Carl Reiner's personal collection of TV scripts to be preserved at National Comedy Center

Mar 20, 2019

On his 97th birthday, legendary producer, director and writer Carl Reiner announced an initiative to digitally preserve his extensive personal collection of production-used scripts from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” - one of the most iconic, innovative and beloved comedy series in television history. Preserving those works will be the task of Jamestown's National Comedy Center, where the 7,500 pages of scripts for all 158 episodes will eventually call home.

An annotated script from "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
Credit National Comedy Center

“This is a treasure trove of original material, direct from the pen of one of comedy’s most important and resounding voices,” said NCC Executive Director Journey Gunderson. “We are honored that Carl Reiner has placed his trust in us as we preserve this incredible body of work - which will enable future generations of comedy fans and scholars to understand the creative process behind one of the most influential TV series of all time.”

The scripts are heavily annotated in Reiner’s own hand and have been stored away since the TV series ended in 1966. They have never before been made available to a cultural institution for conservation or exhibition.

“When asked, ‘Of all the theatrical projects you’ve done in your life, what are you most proud of?’ I always say, hands down, it’s creating and producing ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’ It was a labor of love,” said Reiner, who is a NCC Advisory Board member. “I applaud The National Comedy Center for keeping the creative fires burning by singling out and preserving something most people feel deserves preservation.”

The John Rich collection includes annotated scripts for the "All in the Family" television series.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The National Comedy Center also announced the acquisition of production documents and scripts from the collection of the late award-winning situation comedy director John Rich, who helmed the first 41 episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The John Rich Collection also includes original annotated scripts from his tenure as the original director of the groundbreaking Norman Lear series “All in the Family.”

The late director was a three-time Emmy award winner, two-time Golden Globe winner and NAACP Image award winner who was an instrumental member of the Directors Guild of America for six decades.