The Time Dick Van Dyke Visited ‘The Golden Girls’

by Keeli Parkey

For seven seasons, “The Golden Girls” brought joy and laughter and fun to millions of viewers. And since its original television run came to an end, the show has gained millions of more fans thanks to reruns.

As fans of the show are aware, the beloved series told the stories of four older women sharing a house in Miami. The show starred Betty White as Rose Nylund, Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux, Bea Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak, and Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo.

These characters shared their lives – and a lot of cheesecake – with one another. And, occasionally, some special guest stars joined in on the fun. For example, Leslie Nielsen, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, and Mario Lopez all made appearances in “The Golden Girls.”

Another famous guest star was television icon Dick Van Dyke. According to IMDb, he appeared in the fifth episode of the fifth season of “The Golden Girls.”

The title of this episode was “Love Under the Big Top.” It aired for the first time on Oct. 28, 1989. The episode was directed by Terry Hughes. It was written by Susan Harris, Tracy Gamble, and Richard Vaczy. The plot of the episode is as follows: “Ken Whittingham, Dorothy’s lawyer boyfriend, wants to give up his law practice and become a circus clown.”

It was Dick Van Dyke who played Ken Whittingham in this episode of “The Golden Girls.”

Dick Van Dyke’s Character Comes to the Rescue in This Episode of ‘The Golden Girls’

Of course, this episode of “The Golden Girls” just didn’t focus on Dorothy and Ken. Rose and Blanche have a storyline that also overlaps with that of Dorothy and Ken. It all starts when Rose and Blanche visit the beach. Rose becomes upset about how dolphins are being treated.

So, she convinces Blanche that they need to take part in a protest that will stand up for the dolphins. Blanche decides to participate. Dorothy, too, later agrees to take part. She does so in order to get her mind off of Ken and his decision to give up practicing law to become a clown.

Of course, things go wrong during the protest. Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy are all arrested. Their arrests lead to them having to appear in court. Obviously, they need an attorney. So, they call on Ken. He is a respected attorney and Dorothy’s boyfriend, after all.

And of course, Ken comes to help Dorothy and her friends. However, he comes to the courtroom dressed in his clown attire. It’s a great comedic moment and Dick Van Dyke shines in the episode. He makes sure that Dorothy and the rest of the gang go free. In the end, however, Dorothy and Ken decide to split up.

Interestingly, his appearance in this 1989 episode of “The Golden Girls” was not the last time Dick Van Dyke worked together with a member of the cast. While he was making his show “Diagnosis Murder,” Van Dyke was reunited with Betty White. She played Dora Sloan, the sister of Van Dyke’s character, Dr. Mark Sloan.