When you’re married to America’s most beloved entertainer, what do you get him for Valentine’s Day? A card, flowers, chocolate? In the case of Arlene Van Dyke, the wife of legendary entertainer Dick Van Dyke, you release a charming video of the two doing what they love to do every day. That’s sing and dance.
In her directorial debut, Arlene Van Dyke released her video “Everybody Loves a Lover” on Feb. 14 as a Valentine to Dick and to all. In a short few days, it has racked up nearly a million views and counting.
The video is a joy-filled rendition of the song originally popularized in 1958 by Doris Day. The Malibu couple sing and dance, showcasing the 96-year-old’s lithe moves, all choreographed by Arlene. It’s a cheeky and playful number performed by the Van Dykes and the Vantastix, the a cappella group he formed more than two decades ago.
The video was actually shot nearly on the fly two years ago, right before the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down as we know it.
The Van Dykes were performing in Los Angeles one night when Arlene had the idea to make a video on the same day. The problem was she didn’t have much time to shoot it. With a performance in the evening and only one hour at a friend’s art gallery for filming, Arlene had to have the production ready to go on a tight schedule. She prerecorded the soundtrack at the couple’s home studio. Their own band provided the music, but with only an hour’s shooting time, Arlene had to be prepared even though she hadn’t even laid eyes on the set.
“The first time I ever saw it was the day of the shoot,” Arlene Van Dyke said. “I just thought it was perfect. It had the vibe of the song like the ’60s, and with the Dick Van Dyke element, it just seemed so perfect.”
With a film school background and on set experience as a makeup artist and other showbiz jobs, Arlene concluded, “I’ve had accumulative experience, but I’ve never actually helmed a production like this. It was a very small crew, but I just thought it would be fun.”
She also laughed when recalling momentary panic on set, thinking, “Oh my god. What am I going to do?”
But Arlene was prepared down to the small details. A fun fact the songstress divulged to The Malibu Times is her clever wardrobe choice for the performers: She, Dick, and the three Vantastix are wearing cardigan sweaters from the Dick Van Dyke collection circa the 1960s. “He had a line of cardigans,” she explained. Dick had an original. Arlene purchased the other sweaters online.
The “Everybody Loves a Lover” video is just an extension of the couple’s daily lives. Those who know the Van Dykes know that Halloween and music “is one of our common interests.”
“I’ve learned so many songs with Dick. Countless,” she said. “He loves to sing all the time, and since we can’t always have a band here or the Vantastix, I always want to keep him singing. This particular song was suggested by Shirley Van Dyke, Jerry Van Dyke’s widow. The minute I heard it, I said, ‘Wow. This is really cool.’ I liked it right away. Dick loves contrapuntal [music with two or more independent melodic lines], so it was just perfect for that too.”
There’s a funny throwback bit in the video where Dick sidesteps an ottoman, familiar to anyone who remembers the opening credits to Van Dyke’s classic eponymous sitcom.
“It was just part of the furniture at the set,” Arlene remarked. “It was totally destined, I guess.”
Dick Van Dyke’s joy of working with his wife is clear to see.
“Mostly we sing and dance together,” the 2021 Kennedy Center honoree commented. “I was blown away because it was her idea. She chose the location, the dance number, the song and produced the whole thing. I didn’t know she had it in her. I was just part of the cast.”
“She showed me the choreography, taught me the song, and I just went along,” Dick continued. “When she got it cut together, I was just floored. It was so professional and so cute that I think we’re going to make her do another one.
“She is the best wife. She’s made me the happiest man in the world. Our life is so good together.”
The couple celebrated their 10th anniversary on Feb. 28.
The video is not a commercial venture for the Van Dykes. It’s just a Valentine. You can watch it on YouTube.