And now, let's talk about Jerry Van Dyke

Jerry is always showing off his smile
Jerry is always showing off his smile

Jerry Van Dyke: Unusual topic

I sometimes wonder why I write this type of hub. That is not a question, but a statement. I remember when this story came to mind. It happened a few days ago. The weather was doing "Old Man Winter's Farewell," it was also raining and I had been challenging myself mentally to name as many famous professional wrestlers as humanly-possible. And to look at me, people actually think that I am a regular guy.

As long as I have been a television viewer, I have always found myself instantly-frustrated when Jerry Van Dyke appears on my screen. I do not mean that Jerry is a slob or a jerk. In fact, he is very talented. But for some cosmic reasoning, he always plays the role of a confused actor. I imagine this would get old if I were Jerry Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is a serious actor
Van Dyke is a serious actor
Jerry Van Dyke was in this film
Jerry Van Dyke was in this film

'Jerry' fits Jerry Van Dyke

And that name, Jerry. Every time I hear the name, Jerry, I think of the classic cartoon, "Tom and Jerry." I was always for the cat, not the smart-alecky mouse. But that's just me. I think that every "underdog" deserves to win at least once in their life.

Why didn't his parents name Jerry Van Dyke, "Gary Van Dyke?" This actually sounds like a name of stellar talent and potential. "Ladies and gentleman, a warm welcome for . . .'Gary Van Dyke!" Doesn't that sound more in with the current style of names? But if I were Jerry's parents who went from Jerry to Gary, I would just stop at Gary and end it. With names like: "Tom Van Dyke," "Bruce Van Dyke," and other common monikers, they would be cursing his career before he had his first audition.

For everyone who remembers Jerry Van Dyke, I want to share a few "Jerry Van Dyke Tidbits," with you and see if you agree with me.

This was one of Jerry's biggest flops
This was one of Jerry's biggest flops
Jerry, left, played drums and banjo for the belly dancer, center, for a carnival that came to Mayberry. Andy Taylor, right, had to send it down the road for the dancer being too suggestive
Jerry, left, played drums and banjo for the belly dancer, center, for a carnival that came to Mayberry. Andy Taylor, right, had to send it down the road for the dancer being too suggestive
Andy Taylor sternly-rebukes Jerry for the ignorant thing he done when he put the sheriff's deputy uniform on and get involved with troublemakers at the carnival
Andy Taylor sternly-rebukes Jerry for the ignorant thing he done when he put the sheriff's deputy uniform on and get involved with troublemakers at the carnival

Jerry got to star as Jerry

When Jerry was a guest star on the fabled "Andy Griffith Show," as someone's son that "Aunt Bea," knew a ways back, she talked Andy into allowing Jerry who starred as "Jerry" somebody, to answer the phone at the courthouse. This event in his life stemmed from Andy sending a traveling carnival (where Jerry was playing banjo for a censored bellydancer), down the road for being too suggestive, thus leaving Jerry without means and nowhere to go.

Aunt Bea saves the day and Jerry screws things up when he slips on a deputy's uniform left in the courthouse (obviously by Barney Fife who was in real life making movies), and someone reported some shady shenanigans at the same carnival that was slow to pack-up and leave Mayberry and Jerry, the illegal sheriff's deputy just has to put down this trouble by showing-up at the scene thinking that just his deputy's clothing and badge will stop the trouble.

Of course Jerry is wrong. He gets chewed out by Andy and Jerry continues to stutter his dialogue like he did from his first shot on the show.

Jerry finally "hits it big"

Shelly Fabares starred as "Christine Armstrong," on "Coach," with Craig. T. Nelson
Shelly Fabares starred as "Christine Armstrong," on "Coach," with Craig. T. Nelson
Shelly's life as a blonde
Shelly's life as a blonde
"Johnny Angel" was Shelly's only big hit in her singing days
"Johnny Angel" was Shelly's only big hit in her singing days

Hello, "Luther"

Jerry who starred as "Stacie" on The Dick Van Dyke Show also stuttered his lines, I assume to add a slight touch of slap-stick to his bumbling character. Well to some, it did. Not me. I was the same frustrated fan of Jerry Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show as I was when he was on the Andy Griffith Show.

But later in years, Jerry landed the role of his life: Luther Van Dam, an assistant for Craig T. Nelson, "coach Hayden Fox" on ABC's hit series, "Coach," and FYI, guess who was cast as his wife? Yes, ma'am. The same neurotic, Shelly Fabares as "Christine Armstrong." I give due credit here. "Coach" was funny despite Van Dyke's orally stumbling and bumbling character.

I can only guess that over the right period of time, Jerry Van Dyke had crafted the art of stuttering and stumbling to a theatrical art. He had to work at it for like I said, "Coach" was actually funny.

A battle I could never win

But like I was with watching Jerry Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show, and now Coach, I was all of the time frustrated both during and after whatever show he appeared.

And I confess. I just didn't have the stamina and endurance to watch a single episode of Jerry Van Dyke's short-lived sitcom on NBC, "My Mother The Car."

The score: Frustration 2, Me 0

Van Dyke with co-stars of "My Mother The Car"
Van Dyke with co-stars of "My Mother The Car"
Craig T. Nelson, Bill Fagerbakke, and Van Dyke of the hit show, "Coach"
Craig T. Nelson, Bill Fagerbakke, and Van Dyke of the hit show, "Coach"
Jerry Van Dyke has always leaned on the banjo as his main prop when he does a comedy routine
Jerry Van Dyke has always leaned on the banjo as his main prop when he does a comedy routine
Jerry and Dick Van Dyke along with Mary Tyler Moore on  "The Dick Van Dyke Show"
Jerry and Dick Van Dyke along with Mary Tyler Moore on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

Jerry Van Dyke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Jerry Van Dyke (born July 27, 1931) is an American comedian and actor, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke.[1]
    He made his TV acting debut on The Dick Van Dyke Show with several guest appearances as Rob Petrie's brother, Stacey. Later in his career from 1989 to 1997, he portrayed Luther Van Dam on Craig T. Nelson's ABC sitcom Coach.[1]


Early life[edit]

  • Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1931 to Loren (nickname "Cookie") and Hazel (née McCord) Van Dyke. He is of Dutch descent on his father's side and of English and Scottish descent on his mother's side. His mother is a Mayflower descendant.

Early career[edit]

  • Van Dyke began his stand-up comedy career while still in Danville High School, and was already a veteran of strip joints and nightclubs when he joined the United States Air Force Tops In Blue in 1954 and 1955.[2] During the mid-fifties, Van Dyke worked at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Jerry Van Dyke Show, which included future CBS News Early Show news anchor Joseph Benti, Nancee South, and Ben Falber, was popular fare. In the service he performed at military bases around the world, twice winning the All Air Force Talent Show. Following his first guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and two others on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show, CBS made him a regular on The Judy Garland Show. He was also given hosting chores on the 1963 game show Picture This. In that same year, movie audiences saw him in supporting roles in the films McLintock!, Palm Springs Weekend, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

Ahhh, good times

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Comments 4 comments

Kathleen Kerswig 20 months ago

Well, I have to say I have always enjoyed watching Jerry Van Dyke. I never experienced the frustration you mention in your article but I can see where that might happen for some viewers.

Thanks for the interesting tidbits about a great comedian!


Tamirogers profile image

Tamirogers 20 months ago from Seattle, Washington

Coach was always one of my favorite shows. But I understand your frustration with Jerry. He's a good actor but definitely clumsy to watch!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Tamirogers,

My sincere thanks to you for your warm thoughts about Jerry. I liked Coach a lot. It was written in the same style as MASH and Mary Tyler Moore Show--adult, precise, some mis-direction, and the charisma of Nelson mixed with Jerry, oh well.

You know the proverb about a million monkeys and a million typewriters.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 20 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Kathleen,

I admire your sensitivity in your comment. Jerry was very talented, but the trouble is MY fault. I am used to people, when they speak, say complete sentences as I am easily-confused.

Thanks for your visit and come back soon.

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