Celebrating Carl Reiner

Carl Reiner’s 97th birthday was March 20, but Decades will celebrate it starting Saturday with 97 episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show during an ambitious 71-hour binge of content involving the legendary comedian, actor, director and screenwriter.

We suspect Decades’ timing owes itself to The Dick Van Dyke Show, one of Reiner’s greatest achievements, joining the channel’s regular weeknight lineup on Tuesday November 5, with back-to-back episodes at 10 pm ET. Reiner created, produced and sometimes acted in the classic sitcom, which originally ran on for 158 episodes on CBS from 1961 to 1966.

Don’t get Decades? Don’t worry! Sister channel MeTV will continue to air back-to-back episodes on Sundays at 11 pm.

Here, Reiner talks about creating The Dick Van Dyke Show:

The Dick Van Dyke Show portion of Decades’ marathon will run from Saturday at 10:30 pm through Monday at 11 pm, preceded at 10 pm Saturday by the series’ original pilot: Head of the Family, starring Reiner in the Van Dyke role.

For 10 hours before that, starting at noon Saturday, Decades will feature Reiner in a variety of dramatic roles and comedic appearances.

The marathon begins with Skokie, a 1981 CBS movie in which Reiner plays a Jewish resident of the Illinois locale trying to cope with an impending Nazi march. From 3 pm to 5 pm, Reiner guests on two episodes of Family Law, a 1999-2002 CBS drama.

Then, at 5 pm. it’s an hour from a 1952 episode of Your Show of Shows, NBC’s classic ‘50s sketch comedy series. Starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, and written by such legends as Mel Brooks and Neil Simon, the show rocketed cast member Reiner to stardom. Look for him reciting the dessert menu in a lunchroom diner sketch.

From 6 pm to 10 pm, Decades will run two episodes of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a half-hour from The Dick Cavett Show, and three episodes of Carol Burnett & Friends – all featuring Reiner as guest.

Here’s a show not included in the Decades binge: The 2,000 Year Old Man, a 1975 CBS animated special based on Reiner’s already two-decade-old classic comedy skits with Mel Brooks. Reiner plays the interviewer and Brooks the ancient guy:

The Dick Cavett Show regularly airs on Decades weeknights at 9 pm, and its episodes this coming Tuesday and Wednesday will feature Dick Van Dyke and his series co-star Mary Tyler Moore respectively. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In regularly airs weeknights at 7 pm on Decades, while The Carol Burnett Show, successor to Carol Burnett & Friends, airs weeknights at 11 pm and Sundays at 10:30 pm on MeTV.

Streaming Options

Hulu subscribers can stream all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show, plus the original pilot, Head of the Family. If your library is part of the Hoopla system, you can stream all five seasons free. Amazon subscribers can stream four seasons. You can also see several episodes free, with ads, on Tubi.

You can stream Skokie for free on YouTube.

Amazon Prime subscribers can stream all 140 episodes from Laugh-In’s six NBC seasons (1968-1973).

You can stream episodes of The Dick Cavett Show for free, with ads, on Tubi.

For the other shows mentioned above, tune into Decades for free this weekend via an antenna hooked up to your TV set, or watch with a cable/satellite/telco subscription. To find your local channel number, visit Decades’ Where to Watch page.

MeTV can also be seen free over the air via an antenna connected to your TV set, or on various cable/satellite/telco services. To find your local channel number, visit MeTV’s Where to Watch page.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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