Larry Mantle |

Dick Van Dyke surpassed my expectations

Like many listeners, I've been a fan of Dick Van Dyke's almost my entire life.  One of my earliest memories of television was from one of the first seasons of his classic series.  I took to him at age four, and I took to him in studio for our interview on Thursday morning. 

My mother also had fond memories of Van Dyke from when she worked at the old Continental gourmet market in Encino back in the early-60s.  She'd come home and tell me about Van Dyke and how chatty and funny he was when he'd come in to do his shopping.  I asked him about that off-air and he clearly remembered the store from his days living in Encino.  He's currently a Malibu resident.

Aside from his talents for physical comedy, Van Dyke has an extremely pleasant and warm manner that's perfectly suited for television.  The intimacy of the medium really captures his humanity.  From what I've heard from listeners to our conversation this morning, it sounds like that warmth came through strongly over radio, as well.

My only regret is that I didn't ask Van Dyke about his successful battle with alcoholism.  In his early years of sobriety, he'd spoken so bluntly about his addiction to booze that I'm sure it was inspirational to many who knew they needed to stop drinking.  To have someone with the talent and success of Van Dyke admit to his illness was a tremendous contribution.

After my live interview with Van Dyke, we talked for a while and he kindly stayed for photos with AirTalk staff.  I then went back into the studio to wait for a possible decision from Judge Walker of whether he'd be lifting his stay on same-sex marriages.  Had he announced a decision before 12:30 p.m., I was ready to break into The World (that sounds so ominous) to announce the decision and talk with legal experts.  Since it came later, David Lazarus was able to cover it during Patt Morrisson.

After David got on the air, I went into studio to tape an interview with former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter.  After having just spent 40-minutes interviewing a dynamic 84-year-old Van Dyke, Mrs. Carter was a mere whippersnapper of 82.  You're hearing more and more octogenarians on AirTalk, and I expect the number will only grow.  People who love what they do and are still contributing so much don't want to retire.  It's wonderful to see, and I hope I'm among them.