Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nonfiction | A man so cool, they named DVDs after him

Eeep, I have been MIA for quite a while. I know it's bad when I have my next book club meeting in two days, and my post on last month's book is still one of my most recent posts. Somehow, I imagine fall as this wonderfully peaceful time of winding down from summer and getting nestled in for winter...but that doesn't seem to be the case. Do you remember the days when your weekends just sprung up like any other day of the week, open for spontaneity and without plans? Yeah, neither do I. Something happens in adulthood where suddenly every weekend is planned, and even weeknights quickly become booked. So strange! But maybe winter will slow things down...(though I'm not holding my breath).

A few months ago, I heard Dick Van Dyke on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, where Peter Sagal provided the excellent introduction I am using as this post title. Dick Van Dyke has always been one of my favorites. When I was a kid, I could recite every line to Mary Poppins (which served me like counting sheep when trying to fall asleep) and spent my evenings watching Nike at Night. Needless to say, Dick Van Dyke has always entertained me, and after I heard about his memoir on Wait, Wait and I saw it at the library, I picked it up.

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business chronicles DVD's career from his early high school days at a radio station to the present. His life is barely controversial, and he's candid and honest with his storytelling. The main point he drives home is that...he has no idea how all his success happened; he maintains it's all luck. And maybe it is, but the guy is a fabulous entertainer. He's got a rare talent of physical humor and has a pretty good stage presence. As entertaining as Dick Van Dyke is on the stage, screen, and radio...he maaaaay not be the most entertaining writer.

Some of his stories were so interesting, especially reading about the how the TV industry worked in days past. I have zero doubt in my mind that I could have dinner with DVD and he could recite every line from his book, and I'd be enthralled, intrigued, entertained, etc. But that's the thing with much of his personality is dependent on his physical presence that his words typed on a page read kind of dry. I don't love him any less, but I think I'll stick to watching a man "so cool, his initials have entered the international lexicon" on my TV screen.

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