‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’: Dick Van Dyke Talked About Differences Between Himself, Rob Petrie

by Joe Rutland

Watching TV shows can sometimes lead viewers to believe characters like on The Dick Van Dyke Show are just like that in real life. Well, listening to star Dick Van Dyke talk about himself should eliminate those ideas. Van Dyke talked at length about himself, his career, and his at-the-time still active sitcom. It’s an interesting look into his life on and off the TV screen when the actor is interviewed by Lucille Ball.

Yes, “that” Lucy. Ball hosted a number of celebrity interviews on a radio show called Let’s Talk To Lucy. You can hear the entire interview below. Don’t fret when Lucy asks Dick to come back on the next show. The interview was broken up into two separate radio shows. They are presented here in their entirety. This probably was done in the mid-1960s.

Star of ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ Revealed That He’s ‘More Inadequate’ Than TV Character

“Oh, I think I’m probably a little more inadequate than Rob Petrie is,” Van Dyke told Ball. When asked about being inadequate, Van Dyke replied, “I don’t take responsibility very well. I’m very bad on details. (And) I can’t do things around the house. And I have absolutely no authority as a human being. You know, I couldn’t boss anybody around. At least Rob Petrie on the show bosses people around and takes charge but I can’t.”

Oh, don’t let the chumminess between Ball and Van Dyke bother you, either. The Dick Van Dyke Show ran for five seasons and episodes were filmed at the famed Desilu Studios in Hollywood. That’s where Ball and her former husband Desi Arnaz would film I Love Lucy. Ball would take over the studio after her divorce from Arnaz. When listening to this interview, you will hear Ball pronouncing Rob Petrie’s last name as “Pee-tree”. That happened to be the way that show creator Carl Reiner wanted it to be said.

Van Dyke Would Make Error In Pronouncing Character’s Last Name

What changed? Well, that’s because of Van Dyke, who called it “just a mistake.” This is what the show’s star would say about it. “As we shot the pilot, I mispronounced Rob and Laura’s last name, saying Pet-re rather than Pee-tree, as Carl had done in the original when he based the name on some actual neighbors of his in New Rochelle,” Van Dyke wrote in his memoir. “Nobody corrected me, and so it stuck.” This classic TV show had a cast people still love to talk about these days. Reiner played Alan Brady, whom Van Dyke’s Petrie worked for as one of the show’s writers. Mary Tyler Moore played his wife Laura. Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews, and Richard Deacon had roles, too.