ON DVD 3rd season of 'Dick van Dyke' offers some of best '60s comedy
One of TV's funniest episodes leads off this latest superb set, "Dick van Dyke Show -- Season 3," from the enduringly understated '60s sitcom.
In "That's My Boy???," Rob frets that his and Laura's baby was switched at the hospital in a Petrie-Peters mixup. Little does he know the Peters parents are black, which sets up a surprise punch line and studio audience reaction vividly recalled by Van Dyke and series creator Carl Reiner in optional episode commentary.
Other extras reflect the quiet magnitude of this 1963 CBS moment: "Up until that time, the networks were scared to death about the way they handled black people," executive producer Sheldon Leonard, who died in 1997, says in bonus reflections from cast and crew.
These 40-year-old black-and-white episodes look superb on DVD, running uncut with scenes later trimmed for syndication and cable. Also included: the series' sole Christmas episode, Emmy footage, rehearsal clips, cast commercials, an info-packed background booklet and even a 1963 "Danny Thomas Show" episode featuring Morey Amsterdam in his "Van Dyke" role as comedy writer Buddy Sorrell.
Collectible packaging continues with another TV set-styled box framing a Van Dyke pratfall animated on a lenticular card (changing the viewing angle of the ribbed plastic surface reveals frames of a moving image). These are classy DVDs for a classic show.