With the impending release of Saving Mister Banks, and the recent Blu-Ray release of Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition, its easy to see the Walt Disney production of P.L. Travers‘ story being celebrated. Lost in the celebration of the movie, one other celebration needs to be added to the list: the 88th birthday of our favorite chimney sweep, Dick Van Dyke.
Born in West Plains, Missouri on December 13, 1925, Dick Van Dyke’s first on air experience came as a radio DJ in Danville Illinois in 1947, following his service in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. In the early 1950s Van Dyke began to appear on a local television station as part of “Erik and Van – The Merry Mutes” with Phil Erickson. In 1959 Van Dyke transitioned Broadway, appearing in The Girls Against The Boys, before taking the lead role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie in 1960.
Following his time on Broadway, CBS came calling, and The Dick Van Dyke show premiered in 1961, lasting for five season. During the run of the show, Van Dyke also took took a role in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins as Burt, the jack-of-all-trades chimney sweep. He also played the role of Mr Dawes Senior, the chairman of the bank. His performance of Chim Chim Cher-ee earned the song writing team of Richard and Robert Sherman an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Van Dyke also earned a Grammy with Julie Andrews for the Mary Poppins soundtrack.
Following Mary Poppins, Van Dyke played the leading role in the 1966 Disney film Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N., he also played Jack Albany in 1968’s Never a Dull Moment. Fast forwarding to 1990 Van Dyke played D. A. Fletcher in Dick Tracy.
Aside in his roles in these Disney movies, Van Dyke has been active in the Disney parks. In 1965, 2005, and 2012 he served as narrator for the Candlelight Procession presentation at Disneyland. He hosted a behind the scenes look at Epcot in the 1981 television special Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Van Dyke also narrated the documentary Walt: The Man Behind the Myth, produced by the Walt Disney Family Foundation in 2001.
For his roles in the Disney films and in the parks, Dick Van Dyke was named a Disney Legend on October 16, 1998. Here’s wishing Dick Van Dyke a happy 88th birthday! I thank you for taking the time to read this today. I ask you would please leave comments. You may contact me directly on Twitter @, and you may also subscribe to be alerted by email when new postings are published. Quest for Vault Disney is now on Facebook. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/questforvaultdisney. Have a great rest of your day. See ya real soon…