‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ aired for the first time on the 3rd of October 1961. It ran until the 1st of June 1966 and spanned five seasons with a total of 158 episodes. It has been nominated for over twenty Emmy Awards and has won over twelve. It also won two Golden Globes and several other prestigious film and TV awards, besides its many other nominations. It has been described as one of the best sitcoms of the 20th century, and went on to inspire and influence many other TV shows and films. In 2021, it celebrated its 60th birthday.
‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ is a family-friendly show that follows the life of Robert Petrie (Dick VanDyke), a television writer for ‘The Alan Brady Show’. It also stars Rob’s wife, Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore); his son, Richie (Larry Matthews); his colleagues, Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie); his neighbours, Millie Helper (Ann Morgan Gilbert) and Jerry Helper (Jerry Paris); and the producer of the show he writes, Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon). Unlike many more modern sitcoms, ‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ displays various forms of comedy, including sophisticated jokes, one-line quips (mainly thanks to Buddy), and simple slapstick humour. All of these are executed by the actors with impeccable timing—and they are all hilarious.
The most reused set of this show is undoubtedly the house (the second most reused being the Alan Brady Show writers’ office). Many of the funniest episodes of the show were based mainly in the Petrie residence. For these reasons, I chose to build the house, and also for its interesting and challenging shapes and angles.
This model took a few months to design and build digitally and consists of about 2,800 pieces. A lot of careful thought and painstaking study of the original set went into the making of this model, and I had to watch many different episodes several times while designing it. There is only one custom print in this model (the ‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ 2x4 tile on the front), otherwise, every print is an official pre-existing LEGO print.
This model was a challenge to build given its oddly angled walls and distinctive yet complex-to-build décor. Some items in the house changed from time to time, such as wall hangings, paintings, and even pieces of furniture. Because of this, I have tried only to include the most recurring of the furniture items, and I have left the paintings blank.
There is no colour correction or any such colour editing in the photos, meaning everything is built entirely with only black, white, and grey bricks. The only colours in this model are those on prints that LEGO had already made.
Above, I have depicted some of the most memorable and funny scenes in the show, including some of my own personal favourites, such as the scene from Season 2: Episode 20 – ‘It May Look Like a Walnut’. At the top corner of each of the images depicting a particular scene, I have listed the season, episode, and name of the episode for reference.
Getting the minifigures right was also an important part of building this model. The original cast all had extremely varied character, and I tried to communicate that through the minifigures. There are ten minifigures in total:
Robert Petrie (nightclothes)
Laura Petrie (nightclothes)
Unfortunately, today ‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ does not get the kind of recognition it used to, let alone the kind it deserves. However, this show has not been forgotten by all. Back in 2019, Marvel Studios started working on the first Marvel Disney+ Show – ‘Wandavision’. Since the first two episodes of it are based in the 1950s and 1960s, they needed to enlist the help of a person who was familiar with the type of TV comedy from that time. Who better than Dick VanDyke? VanDyke was called in by Marvel Studios, and played an important part in the creation of ‘Wandavision’. A clip of ‘The Dick VanDyke Show’ was even shown in a flashback to Wanda’s childhood in episode 8. (Incidentally, this clip depicted the same scene from Season 2: Episode 20 – ‘It May Look Like a Walnut’ shown in the images above).
I believe that this would make a great LEGO set, not only because it would look good as a display model (especially since it’s in black-and-white), but also because it represents a set from a show that deserves more recognition for its contribution to modern TV comedy, and making it into a LEGO set may help to give it that recognition.
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