Erin 's Reviews > My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
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Jun 19, 2011

it was amazing
Read from August 03 to 06, 2011

I had every intention of writing my review the minute I finished this book, but it didn’t happen. In point of fact I put it aside, picking up my daughter and withdrew to the living where we turned on Mary Poppins. Watching her giggle and bounce to the music warmed my heart, but the insight offered by his biography made Van Dyke’s performance all the more endearing.

Van Dyke's dedication to family friendly entertainment is genuinely impressive and nowhere is that more evident in his descriptions of the film and television industries. That said, the book is about more than an actor keeping his integrity in show business, it’s also about a man and the things he had to overcome, a person coming to terms with his struggles and finding a path forward.

I didn't know a lot about Dick Van Dyke when I stumbled over this book, but I found his story very interesting just the same and appreciate both the nostalgic quality of the book and how open the author was about the harder chapters of his life.
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03/18/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Flannery (new)

Flannery I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. It's sad to me that they don't really make live action musicals for kids anymore. Correction, noncrappy musicals for kids.


Erin I love a lot of the older comedians. Dick Van Dyke and Danny Kaye are among my favorites but then I have a thing for old movies too. Sunset Boulevard, Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady... Hollywood doesn't make those kind of actors anymore. Occasionally I see someone with talent, real talent, but it is rare especially in the younger age brackets.

They also don't make movies for families anymore. I am happy my daughter is too young for Hannah Montana. There is absolutely no entertainment value for adults in that kind of crap.


Claire Diagnosis Murder was on TV up until 2001, and is still shown on TV (at least in the UK, but I'm sure in the US too!) so I'm not sure what being born in 1985 has to do with that!


Erin Being born in 1985 means I missed The Dick Van Dyke Show which ran from 1961-66, The New Dick Van Dyke Show which ran from 1971-74 and Van Dyke and Company which aired in 1976.

I was three and more concerned with learning my colors when The Van Dyke Show aired in 1988 but you are right, Diagnosis Murder aired from 1993-2001... which would have made me fifteen or sixteen at the oldest. The show was funny but it wasn't exactly popular entertainment for the tween bracket. My age group was focused on 7th Heaven, Dawson's Creek, Felicity and Friends.

Sadly, Diagnosis Murder is no longer on the air in the US.


Claire I too was born in 1985 and I am familiar with these shows - I just am not sure that age is really a valid excuse for not having seen them! I can understand not seeing the original run obviously!, but now almost everyone has access to internet stores to buy the DVDs, or you can rent them, or use video streaming with sites like Netflix. It's not difficult to watch older films and TV shows if you really want to. You say above that you're a fan of older films so you must be familar with these things!

I know it requires a bit of effort to watch them, but if you want to watch them, you can.


Erin I never said I couldn't Claire and I am starting to resent your comments. There are different levels of 'fandom' and mine dictate that I like what I like but I prefer not to spend hours in front of the television or computer.

Please respect my right to have an opinion regardless of whether or not you agree with it.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin, you are absolutely right about the poor quality (if any at all) of contemporary TV shows and Hollywood movies alike. TV and computers are time thieves, as much as the Internet has become helpful.

You are not out of line, btw. :-)


Claire I'm not quite sure why you have taken offense to my comments or how I was not respecting your opinion, but I assure you, that wasn't intended. Sorry.


Erin Germain Erin, I agree with your review (although I've yet to write my own!). I grew up watching the musicals you mentioned, and they are still among my favorites. I do remember seeing re-runs of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' on television, but while I was able to recognize the talent, it never really caught my interest, since sitcoms aren't my thing. I did watch 'Diagnosis Murder', but I was also the slightly geeky one who never missed an episode of 'The Father Dowling Mysteries' with Tom Bosley a few years earlier. I have fond memories of both series. It doesn't mean I'm going to shell out to purchase them.

As you said in your review, it was wonderful to get a look past the public persona of Mr. Van Dyke and see what his life was like - both the good and the bad. The best performers, of any medium, make it all look so easy. Being reminded of just how much hard work it is to keep everything together makes you appreciate the magic on the screen that much more.


Erin Thank you Claire. I think I should also apologize for coming on strong.

I found offense that you seemed to be taking my comment on my own experience out of context and telling me how to utilize my time and resources. Not everyone lives with cable. Lots of people, myself included, are fine without it. We get by on other forms of entertainment (books, movies, sports, etc.).

I congratulate you on your interest and your ability to utilize both your time and resources to embrace it wholeheartedly.


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