Saturday, September 08, 2012



This question about the old Dick Van Dyke show of the 60’s occasionally comes up in the list of “search engine terms” that people have used to find my blog. Apparently because I had mentioned some famous sit-com characters in my “dangers of smoking” article, inquiries about Rob and Laura Petrie and their possible cigarette use are highlighted on search engines, with a link to my website.

Well to answer once and for all: yes! Rob and Laura did smoke! Both of them! Even though Rob mentioned at least a couple of times that he didn’t partake of this habit. But there were episodes where he was actually smoking, and even his sweet, pretty wife lit up at least twice during episodes that I remember. In one, they were driving home from a party or restaurant or something, and Rob offered Laura a cigarette and she said she would love one. And then they both sat there in the car, talking and smoking, like it was nothing! And then in another episode, “Laura’s Little Lie”, she was upset about Rob finding out that she lied about her age on some insurance forms, and she sat down on the couch and lit up a cigarette. (And then she goes into the kitchen and makes coffee, ugh.) They both smoked in real life, too, and battled alcoholism as well.

I can’t find the one in the car, but here is a clip from “Laura’s Little Lie” (it’s about six minutes into the video). And here are videos of both of them smoking (with Rob and Laura, and then with Rob, Laura and Sally). Although they were still in character, this wasn’t part of the actual storyline but was a pitch for Kent cigarettes, one of their biggest sponsors. No wonder almost everybody I knew while growing up smoked—even my parents, their friends, my grandpa and my future in-laws. I just thought “that’s what grownups do.”

So yes, Rob and Laura smoked, and they both drank coffee and even alcohol. I’m sure they drank tea as well. I’m sure they didn’t have premarital sex though. And of course they never used naughty words. It was a great show—one of my favorites!


Roger Owen Green said...

I have the Dick van Dyke box set; I've only gotten through one of 25 discs. But, as I recall, you're right.
In commercials, at least, you know who else smoked? The Flinstones! Plugging Winstons (my father's brand at the time), no less.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a pretty old post but for completeness if anyone else stumbles upon this post, Rob is shown smoking during the breakfast scene in the episode The Trouble with Eavesdropping.