The Season-Four boxed set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" from Image Entertainment lives up to the excellence of its siblings -- smart and stylish in every respect.
There are 32 splendiferous episodes on tap in this 5-Disc DVD set (all of the shows being presented "uncut", as originally aired in 1964 and 1965). Some of the many funny-bone-tickling episodes that await you in Season #4 include: "The Ghost Of A. Chantz", "4-And-A-Half", "Pink Pills And Purple Parents", "The Impractical Joke", "The Case Of The Pillow", and the hilarious "Never Bathe On Saturday", which features Laura Petrie getting her toe stuck in a bath spout.
This DVD set comes handsomely boxed in comparable eye-appealing packaging to that of the previous entries in the series from Image. The outer box looks like an old 1960s television set, with a 3D "motion" type insert card placed inside the "TV" on the box.
Season 4's slipcase picture shows Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) struggling with the inflatable fishing boat that's contained in a package she "accidentally" opens in "The Curious Thing About Women" (which is an episode from Season #1).
Individual slim-type ("ThinPak") plastic cases are used to hold each of the set's five discs (with each disc's label displaying unique and attractive artwork). Ample episode information is provided on the cover of each case (episode numbers and titles, synopses, air dates, film dates, and chapter selections). Very nice photos adorn the case covers as well. The discs are "Region Free" (i.e., Region "Zero").
VIDEO .... Like the Dick Van Dyke season sets before it, Season 4 boasts of A-1, Grade-A type digital transfers. These black-and-white programs never looked so fine. You'll still run into an occasional bit of dirt and/or grainy image, but overall these shows look terrific on these DVDs!
The very good video detail within these shows is the result of the remastering and clean-up that was undertaken here, with imagery exhibiting a sharpness that you'll never see on any VHS release of this TV series. These shows are a joy to watch on DVD, again and again.
AUDIO .... The sound comes through clean and clear via each disc's quite acceptable Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack.
MENUS .... An easy-to-navigate Menu system is employed here. The Main Menu allows access to any of that disc's six or seven different episodes, with separate Sub-Menus offered for each program. Each Sub-Menu displays that program's Chapter Selection, plus an "Extras" area, which will take you to any applicable "Bonus" features for the episode in question. A "Play All" feature is also included from the Main Menu. Unfortunately (for many people), no subtitles or captions of any kind have been included here (or on any of the other Dick Van Dyke Show sets issued by Image).
>> Two episodes have Audio Commentary Tracks attached to them. Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner gab and reminisce during their commentaries for the episodes "Baby Fat" and "Never Bathe On Saturday". Good stuff here with Dick & Carl.
"Baby Fat" actually has two separate Commentary Tracks, in fact -- one by Dick and Carl; plus another audio track featuring the voice of writer Garry Marshall.
>> The complete, uncut CBS-TV documentary "The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered" (made in 1994). Many clips from this same program are used throughout the different Van Dyke Show boxed sets that Image has released. But here you can see the whole documentary all at once. A darn good program too. Running time -- 46:35.
>> Video clip from TV-Land's animated program, "The Alan Brady Show" (length -- 1:15).
>> Cast Photos and "Proofs", taken by actor Roddy McDowall (length -- 0:48).
>> Clip from the "DVD Exclusive Awards" (2003), where Image's boxed set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show Season One" took home the award for "Best Overall DVD for a TV Program". This clips lasts 3:13, and features Dick Van Dyke and disc producer Paul Brownstein accepting the award. Dick provides some funny ad-libbed comments during this entertaining video bonus.
>> Dick Van Dyke sings the Van Dyke Show's theme song at The Hollywood Bowl (in August 2001). Mary Tyler Moore also appears in this video clip, which lasts 2:26. Dick (and the other singers who join him to belt out this cute tune) sound pretty good too.
BTW, if you've got the Season-Three Image boxed set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show", you can hear Dick (solo) singing this very same ditty at the end of one of the Commentary Tracks for a third-season episode.
>> Clip from the TV series "Diagnosis Murder", in which Dr. Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) encounters "Rob Petrie". This inventive 35-second video snippet features "Rob" as a disc jockey in the episode "One Hundred Terrible Hours" as "Dr. Sloan" passes by him in the hallway. It's a cleverly-conceived way of putting both Sloan and Petrie in the scene at the same time.
>> Photo Galleries for 29 of the 32 episodes.
>> One Emmy Awards clip (length -- 2:58).
>> Two "Tune In To Part 2 Next Week" CBS-TV Network Promos (integrated into the episodes themselves).
>> 4-Page Booklet with info about the show's 4th season. This pamphlet also contains photos, trivia, and a bio on Morey Amsterdam.
>> Easter Eggs .... There are six total "Eggs" to be found amongst these five discs (one per DVD, except Disc #5, which has two). Like the third-season DVD-on-DVD set, all of these Easter Eggs contain short "Nick At Nite" ads featuring "spokesman" Dick Van Dyke. You can find them in the "Chapter" Sub-Menus by "Left-Clicking" on a chapter title (usually the "Opening Titles" chapter, but not always). If there's an "Egg" there, the cursor will move to the upper-right corner of the screen, highlighting the picture (drawing) of Mr. Van Dyke. Pressing "Play" or "Enter" at this point will access the ads.
Below is a complete Episode Guide for the 32 programs that can be found inside this sleek-looking, 5-Disc set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season Four". This episode list reflects the order in which the programs are presented within this DVD collection (with one minor exception -- four of the seven eps. on Disc #2 are laid out slightly out of order on the disc).
The episodes are arranged in sequence by "Production Date" (the date of filming the show), which does not always necessarily match the "Air Date" chronology. The original CBS-TV air dates are listed in parenthesis. In addition, some episode details and humorous quotes have been sprinkled into the guide too......
THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW -- SEASON #4 (1964-1965):
96. My Mother Can Beat Up My Father (First Aired: 9/23/1964) .... The Season-Four opener has Rob tangling with a stuffed monkey -- and losing the battle. .... "Boy, you're really dying to let me have it, aren't you Rob?!"
97. The Ghost Of A. Chantz (9/30/1964) .... This hilarious episode has the gang staying at a "haunted" cabin and having the collective daylights scared out of them. .... "A live ember in a dead bulb?!"
98. The Lady And The Baby Sitter (10/7/1964)
99. A Vigilante Ripped My Sports Coat (10/14/1964)
100. The Man From 'Emperor' (10/21/1964)
101. Romance, Roses And Rye Bread (10/28/1964)
102. 4-And-A-Half (11/4/1964) ** .... Don Rickles puts in a very funny appearance as "Lyle Francis Delp", a rather inept hold-up man, who robs the Petries in an elevator. .... "You mean you've held up people in elevators before?" --> "No, I held 'em up in front of a police station, dum-dum!" :)
103. The Alan Brady Show Goes To Jail (11/11/1964) **
104. Three Letters From One Wife (11/18/1964)
105. It Wouldn't Hurt Them To Give Us A Raise (12/2/1964) .... "Did you know that Alan Brady's mother-in-law pays the band?"
106. Pink Pills And Purple Parents (11/25/1964) .... This is one of the best shows from Season #4, as a few pink pills have Laura acting very strangely when she meets Rob's parents for the very first time. MTM is a riot in this one. .... "I think there's something wrong with that girl." --> "Well, could be. But she's worth straightening out." .... "One for moo-moo!" .... "Vivian Fogel is a fink!" :-) .... "Pink Pills" Footnote: This episode is mis-titled on the DVD (on both the packaging and the on-screen menus). For some reason, the makers of these discs seem to think the episode is called "Pink Pills FOR Purple PATIENTS". Strange.
107. The Death Of The Party (12/9/1964) .... Dick Van Dyke's considerable talents in physical comedy are on full display in this funny episode. Rob tries his best to hide the fact he's very sick the same night Laura is giving a family dinner party. .... "Al Jolson, the Jazz Singer!!!"
108. Stretch Petrie vs. Kid Schenk (12/30/1964)
109. The Impractical Joke (1/13/1965) .... Buddy enlists a friend (played perfectly by Lennie Weinrib) to play a funny phone gag on Rob. In the days that follow, Buddy is worried sick that a whopper of a joke is about to come his way in retaliation. He's right too -- but not from the person he expected. A great episode. .... "Sometimes the lead and terminal wires become unhooked, or 'loose', as we say." .... "Now there may be a little dust on your 'loud-soft'." :)
110. Brother, Can You Spare $2500? (1/6/1965) .... "Excuse me, is that the 'Louie Wexler' water fountain?" --> "I don't know; but ANYBODY can drink from it."
111. Stacey Petrie - Part 1 (1/20/1965) **
112. Stacey Petrie - Part 2 (1/27/1965) **
113. The Redcoats Are Coming (2/10/1965) .... "You know what we call one of these in England? A 'chair'."
114. Boy #1, Boy #2 (2/3/1965) .... "Mr. Petrie, I'm sick to my stomach." --> "Who isn't?!"
115. The Case Of The Pillow (2/17/1965) .... Ed Begley appears as a court judge in this clever and extremely funny "Pillow" episode. Rob gets to play "Perry Mason" (sort of), too. .... "It's not your fault, Mr. Petrie. It's television. You think you're a lawyer; I think I'm a doctor."
116. Young Man With A Shoehorn (2/24/1965) .... "Should I try these shoes on your legs? Er, uh, I mean the ENDS of your legs...er, on your feet?!!"
117. Girls Will Be Boys (3/3/1965)
118. Bupkis (3/10/1965)
119. Your Home Sweet Home Is My Home (3/17/1965) .... That stupid rock in Rob's basement is causing a few problems in this Van Dyke program. .... "There's plenty of room for a pool table right over here" --> "Oh sure, if we use chopsticks for cues."
120. Anthony Stone (3/24/1965)
121. Never Bathe On Saturday (3/31/1965) .... A true classic here, as Laura's stuck toe becomes the center of attention. Many moments in this program are worthy of multiple (and immediate) replays. .... "Don't toy with me, you saucy wench." .... "She gets stuck in the bathroom, he paints on mustaches; they're a great match." .... "How can you get stuck in a bathtub? Is it THAT narrow?"
122. One Hundred Terrible Hours (5/5/1965)
123. Show Of Hands (4/14/1965) .... What are Rob and Laura going to do after they accidentally dye their hands pitch-black just before going to a dinner banquet? Check out this ep. and see. .... "Nothing goes over worse at a formal dinner than the smell of sweaty bunny fur." ~LOL!~
124. Baby Fat (4/21/1965)
125. Br-rooom, Br-rooom (5/12/1965)
126. There's No Sale Like Wholesale (5/26/1965) .... Rob wants to get Laura a mink coat. Buddy tries to help via one of his "wholesale bits". Things don't work out so good. .... "Does your mother know you're doing this?"
127. A Farewell To Writing (9/22/1965)
** = Two-Part Episode
Some Additional Dick Van Dyke Show Trivia and Fun Facts:
>> Alan Brady's middle name is "Lester".
>> Ritchie Petrie's middle name is a rather unusual moniker -- "Rosebud".
>> Rob Petrie's middle name is "Simpson".
>> Buddy Sorrell's real first name is "Maurice".
>> Buddy's wife's maiden name is "Conway". And her real first name is "Fiona". (But we know her much better as "Pickles".)
>> Millie Helper's maiden name is "Krumbermacher".
>> Laura Petrie's maiden name changed from "Meeker" to "Meehan" during the course of the series. This was due to the fact that Mary Tyler Moore had recently divorced her then-husband, Richard Meeker, and was uncomfortable about retaining the name "Meeker" for her character's maiden name after the break-up.
>> Occasionally, the show's brain-trust would just leave in a "blooper" or a small gaffe made by the cast while filming a scene. You'll be able to see one such noteworthy (and quite funny) example of this in the "Bupkis" episode (which is in this set), when Rob is supposed to leaf through a telephone book BEFORE dialing the number for radio station "WIFE" ("The station most people are MARRIED to!"). Instead, Rob goes directly to the phone, dials the number, THEN glances at the phone book. This is followed by a sly grin from Dick Van Dyke. He knew at that point he messed up the order of the scene; but he did it so flawlessly that it almost seemed to be correct. Thus, this goof-up was left in the final aired version of the show.
In closing, allow me these final accolade-filled remarks......
Season number four of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" serves up yet another highly worthwhile assortment of humorous entries in the series (as can be testified to via the episode list I printed out above), which are spread across the five remastered DVDs put out by Image in late April 2004.
Image Entertainment has a perfect 1.000 Batting Average with these "Dick Van Dyke Show" boxed sets. Each set has been very nearly perfect, with fun-to-watch (and abundant) bonus features, terrific picture quality, full-length unedited episodes, and classy packaging. Hard to ask for more than that.