Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Dance Party: Anita Lebost

Mary Tyler Moore turned 75 on Wednesday, so it's only fitting that she star in this week's Dance Party (she appeared in an earlier segment here, in which she and Julie Andrews negotiate a quirky elevator).  Everybody knows she was plucked from relatively obscure dance and commercial gigs to portray Dick Van Dyke's wife, back in 1961.  Our Mare won the first of her Emmy awards for her portrayal of the simultaneously wholesome and sexy suburbanite, Laura Petrie. 

She would go on to headline her own series, of course, for which she was duly awarded, and a bit later, she gave one of the most surprising film performances of the 80s, in Robert Redford's Ordinary People (she was nominated for the Oscar for that one, and should have won, too, but Sissy Spacek's Loretta Lynn took the prize).

But this week's Dance Party brings us back to the sitcom which introduced Ms. Moore to the world.  The Dick Van Dyke Show often featured musical numbers, as its star was one of the premiere song-and-dance men of his generation.
This particular segment was included in an episode from October of 1963, and concerned the production of an amateur show which Rob was set to direct.  His wife Laura expected to snag the leading role, until a new neighbor gave a pretty explosive audition.  I suppose hilarity ensued, this is one of the many episodes of this series which I do not remember.  The guest star here is Sylvia Lewis, who occasionally helped with choreography on the series, but on this occasion, stepped in front of the camera.  She does her best to hold her own with Van Dyke and Moore.