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October 03, 2011

Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title

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Harmon Jones - 1966
Netflix Instant

Over at The Thrilling Days of Yesterday, you can, ahem, take a trip to the ottoman empire of Dick Van Dyke.

The Dick Van Dyke Show was in it's final season. Three of the supporting cast members starred in this film, produced and cowritten by Morey Amsterdam. What resulted was a mostly laugh free comedy about secret agents from a fictional Eastern Bloc country mistaking Amsterdam for a missing cosmonaut. There is some unintended humor in simply seeing the name of the original January Jones featured, almost fifty years before another actress of the same became famous for being in a television series that takes roughly during the same era, in New York City of the early Sixties. Also, there's a moment when Rose Marie, decades before Joe Pesci takes the question personally, asks if something is funny "ha ha" or peculiar. The funniest bits on The Dick Van Dyke Show often revolved around the insults hurled between Amsterdam and Deacon. Don't Worry tries to substitute ernest mugging, cameo appearances by several stars, and a few topical references for anything approaching real wit. When Carl Reiner makes his brief appearance, it's a reminder of how much funnier he was in making fun of his baldness in "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth", my favorite episode from The Dick Van Dyke Show.

As for Harmon Jones, the director of record, I'll just mention that there are more laughs to be found in Gorilla at Large.

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More screen grabs after the jump, for those interested.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 3, 2011 08:20 AM


Thanks so much for kicking in something to the blogathon, Peter! I haven't seen this (I've been leery of it due to its reputation) but since these screen caps are breathtakingly beautiful I may have to seek it out (a buddy of mine says it's been on TCM recently). And in the interest of full disclosure...I toyed with the idea of labeling a post on the DVD show "The Ottoman Empire" but nixed it at the last minute because I didn't think people would get the joke (rest assured, I laughed out loud when I read it in your post).

Posted by: Ivan G Shreve Jr at October 3, 2011 12:38 PM