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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Happy Birthday to one of the most talented men in the history of American entertainment! I love Carl Reiner for numerous reasons and projects that he has given the world. Nevertheless, he could have invented the light bulb and I still wouldn’t have been as grateful for that daily necessity as I am for his invention of “Alan Brady,” one of my all-time favorite TV characters. Also notable is the creation of The Dick Van Dyke Show itself, one of the top 5 greatest sitcoms ever. The original Dick Van Dyke Show was called Head of the Family with Carl Reiner playing the “Rob Petrie” character. The show was based on Carl Reiner’s experiences with Sid Caesar and Your Show of Shows in the early 1950s. The original pilot of Head of the Family was not picked up but when Sheldon Leonard saw it, he thought it had potential. Reiner initially balked because he didn’t want to do it again and fail again but Leonard, in essence, told him, “We’ll get a better you.” That “better Carl” turned out to be Dick Van Dyke and the rest is history. Here’s the cast of The Dick Van Dyke Show singing praises to their boss, Alan Brady. I add my own voice to the chorus of adoration.

Carl Reiner is 95 today. That, in and of itself, is impressive enough. You want to be REALLY impressed? Watch this clip from Reiner’s appearance last week with Conan O’Brien. Just incredible.

And speaking of all-time favorites, here is my favorite few minutes fromĀ one of the greatest TV shows ever. Mary Tyler Moore is brilliant in this scene. Carl Reiner is brilliant in this scene. The styrofoam heads are brilliant in this scene. It is perfect. “Fellas, here’s the guy who’s given us 60+ years of laughter and joy.” Thank you Carl Reiner, thank you Alan Brady. May you have many, many happy, healthy birthdays to come!!










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