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Phil Nugent

FWIW, I always assumed that Martin was playing Tennessee Williams. But then, I always thought that Martin looked and sounded like a pocket-size Tennessee Williams.

Some time I need to tell the world how hero-worshiping Carl Kolchak ruined my life. It all starts with this hat...


And I thought love and romance and domesticity was just like in those Doris Day movies...even worse, Mitzi Gaynor.

Imagine my dismay when it turned out I would not be walking around the house in high heels and satin capri pants with a skirt in back.


But Victoria, you could have!

Dr X

All the way through this one, I was thinking that this is some marvelous deconstruction.


Linkmeister, you haven't seen my house!

But you have inspired me for next Halloween.

Uncle Merlin

"You can’t serve both Art and Scott lawn care products." God knows I've tried!

My Dad had one of those real big snap lock briefcases when he started at GE. Perry Mason had one, any good actor on TV had one

I always took Ozzie & Harriet as my dream life, I was sure my younger brother was just around the corner, would be born next year. TV had a big influence on us, I guess like all the internet today for kids but TV had no direct connectivity for us, we had to imagine ourselves there. Now its instant connect and participation a very different landscape.


Grins. My work here is done.

Mike Schilling

I had no idea what gays were at 10 or so (when I first found Dick Van Dyke reruns on daytime TV), but I knew that Buck Brown was very effeminate, and that that was supposed to be funny. And there were other episodes with similar characters. You might recall the one where Rob is invited to a charity fundraiser. He meets a poet who donates a year's royalties from his book of verse, "Lavender Lollipops".

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Mike Schilling

The Dick Van Dyke show was a very enlightened and sophisticated and even subversive show for its time and context, on a number of issues.

The other episode that comes to mind is the one where Rob's post-partum psychosis leads him to believe that they've brought the wrong baby home from the hospital. By withholding a crucial bit of information, Greg Morris (the black guy from Mission:Impossible) allows Rob to make a complete fool of himself. And how does Rob react to this racially charged situation? He looks sheepish and asks Morris and his wife in for coffee.

Kevin Wolf

Always happy to read Lance on Rob and Laura. Brilliant.


Really sharp and thoughtful post. Reminds me of reading how Cheever, before fame and suburbia, would put on a suit and tie each morning and...go to his tiny writing room in the same building he lived in, to punch the clock on his writing. Your mentioning the signifier of the briefcase reminded me of that. And of many accounts I've read over the years of husbands too ashamed to tell their wives that they had been fired, suiting up and spending sad days in the library. It was an awful blow to their pride. And some part of Cheever deeply needed reassurance he was "normal", productive, a breadwinner like other husbands. I don't know quite how his sexual leanings and desires affected his sense of self that way- that affirmation of "normalcy" he craved, but it was probably part of it.

Rob Petrie's dual lives- suburban husband and writer for Broadway, was pretty interesting, as you describe it. Theatre people really were disreputable, famously, and even up to the 1950's. Or especially in the 50's- there was a whole new middle class reading Emily Post for the first time , suburban pretension got a boost. Hollywood had to put a suburban gloss on showbiz people to make them acceptable.

I still think it funny in "All About Eve" that Celeste Holm and her successful playwright husband Lloyd are portrayed as so tackily nouveau riche, to me at least- her in furs, their country house and fancy car- but to the film, they are meant to be conventional, successful, heterosexual, non-theatre freaks. He's framed as a successful businessman, not an artiste. At all. They're incredibly bourgeois, and even Margo absorbs bourgeois assumptions that she's over the hill because she's 40. Don't recall anyone in that film really disagreeing.

Anyway, very cool thoughts on that curious divide in Rob Petrie's life, Lance. Reiner may have claimed it was like that for him, but let's face it- you can't trust show-biz sorts for the truth, lol.

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