There is no shortage of dazzling music and dance spectacles, heartfelt performances, special guests and a magical holiday number. The two-hour tribute (on broadcast, shorter on streaming after air) event will also showcase songs and archival footage from the best of his nearly full century career, encompassing Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and more.
Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic is certainly worth catching on Paramount+ if you forgot to watch or DVR the CBS broadcast.
- Jason Alexander performs “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”
- Zachary Levi performs “Jolly Holliday”
- Skylar Astin and Amanda Kloots perform “Put on a Happy Face”
- Amber Riley performs “Chim Chim Cheree”
- Rita Ora performs “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
- Beth Behrs and Tichina Arnold perform “Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas”
- Jojo Siwa performs “Step in Time”
- Weird Al performs “The Dick Van Dyke” theme song
- Rufus Wainwright performs “Hushabye Mountain”
Additional Appearances by Julie Andrews, Judd Apatow, David Archuleta, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Jim Carrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Stephen Colbert, David Copperfield, Darren Criss, Ted Danson, Roma Downey, Brad Garrett, Mark Hamill, Tony Hawk, Derek Hough, Ken Jeong, John Lithgow, Jenny McCarthy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Penn + Teller, Rob Reiner, Craig Robinson, Jane Seymour, William Shatner, Martin Short, Harry Shum Jr., Mary Steenburgen, and Stanley Tucci.