Carl Reiner

Writer/Producer/Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, comedy writer/producer/performer/director Carl Reiner discusses his career from his stage work during his years in the service, to his television roles on classics like Your Show of Shows, Caesar's Hour and The Dick Van Dyke Show. He recalls his film work and his days on the Universal lot, describes the origins of The 2000 Year Old Man and talks at length about his sketch comedy work with Sid Casear. He chronicles the creation of his first sitcom, Head of the Family, starring himself as the lead: a program that was later recast with Dick Van Dyke in the principal role in the reincarnated version known as The Dick Van Dyke Show. He comments on the Hollywood Blacklist, his admiration for fellow writers and for family members and on whether or not he really wishes he had worn his hair for his first Emmy win. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on March 23, 1998.

"I knew we were doing something very good. When writers would come to work for me,  I'd read their scripts, they would be full of slang and I'd tell them, 'fellas, don't use slang of the day. In reruns, five years down the line, we don't want to hear somebody say, 'he took out his gat.'"

Highlights
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the seed of the idea for the "2,000 Year Old Man" from something seen on TV interview series We, the People, and how it was first "performed" by he and Mel Brooks when the two worked together on Your Show of Shows
01:17
Carl Reiner on appearing as Alan Brady on Mad About You
01:10
Carl Reiner on Sheldon Leonard and the path to The Dick Van Dyke Show
03:04
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on working with Sid Caesar
02:55
Carl Reiner on keeping The Dick Van Dyke Show in black and white
00:35
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences
On WPA free acting classes, summer theater and touring revues
On meeting his wife and getting drafted into World War II

Chapter 2

On his early stage work during his World War II service
On his first jobs after World War II
On his early work in television

Chapter 3

On The Fashion Story; on his early stage work
On his path to and work on Your Show of Shows and on Caesar's Hour

Chapter 4

On Your Show of Shows
On Caesar's Hour
On life after working with Sid Caesar, and on writing his own show, Head of the Family, which would later be reincarnated as The Dick Van Dyke Show

Chapter 5

On "the 2000 Year Old Man"; on The movie The Thrill of it All with Doris Day and James Garner, and on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
On The Dick Van Dyke Show
On relocating to the West Coast

Chapter 6

On The Dick Van Dyke Show and The New Dick Van Dyke Show
On his film work after The Dick Van Dyke Show
On The New Dick Van Dyke Show

Chapter 7

On producing The New Dick Van Dyke Show and legacy of The Dick Van Dyke Show
On his greatest accomplishment (The Dick Van Dyke Show) and on showrunners he admires - David E. Kelley, Susan Harris, Jerry Seinfeld; on what makes a great comedy
On his favorite programs today and his thoughts on several people he's worked with - Woody Allen, Sheldon Leonard and Larry Gelbart

Chapter 8

On some of the people he worked with over the years
On his family
Shows

Admiral Broadway Revue

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on his path to Your Show of Shows
03:46

Caesar's Hour

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on how Carol Burnett would watch the rehearsals of Caesar's Hour
00:49
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on working with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows and on Caesar's Hour
02:55
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the end of Your Show of Shows and the beginning of Caesar's Hour
08:27

Celebrity Game, The

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on hosting the game show Celebrity Game
00:59

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Carl Reiner on creating and producing The Dick Van Dyke Show
22:50
Carl Reiner on producing The Dick Van Dyke Show
12:02

Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The

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Carl Reiner on co-writing The Dinah Shore Chevy Show with Charlie Isaacs
01:44

Fashion Story, The

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Performer Carl Reiner on his experience as a regular on The Fashion Story on ABC and how he managed to get to Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet at CBS' studio even though it followed directly afterward on live TV
03:40

Good Heavens

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Carl Reiner on working on the TV show Good Heavens
02:05

Head of the Family

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the impetus to write his own show, Head of the Family, later reincarnated as The Dick Van Dyke Show
06:51

Hot in Cleveland

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Carl Reiner on the cast of Hot in Cleveland; from the red carpet at the Television Academy 

I Spy

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Carl Reiner on how his son Rob is responsible for bringing Bill Cosby onto I Spy
00:43

Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet

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Performer Carl Reiner on his experience as a regular on The Fashion Story on ABC and how he managed to get to Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet at CBS' studio even though it followed directly afterward on live TV
03:40

Kraft Television Theatre

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Kraft Television Theater's "Forty Weeks of Uncle Tom," directed by George Roy Hill
01:55

Mad About You

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Carl Reiner on appearing as Alan Brady on Mad About You
01:10

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Carl Reiner on how The Mary Tyler Moore Show may have been born out of The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:21

New Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Carl Reiner on The New Dick Van Dyke Show
08:51
Carl Reiner on how an argument with the network over The New Dick Van Dyke Show made him not want to write any more shows for CBS
03:42

Playhouse 90

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on his work on Playhouse 90
00:36
Carl Reiner on working with Ernie Kovacs on Playhouse 90
00:50

Sid Caesar Invites You

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Sid Caesar Invites You
00:42

Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special, The

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Carl Reiner on The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Show
00:38

We, The People

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the seed of the idea for the "2,000 Year Old Man" from something seen on TV interview series We, the People, and how it was first "performed" by he and Mel Brooks when the two worked together on Your Show of Shows
01:17

Your Show of Shows

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on initially becoming involved with Your Show of Shows as the interviewer in "the Professor" sketches
00:32
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the writing staff of Your Show of Shows— which started with Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, and Mel Brooks
01:35
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
00:38
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on getting into the writer's room on Your Show of Shows, when he suggested a foreign movie parody
01:59
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the early days of Your Show of Shows
14:25
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows and on Caesar's Hour
02:55
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows co-star Imogene Coca (and her working relationship with Sid Caesar)
00:55
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on a favorite sketch from Your Show of Shows for which he did an elaborate "fall"
02:05
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows co-star Howard Morris
01:38
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the seed of the idea for the "2,000 Year Old Man" from something seen on TV interview series We, the People, and how it was first "performed" by he and Mel Brooks when the two worked together on Your Show of Shows
01:17
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on knowing and working with writer Mel Brooks (on Your Show of Shows)
01:41
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on how writers Mel Tolkin and Lucille Kallen set the tone for Your Show of Shows
00:38
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on lone female Your Show of Shows writer Lucille Kallen
01:38
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the Center Theater, where Your Show of Shows was broadcast until it was torn down
02:12
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on the end of Your Show of Shows and the beginning of Caesar's Hour
01:12
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Carl Reiner on censorship on Caesar's Hour
00:54
Carl Reiner on problems from Standards & Practices regarding an episode of The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which the daughter walks in on her parents making love
03:27
Carl Reiner on difficulty from Standards & Practices regarding an episode of The New Dick Van Dyke Show about a daughter who walks in on her parents making love
02:01

Comedy-Variety

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Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour
16:37

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Carl Reiner on his love of radio and film comedies
03:12

Emmy Awards

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Carl Reiner on winning his first Emmy on Casear's Hour
02:27
Carl Reiner on Emmy Awards for The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:27
Carl Reiner on wishing he had worn his hair for his first Emmy win
01:31

Hollywood Blacklist

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Carl Reiner on blacklisted writer, Frank Tarloff and his own experience with the Blacklist
03:39

Industry Crossroads

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Carl Reiner on blacklisted writer, Frank Tarloff and his own experience with the Blacklist
03:39

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour
16:37

Technological Innovation

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Carl Reiner on how his decision to rerun episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show led to the show's rise in popularity
00:43
Carl Reiner on Desi Arnaz's revolutionary 3 camera system used on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:22
Carl Reiner on keeping The Dick Van Dyke Show in black and white
00:35

Television Industry

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Carl Reiner on censorship on Caesar's Hour
00:54
Carl Reiner on blacklisted writer, Frank Tarloff and his own experience with the Blacklist
03:39
Professions

Actor

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Carl Reiner on wanting to be an actor
01:43
Carl Reiner on playing Alan Brady on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:26

Directors

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Carl Reiner on his work as a director
09:47

Producers

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Carl Reiner on being head writer and producer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:30
Carl Reiner on producing The Dick Van Dyke Show
12:02

Writers

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Carl Reiner on being head writer and producer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:30
Carl Reiner on being a writer
00:43
Genres

Comedy Series

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Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show
22:50

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows
22:52
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour
16:37
People

Woody Allen

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Carl Reiner on his admiration of Woody Allen
01:35

Fred Allen

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Carl Reiner on his Fred Allen impression - of a man great on radio who didn't make it in television, inspired by Frank Sinatra
01:47

Morey Amsterdam

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Carl Reiner on how Rose Marie cast Morey Amsterdam for The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:34

Desi Arnaz

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Carl Reiner on Desi Arnaz's revolutionary 3 camera system used on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:22

James T. Aubrey

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Carl Reiner on CBS President James T. Aubrey
01:14

Jerry Belson

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Carl Reiner on Jerry Belson as a writer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:51

Edgar Bergen

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Carl Reiner on his love of Edgar Bergen on radio
01:27

Mel Brooks

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on knowing and working with writer Mel Brooks (on Your Show of Shows)
02:03

Carol Burnett

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on how Carol Burnett would watch the rehearsals of Caesar's Hour
00:49

Red Buttons

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Carl Reiner on going to high school with Red Buttons
00:58

Dave Caesar

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Carl Reiner on working with Dave Caesar, brother of Sid
01:02

Sid Caesar

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on working with Sid Caesar
02:55
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on his impressions of Sid Caesar
00:56
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows co-star Imogene Coca (and her working relationship with Sid Caesar)
00:55
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Sid Caesar on Caesar's Hour
00:29

Eddie Cantor

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Carl Reiner on his love of Eddie Cantor on radio
01:27

Imogene Coca

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows co-star Imogene Coca (and her working relationship with Sid Caesar)
00:55

Bill Cosby

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Carl Reiner on how his son Rob is responsible for Sheldon Leonard bringing Bill Cosby onto I Spy
00:43

Richard Deacon

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Carl Reiner on Richard Deacon's casting on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:18

Sam Denoff

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Carl Reiner on the great writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:14

Selma Diamond

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Carl Reiner on working with writer Selma Diamond
00:34

Dick Van Dyke

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Carl Reiner on how Dick Van Dyke was selected by Sheldon Leonard to replace Reiner as lead actor on what would become The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:08
Carl Reiner on Dick Van Dyke's film career taking off after The Dick Van Dyke Show
02:14

Jose Ferrer

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Carl Reiner on working with Jose Ferrer on the TV show Good Heavens
02:05

Bob Finkel

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Carl Reiner on Bob Finkel, producer of The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
01:06

Bob Fosse

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Carl Reiner on Bob Fosse's role in the stage play, "Call Me Mr. Wizard"
00:23

Kid Gavilan

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Carl Reiner on his earliest memories of television - watching Kid Gavilan box
00:37

Larry Gelbart

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Larry Gelbart and the other writers on Caesar's Hour
00:42
Carl Reiner on television writer Larry Gelbart
01:40

Jack Gilford

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Phil Leeds, Jack Gilford and Zero Mostel
01:19

Cary Grant

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Carl Reiner on his bungalow on the Universal Lot next to Cary Grant
00:21

Ann Morgan Guilbert

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Carl Reiner on working with Ann Morgan Guilbert
00:48

Buddy Hackett

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Carl Reiner on Buddy Hacket's role in the stage play, "Call Me Mr. Wizard"
00:12
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Buddy Hackett's behavior 
01:19

Susan Harris

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Devid E. Kelley, Susan Harris, and Jerry Seinfeld
01:31

George Roy Hill

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on his role on Kraft Television Theater's "Forty Weeks of Uncle Tom," directed by George Roy Hill
01:55

Lucille Kallen

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on lone female Your Show of Shows writer Lucille Kallen
02:49

David E. Kelley

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Devid E. Kelley, Susan Harris, and Jerry Seinfeld
01:31

Ernie Kovacs

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Carl Reiner on working with Ernie Kovacs
01:32

Stanley Kramer

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Carl Reiner on his work on It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
00:41

Hope Lange

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Carl Reiner on Hope Lange's role as the wife on The New Dick Van Dyke Show
05:16

Peter Lawford

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on how Peter Lawford (and Joe Kennedy) funded Head of the Family
01:29

Phil Leeds

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Phil Leeds, Jack Gilford and Zero Mostel
01:19

Sheldon Leonard

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Carl Reiner on Sheldon Leonard and the path to The Dick Van Dyke Show
03:04
Carl Reiner on the legacy of Sheldon Leonard
02:42
Carl Reiner on how his son Rob is responsible for Sheldon Leonard bringing Bill Cosby onto I Spy
00:43

Max Liebman

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
01:29
Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows producer Max Liebman
00:38

Allen Ludden

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Carl Reiner on friend and television host Allen Ludden
00:51

Rose Marie

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Carl Reiner on Rose Marie on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:27

Garry Marshall

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Carl Reiner on Garry Marshall as a writer on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:51

Steve Martin

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Carl Reiner on working with Steve Martin
00:32

Larry Matthews

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Carl Reiner on working with Larry Matthews
00:25

Mary Tyler Moore

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Carl Reiner on Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:15
Carl Reiner on Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show
02:08
Carl Reiner on Mary Tyler Moore at the end of the first season of The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:56
Carl Reiner on Mary Tyler Moore's stage and film career taking off after The Dick Van Dyke Sho w
02:14

Howard Morris

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Your Show of Shows co-star Howard Morris
01:38

Zero Mostel

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Phil Leeds, Jack Gilford and Zero Mostel
01:19

Jerry Paris

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Carl Reiner on working with actor/director Jerry Paris
01:19

Bill Persky

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Carl Reiner on the great writers on The Dick Van Dyke Show
01:14

Estelle Reiner

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Carl Reiner on his wife, Estelle Reiner
00:47

Rob Reiner

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Carl Reiner on the birth of his son, Rob, and taking him on the road while Carl performed in the stage show, "Call Me Mr. Wizard"
01:09
Carl Reiner on his son, Rob Reiner
02:33

John Rich

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Carl Reiner on television director John Rich
00:52

Lee Rich

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Carl Reiner on Proctor & Gamble's Lee Rich and The Dick Van Dyke Show
00:58

Jerry Seinfeld

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Carl Reiner on his admiration for Devid E. Kelley, Susan Harris, and Jerry Seinfeld
01:31

Dinah Shore

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Carl Reiner on working with Dinah Shore
00:38

Frank Tarloff

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Carl Reiner on blacklisted writer, Frank Tarloff
03:47

Danny Thomas

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Carl Reiner on how Danny Thomas wanted Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show
02:08
Carl Reiner on one of The Dick Van Dyke Show's producers, Danny Thomas
01:06

Grant Tinker

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Carl Reiner on Grant Tinker's enjoyment of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Tinker's relationship with Mary Tyler Moore
03:17

Mel Tolkin

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Performer/writer Carl Reiner on Mel Tolkin, head writer on Caesar's Hour
00:22

Lily Tomlin

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Carl Reiner on working with Lily Tomlin
00:20

Henry Winkler

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Carl Reiner on working with Henry Winkler
00:34

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