Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke begin filming a production of "The Gin Game" July 29.
Moore and Van Dyke, who last starred together in the classic TV comedy "The Dick Van Dyke Show," are filming the D. L. Coburn play for KCET/Hollywood's acclaimed dramatic series, "PBS Hollywood Presents," which is expected to air on PBS stations throughout the country during the first quarter of 2003. Playwright Coburn has adapted his Pulitzer Prize winning play for the small screen, and Arvin Brown will direct.
Pat Mitchell, the president and CEO of PBS who announced the news of the production, said in a statement, "This is a significant event in television history. Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore are two of America's most beloved television icons, and we are thrilled to reunite them in a production that will showcase their legendary chemistry in ways we've never seen before."
"The Gin Game" is the fourth production in the "PBS Hollywood Presents" series. "The Old Settler," starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen kicked-off the series, which features top actors in original teleplays. "Collected Stories," with Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis, was the second offering, and the third production, Michael Frayn's Tony-winning "Copenhagen," will be broadcast on PBS stations on Sept. 29 (check local listings). That production stars Stephen Rea, Francesca Annis and Daniel Craig.
"The Gin Game," a bittersweet comedy about the relationship between two nursing home residents, is being produced by KCET/Hollywood in association with Ted Hartley, chairman and CEO of RKO Pictures; and Emmy Award winning producer Ellen M. Krass. *
D. L. Coburn's The Gin Game bowed on Broadway in Oct. 1977 in a production directed by Mike Nichols. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy starred in the two-character play, and Tandy was rewarded with a Tony Award for her work (Cronyn also received a Tony nomination). The 1997 revival for the National Actors Theatre cast Julie Harris and Charles Durning in the roles originated by Tandy and Cronyn.
Beloved actress Mary Tyler Moore shot to fame in the 1960's on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and later starred in her own sitcom, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which garnered more Emmy Awards than any other show in television history. Moore's theatrical credits include Breakfast at Tiffany's, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Noises Off, The Octette Bridge Club, Joe Egg, Benefactors and Sweet Sue. Moore was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film "Ordinary People."
Dick Van Dyke has starred in several TV series, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The New Dick Van Dyke Show," "Van Dyke and Company" and "Diagnosis Murder." He has been seen on the silver screen in "Mary Poppins," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Dick Tracy," and his theatrical credits include The Girls Against the Boys; Bye, Bye Birdie and The Music Man.
Set in an "old folks home," The Gin Game concerns the story of Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey who discuss a variety of issues over a heated game of Gin Rummy.
—By Andrew Gans