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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Dick Van Dyke Blogathon -- My Favorite Episode -- "Coast to Coast Bigmouth"

Ivan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear was inspired to put together a blogathon for the Dick Van Dyke show, and his inspirations are always right on the money!  A lot of people loved the idea, including me ... this is my contribution.  Click on this link to find the entire line-up:  http://www.thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.com/.

Dick Van Dyke's weekly comedy show gave us so many memorable laughs, it is hard to pick one to write about.  However, this was the first that popped up in my mind, and it is my favorite:  Coast to Coast Bigmouth ... or, as I always call it, "the episode about Alan's hair."  I loved the shows in which Carl Reiner appeared as Alan Brady, and to me, this episode is easily in the Top 5 of all time (along with the one about the walnuts and the one about the Petrie family brooch shaped like the United States).  It aired during Season 5, on Wednesday, September 15, 1965.  This particular episode really spotlighted the comedic talents of all the main characters:  Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petrie, Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie, and especially Carl Reiner.  Richard Deacon as Mel Cooley, RoseMarie as Sally, Morey Amsterdam as Buddy, and Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie all had wonderful moments in this episode. 

Laura and Millie at the game show
 Poor Laura... already a bit ditzy herself, and when you put her with Millie, well, chaos erupts.  All for the sake of winning a rotisserie and a vacuum cleaner, Laura is sucked into a live game show hosted by a man who makes Don Rickles look like Loretta Young.  With the skill of a carnival barker, the host manages to confuse Laura with rapid-fire questions, and maneuvers the unsuspecting woman into revealing that TV star Alan Brady is bald.  At that point, the episode goes from good to TV comedy genius.

Laura has to tell Rob that she has blurted out Alan Brady's closest-kept secret. 
Mary Tyler Moore did a fabulous job with her trademark upset stammer that turns to
tears as she tries to explain:  "Well...Rob...you see...Ohhhh, Robbb!"   Van Dyke's
reaction is one of the funniest mugs he ever did, and it received one of the
longest laughs ever in my family, and I imagine many others!

Alan lines up all of his heads of different hair styles on his desk, looks at them and says:  "Fellas...."  I laughed just at that one word, with his hilarious delivery, but it gets better.

"Who wants to see me?  MRS. Petrie?
Well, send her in!"

A brave wife decides to visit the lion in his den, hoping to take the blame and save her husband and his job.
Alan:  "What am I going to do with all these now?"
Laura:  "Well, Alan, there must be some ... needy bald people."
Alan:  "Needy bald people!  Laura, you're a nut!"

Will Rob and Laura survive the wrath of Brady?  Will Mel Cooley finally get some hair?  To find out, just go to Hulu and watch Episode 1 of Season 5.  I'll never tell!


  1. Becky, I had just watched this episode on Me-TV recently, and I laughed until my sides ached! That "Fellas..." scene with Alan surrounded by his toupees is brilliantly hilarious, and you wrote about it so well that it made me want to watch it yet again! Great choice for your contribution to the Dick Van Dyke Blogathon, my friend! (Vinnie will be contributing, too.)

  2. If anyone other than one of my best blogging pals had asked to do this episode, I would have thought nothing but evil thoughts -- because "Coast to Coast Big Mouth" is my favorite DVD episode of all time. In fact, when I grabbed that screen cap of Rob's reaction to Laura's news I was wiping away tears of laughter because it literally floors me every time.

    Fans are no doubt aware that Reiner always kept his appearances as Alan Brady to a minimum because the show was called The Dick Van Dyke Show...but this is hands down his finest hour on the series. The part that always makes me fall off the couch is when he asks Rob and Laura if they're happy and when they answer yes he says "Oh, happy days are here again..." The amount of sarcasm in his voice is just pitch-perfect. Thanks for such a wonderful contribution, Errolette...like Dorian, I may watch this one again this evening as well!

  3. Dorian and Ivan -- I swear I wasn't trying to get attention by jumping the gun on posting early -- I just felt so crummy I figured I'd go to bed early and wanted it to be here in the morning. But I'm up again! Oh well. Thanks for your compliments, and Ivan, I totally understand. I would have been watching like a hawk if anybody else had grabbed this one before me. Oh the toupee group! It is wonderful! Ivan, I love his "happy days are here again" line. I also love it just before that when he says to Rob that not only do they have to forgive them, they have to be happy about it. And Ivan, bless your heart for getting that fabulous picture of Rob's reaction for me. It just HAD to be there. I'm so glad you liked my post, and you too Dorian!

  4. I love this episode. Laura's own misery at her blunder is priceless, and Rob's panic -- can't top that. Misery and panic, the greatest sources of comedy.

  5. Becky, this is also one of my favorite episodes! The scene with the toups is hilarious and it truly was one of MTM's finest moments as Laura. A side-splitting episode from one of the greatest shows and you summed it up and presented it perfectly! Good job!

  6. Jacqueline and FlickChick, this episode is one of the best, for sure. J, I love your comment that misery and panic are the greats sources of comedy! LOL! Flickchick, thanks so much for the lovely compliment. Oh, by the way, I finally managed to get a link up to the episode if you'd like to find it easily and watch it!

  7. Good stuff Becky !
    A great blog about one of the greatest comedy shows ever !

  8. I must watch this one again, Becky. THANKS for the reminder. Great post about one of the funniest series ever.

    I'm like you, I love best the episodes where Carl Reiner reigned. He was, then and now, simply a lunatic. He had no fear. I love the man.

  9. The recollection of this perfect episode can chase the blues away. Part of its greatness, as you so aptly pointed out, is that everyone has their moment. The laughs come at you from all directions.

    Ya' got taste, gal!

  10. Becky, definitely one of the most famous episodes--and rightly so given the laugh quotient. Heck, it was funny just reading about it again. Great pick!

  11. Beck, I left you a comment this morning... it must have been lost in cyber-land. Anywho.. I loved reading about your favorite Dick Van Dyke show, episode. I'm going to look for it. Thanks for the smile.

  12. By the way, Becky, I just wanted to let you know Vinnie finally has his Dick Van Dyke Blogathon contribution from his blog, THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD FANBOY! Hope you enjoy it!


  13. ME-TV uses clips from this episode for a great mashup of two of MTM's shows. Mary Richards is watching TV, and on it is Laura Petrie on pay As You Go, getting tricked into talking about Alan's secret.

  14. Hysterical episode that I remember so well. Loved this show. Tell you a little related story. When this show was on (believe it was 9PM, maybe 9:30 on Tuesday), anyway it was past my bedtime but I knew my parents were watching the show. We lived in a very small apartment, so my bed was a convertible couch in the living room. I would have to go to bed in my parents bedroom and then my Dad, I guess, carried me into the family/living once they were ready to go to bed later that night. Well, the two rooms were next to each other and there was an old fashion glass door in the family room that reflected the TV screen, which I could see if I positioned myself at the foot of my parents bed. Of course, that what I did and my laughing could easily be heard in the next room. After a few times of doing this my dad relented , and on Tuesday nights I got to stay up late to watch the Dick Van Dyke Show!


  15. Great choice, Becky. Mary Tyler Moore really did shine in this one. I've always loved the scene in Alan Brady's office. I don't know if I have a favorite DVD show, but this one is high on my list of watch-over-&-over-again episodes.

  16. Well Done! This episode illustrates how classic comedy is timeless. Everyone has blurted out something accidentally so this episode is still funny today!

  17. What a great show it was. I could so sympathize with Laura's blundering. I have put my foot in my mouth many times over the years, and tried to get out of it painfully. I also could relate to having to confront an intimidating man like Alan Brady. The cast was magic and could make everyone laugh. Thanks for reminding me how much fun it was, and remembering those happy times watching the series when I was growing up.

  18. This was a great review of a great episode. Although I remember watching this one and feeling so miserable for poor Laura that I missed some of the humor.