Sunday, July 3, 2011

"My Lucky Life.....A Memoir" by Dick Van Dyke

A truly engaging and quickly read account of the life of one of America's most talented performers, penned by the great man himself, this a very rewarding read. As you read the book, it seems as if the cadence and nuance of Mr. Van Dyke himself, leaps from the pages. It is almost as good as listening to it on tape would be, if he were reading it himself. This is not an easy thing to do, but, like everything else Mr. Van Dyke has undertaken in his 60 years in show business, he does it with great style and charm. His stories of how one event lead to another, and eventually into show busines, are a tribute to "luck" and timing, as the author clearly acknowledges.

He traces his rise in show business from his earliest days in stock theater and radio, to his pioneering days in TV. Few recognize that his was the first Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, or Jack Paar type show on the air. He has done it all, and continues to perform today.

The author also recounts his roots in TV, as a novice among a group of the most talented TV writers to ever come down the road. He was championed by Carl Reiner, of Sid Caeser's "Show of Shows", along with Sheldon Leonard, to star in a new TV sitcom, which, though it had no name at the beginning, became the "Dick Van Dyke Show." He had just conqured Broadway with his lead role in "Bye Bye Birdie."

His relationships with his TV co-stars, as well as his movie years, including with Julie Andrews in "Mary Poppins", are a real treat for the reader. Mr. Van Dyke's surprise at the scope of his life is candidly refreshing in this unabashed look at what he freely refers to as his "Lucky Life." Well, it was lucky for all of us, too. A very fine read.

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