Ever since men starting noticing male pattern baldness -- sometime past Neanderthal times, as they seem to have had plenty of hair all over -- it's been an ongoing anxiety for a lot of guys. Maybe today it's even hard to imagine what all the fuss is about, since bald is distinctly beautiful these days, but also since "The Hair Club for Men" is still in business, the "yikes" factor must be alive and well at least for some fellas. Star Dick Van Dyke's casual remarks wondering about his own hair status inspired writers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff to pen this memorable episode, a half-hour firmly rooted (har-har) in both everyday life and also wildly imaginative at the same time.
Maybe we'll just go through the basics of the episode -- though you really need to watch it to fully absorb all the comic moments -- to whet your appetite. It's fun looking at screengrabs, too!
After Rob finds a lot of hairs in the sink, he thinks he's going bald and Laura tries to reassure him.
Rob goes into work and Buddy and Sally also try to talk Rob out of his fixation, and they use the argument that lots of men are more attractive bald.
Mel Cooley arrives -- "Well, you just lost your argument..."
Olive Oil and Vinegar. "So who's to say what's silly? Irwin asks.
"When I put it on my hair -- do I comb it or toss it?"
Once Home, Rob does some exercises to bring blood to his head.
And Laura helps him arrange his towel around his smelly hair...
"Hiya Baldy, we've been waiting for you!"
"It's not a dream!"
"It is, too!"
"If it was a dream you wouldn't have gone to all the trouble to come down here in your jammies!"
"Rob, I told you I was going to knit you a toupee and I did! It's Mohair!"
"Right...'cos you got no-mo-hair!"
"What's the matter" Is it all messed up?"
Sally: "Well, if you use salad dressing you can't expect to grow meatloaf!"
"Now you'll have to sleep with your head in the refrigerator!"
"Where's my hair???"
"Rob, thanks for your hair!"
"Darling, you're having a bad dream."
"And this is the second time I've wakened in it!"
"Well, it's no wonder, you slept with that silly turban on. That would give anyone a nightmare."
"That's just what you said in the dream!"
"Rob, come on, let's take that turban off and wash your hair..."
Yep. He's bald again and Laura faints.
"Honey, wake up, you're having a nightmare..."
"Am I awake?"
"Well, sure you are."
"Sure. I'm awake."
"Rob...don't ever take off that towel."
"Because under it, you're either bald or you have a head of lettuce!"
"That beautiful brown helmet!"
"You were worried about me losing my hair and I go to the doctor once and looks what happens!"
"Ohhh, Rob...oohhh Rob!"
"I guess I could use a good night's sleep, too!"
"I'd Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head at All" is part of that delectable selection of episodes from The Dick Van Dyke Show with dreams featuring prominently. It's a terrific device for allowing crazy situations that otherwise would have strained the credulity of a series that was very much realistic while still being uproariously funny. The humor in 'I'd Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head at All" stands up to the test of time -- fifty years (almost) of time, and that's impressive. The Dick Van Dyke Show feels as contemporary as it did five decades ago, and it's that timeless excellence that makes watching the show a pleasure today, and will continue to make it work even more decades from now. If we've piqued your appetite to watch this episode, check it out on Hulu or Netflix! A special shout-out, of course, to actor Ned Glass who played Irwin the barber -- the acting veteran of hundreds and hundreds of roles was a particular delight here.
Congratulations on 50 great years to The Dick Van Dyke Show, and thanks to The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear for coming up with the great idea for this blogathon!