Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The 1964 Tarantula

In the episode “Scratch My Car and Die!”, Rob buys a new sports car called the “Tarantula” (according to Buddy, its nickname is the “T-Bug”). Since the episode aired in early 1964, we can assume the car is the '64 model.

Since the car is of course fictional, we never see it during the episode. But the characters make several comments regarding its appearance. It is low and sleek (so aerodynamic that its ash trays are teardrop-shaped); its trim is not chrome, but stainless steel; it has bucket seats, front fins and rear wings; and, in lieu of a trunk, it even has an auxiliary motor!

It’s not explicitly stated that the car is a convertible, but that seems likely in view of Rob’s purchase of a British driving cap (which also may be a clue to the car’s country of manufacture).

Combining all these facts, I envision the car as being sort of a cross between an Austin-Healy 3000 and a Lincoln Futura. So, here is my speculative illustration of the 1964 Tarantula. I have assumed that Rob would pick the British Racing Green finish.

Episode 88: Scratch My Car and Die!

Rob is excited about his new sports car -- until he discovers a large scratch on one side.

Rob: “The whole car’s that way – aerodynamic! Boy, even the ashtrays are teardrop design, did you notice that?”
Rob: “There is no trunk! That is the auxiliary motor!”
Buddy: “Did you ever see one of those Tarantulas? They are built so close to the ground, if you want to get in you have to come up through a manhole.”
Rob: “People should not be allowed to go around scratching heavily financed Tarantulas!”

Episode 87: The Plots Thicken

Something of a family feud occurs when both Rob's and Laura's parents offer burial plots to the couple.

Rob: “How about that, we’re a two plot family now.”
Sally: “Four plots? Don’t you think that’s a bit gaudy?”
Buddy: “Wait – he can always build on three!”

Episode 86: How to Spank a Star

"Alan Brady Show" guest star Paula Marshall turns out to be a very difficult person to deal with for Rob -- who has been temporarily made producer of the show.

In this episode, we see Mel's office for the only time in the series, and also hear the voice of Marge (the secretary or switchboard operator) for, I believe, the first time.

Mel: “I’m about at my wits’ end!”
Buddy: “Well, that’s a short trip.”
Rob: “Well...okay...uh, Paula p-poo.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Camp Crowder, Missouri

I had always assumed that Camp Crowder --where Rob and Laura met and were married -- was a fictional Army post. Not so; it was a real camp (though actually called "Fort Crowder" at the time Rob would have been stationed there).

Episode 85: Honeymoons are for the Lucky

Yet another flashback to Rob's Army days. Rob tells Buddy and Sally the story of his and Laura's unorthodox honeymoon.

Continuity issue: In previous flashbacks, we've seen Rob's rank as Sergeant First Class -- indicated by the two "rockers" under the chevrons on his sleeve. But in this episode, he's either been busted two ranks -- to sergeant -- or there's just been one of those continuity slip-ups. He also appears to have changed units, as his divisional shoulder patch has changed. (He also displays the in-between rank, Staff Sergeant, in one episode).

Adamo sighting: A soldier in the PX who makes a pass at Millie.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rob's Commute

While he sometimes drives to work, it appears that Rob more often takes the train. In "Brother, Can You Spare $2,500", we learn that he catches the train at Grand Central Station, which he enters from 42nd Street:

In "The Pen is Mightier than the Mouth", it's noted that the commute takes 40 minutes -- Rob catches the 9:05pm and arrives at New Rochelle Station at 9:45. From there, he would still be a few miles from home.

Here's the station in New Rochelle today, at right in the photo; while the station is over 100 years old, I doubt the parking garage was there in the early '60s.:

Episodes 83-84: The Pen is Mightier Than the Mouth/My Part-Time Wife

A two-part episode in which Sally takes a leave of absence to become a regular on the "Stevie Parsons Show" (even without the similarity in names, Stevie would be recognizable as an imitation of Johnny Carson)*; and Laura joins the staff as a typist and sometime contributor of material -- much to Rob's dismay.

(*Update: A blog reader pointed out that "Stevie Parsons" is actually a reference to the first three hosts of the Tonight Show: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson).

Sally: “Oh, now wait a minute, Rob, she didn’t know I was gonna do this.”

Rob: “Yeah? How’s come she answered the phone, then?”

Buddy: “Maybe it rang.”
Rob: “All right, that does it!”

Laura: “What’s the matter?”

Rob: “Are you trying to make me mad? Are you trying to make me mad?”

Laura: “What is it?”

Rob: “That was a perfect kiss!”
Laura: “To keep from causing you any further annoyance, I want you to know that I’m fired!”

Rob: “You can’t fire, I quit ya!”

Episode 81: Happy Birthday and Too Many More and Episode 82: The Brave and the Backache

[Note: These episodes are not related; one was inadvertently omitted from the blog, and is being inserted with the other to retain chronological order]

Episode 81: Happy Birthday and Too Many More
Plans for Richie's birthday party are spiraling out of control, until Rob puts his foot down and insists on a less elaborate, old-fashioned party at home. This nearly results in disaster as the children are a threat to destroy the house. Rob must find a way to keep the kids calmed down and entertained.

Laura's initial idea was to have the party at "Dizzyland". The kids go on all the rides and get dizzy, then take a candy cruiser to Birthday Island, where there's a real gingerbread house that the kids get to eat. Not to mention the ice cream volcano with hot fudge for lava. All this can be had for $2 a child. With over 60 kids on the invitation list, the cost of the party -- in 2011 dollars -- would be close to $1,000.


Buddy: “Hey, I got the game show! It’s like ‘What’s My Line’, only it’s called ‘What Was This Fellow’s Name Before He Changed It To What It Is Now, And Why Did He Change It, Do You Think’?”
Sally: “Is that the title or the whole show?”
Buddy: "No, that's the idea of the thing, they bring a fellow in, they say 'This man manufactures golf sweaters, so he calls himself Sam Golfsweater, cause he wants everyone to know he makes golf sweaters'."
Sally: "Uh, what was his name before he changed it?"
Buddy:"Al Paca!"

Episode 82: The Brave and Backache
Another variation on the theme of Rob possibly having a medical or psychosomatic aversion to Laura. He throws out his back in a freak accident, threatening the weekend trip the Petries had planned at Lake Sisimanunu.

This is the first appearance by Rob's psychiatrist friend, Phil Nevins. He would also appear in Episode 129.

Ken Berry appears in this episode as Alan Brady Show choreographer Tony Daniels, a role he would repeat in Episode 96.

Food note: Rob adds two sugars to his breakfast cereal, then cream from a pitcher -- then extracts a toy fire engine and ladder before eating.

Laura: “It’s the new Treasure Chest Assortment. You can have Wheaty Wow-wows, Ricey Rumbles, Sesame Sweeties, or Corny Cuties.”
Rob: “No Barley Bupkis?”
Buddy: “You know how to keep a head cold from going down in your chest? Tie a knot in your neck.”

Rob: “Honey, I study psychiatry on the same train, with the same doctor, that Jerry did!"
Sally: “Lake Sisimanunu at this time of year? Why, it’ll be at least three months before the manunus are in bloom.”
Buddy: “Hey Rob, if you’re really going up there, stop by for a chicken dinner at Camp Cock-a-doodle-do!
Sally: “Hey, isn’t that where you pluck your own chicken?”
Rob: “I just didn’t feel like a man; I felt like a sissy. Sissy... man... Sisi-man-unu!”

Episode 80: A Nice Friendly Game of Cards

Another social gathering at the Petrie house. Rob, Laura, Buddy, Millie, and Jerry, along with new neighbors Lou and Beth, play poker; but everything falls apart when it's discovered Rob is dealing from a marked deck.

If you've wondered what happens to the piano in the Petries' living room, it's stored against the fourth wall of the room -- as can be seen in a rare view of that wall over Millie's shoulder as she sits at the dining table during the card game.

Money note: It seems strange that so much is being made of Lou's losses, which amount to only $10. But of course that's equivalent to about $70 in 2011.

Sally: “Boy, look at all the fun I missed! I, like a dope, went to the dog show.”
Buddy: “Did you win anything?”
Buddy: “Hey, how about a little ‘Three Card Barrington’?”
Beth: “’Three Card Barrington’, how do you play that?”
Buddy: “You just deal three cards. Red nines are wild, seven of Clubs is high, low card passes, ace, nine, six, four of all suits is ‘Barrington’.”
Millie: “And that’s when you win?”
Buddy: “No, that’s when everybody gets up and walks around the chairs.”
Beth: “Well, how do you – how do you win?”
Buddy: “Well, while everybody else is walking around the chairs, I grab the money!”
Buddy: “Nine, ten, jack, queen.... ace!?”
Laura: “What happened to your king?”
Buddy: “He must have abdicated.”

The Romances of the Teenaged Laura

We've met two of Laura's old flames, from the time prior to her meeting Rob at Camp Crowder -- Jim Darling, and Joe Coogan. And in the episode "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan", she mentions a third: Philip Cabot. She must have had a whirlwind youth, because she managed to handle high school, the three boyfriends, leaving home to join the USO (even learning judo during that time), and meeting and marrying Rob (after a brief uncertainty regarding Clark Rice) -- all before her 18th birthday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rob's Golf Game

In "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan", Rob reports to Laura that he shot an 85, which included a narrow miss of a hole-in-one. This is a much better score than the one he records in a later episode, "The Death of the Party"; in that one, he seems pleased that he shot a 99.

On what course did Rob meet Joe Coogan? The famous Winged Foot Golf Club, site of several US Opens, is less than two miles from Bonnie Meadow Road; but it's an exclusive private club, and it's doubtful Rob is a member. Quaker Ridge and Bonnie Briar are also nearby, but also private clubs. However, Westchester County has several municipal courses, so it's likely Rob, Buddy, Mel, and Joe Coogan played at one of those -- perhaps Saxon Woods, also just a couple miles from the Petrie house.

Episode 79: The Life and Love of Joe Coogan

Episode 79 marks the halfway point in the series, and fittingly is a very strong episode. Rob meets another man from Laura's past -- but his jealousy proves to be unwarranted.

Rob: “I didn’t read your personal sonnets, and I didn’t see your personal shoe box.”
Laura: “Then how did you know?”
Rob: “I met your personal poet!”
Laura: “Rob, would it make you happy if I burned them, is that what you want? You just say the word, dear, and I will burn them!”
Rob: “Burn them.”
Laura: “No sir, not if you’re gonna take that attitude!”
Laura: "I wonder why I kept Joe Coogan's sonnets, and not Philip Cabot's or Jim Darling's."
Millie: "Did they write you sonnets?"
Laura: "No".
Millie: "Well maybe that's why."

Episode 78: The Lady and the Tiger and the Lawyer

A thoroughly enjoyable episode about Rob's and Laura's effort to match their new neighbor with either Laura's cousin, or with Sally -- until the end, when we find out the neighbor has a history of being a wife beater. Not exactly a good subject for a comedy show.

Buddy: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Well, maybe you can, but the pig’d be deaf.”
Rob: “Aww, they both get nauseous!”

Episode 77: My Husband is the Best One

Laura's pride in Rob causes her to sing his praises a little too loudly to a magazine reporter -- resulting in an article about Alan Brady ending up being an article about Rob.

Carl Reiner appears again as Alan. He continues to hide his face; however, his profile can be seen briefly a couple of times.

Adamo sighting: Waiter in a restaurant.

I've noted more than once that the claim that Reiner didn't use contemporary references in the show is greatly exaggerated. This continues to be demonstrated frequently -- as in this episode, when Rob alludes to news magazine cover photos of Nikita Krushchev and Fidel Castro.

Episode 76: The Alan Brady Show Presents

This Christmas episode marks the most complete view we see of the "Alan Brady Show" during the run of the DVD Show. We see the opening title, the minimalist sets, and even Alan himself (though at this point, Carl Reiner is still not showing his face as Alan Brady; he is wearing a Santa Claus outfit). The announcer for the Brady show sounds suspiciously like Jerry Paris (Jerry Helper).

Rob and Laura sing and dance; Sally sings; Buddy plays cello; and Richie sings a memorable "Little Drummer Boy". The finale is a reprise of "I Am a Fine Musician", the Rob/Laura/Buddy/Sally novelty song first performed in Episode 54.

Episode 75: The Third One From the Left

Cheryl Holdridge, of Mouseketeer fame, guest stars as an 18 year old chorus girl with a crush on Rob.

Rob: “Well, there’s nothing more for us to do around here. I guess we may go home to our loved ones.”

Buddy: “Not me, I’m going home to my wife.”

Sally: “You know something, I don’t even have a cat to go home to.”

Buddy: “What happened to your cat?”

Sally: “Nothing, he eats out on Wednesdays.”


Joan: “Do you like the socks?”

Rob: “I’ll wear them always, right next to my feet.”

Episode 74: The Sound of the Trumpets of Conscience Falls Deafly on a Brain That Holds Its Ears ...

One of the episodes I will always watch if I run across it. Rob's witness report at the police station is classic -- especially his demonstration of the difference between 6-foot-one standing, and 6-foot-one running.

Continuity issue: The police lieutenant is the same actor who played the Petries' new neighbor in "The Talented Neighborhood."

Adamo sighting: A frightened witness at the police station.

Buddy: “The police asked for my cooperation.”
Sally: “Really?”
Buddy: “Yeah, they asked me to move along.”
Rob: “I would like to report a witnessing...I’m Robert Petrie, I phoned in – I’m a witnesser.”
Laura: "So, actually, you couldn't identify any of them."
Rob: “No, we tried to get a make on ‘em, we ran it through R&I, we came up empty.”

Rob: “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do! And so do I.”

Annoying Characters

I've commented before on annoying characters. Here's a list of the ones I've encountered in watching the series so far:

Sol Pomeroy -- Rob's Army buddy; loud and socially inept

“Racy” Tracy Rattigan -- womanizing “Alan Brady Show” guest star

Freddy White -- the comic who wanted to marry Sally just to have someone to write free material for him; his irritation factor is compounded by his calling her "Mom-mmeeee"

Rob’s Uncle George; loud, hyperactive, obnoxious; his very presence would exhaust anyone

Maria the maid -- spends most of the episode sobbing loudly

Friday, June 24, 2011

Episode 73: Turtles, Ties and Toreadors

Rob hires a maid -- but the maid service sends someone who is not exactly what the Petries had in mind.

I believe the caricature of the Petrie family painted on the turtle in the closing scene was drawn by Dick Van Dyke.

Episode 72: The Ballad of the "Betty Lou"

As Laura points out, it is usually a mistake for friends to become partners in ownership of something big, like a boat. However, it doesn't usually go as horribly wrong as it does for Rob and Jerry.

I assume the "Betty Lou" would be berthed at the New Rochelle Marina, only about 4 miles from Bonnie Meadow Road. Here's a photo of the marina today:

Rob: “I wonder how many bells it is.”
Rob: “Oh, bow schmow, Jerry, I was in the pointy end of the boat where I was supposed to be!”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Episode 71: Big Max Calvada

"Dick Van Dyke Show" producer Sheldon Leonard plays mobster "Big Max" Calvada, who hires Rob, Buddy, and Sally to write a nightclub comedy routine for his less-than-talented nephew, Kenny Dexter.

DVD once again demonstrates his knack for generating laughs from his sneezing, as he does the comedy routine of a train conductor with allergies calling out the train stops ("Sche-NEC-tady! Chi-CA-go! Wi...Wi...WI-CHI-TA!").

Big Max: “Edmund Boik, in his ‘Reflections on the French Revolution’, he said: ‘The age of chivalry is gone, and that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded it.’ That Boik sure knew his potatoes.”
Rob: "You sure know your Boik -- Burke!"

Episode 70: Who and Where Was Antonio Stradivarius?

Rob suffers a concussion which leads to temporary amnesia -- and trouble with Laura, who wants to know why he came home so late without calling her... and with lipstick on his collar.

Geography note: It is repeatedly stated that the party at which Rob finds himself is in a home in Red Hook, New Jersey -- yet there is apparently no such town. There is a Red Hook, New York, about 70 miles north of New Rochelle.

Adamo non-sighting: Suprisingly, Frank Adamo does not appear as an extra at the party.

Sally: “I think we’d better get going.”
Buddy: “I want to stay here and hear Rob’s story.”
Sally: “Come on, I’ll tell you ‘Black Beauty’ on the way home.”

Episode 69: Too Many Stars

It's time for another community play, and this time Laura has some competition for the female lead -- a new neighbor whose singing and dancing wows everyone.

While the dance routine by the newcomer is good, the highlight of the episode is Millie's singing audition (lyrics below).

Food note: In addition to the creative snack names from an earlier episode, the Petries also like to serve Kasha Krispies and Barley B-B's.

Adamo sighting: One of the neighbors gathered for the auditions at the Petries' house.

Millie (singing her own composition):
“My heart got a smash in the face, 
that night I will never erase.
You saw me standing ‘neath the sun and the stars 
and I was something to see.
Then you took hold of my aching heart 
and kicked it right in the knee!
My heart has a terrible scar; 
I’ll get you for this, wherever you are.
But first I’ll kill myself – I’m funny that way; 
but seriously, darling – you’re okay!”
Rob: “She fooled everybody, Honey. You come out and sing great and dance great, people are gonna think you’re talented. She didn’t fool me, though, not for one minute. I saw through it. You take away all that fabulous dancing and all that great singing and what is there left? Nothing but that...haunting beauty.”

Episode 68: Uncle George

In an earlier post, I noted that several DVD Show episodes contain characters so annoying that it’s difficult to enjoy the episode. This is another one to add to the list: Rob’s Uncle George. I'm amazed Rob -- let alone Laura -- can stand to have him stay with them. Is the episode funny? Yes – but the annoyance factor simply outweighs the humor.

Rob: “Boy, I wish I was one of those Danish doctors.”

Laura: “How would that help?”

Rob: “It wouldn’t, except I’d be in Denmark.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Episodes 66-67: Laura's Little Lie/Very Old Shoes, Very Old Rice

Laura confesses that she lied about her age when she and Rob were married; she was only 17. But Rob realizes they may not be legally married. They plan a day trip to Connecticut to officially tie the knot, but things don't work out as smoothly as they had hoped.

The story includes the first mention of Marvin, the Petries' attorney.

Continuity issue: The Petries' insurance agent is played by the same actor who played Rob's Army buddy, Glen, the "qualified hypnotist".

Adamo sighting: The groom in the 32,491st marriage ceremony officiated by Judge Krata.

Rob: “Hi, Rich, have you seen Mommy?”
Richie: “When?”
Rob: “This morning.”
Richie: “Didn’t you see her? She sleeps in your room.”
Rob: “Every time I mention the doctor’s appointment, she tenses up.”
Buddy: “Maybe he’s got a cold stethoscope.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

Episode 65: The Masterpiece

Rob, Buddy, and Sally accidentally bid on a painting of a clown at an auction -- and end up as the unwilling owners, at a cost of $180. But it turns out there may be a much more valuable painting underneath the clown.

Money note: The $180 is equivalent to more than $1,000 in 2011 dollars.

Rob: “I could kick myself!”
Buddy: “Don’t do it, the guy’ll think you’re bidding.”
Buddy: “Oh, Laura, let me help you with that.”
Laura: “No, no, I want to get to know it.”
Sally: “Hey Buddy, why don’t you steer it?”
Buddy: “Yeah, all right. Here comes the Show Boat!”
Rob: “Buddy and Sally and I have half a Sinatra. Hey, who’s gonna keep it?
Sally: “Can I have it?”
Buddy: “What’re you gonna do with it?”

Sally: “Well, roll it up, shellac it, put a wire through it and it’ll make a” (Buddy joins in) “gorgeous lamp.”

Episode 64: That's My Boy??

Season 3 opens with a very strong episode. It's a flashback to the days after Richie's birth -- when Rob becomes convinced that the Petries brought home the wrong baby. Having seen this many times before, and knowing the surprise ending, I was able to appreciate the skill with which the story was built to the climactic moment when the Peters' come in the Petries' front door.

Rob: "Jer -- who, who do you think the baby looks like?"

Jerry: "I don't know -- how can you tell at this age? I mean their looks change every day. Now that first day, he looked like you."

Rob: "Yeh, then a little later, he looked something like Laura. Then today on the ride home in the cab, he looked a lot like Ralph Martoni."

Jerry: "Who's Ralph Martoni?!"

Rob: "The cabdriver, didn't you see his picture?"

Episode 63: All About Eavesdropping

The final episode of Season 2 is one of my favorites, full of gems of funny dialogue. Rob and Laura eavesdrop on Millie and Jerry, who say some less than flattering things about their neighbors.

Food notes: Millie makes Laura's avocado and peanut butter dip -- but there's some controversy over whether or not there should be mustard in the recipe. Also, Rob and Laura eat a breakfast cereal called "Wakey Flakies".

The opening title shows the first occurrence of the third version of Rob vs. the ottoman; in this one, he stops short and skips around it, but then stumbles -- twice -- on the carpet. It's easy to distinguish this opening from the other two, as Laura is not wearing the same dress she wears in those. This third version only appears in this last episode of Season 2, and a few episodes of Season 3; after that, it's back to alternating between the trip and skip-around versions for the rest of the series.

Jerry: “If they don’t get here in one minute, I’ll give ‘em a call on the phone.”
Buddy: “One minute – hey, play the Minute Waltz.”
Sally: “I only know half of it.”
Buddy: “Play it twice.”
Rob: “That’s malicious accusery!”
Sally: “I sang ‘Bill Bailey’ so many times, he finally went home.”
Rob (guessing Laura’s Charades clues): “Walk, stomp, stomp all over people, walk all over people; goose-step! Treachery, treachery; two-faced, two-faced; stab, stab in the back, stab in the back! Accuse, indict – malicious accusery! That’s right! Pearl Harbor! I got it! ‘On the Street Where You Live’!”
Rob: “I’m just gonna nibble; I’m too sincere to eat a lot.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Episode 62: When a Bowling Pin Talks, Listen

Richie gives Rob an idea for a great comedy skit -- but neglects to tell him he saw it on "The Uncle Spunky Show".

Food note: Uncle Spunky's sponsor is Crummy Buttons -- "the candy that looks like a button and tastes like a crumb cake". The universal response of anyone who is offered Crummy Buttons is: "Bleaaghh".

Episode 61: Jilting the Jilter

Freddy, an annoying and obnoxious acquaintance of the writers, joins Tracy Rattigan (from a few episodes back) as one of the characters who is so unpleasant as to make the episode hard to watch.

Sally: “Hi fellas, I’m sorry I’m late. I was at the beauty shop.
Buddy: “Oh, didn’t get waited on, right?”

Episode 60: A Surprise Surprise is a Surprise

Laura plans a surprise birthday party for Rob, who appears to have it all figured out.

Adamo sighting: One of the guests at the party.

Laura: “I know it sounds kinda silly, but, uh, your lips were very cold.”
Rob: “My lips are at regular lip temperature. Maybe your lips are running a fever.”
Sally: “If they have any of those almond pastry sweet rolls with the honey, nuts, and raisins on top, grab one for me.”
Buddy: “Yeah, grab two for me.”
Rob: “I thought you said you were on a special hard-boiled egg diet.”
Buddy: “I am. I can eat anything I want as long as I eat a hard-boiled egg with it. That’s why it’s a” (Rob and Sally join in) “SPECIAL hard-boiled egg diet!”

Episode 59: It's a Shame She Married Me

Rob's jealousy of Laura's old flame causes a rare disastrous party at the Petrie house.

Food Note: Snacks served at the party include potato chips, Corn Curlies, Wheat Whippies, Peanut Pippies, and -- Jerry's favorite -- Potato Poopies.

Adamo sighting: Jim Darling's assistant

Laura: "Jim, it's for you -- long distance, Melbourne."

Millie: "Wow, Australia!"

Jim: "I gave them your number, I hope you don't mind."

Rob: "No, I like Australia to have my number."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Episode 58: Divorce

We get our first look at Buddy's apartment in this episode in which Rob is called on to figure out a way to save Buddy's and Pickles' marriage.

Food note: Buddy's drink of choice, when in a bar, is tomato juice -- with plenty of Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, and pepper. Sounds like a good accompaniment to Eggs Benedict....

Episode 57: Racy Tracy Rattigan

A few episodes of the show are, to me, just a little hard to watch because of an unpleasant character. This is one example, with Richard Dawson (later of "Hogan's Heroes" and "Family Feud" fame) playing a very annoying rake with eyes for Laura. (He does, however, perform an amusing bird call routine during the show).

This episode is the first to use the alternate main title -- in which Rob, instead of tripping over the ottoman, stops and skips around it. There is, however, a third variation to come later -- where Rob avoids the ottoman, then stubs his toe on the carpet and almost falls.

Episode 56: The Square Triangle

Rob and Laura each think, mistakenly, that he/she is the cause of breaking up the marriage of a famous French singer.

Jacques: "I make the pass at every woman I meet."

Sally: "You haven't with me yet."

Jacques: "Wait -- the day is young."

Sally: "Well I'm not, let's go!"

Episode 55: I'm No Henry Walden

Carl Reiner has his first significant speaking role of the series, playing the pompous English writer, Yale Sampson, at a dinner party attended by the Petries. Frank Adamo also has a rare speaking part, as the poet H Fieldstone-Thornhill.

Episode 54: The Sam Pomerantz Scandals

It's another opportunity for everyone to perform, as Rob, Laura, Buddy, and Sally help out Rob's old Army buddy by entertaining at his newly opened lodge. Rob and Laura add to their catalog of duets, with a song and dance of "Carolina in the Morning".

There's also a skit in which DVD pays tribute to his idol, Stan Laurel.

Adamo sighting: In the audience during the show.

A comedian appearing at the lodge does impersonations of various celebrities: Jack Paar, Red Skelton, John F. Kennedy. It's another of many examples of references to contemporary people, current events, and cultural markers that occur often in the series -- demonstrating again that the claim the show did not have any of those references is not really even close to the truth.

Episode 53: Give Me Your Walls!

The Petries hire a most unusual house painter, who settles in for a week -- doing pretty much everything except the job he was engaged to do.

Food note: Vito makes French toast for the Petries -- utilizing his secret ingredient, vanilla extract.

Laura: "Now we have to have the whole room painted, and we just had it done."

Rob: "You gonna do the whole room for one little spot?"

Laura: "Well of course, there's no other way."

Rob: "Honey, that's like washing a whole shirt because the collar and cuffs are dirty!"

Episode 52: Don't Trip Over That Mountain

Another chance for DVD to showcase his physical comedy expertise; first as he maneuvers around the living room on snow skis, then as Rob spends most of the episode trying to cope with a "sprained body" he suffered on a ski trip that he took despite Laura's fears of his klutziness.

Where did Rob and Jerry go skiing? New York state has numerous ski resorts, and Vermont is right next door as well. One possibility is Belleayre, which had recently become a major ski resort, and which is only about 100 miles from New Rochelle.

Rob: "Hi, Jer! What's keepin' ya, I'm all ready! Hey, did you check the lodge? What did they say? Five inches of new powder on six feet of packed snow? Whee-hoo-hoo! ... Is that good?"

Jerry: "Well, where does it hurt?"

Rob (pointing to corner of mouth): "You see that?"

Jerry: "Yeh".

Rob: "That's the only place that doesn't HURT!"

Episode 51: It May Look Like a Walnut

Danny Thomas guest stars in this episode that many fans of the show rank among their favorites. While I like it, and while the scene where Laura slides out of the closet in an avalanche of walnuts is a memorable one, it's not among my top episodes.

Rob makes a punning allusion to "The Twilight Zone"; but his dream sequence about aliens taking over humanity -- and the late-night movie that Rob watched which prompted his nightmare -- is actually more reminiscent of the sci-fi horror film "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

Rob: "I was pretending to be Kolak, who breathes water."

Sally: "Oh, the four-eyed monster they threw out of the UN. He's from the planet Twilo."

Rob: "You see that picture?"

Sally: "No, 'd they make a picture out of that?"

Rob: "Last night, on television."

Sally: "No, I was at the UN the day it happened."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Episode 50: My Husband is a Check-Grabber

Herman Glimsher, Sally's boyfriend, makes his first appearance in this episode in which Laura is upset by Rob's tendency to always pick up the check when dining with friends.

We get a glimpse of the Petries' car at the beginning of the episode: A classic early 60s, two-tone, two door American sedan with white sidewall tires and tail fins; I'm not sure what make and model it was, but it looked something like the 1960 Chrysler 300F.

Rob: "It's kind of nippy out tonight."
(Silence from Laura)
Rob: "It's kind of nippy in tonight."

Episode 49: I Was a Teenage Head Writer

Rob remembers his first days as head writer of the "Alan Brady Show".

In the story, we learn that Rob has been with the show for 10 years, and Buddy and Sally a year longer than that. And we know the show continued for at least three more years. This would make the Brady show an exceptionally long-running one; for example, the real-life "Carol Burnett Show" lasted 11 seasons; and "Your Show of Shows", for which Carl Reiner was a writer, only four.

Laura: "Darling, don't you want your beans and sauerkraut?"

Rob: "Don't bring those traitors into this bedroom!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Episode 48: Ray Murdock's X-Ray

Rob is interviewed on a television show, and carelessly tells stories about Laura that make her appear silly.

The episode's highlight is a cute Rob and Laura dance to a Latin beat.

Episode 47: Will You Two Be My Wife?

Rob must decide whether to use his 3-day pass to go on a honeymoon with Laura -- or go back to Danville to break up with his other fiancee.

The episode seems to be another flashback story -- but that turns out to be not quite the case.

Barbara Bain guest stars as Rob's girl back home; her character speaks in a much higher register than does Cinnamon Carter, Bain's character on "Mission: Impossible".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Episode 46: The Foul Weather Girl

A childhood friend of Rob's shows up looking for help in being discovered as a singer -- and Laura is not particularly pleased at the attention Rob is paying her.

Mel: "Did you want me for something, Rob?"

Buddy: "Yeah, run down and get us three doughnuts and three cups of coffee."

Rob: "Buddy, we have a guest!"

Buddy: "Oh, I'm sorry... make that four doughnuts and four cups of coffee!"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Episode 45: The Cat Burglar

A cat burglar has been hitting the Petries' neighborhood.

Adamo sighting: One of the burglars.

Episode 44: Somebody Has to Play Cleopatra

Rob is in the difficult position of having to cast the community play.

The second appearance of Mrs. Billings, head of the PTA and bane of Rob's existence.

The episode features a very nice song and dance by Mary Tyler Moore.

Adamo sighting: One of the neighbors gathering at the Petrie house.