Friday, October 29, 2021

Song Lyric of the Day (‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ on ‘The Joy of Livin’)

“When you find the joy of livin'
Is lovin' and givin'
You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed
“A smile is just a frown that's turned upside down,
So smile, and that frown will defrost
And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed!”—“Theme of The Dick Van Dyke Show,” music by Earle Hagen, lyrics by Morey Amsterdam (1961)
Some years ago, I was astonished to discover that the theme for The Andy Griffith Show had lyrics, and that the familiar tune—whistled on the sitcom by its composer, Earle Hagen—had lyrics. The song, “The Fishin’ Hole,” had even been sung by star Andy Griffith.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, then—but I was!—earlier this month, when I heard another Hagen composition for a beloved TV classic, The Dick Van Dyke Show, sung—with unheard lyrics—by its titular star, Mr. Van Dyke (shown here, with series creator Carl Reiner playing his boss, Allan Brady), in an ad for MeTV.
Griffith sang the lyrics for his show on an album, Themes and Laughs from “The Andy Griffith Show,” in 1961, at the height of the show’s success and his own middle-aged vigor. Van Dyke was in his 90s when he performed his theme song, but the years seemed to fall away as he exhibited his traditional ebullience.
I’m not sure why the words by co-star Morey Amsterdam (who, on the show, played Buddy Sorrell, the friend and writer colleague of main character Rob Petrie) were never heard throughout the sitcom’s five-year run. No matter. It just goes to demonstrate that the award-winning comedy—which, incidentally, premiered 60 years ago this month—still has the capacity, all these years and treasured memories later, to surprise viewers.

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