Jerry Van Dyke was a funny man in his own right, but he was dogged by two things. First, for being Dick Van Dyke's brother; and second, for starring in My Mother, the Car, the series which is generally considered the most abysmal of situation comedies, a punchline for bad TV.
Eventually, particularly after his long-running stint on Coach, he was able to establish himself as his own man and not "Dick's brother". But he never did completely escape the taint of My Mother, the Car. I always felt kind of sorry for him because of this.
That had never occurred to me until one night in 1987. Ralph Edwards had revived This Is Your Life in a series of specials, and one night featured Dick Van Dyke being hosted by Edwards. Among the guests brought on was, of course, brother Jerry. As soon as Edwards introduced Jerry Van Dyke and Jerry came out on stage to greet his older brother, the band struck up the theme song to My Mother, the Car.
Twenty years after the show had run and been cancelled. Most of the folks watching probably didn't even know what the music the band was playing was from. Yet, television was still identifying Jerry Van Dyke with his one true disaster.
I hope getting four Emmy nominations for his co-starring role in Coach was some vindication for Jerry Van Dyke.
This gets another vote in my book for people who--sadly--I thought died a few years ago. I swear I read that somewhere. I hate the internet.
Rest in peace, Luther!