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Interview With Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke

Aired May 2, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, two of the most talented stars ever and one of the greatest broadcast teams ever. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, together again and here for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
This is going to be a Friday night to treasure. They return together to LARRY KING LIVE. We've had them on individually many times, but together -- millennium week, if you could think back that far, or well over two years ago, they were here. And now they're reunited on LARRY KING LIVE. Mary Tyler Moore, the Academy Award nominee and seven-time Emmy Award winner, and Dick Van Dyke, the winner of five Emmies and a Tony. They starred in one of the most celebrated TV shows in television history. Each has had enormous success.

And now they appear together in "The Gin Game." That's the Pulitzer Prize-winning play that D.L. Coburn wrote that originally starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy on Broadway. They create these roles in "The Gin Game." It's going to air on PBS this Sunday night, May 4, at 9:00 PM on Public Broadcasting.

Thank you both for coming. How did this project -- when you were here last time, we asked, Are you go two going to work together? And you said, We're thinking about something."

DICK VAN DYKE, ACTOR: Yes. We were thinking about this.



KING: How did it come about?

VAN DYKE: I don't know.


KING: Well, that clears it for tonight. They have no idea how they came about. We thank them for being with us.

VAN DYKE: Well, we talked about it many, many years ago. You know...

KING: This play.

VAN DYKE: ... we had to wait until we got old enough to do it. I got old...

MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: I said to you, If we don't watch ourselves, we're going to be old enough to do it some day.

VAN DYKE: And it happened!

KING: It involves two people in a nursing home.

VAN DYKE: That's it, yes.

KING: So how did the project come together? I mean, how did it all work out?

MOORE: You were the spearheader, weren't you.

VAN DYKE: Well, kind of. I had expressed an interest in it, you know, and finally PBS came along and said they'd like to do it. So I called her because without her, I wouldn't do it.

MOORE: Oh! Thank you. Thank you.

KING: Did PBS do it with the entire script left in, with the cursing?

MOORE: Absolutely.


KING: OK. So a lot of cursing in this play.

VAN DYKE: Yes, there is.

MOORE: There is.

VAN DYKE: It's not a family show.



MOORE: But it is a family show. It's just that this is not Dick and Mary saying these words. It's those people, as they were written by D.L. Coburn, you know?


KING: Do you think the public is ready to hear Mary and Dick, though, use what might be considered off language?

VAN DYKE: Yes. I think they should be forewarned.

MOORE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it's not us. It's not us.

VAN DYKE: Mainly. You know.

KING: Yes, it should say so. VAN DYKE: They can use their own discretion, but I think they should know it, anyway, if they have little children.

KING: What was it like, Mary...

MOORE: Well, little children shouldn't be watching this play anyway.


MOORE: It's not a story for children.

KING: What was it like to work together again?

MOORE: It was great to work together again. There is that intangible, ephemeral thing that...

KING: That you two have.

MOORE: ... surrounds us, that protects us. At least, I feel that way. Come on. Come on.

VAN DYKE: Well...


VAN DYKE: I think when we get into projects like this, we're like Hansel and Gretel. We hang to onto each other and support each other.

KING: It is a two-character play.


KING: Right.

MOORE: Two character, and very difficult to do. It's almost...

KING: Why?

MOORE: Well, when you take into account the factor of the cards that you are holding and talking about and employing those in the scene and knowing...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she keeps beating him.

MOORE: ... you have to -- you have to put a card down for him to pick it up and say, I needed that card, and so on. So it was like learning to do this the first time.

KING: Yes.

VAN DYKE: Thinking on two levels is what it...


KING: I remember you told me this was a tough, tough play.

VAN DYKE: Oh, very! But when you're watching it, you're just entertained. You don't think about the mechanics.

KING: That's right. They're just playing the cards.

VAN DYKE: I don't cuss, and I don't play cards. So I had to learn on to swear, and I had to learn to play cards. I had to learn to shuffle and deal.

KING: What do you imagine it must have been like when Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy did it every night...

MOORE: Oh, I heard...

KING: ... and twice on Wednesday.

MOORE: ... they swore at each other all the time!


VAN DYKE: But I also heard that they had lines written on the cards, on each other, on the furniture, on the wall. Everywhere.


VAN DYKE: Because it's very hard because you're trying to count the cards and play cards and do the dialogue at the same time. It's difficult.

KING: Where'd you...

MOORE: It left a terrible mark on my little miniature schnauzer, who came to California with me. And my assistant was in the hotel with me and would come over. And every night, as soon as I finished with Dick, he would then go through the script, the scenes with me again. And when we got to the ends, where the language gets very strong, and said with great anger...

KING: Gusto and...

MOORE: ... this poor little dog just slunk out of the room. And to this day, Robert and I can't play cards.

VAN DYKE: Oh, really?

MOORE: He gets up and leaves the room!

VAN DYKE: It traumatized him. Oh, the poor little guy!

MOORE: It totally traumatized her!

KING: Where did you shoot?

VAN DYKE: PBS, right here in Los Angeles.

KING: Right at PBS. And how long did it take to do it?

VAN DYKE: Two weeks of rehearsal and two weeks of shooting.

MOORE: Right. It seemed like it was three weeks, somehow, but...

VAN DYKE: It did, didn't it.

MOORE: You just wished it had been three weeks.

KING: When they shoot for three weeks in a two-character play, what is it, they edit together -- will use this part from here and this part from there, or...


KING: Why would it take two weeks to shoot?

VAN DYKE: The set was kind of set up like a stage set, and they wanted to make it look like a play, but kind of get inside of it, so there were lots of shots.

KING: Camera angles.

VAN DYKE: Shots of me...

KING: Not just watch me watching two people on the set...


MOORE: No. It was coming in...

VAN DYKE: Lots of retakes of me...

MOORE: ... from two-shots and close-ups.

KING: By the way, for the audience, this is a terrific -- I mean, it won a Pulitzer. You know, it's no walk in the park, this thing. Why do you like this play so much?

MOORE: I have an affinity for old women.


KING: How old is the woman you're playing?

MOORE: She's 80 -- was there a specific...

VAN DYKE: I think 72 she says, at one point, doesn't she?

MOORE: No, I think she said 82.

VAN DYKE: Oh, 82?


KING: All right, what -- you have an affinity for older people?

MOORE: For older people, especially old ladies. There have been several in my life who have such meaning for me. And I watch them and I kvell for them and I hurt for them...

KING: Did you have to...

MOORE: ... and I celebrate them.

KING: ... change your voice any?

MOORE: You do have to do that. You always have to lose -- especially in my case, because I tend to sit up very straight -- had to lose that and get a little feebled -- enfeebled.

VAN DYKE: She was two hours in makeup to look old. They didn't have to do a thing to me!


MOORE: That's not true!

KING: What was it like for you?

VAN DYKE: It's two people who don't know each other, who fall into a marital relationship almost instantly. Within 24 hours, they're acting like a married couple, bickering and fighting and everything. And you see their personalities, what's really bothering them, come out through the course of the play. And I said, this is -- there's something about this bickering I know is made for Mary and me!


KING: You two could have done the Bickersons.

VAN DYKE: That's right!

MOORE: Because we never, ever bickered about anything.


MOORE: Ever.

VAN DYKE: But we bicker good when we have to.

MOORE: When we have to.

KING: How old is your character?

VAN DYKE: A lot younger than I actually am.

MOORE: But older than I am.

VAN DYKE: Were they in their 80s, really?

MOORE: I think so, dear. VAN DYKE: That's why there was no sex involved!


KING: Did you change your voice?

VAN DYKE: No. I didn't have to. I have an old man's voice already. No, I didn't do a thing.

KING: You didn't do a think with your voice. You just...

VAN DYKE: I just looked slovenly, you know, which is not like me. I'm a very neat person. But he's...

KING: Is it hard to play old?

VAN DYKE: Not really. No, as a matter of fact, you know, I've done comedy old men for a long time. I did a 90-year-old man in "Mary Poppins," and I've done a lot of old, old men. And I usually get letters from the Gray Panthers -- remember them -- for making fun of old people. But they certainly can't write me write any more letters now that I am old!

KING: You like playing old?

MOORE: Yes. I'm not sure I like it all that much, but my next project is going to be a movie for CBS in which I get to play an 83- year-old woman. Is the end coming? Is it so near?

KING: Is somebody telling you something, Mary?


KING: You two are the only executive producers of this, right?

VAN DYKE: Are we?

KING: You're the co-executive...

MOORE: I don't know. Nobody has been telling me what to do, so I guess!

KING: And when you work for PBS, there's no commercials, right, so it...

VAN DYKE: No commercials.

KING: ... it runs straight through.

MOORE: Right. Yes.

KING: Have you seen the finished product?


MOORE: Yes. KING: And?

VAN DYKE: I was shocked.

KING: You liked it a lot? No, you're objective, Mary. It's a good play?

MOORE: It's wonderful. It's something I am extremely proud of.

VAN DYKE: There was a scene where she has to stand up and slap him. And they tried all kind of trick camera angles, trying to make it -- and finally, the director came up, says, It's not working, gang. You're going to to have to...

KING: Hit him.

VAN DYKE: ... really slap him. She teed off on me. My glasses flew all the way across the stage. I said, You've been waiting for 40 years to do that!


KING: Speaking of that, we're going to reminisce when we come back. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke. They co-star in "The Gin Game." You'll see it Sunday night 9:00 Eastern on PBS. And knowing PBS, they'll repeat it frequently. We'll be right back.


VAN DYKE: Well, so you're not going to get any more help from me!

MOORE: There it is! Gin! Now can we quit?

VAN DYKE: Who gave you that card? I want to know who gave you that card! It was God, wasn't it. God gave you that card, didn't he!

MOORE: Yes, Willard, God gave me that card!

VAN DYKE: Don't you patronize me, you bitch!

MOORE: Oh! Just who do you think you're talking to, Mister?

VAN DYKE: All right. All right.




MOORE: Willard, you're a wonderful dancer!

VAN DYKE: Well, I was.

MOORE: No, you still are! (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. You do take a liberty, though, don't you, with the -- did you need the permission of the author because you add a scene that was not in the play?


KING: You do a waltz, right?

MOORE: That was added when Charles Durning and Julie Harris did it on stage.

KING: Oh. So the author did...

MOORE: Oh, yes.

VAN DYKE: Oh, he was there.

KING: Right.

MOORE: He was with us every day. It was great. During the rehearsals...

KING: What's the concept of adding the waltz?


VAN DYKE: I don't know. Just a sweet moment, when they both become young for that moment. And it's the one time in the play we think something's going to really bring them together, and they found each other. I just...


KING: It's a good addition.

MOORE: It's a wonderful addition...

VAN DYKE: I think it's a wonderful addition.

MOORE: ... especially because of the affection that some people in the audience seem to hold us in, when you see the two of us waltzing.

KING: How much do you have? How much affection was there from you?

MOORE: Well, in her mind...

KING: What was it like?

MOORE: ... she was openly flirting with him in the beginning. She -- I think she saw some possibilities. And I think he did, too. And that's what's uplifting about this play, is that you see that no matter how old you are, there is a possibility. It's a shame that it all falls apart.

KING: Let's go back down Memory Lane.


KING: What was the first time you two met, Dick?

VAN DYKE: When we went to rehearse for the pilot, right?


KING: The pilot of...

VAN DYKE: Of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

KING: So you had never met. You were chosen individually for the show.

VAN DYKE: That's right.

KING: Naturally, it was "The Dick Van Dyke Show," so it was your baby, right? It was Carl Reiner had picked you both, right?

VAN DYKE: Yes. Oh, yes.

MOORE: Well, it was supposed to be "The Carl Reiner Show," but the network said, No, you're not right for it. And so Carl decided not to just take that slough-off, and he went and found the right person.

VAN DYKE: They said, You're not right for the part, Carl.


KING: Wasn't it true they -- did they look at Johnny Carson for your part.


VAN DYKE: Johnny was considered for it. Thank God things turned out the way they did because I would have been terrible on "The Tonight Show."

MOORE: I don't think you would have been.


KING: How did you meet.

VAN DYKE: We met in Carl's office, didn't we?

MOORE: Right. That's right.

VAN DYKE: And then we went down and read through the -- read through the thing. And at the time, you know, she was a very serious actress and sounded a little bit like Katharine Hepburn. MOORE: Oh, yes, I did! In fact, if you look at any of the early episodes, you'll hear a little bit of "Dahling," just a tiny bit of Katharine.

KING: The magic that you can't invent, was that instant with the two of you?

VAN DYKE: It seemed to me to be in the pilot. It worked right away.

MOORE: Well, we clicked as real people. You know, I just -- I loved him. I loved his kindness and his humor and his dance. Everything about him I loved and connected to.

KING: And you the same.

VAN DYKE: Oh, yes. We bounced off each other immediately, and then within three or four weeks, she was as funny as anybody on the show!


KING: Was the pilot...

VAN DYKE: She had never done comedy.

KING: Was the pilot the first show that aired?


VAN DYKE: Was it?


KING: Yes.

VAN DYKE: Oh, yes. I didn't know that.

MOORE: That was the party, and we had to go out, and Richie was hiding in the...

VAN DYKE: Yes. Oh, that's right!

KING: When you were here last time, both of you admitted -- you more than she -- that there was more than just playing, that you...

MOORE: Oh, Larry!

KING: No, that you were in...

VAN DYKE: We had -- I think we may have had a crush on each other. I think we...

MOORE: Sure.

VAN DYKE: Absolutely. Yes. And some... KING: So you were both married, right?


KING: You were both married?

VAN DYKE: Oh, yes.


VAN DYKE: We used to break up laughing. We had a terrible time the first year, looking at each other on set and starting to laugh. And a psychologist told me that's a sign of an attraction.

MOORE: It's sexual tension, and that's how you release it.

VAN DYKE: Did you ever hear that before?

KING: Never.

VAN DYKE: Me, neither.

KING: Laughing at...


KING: Did you ever seriously consider possibly being together?

VAN DYKE: No, no.

MOORE: Having an affair?

KING: Yes.


KING: In other words, did you ever...

VAN DYKE: It was more like...

MOORE: No, no, no, no.

VAN DYKE: ... a sibling relationship than anything.


VAN DYKE: We were like brother and sister.

MOORE: We were going to play hospital.


KING: Was that show a hit from the start?

MOORE: It -- no, it took a season. VAN DYKE: It took a season. We were on against Perry Como, who was very popular at the time, and nobody saw us. It wasn't that it was a failure...

KING: Because today you wouldn't have made it into the second year.

VAN DYKE: That's right.

KING: Today they cancel you in four weeks.

VAN DYKE: Or the sixth week.

KING: Yes.

MOORE: But they put the show into reruns, and everyone went, Where have I been? This is such a show!

VAN DYKE: Yes, thank God.

KING: In retrospect, why did that show work?

VAN DYKE: Writing, I think, primarily.

KING: It always comes down to writing, doesn't it.


MOORE: And Dick Van Dyke.

VAN DYKE: Well, then the fact that we had a cast that just meshed like that...


VAN DYKE: ... from the beginning.

MOORE: Everybody...


KING: The secondary players were very important in that show.

VAN DYKE: Unbelievable.

MOORE: You bet.

VAN DYKE: But you know, two comedians with the best timing in the world, Rosemarie and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: Yes. Oh!


VAN DYKE: Right on the money. So it was a joy. I looked forward to coming to work every day. MOORE: Yes.

VAN DYKE: That was the best five years of my life because it wasn't work.


KING: It was only five years?

VAN DYKE: That's all.

MOORE: Yes. But we did more episodes in those five years than we did in my seven years...

KING: Oh, the...

MOORE: ... because you did more of...

VAN DYKE: Thirty-nine.

MOORE: Thirty-nine.

KING: Thirty-nine?

VAN DYKE: From the old radio (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MOORE: Then they reduced it to 37 and 34 and...


KING: Is it still playing?

VAN DYKE: Everywhere.

KING: TV-Land and...

MOORE: Should we tell him about the -- the surprise that's going to happen?

VAN DYKE: What's the surprise?

MOORE: With Carl.

VAN DYKE: Oh! He's talking seriously about some kind of a reunion.

MOORE: A scripted reunion in which you visit Rob and Laura Petrie as they are in their...


KING: They have grown. The children have grown. You only had one child.

MOORE: Right. We only had one, Richie.

VAN DYKE: Grandchildren.

MOORE: Grandchildren. Yes. And Les Moonves has given Carl the nod.



KING: This is going to happen, then.


VAN DYKE: I think so.

MOORE: Right.

VAN DYKE: Should be fun.

KING: They going to call it "The Dick Van Dyke Show Reunion"?

VAN DYKE: I have no idea.

MOORE: No, they're going to call it "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."


VAN DYKE: "With," yes.

MOORE: "With Dick Van Dyke"!

KING: What about a reunion of MTM, of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"?

MOORE: Oh, we've done that!

VAN DYKE: They did it!

KING: Yes, but do it again.

MOORE: We've done a hundred reunions.

KING: And so you -- that's a regular reunion.


KING: You're regulars in the reunion craft.

We'll be right back with Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke. They co-star -- they're the only talent in the show -- in "The Gin Game" Sunday night on PBS. Don't go away.


VAN DYKE: Laurie, one more instruction, I'm going to pick you up and carry you out of here!

MOORE: I'm ready, dear.

VAN DYKE: Oh, are you sure? Don't you want to tell Janie what television programs to watch?

MOORE: There's a special on juvenile delinquency. I don't know the time or channel, but there's a program -- what are you -- don't go into Richie's room! You may wake him. Use the newspaper! It's in the wastepaper basket.

VAN DYKE: The party'll be over...

MOORE: There's fresh pears and apples in the fruit bowl...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you say was in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator?

VAN DYKE: Who knows? If it's food, eat it. If it's a phone number, call it.




VAN DYKE: Anybody home? Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that you, dear?

VAN DYKE: Oh, hello, sweetheart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My, it's awful late, dear. What happened?

VAN DYKE: Well, I had a meeting at office, and I just couldn't get away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, well, how about some coffee?

VAN DYKE: Oh, honey, I'd love some coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll get you some.

VAN DYKE: Thank you. Oh!


VAN DYKE: Sweetheart, was there any mail today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, some very important letters. I'll get them for you.

VAN DYKE: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: So we have the great story for you tonight. Looks like it's -- in other words, if the script is OKed...


KING: ... "The Dick Van Dyke Show" will have a reunion with Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke and Rob Petrie.

MOORE: And Rosemarie.

KING: And Rosemarie.


KING: There'll be a -- Rosemarie -- that's right.

MOORE: Right.

VAN DYKE: Yes. And Carl as Allen Brady.

KING: Carl Reiner will be there.

MOORE: Yes. And Larry Matthews as little...

KING: Your son.

VAN DYKE: Richie.

MOORE: Little Richie.

KING: And he's how old now, Larry?

MOORE: He's too old.

VAN DYKE: He's in his 40s.

MOORE: He's far too old!


KING: And he will have children, so you'll be grandparents?

MOORE: He will have at least one, a daughter. And Carl is writing in an aspect wherein I have a ballet school and I teach ballet class.

VAN DYKE: Oh, that's great!

MOORE: And I'll be working with the children, and I'll say, No, wait a minute. You're not getting the -- watch Olivia and me. And Olivia turns out to be my granddaughter, and she and I dance together.

VAN DYKE: Oh, neat!

KING: Now, Dick, why don't you know about this? Why does she know more about the script than you? VAN DYKE: I don't know. I didn't even remember that part.

KING: You just show up, right? You just...


KING: You just come in and do your gig.

VAN DYKE: But that is great. So you actually get to do some moving.

MOORE: Do a little dance with her.

KING: This will be a big hit.


KING: OK. Now, during the run of that show, did that show evolve? Did those characters -- each character -- how did you see your guy?

VAN DYKE: As myself.

KING: You played him as you.

VAN DYKE: I just played myself!

KING: Is that easy or difficult?

VAN DYKE: It's depending. For a really good actor, it's difficult, but for someone like me, it's nothing.


MOORE: Will you stop that!

KING: Why are you putting yourself down for? You're a national treasure!

VAN DYKE: As I say, without Mary, I wouldn't even attempt these kinds of things.

MOORE: Oh, gosh!

VAN DYKE: She gives me back so much, that that's what makes it work.

KING: So you found it easy playing you, but most actors would say it's hard. If you asked Robert De Niro, Go play Robert De Niro in a scene...


KING: ... that's hard.

VAN DYKE: But you know, guys like Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, that's what they did. They played themselves.

MOORE: Yes, and Spencer Tracy.

VAN DYKE: Right.


VAN DYKE: Yes. In those days, most people did play pretty much the same character.

KING: And your character?

MOORE: I was playing Katharine Hepburn.


KING: Your character evolved?

VAN DYKE: She sounded like her, too.

MOORE: You know, I was hired to be the straight woman for all these funny people. I was the only one who'd had no comedy experience on the show. But Carl very quickly encouraged me to be funny because he saw that I had a sense of humor and an appreciation for it. And so he invented a new character position on a comedy show, a funny straight woman or funny straight man, because he had been that way for Mel Brooks.

VAN DYKE: Of course.

MOORE: In "The 2,000-Year-Old Man." And Sid Caesar.


KING: What was it like doing 39 weeks?

VAN DYKE: I didn't mind it at all. It didn't mean a thing to me, it was so much fun and so easy.

KING: Well, what about for you? That's a lot of work.

MOORE: Yes, but we always had time off in between. We would do three episodes and take a week, do four or five episodes and take a week. So it was not hard work.

KING: Why did the show go off?

VAN DYKE: Carl, in the very beginning, when we started, said five years was the limit. He felt that after five years, you get repetitious, you get stale and you suddenly begin being caricatures of yourself. I don't know whether it was right or not, but I didn't want to quit.

MOORE: I didn't want to quit, either.

KING: Were you on top when you quit? VAN DYKE: Oh, yes.

MOORE: Oh, yes.

VAN DYKE: Sure were. Top 2 or 3.

KING: So did the networks say, Please don't?

VAN DYKE: I have no idea. I didn't talk to anybody over there in those days.

MOORE: They didn't say that to me, either.

VAN DYKE: Me, neither!

KING: They must have said it to Carl.

VAN DYKE: I'm sure. Yes, I'm sure.

KING: What was it like -- what was it like doing the final show?

VAN DYKE: Oh, sad.

MOORE: Hard. Hard. So hard!

KING: Did you do it as a kind of final show, or just do it as another episode?

VAN DYKE: We did something we always wanted to do. We did a Western. It was a dream sequence, of course. But all the writers, all our kids, everybody's family was in the show. And we did a silly Western, where she was the song and dance girl in the saloon, and I was the sheriff.

MOORE: Wasn't I also a washerwoman, too? I have a picture of me holding a big tub of laundry.

VAN DYKE: Well, that was a another one.

MOORE: That was a different one.

VAN DYKE: Yes, that was a flashback to the...

MOORE: Oh, yes, you're right.

VAN DYKE: ... the 1890s.

MOORE: Right.

KING: And when that ended, it must have been hard to say good- bye.

MOORE: It was terrible! It wasn't just Dick and Carl and Maury Amsterdam and everybody I loved, but it was the prop men. You know, it was those...

KING: The guys.

MOORE: It was the script supervisor. It was those people. They were family. They were truly family, everybody.

KING: After that show, what did you do? What's the next thing you did?

VAN DYKE: I have no recollection. I think I went and did a movie.

KING: You were drinking. You were drinking then, right.

VAN DYKE: Yes. I went and did a movie right after that called "Divorce American Style."

MOORE: Oh, yes!


MOORE: It was good. You were brilliant.

VAN DYKE: Yes, with Debbie Reynolds.

KING: Were you drinking -- were you drinking throughout "The Dick Van Dyke Show"?

VAN DYKE: No, it hadn't really got a hold of me at that time.

KING: It was after.

VAN DYKE: I was, but I still considered I was a social drinker. It didn't start to give me trouble until later.

KING: Were you drinking during "Mary Poppins"?

VAN DYKE: Still not bad. See, that was in the early '60s. It was later on...

KING: It got worse.

VAN DYKE: All of a sudden, it began to catch up with me, and I realized I had trouble.

MOORE: I must interject here, too, though, that Dick never, ever drank on the set, never was...

KING: Never worked drunk.

MOORE: ... anything but 100 percent sober.

VAN DYKE: Oh, no. No, it was just going home...

MOORE: Just going home and...

VAN DYKE: ... and drinking more than I should.

MOORE: ... hanging out and...

KING: Same as Sid Caesar. Had the same problem. Never drank at work.

VAN DYKE: No. No. No, he was much too much a professional to do that.

KING: So you went out and did the movie. What's the first thing you did at the end of show?

MOORE: Well, I began to fulfill a contract at Universal. And the first thing I did was "Thoroughly Modern Millie."


MOORE: Which was great fun.

VAN DYKE: Loved it.

KING: On Broadway now.

MOORE: Oh, yes. It is. And I saw it, and I went backstage and saw those kids. They're just so great!

KING: So you went and did "Divorce American Style."


KING: You did "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

MOORE: Right.

KING: The saga continues after this. "The Gin Game" airs Sunday night. We'll be right back.


VAN DYKE: You with the cards there, throw a card up in the air.


VAN DYKE: Are you kidding? Did you see that? I need more practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, take it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, that's pretty good shooting, sheriff!

VAN DYKE: Not too good. I was shooting at the picture.



VAN DYKE: Laura! Laura, where are you?


VAN DYKE: Laura!

MOORE: Darling, what are you doing home from work so early?


KING: We're back with two of the -- two of the great stars in the history of this medium and in movies as well.

What did your movie career consist of? How many -- you did a movie with Elvis?

MOORE: I was his last leading lady.

KING: Really?

MOORE: And he was then to go on -- he played a singing surgeon and he was trying to break the image of the Las Vegas.

KING: A singing doctor?

MOORE: A singing surgeon and I was an out of habit nun. The title of the movie was "Change of Habit." Elvis was later to say, "I slept with every one of my leading ladies except one." I know who the one is. Sorry to break anyone's cover out there, but...

KING: Did you like him?

MOORE: Yes and what was I thinking of?

KING: Why didn't you?

MOORE: Why didn't I?

KING: What was he like to work with?

MOORE: He was delightful then. He was 100 percent in back of everything he should have been doing with the movie.

KING: Did you expect him to be a kind of star star?

MOORE: I did. I did. But he wasn't that way at all. He was a very down to earth guy and he used to call me "ma'am."

KING: How many movies did you make?

MOORE: I don't know.

KING: You haven't done a lot of movies, though.

MOORE: I have haven't done a lot.


KING: ... Academy Award nomination. MOORE: Well I did "Ordinary People" and "Flirting With Disaster." That's another one that I'm very proud of.

KING: When did "Mary Poppins" come to you?

VAN DYKE: They came to me in 1964 when we were still doing "The Van Dyke Show." Walt Disney offered me that part and I almost died. It was my dream to work with Walt Disney in anything.

KING: Did he personally offer it to you?


KING: She did it because she didn't get "My Fair Lady."

VAN DYKE: That's right. And then won the Academy Award for it which I thought was great.

KING: Did you like that part right away?

VAN DYKE: Immediately. Oh, God, I loved that part.

MOORE: Right up his alley.

VAN DYKE: And then the old man, the old banker. I went to Walt and said, I'd to play that part, too and I won't charge you a nickel extra. And I didn't.

KING: How did you get the idea that you wanted to do two parts?

VAN DYKE: I just -- that old man was so funny to me. The 90- year-old guy who was unsteady and couldn't hear anything.

KING: Did you like movies?

VAN DYKE: No. I like a musical. Musical, you know, "Chitty Bang Bang." I love musicals, but I find it's just so deadening. You know, 30 takes, you do a little piece here and a little piece there. There's hours and hours of waiting. And to me that's as far away from real performance as you can get.

The stage is best, television in front of an audience is next, but a movie is piecing it together -- it's just...

KING: Stage is the best.

VAN DYKE: By far. Yes.

KING: What for you?

MOORE: I like film. I like it very much.

KING: Movies?

MOORE: Yes. I like the luxury of time that you have so that the scenes... KING: And when we say movies, we mean television movies, too.

MOORE: Yes, but even better is feature movies because you do have a budget that allows you to really dig into the character and get beneath the skin and make it whole.

KING: After the show ended, did the two of you remain friends? Did you talk to each other a lot? Did you socialize?

MOORE: He gave me the guest starring role next to him in "Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman" which was two years later.

VAN DYKE: Was that two years?

MOORE: Yes, I think so.

VAN DYKE: She was brilliant on that.

MOORE: And from that came my series. CBS looked at that and said, well, we ought to do something with her.

VAN DYKE: We sang a little parody called "Life is Like a Situation Comedy" which I happen to look at today as one of the clips of the show and I realize why I like us singing together.

My voice is kind of bassy and covered. Yours is brilliant has a ping to it and the combination...

KING: You're not known as singers.

VAN DYKE: Not really.

MOORE: Well, wait a minute, a little bit.

KING: Sorry, Mary.

MOORE: Come on. Not to be mean.

VAN DYKE: I sing no matter what.

KING: When you think of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore the first thing you think of is not singers.

MOORE: Dancers.

VAN DYKE: Right.

KING: That's right. Ballet, mostly.

MOORE: No, ballroom. We did that.

KING: How did the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," how was then conceived?

MOORE: My then husband Grant Tinker went out and got Jim Brooks and Allen Burns and put them together. They had never written together before. And the four of us sat down and talked about what it should be, what it shouldn't be...

KING: Who came up with the idea that she would work in a television news department in Minneapolis?

MOORE: Him and Allan. They wanted a metropolitan area that hadn't been seen a hundred times like New York or Chicago or L.A. They decided to do that. They wanted to make me a recently-divorced woman who was coming to Minneapolis to start life afresh and CBS implored them not to because they said the audience will think she divorced Dick Van Dyke.


KING: That makes sense.

MOORE: Yes. And they also said and you know, there's really not anything funny about divorce.

KING: Was that show a hit right from the get go?

MOORE: No. That took a year, too.

KING: Also took a year.

MOORE: Yes, yes.

KING: Whose idea it was to throw the hat up in the air?

MOORE: There was a man on the location shoot who was directing the titles, the main titles before the show begins. And he just said, do you have a hat or something you can throw up in the air? And I had a hat that my aunt had given me to take to Minneapolis because it was going to be cold. So I through the hat in the air.

VAN DYKE: And that became the trademark. That the became the most famous thing of all.

KING: Do you remember what you watched when you watched "Mary Tyler Moore Show?"

VAN DYKE: The best -- you said Allan and Jim, those two guys, I said she found the right writers, right from the beginning it was -- I knew it was going to work.

MOORE: Right.

VAN DYKE: I understand that Ed Asner in the beginning said you're not funny enough, is that show so?

MOORE: Well, he had never done comedy, either. Except for a few obscure things in college. But he pulled it off. I read with him for Jim and Allan and he was not good. He was not good and he sort of backed out saying thank you for having me in and he got to the door and had his hand on the knob and turned around and said may I come back and do that again? And he knew he had been a bomb. So he came back and he had us rolling. And never stopped for the next seven years. He was so good.

KING: Now, you did what? You did "Mary Poppins," you did "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Did you career ever stall?

VAN DYKE: In 1968 I moved to Arizona and bought a ranch and that was it. I said I'm out of here.

MOORE: Yes, but you went right to work on another Dick Van Dyke show.

VAN DYKE: I know it. I think I turned down more movies than I made.

KING: You did another Dick Van Dyke show, right?


MOORE: With Hope Lange.

VAN DYKE: The network didn't advise me. I was in the market one day after that show went on the air and a lady came up and hit me with her purse. She said, "How dare you leave that sweet Laura?" And she really smacked me one.


MOORE: It wasn't Hope Lange.


KING: And then "Diagnosis Murder" came some time after that.

VAN DYKE: Oh, years later. Yes, that wasn't until -- I was 65- years-old when I started "Diagnosis Murder" and that was 12 years ago. Can you believe that?

MOORE: I'm very bad with numbers. How old is he?

VAN DYKE: Seventy-seven.

KING: You are 77.

VAN DYKE: I'm 77-years-old.

KING: And I'm going to ask your age.

MOORE: I'm 66.

KING: How are you doing with the diabetes?

MOORE: I'm doing very well. How are you doing?

KING: I'm doing -- I've got type 2 so I get that shot...

MOORE: But you have all the same side effects that I have.

KING: You've got type 1.

MOORE: I have type one. I'm dependent on insulin...

KING: I'm not.

MOORE: ... which is life support. But you know we keep raising fistfuls of dollars and we're hopeful that a cure is in the offing soon.

KING: Your health?

VAN DYKE: Pimples, you know.


VAN DYKE: My -- all my vital organs are in great shape, but my skeleton's falling apart.

KING: We'll be right back with more Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. They co-star in "The Gin Game." You'll see it Sunday on PBS. It's a great play, by the way. Don't go away.


MOORE: ... as to why a person isn't married.

ED ASNER, ACTOR: How many different reasons can there be?

MOORE: Sixty-five.


ASNER: Words per minute. My typing question.



ASNER: Look, miss, would you try answering the questions as I ask them?

MOORE: Yes, Mr. Grant, I will, but it does seem that you've been asking a lot of very personal questions that don't have a thing to do with my qualifications for this job.

ASNER: You know what? You got spunk.

MOORE: Well, yes.

ASNER: I hate spunk!



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Night's a lot like that. From time to time walls fall down and hurt our foot. If only we could deal with it as simply and bravely and honestly as Mr. Fee Fi Foe. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Nor much. In his own words a little song, a little seltzer down your shirt.


KING: Both of you have had to overcome things in your life. You've had personal tragedies, family loss and the like.

You've had the alcoholism. What was the key? I mean, how did you survive? When you think about it, it's extraordinary.

MOORE: The option isn't very attractive. The other alternative to just not survive is not part of my nature.

KING: Did you ever feel like chucking it?

MOORE: No. No.

KING: No? Never?

MOORE: Thank God. I've been depressed from time to time, but never so much that I would seriously consider doing something else that I knew nothing about.

KING: How did you on from losing a child?

MOORE: You just do. You just do.

KING: You never forget it though, right? It never leaves you, I'm told that. It never leaves you. But you go on.

MOORE: You go on.

KING: How did you defeat that curse?

VAN DYKE: You know, I didn't have to defeat it. It slowly, but slowly just faded away. Suddenly it wasn't doing anything for me. It make me a little dizzy and a little sick and my taste for it and it just went away.

KING: Really?


KING: It wasn't let's quit cold turkey one day?

VAN DYKE: It went away. I don't know what kind of help came to me, but it just faded away completely.

KING: During times of stress, did you get in touch with each other?

VAN DYKE: I don't think we ever did, did we? MOORE: No. No.

VAN DYKE: We were a whole country apart. She was in New York and I'm out here. So the only thing we'd do was have dinner when I'd go to New York or something, but that was about it.

MOORE: You know, I was an alcoholic. I am an alcoholic.

KING: You were both alcoholics, right? You never...

MOORE: Right.

VAN DYKE: Set them up.

MOORE: Yes. We're recovering. I went to the Betty Ford Center for help. I'm married to a doctor and he treated it in the same way that I learned to as a disease and he said, Look, you've got a broken leg, you go to see the doctor.

KING: Why does Betty Ford work?

MOORE: Oh, I don't know. I've never been to any other place. But it's...

KING: It worked.

MOORE: It's a classic approach to the program of AA and..

KING: And at the center you were not Mary Tyler Moore, right? You were just...

MOORE: Yes, I was.

KING: I mean, you were -- but I mean, you don't get treated differently.

MOORE: No. Oh, absolutely not.

KING: That's what I mean.

MOORE: No. I was picking up cigarette butts and putting them in the wastebasket.

KING: Did you have to go to AA?

VAN DYKE: Yes, I did. I went to AA which was wonderful. They probably have been responsible for more people getting their lives back than anybody else. It's a great program.

KING: Was defeating it -- they say is one of the hardest things in the world is to defeat liquor and addiction to liquor?

VAN DYKE: I think that cigarettes are worse. I think that nicotine...

KING: Did you smoke? VAN DYKE: Yes, I did. Yes. I think -- I've heard heroin addicts and cocaine addicts say it was nothing compared to getting off cigarettes.

MOORE: Really?

VAN DYKE: Yes, it's the most subtle and invasive one of all.

KING: Did you ever smoke?

MOORE: I smoked three packs a day. There was hardly time to do anything else.

VAN DYKE: Me too.

KING: Yes, so did I.

MOORE: When did you stop?

KING: Day of my heart attack. Whack, that's it. Scared to death.

VAN DYKE: Yes. Scared you.

KING: I had a psychologist friend tell me that I got scared -- literally scared -- scared straight.

VAN DYKE: Scared straight.

KING: How did you stop?

MOORE: Well, my husband had given up smoking the year before.

KING: The doctor?

MOORE: Yes, the doctor. A good decision, don't you think?

KING: Yes.

MOORE: And he helped me. He gave me some programs to get ready for it, like, you know, smoke with a different brand and you hold it with a different hand and you only smoke standing up and then you only smoke without inhaling -- you know, crazy things like that.

KING: Do you ever miss it?

MOORE: Yes, I do from time to time but it's maybe three times a year that I think about it. But it's so fleeting. It's nothing.

KING: How'd you stop?

VAN DYKE: I almost killed myself stopping. I got the gum and I was chewing the gum and I was wearing the patch.

KING: Both.

VAN DYKE: Both. My heart rate was about 140 all the time. Thank God I survived that.

MOORE: Oh, boy.

VAN DYKE: Did you have any withdrawls?


VAN DYKE: You didn't?

KING: Well, they told me when I was in intensive care that's when the need -- the body and then it's just getting rid in the habit.

VAN DYKE: Really? The body needs...

KING: I couldn't smoke in intensive care. For five days I couldn't smoke. If you can go five days without smoking then your body needs is gone.

MOORE: But the habit. That's the...

KING: The reaching for it and I never reached again. I must have gotten sick.

VAN DYKE: That's remarkable.

MOORE: Amazing.

VAN DYKE: That's really miraculous.

KING: All right. Do you two, either of you, ever think of retiring?

MOORE: What would I do? I don't know how to do anything else. Well I don't. You've had my cooking.

VAN DYKE: Her half-done eggs.

MOORE: No, I'm very active, if nothing else in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

KING: How well I know.

MOORE: We both work very hard.

KING: I'm on your board.

MOORE: Yes you are and doing a fine job.

KING: Thank you.

MOORE: I've had my eye on you.

KING: Do you ever think of quitting?

VAN DYKE: I did. I've quit many times. There's nothing to it. Well, I got fired from "Diagnosis: Murder" two years ago this spring and I announced my retirement. I have never been so busy. Not with work, but the Midnight Mission downtown. I'm the campaign fund- raising chairman.


KING: So you're active.

VAN DYKE: Yes, to say the least. And I'm a computer nerd.

MOORE: And I have animal organizations that I'm very involved with, especially where farm animals are concerned.

KING: The two of you are weird, you know? Farm animals and computers. Exciting!

We'll be back with our -- every time Mary and Dick are here it's a guaranteed LARRY KING classic. And speaking of classic, every classic episode of the original "Mary Tyler Moore Show"'s first season is available on DVD courteous of -- courtesy, rather, of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

And meanwhile, Paul Brownstein Productions is assembling the first season of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" on DVD for September release. So what about the other four seasons? As they say in Hollywood, stay tuned.


MOORE: Rob, there is no series of tests in the world that are going to convince me that is not our baby.

VAN DYKE: Oh, honey, I don't blame you. You can't face the facts. Poor kid.

MOORE: Oh, Rob!

VAN DYKE: Well, honey, that's probably the Peters now. Brace yourself.

MOORE: Rob, nobody is taking this baby. Do you hear me? Nobody.

VAN DYKE: Well I think it would be better if you went to your room. I can handle this.

MOORE: I am staying right here!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. We're Mr. and Mrs. Peters.

VAN DYKE: Come in.





VAN DYKE: I don't believe it, let me see that. Oh, bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), Jesus Christ, look at that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

MOORE: Willard!

VAN DYKE: Oh, Jesus Christ almighty!


KING: "The Gin Game" will air this Sunday night. By the way, it's 9:00 Eastern, it's the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and the stars are, of course, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

Now, we understand, Mr. Van Dyke, that you have a little surprise planned for your friend.

VAN DYKE: Oh, yes. I hope it's not too much of a surprise. Are my guys back there? We wanted to do something for you.

KING: OK, one.

VAN DYKE: One, two, three.


VAN DYKE: Thanks, guys.

KING: Where did you find these guys, Dick?

VAN DYKE: They found me. They found me in a Starbucks one morning. This is Eric and Mike and Brian. They are the Vantastix.

KING: The Vantastix?

VAN DYKE: What do you think of that name? It's with an X.

KING: I like that. Will you go out on tour? Were you going to do...

VAN DYKE: No, but we worked really hard on that, just for this occasion.

MOORE: I can tell you worked hard on it. I can see that. Thank you so much.

VAN DYKE: I rewrite the lyrics a little every time I do it. My memory's not too good.

KING: And I noticed you chimed in at the end.

MOORE: Yes, I did. Wasn't that a good sporty thing of me? KING: Did we get you, Mary?

MOORE: What?

KING: Did we get you?

MOORE: You sure did. What a lovely surprise.

KING: Thanks, fellows.

VAN DYKE: See you later.

KING: That really worked.

VAN DYKE: Those guys found me in a Starbucks one morning and said, we understand you like to harmonize, and I said, I sure do. And we've been together for about two years now.

MOORE: They had been working with each other before that?

VAN DYKE: No, we all...

MOORE: You just all started together?

VAN DYKE: Yes, all started together.

KING: They all have different professions and they just -- where do you do this? Where do you harmonize?

VAN DYKE: We do benefits, children's hospitals, things like that. We do a lot of benefits, fund-raising thing. And we do all kids' songs.

MOORE: He's a good soul.

KING: Good soul.

VAN DYKE: We do "Mary Poppins" and "Sesame Street" and those kind of songs. Yes.

KING: What are we going to see you next in, Mary?

MOORE: I am going to do a movie that was a book, called "Blessings," it was written by Anna Quindlen, for CBS.

KING: Oh, we know that book.

MOORE: Isn't that a good...

KING: Good book.

MOORE: And I'm playing an 82-year-old woman in that.

KING: And your next thing is what?

VAN DYKE: I hope nothing. KING: OK.

MOORE: No. Don't do that to us.

KING: Thank you, doll.

MOORE: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

VAN DYKE: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Sunday night, this Sunday night, May 4, "The Gin Game," 9:00 on PBS. Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, what more can we say. Thanks for join us. Have a great weekend. Good night.


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