Bonus Book Review: “Dick Van Dyke: A Memoir” by Dick Van Dyke

I’ve creates a new headline for books that are not Beatles related in nature. If you see “Bonus Book Review” in the headline, you will know that book doesn’t mention the Beatles, making it easier to just pass-by the review if you’re not interested.

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I love this man! And I’ve been wanting to read My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke since it was released in 2011I finally bought a copy a year ago and am just now getting around to reading and reviewing it. And believe it or not, I will mention the Beatles several times in this review!

Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention, but I never noticed that throughout his long career, Dick Van Dyke has always made family friendly movies! In fact, he insisted on it. A devout, church going family man, he saw his career in show business as his job and a way to provide for his wife and children. And he considers himself one of the luckiest men alive to have been to do what he loves and raise a family.

Probably best known for his role in his hit series, The Dick Van Dyke Show, it came as a surprise to me that the show was actually canceled after the first season. But, it was during the reruns that following summer that Americans started tuning in and fell in love with the show, causing CBS to do an about face and continue the madcap series for another four years.

While the Beatles were heading back to the U.S. for their second tour in 1964, Mary Poppins was hitting the big screen. And though the Billboard charts were dominated by the Fab Four, Super-cali-fragil-istic-exp-iali-docious, sung by Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke, hit No. 66 on the Hot 100 in 1965. “Mary Poppins” was nominated and won several awards for it’s songs including two Oscars. Dick Van Dyke loved making this movie, but at 39 years old, said it was difficult at times keeping up with dancers that were almost half his age.

The making of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968 was a whole other story for Dick Van Dyke. He turned this roll down several times, but every time, they would come back and offer him more money, until it hit the seven figure range. He didn’t like the script and thought their were too many holes in the plot. When he finally accepted the part, he made it perfectly clear that he would not be revisiting the English accent he had used in Mary Poppins because of the heat he got (and still gets) for how bad it was! Even though the film became a huge success and is considered a classic children’s film, he still doesn’t like the way it turned out. As you watch the clip below, keep in mind that he was 42 at the time:

Now here’s a unique tie to the Beatles that’s not mention in this book. In 1974, Dick Van Dyke make a made-for-tv movie called The Morning After, that much is mentioned and talked about. And even though I was just 10 years old, I distinctly remember seeing this movie…it moved me that much. It’s the story of a man who destroys his life by abusing alcohol. The soundtrack contained the song Yesterday by Paul McCartney and it was played at the end of the movie. Dick did this movie because of his own dependence and battle with alcohol.

I could go on and on about Mr. Van Dyke and continue to sing his praises and talk about his career, but it would be best for my readers to just pick up a copy themselves, even if it’s a library copy. I think you’ll find his life amazing. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

4beetle3beetle2beetle1beetle

 

 

 

 

 

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