The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

I'm No Henry Walden (27 Mar. 1963)

TV Episode   |  TV-G   |    |  Comedy, Family

I'm No Henry Walden (1963) Poster

In answer to an invitation, the Petries attend a swank dinner party thrown by wealthy Mrs. Huntington, which later reveals itself to be a fund-raiser where Rob's compliant gesture turns into a donation far beyond his means.

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

5 February 2016 | Owlwise
Who's the snob here?
This is a fascinating episode, a real time capsule, in capturing the mainstream attitudes of Kennedy-era America. When Rob & Laura are invited to a party of pretentious writers & upper-class hangers-on, he's reluctant to go. It's only because the party is for noted poet Henry Walden (obviously modeled after Robert Frost) that he agrees to go at all.

What's interesting is that Rob & Laura were the representative Kennedy-era couple -- young, attractive, sexy, and open to modern ideas & the avant-garde ... up to a point. The show always defaulted to the safety mainstream in the end, not wanting to alienate its core audience, and never more so than in this episode.

First, I'm sure the all-too-fey poet portrayed by Dick van Dykes's stand-in Frank Adamo, pushing his new book of poetry entitled "Lavender Lollipops" -- excuse me, pronounced "Lavender Lollipopths" no less -- is embarrassing for the cast & creators to look back on now. The show was quite bold in presenting black characters as real human beings; but gay people hadn't reached that point on television yet.

But also interesting is that the episode is so determined to show up the pretensions of the so-called snobs -- they're definitely a bit full of themselves, but clearly decent enough & well-meaning people -- that it's Rob who comes off as the snob, strident & mocking & almost bitter. He's quite defensive about it! It remains a funny episode, both as originally intended & in revealing new ways in retrospect.

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