CBS will continue its tradition of broadcasting colorized versions of its classic TV shows tonight by airing back-to-back episodes of I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. So we asked Carl Reiner, who created Dick Van Dyke (which aired from 1961 to 1966) if he approved.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you choose tonight’s episodes?
CARL REINER: I don’t remember picking those two in particular, but I’m glad they did. There were 158 episodes. During the course of the show, it was suggested that we do it in color, and they said it would cost $6,000 an episode, and my partners said, “Well, there goes our profit.” So we decided to leave it in black and white. It really lends itself to color.
So how do you think they episodes look colorized?
They’re wonderful. It’s nice to see Mary Tyler Moore’s flashing black eyes and her hair. And Dick Van Dyke is the most talented human being ever. As a matter of fact, Steve Martin once said that in all of show business, nobody is more talented than Dick Van Dyke, and I agree with that.
How close were they to the real colors?
A lot of it was close. Thank goodness one of our photographers back then had taken some pictures of some of the rooms, so a lot of it is very accurate, and others are close enough. It’s very satisfying to the eye.
Do you remember writing these episodes? There’s one where they are in a hotel room, and Mary gets her toe stuck in the tub faucet.
Yes. I wrote a book called Why & When the Dick Van Dyke Show Was Born, and in the book I write about how all these things happened to me and my wife and my family. I remember my wife and I went to a hotel once on a second honeymoon; she didn’t get her foot stuck, but she was playing with a drip in the tub, and when we left she said [to the front desk] that “Hey, upstairs in the master bedroom, the tub is dripping water. You’d better have that fixed or you’ll deplete the whole water supply of New York.” So that was sort of based on something that actually did happen. There was a drip that she played with and used her toe, but it didn’t get it stuck.
In the second episode, the son of Rob [Van Dyke] and Laura [Moore] asks where he came from.
Yes. That was one of the first shows we ever did. It was a very good show because it’s a question kids ask their parents all the time. Where did I come from? And my answer was, “You come from mama.” People said I couldn’t say that, and I asked why. A lot of people tell their children they come from a cabbage patch, or the stork brought them. Kids only have to know what they ask. They don’t want to know anymore than what you ask, so don’t give them any more information.
This episode also shows how Rob and Laura slept in separate twin beds.
That wasn’t something that went on in my house. That was another thing I couldn’t beat. I used to say it was so silly. I said most of America sleeps in the same bed, but the censors and the CBS executives wouldn’t have it any other way. I was angry about that forever.
The I Love Lucy Christmas Special airs at 8 p.m. tonight, followed by The Dick Van Dyke Show, Now in Living Color at 9 p.m. ET, both on CBS.