Carl Reiner had a nickname for Dick Van Dyke on the set of ''The Dick Van Dyke Show''
We know that every job has its hardships, but working on staff at your favorite television show honestly sounds like the dream. That dream is especially sweet if you had Carl Reiner running the show. In his book, "My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business: A Memoir," Dick Van Dyke details his life and rise to fame, including his experience on the hit television series, The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Writing about the beginning of his time there, Van Dyke recounted, "Our first season, like all the others, was both effortless and joyful." He also detailed his new routine with the show, and wrote, "My workweek began on Wednesdays with a read-through of the new script. We all sat around a table, read lines, shared opinions, and tossed out new ideas. It was the beginning of a process that didn't stop until we got in front of the audience and shot the episode the following Tuesday, and even then we still added lines."
Despite the seemingly endless movement throughout Van Dyke's workdays, the writing room was an open space for anyone who wanted to contribute, an environment that was warmed by the creator, Carl Reiner. Van Dyke wrote, "Carl was firmly in charge, but it was such a sharing environment, one where everyone knew the goal was to make the best and funniest episode possible, that we all felt comfortable voicing thoughts to that end."
It was during this experience that Reiner bestowed on Van Dyke a notable nickname: Doc. If you're confused as to why, don't worry, you're in good company. Van Dyke recalled, "It was always good-natured and casual. I didn't get it, though. We were halfway into the season when I finally told him that." It turns out that Van Dyke's nickname was a callback to a show that Reiner had previously worked on. Van Dyke said, "He explained that everyone on Your Show of Shows had called Neil Simon by that name, Doc. 'He was a great writer, but quiet,' said Carl. 'All of us in the writers' room would be yelling and Neil would mention an idea, but no one could hear him. I'd say, 'Wait a minute, Doc's got something.' I made it a point to sit next to him so I could hear him.'"
It was a practice that Reiner continued into The Dick Van Dyke Show. Van Dyke explained, "I would throw out a line, but not loud enough to be heard over...the others. But Carl would raise his hand to quiet the table and say, 'Hey, Doc has got something.'"
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