But – as it turns out – the stories are true, folks. Dick Van Dyke really is a huge computer animation fan. And – as he stood on stage – he proudly showed off the CG footage that he himself had created. Which showed a computer animated Van Dyke doing an old soft shoe on stage – first alone, then accompanied by two CG dancing girls.
This was followed by some CG footage that had been generated by having Dick dress up in a motion capture suit. Then Van Dyke did one of his classic comic bit of a drunk stumbling around a stage. To see that bit up on the big screen – just like Dick used to do on the old “Dick Van Dyke Show,” only now in CG form – was really sort of bizarre but fun.
Mind you, Van Dyke’s not a Johnny-Come-Lately to computer animation. Dick’s been into this stuff for years now, ever since he bought his first Amiga. He’s even done some computer animation that you may have seen on the small screen.
And – no – I’m not talking about the soft shoe routine again. The one that appeared in that “Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited” TV special earlier this year (Which – in a weird sort of co-incidence – was rerun just last night on TV Land). But – rather – a CG motorcycle crash that actually appeared in an episode of Van Dyke’s popular 1990s mystery series, “Diagnosis: Murder.”
To explain: The script for this particular episode called for a spectacular crash involving a motorcycle. The only problem was … There was no money in the budget for a location shoot and/or a stunt driver.
But this didn’t stop Dick Van Dyke. He just went out – on his own, mind you – and shot a live action background plate. Then – on his own time at home – he used his personal computer to create this realistic looking CG motorcycle which crashed. Dick then combined the two pieces of footage and screened them for the producers of “Diagnosis Murder.” These folks were just stunned that the star of their show was this sort of technicial whiz.