Consider this: the Dick Van Dyke show and the Andy Griffith show were shot at about the same time and shared, I believe, a producer in the person of Danny Thomas. The Griffith show featured child actor Ron Howard, of course. The van Dyke show, in addition to the well-known castmembers, featured a child character, the son of the Petries, named Richie.

Additionally, the writers for the show based much of the mise-en-scene of the show on their experiences working as writers on Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows”. Among the writers and performers was Carl Reiner (Alan Brady). Carl’s son Rob would later go on to fame as “Meatball” on “All in the Family” and as a skillful director of films about late childhood, adolescence, and of course, Spinal Tap.

]]>Of course, Ron Howard would also go on to make movies that have a good heart. But before he got there, he played a teenager in 1950’s Milwaukee. The character’s name? Richie.

You want more? Ok, how’s this: the best episodes of the Dick van Dyke show are those which were directed by the actor who played Rob Petrie’s neighbor, a dentist named Jerry Helper, played by Jerry Paris.

Of course, the next great sitcom noted for the quality of its’ writing after the van Dyke show (that I know of, anyway) was the Bob Newhart show. Interesting how similar the names are, eh? Now, you may recall that Dr. Bob had a neighbor (the unfortunately named Peter Bonerz), in his office suite, who was, that’s right, a dentist.

A dentist named Jerry, in fact. A dentist named Jerry who happened to direct many of the funniest episodes of the show.

Anyway, I could go on. But I won’t, today. As I recall, I found that many of the people who worked in TV comedy, naturally knew one another and worked on various projects. They borrowed elements of one another’s work as a form of tribute. Eventually I expect to be better able to document these connections, which, as I recall, went further than the tidbits outlined above.

the Dick Van Dyke show (sorta pathetic)

the Andy Griffith Show (this is actually frigtening)

The Bob Newhart Show (nick-at-night commercial site)


  1. you have failed to mention that Rob Reiner was married to Penny Marshall whose father Gary Marshall produced Happy Days in which Ron Howard starred……with a full head of hair.

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