It’s been 50 years since Dick Van Dyke’s classic situation comedy went off the air, yet the 90-year-old actor continues to maintain a vibrant approach to life. Due to that continuing enthusiasm, he remains popular with people of all ages. The most recent instance of this took place at a Denny’s restaurant in Santa Monica, CA, on August 12.
Van Dyke had arrived at the restaurant after appearing on a local television show on the Los Angeles Fox affiliate and was sitting with the three other members of the a cappella group that he sings with, The Vantastix. The appearance had been to promote an upcoming performance by the group and also to promote the need for all people to remain active, regardless of age.
Toward the end of their meal, Van Dyke and the group decided to entertain the other people eating at the restaurant by singing the song, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The song was from the 1968 musical film with the same name that starred Van Dyke and actress Sally Ann Howes.
The following day, Van Dyke posted a note about his singing on social media. Even before that, video of the brief performance appeared online, primarily due to the fact that many of those in the restaurant at the time used their smartphones to capture the moment.
Van Dyke first got together with the trio of Eric Bradley, Bryan Chadima and Mike Mendyke to form The Vantastix in 2000. Eight years after that formation, they put out their lone album, Put on a Happy Face. That title stems from another musical that Van Dyke appeared in, Bye Bye Birdie.
Yet another 1960’s-era musical that Van Dyke appeared in, Mary Poppins, will be re-made. Rumors have surfaced that Van Dyke will make an appearance in the film, though no official confirmation has been made.
The impromptu performance continues the nonagenarian’s ability to entertain audiences, regardless of the location. Last December, to recognize his 90th birthday, Disneyland honored him by having a crowd serenade him with songs from Mary Poppins. Just two months later, he briefly danced with a group in a performance to help celebrate the entertainment park’s 60th anniversary.
Van Dyke’s ability to perform is in contrast to many people his age who have either died or have become immobile. His belief is that staying active in some capacity, coupled with moderate forms of exercise help maintain his health.