Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

Today's Book Recommendation is My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke.

It begins with a forward by television writer royalty Carl Reiner who was also the producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show. And then delves into the early days of Mr. Van Dyke's childhood memories. It takes us through his years traveling in a comedy duo. Into his first production on broadway. And finally into his years in film and television. Throughout the whole novel Mr. Van Dyke offers a touching portrait of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

It shows us how a man we admired for his beaming smile, his comedic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and amazing dancing skills got to be where he did. He talks about being on set with Mary Tyler Moore, who played his wife on his tv show, and also about working with Julie Andrews. He unabashely talks about the separation from his first wife and how he fell in love with another woman. He even lets us in on several years where he battled with alcoholism and how it led to a bout with depression in his middle years.

I grew up watching Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I would often dance around the house doing my best impression of Bert the Chimney Sweep. There is a whole generation who grew up with the Petrie family. A generation after that who grew up on his lovely singing and dancing movies. And today people are still discovering this amazing talent who still refers to himself as a "simple song and dance man."

While reading this I felt as though I was sitting with my grandfather and listening to him tell stories about his youth. If you grew up with a love of The Dick Van Dyke Show or if you were born a little later into the world of Mary Poppins. This is a memoir that I highly recommend. I will say that after reading it I bought season one of his show on DVD. Side note, if you are a writer and hope to write for television you should definitely check this show out. The writing is some of the best that I have ever seen and it is jam packed with amazing comedic actors.

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