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November 11, 2010 5:15 AM   Subscribe

"I woke up out of sight of land," the 84-year-old actor told reporters. "I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought 'I'm dead!'" Dick Van Dyke rescued by porpoises (SLGA).
posted by fight or flight (67 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
And then he woke up and was right back at the shore!
posted by beagle at 5:22 AM on November 11, 2010


Are we sure it wasn't cartoon penguins?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:26 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Had he tried to speak in his cockney accident, they would have deliberately drowned him.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:29 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yes. Accident. That was deliberate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:29 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Dick Van Dyke and a porpoise. Please note: this is not a reportage image."

ha!
posted by Ahab at 5:29 AM on November 11, 2010


I don't remember who it was who said it or maybe I read it and don't remember who wrote it, but it concerned how people see porpoises as these friendly fun caring mammals because we've all heard how Melvin or Myrtle were guided back to shore by a pod of smiling, barking porpoises. But the kicker is that for all we know there have been at least as many people who we never do hear from who were pushed away from shore by these same animals, on a different day maybe...
posted by dancestoblue at 5:31 AM on November 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yes. Accident. That was deliberate.

You did that on porpoise?
posted by piratebowling at 5:35 AM on November 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Van Dyke was wrong. "They turned out to be porpoises," he said. "And they pushed me all the way to shore." Upon arriving at the beach, the actor strode onto the sand and promptly tripped over an ottoman.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:36 AM on November 11, 2010 [47 favorites]


But the kicker is that for all we know there have been at least as many people who we never do hear from who were pushed away from shore by these same animals, on a different day maybe...

There was a Science Fiction story about that once, where dolphins were at least as smart as humans, had a language and culture they kept separate from humans. And yes, when no one was around, they'd kill humans.
posted by nomadicink at 5:42 AM on November 11, 2010


As soon as he saw fins, he swam with porpoise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:44 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why did they use a picture of some obscure, off-brand porpoise? I like my porpoise Flippered.
posted by Shike at 5:46 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


When did this happen? Just now? Or years ago? Article is most vague.
posted by JanetLand at 5:51 AM on November 11, 2010


'Ello Mary Porpoise!
posted by MuffinMan at 5:54 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just one step closer to this.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:58 AM on November 11, 2010


First comment on the Guardian story sums it up:

This is very possibly the most bizarre thing I've ever read.

I'm not sure anything further needs to be said.
posted by electroboy at 6:02 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dick seems nice enough that if the dolphin leader had taken the time to get to know him, they could have taken him into their inner sanctum, where there's a cave with air for Dick to breathe and he could learn the way of the _________ dolphin tribe. They, coincidentally, need Dick's help since the ________ dolphin tribe is at war with the ________ tribe.. Of course he'd need to quickly learn their clicking language and adapt to a raw fish diet. But if anyone can do it...
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:09 AM on November 11, 2010


Surely it was fight or paddle.
posted by bwg at 6:10 AM on November 11, 2010


Who falls asleep on a surfboard? I mean, really. It might be a sign you're too elderly for that sort of thing.
posted by RedEmma at 6:12 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am waiting to hear Peggy Noonan's take on the affair.


Also, remember that dolphins and porpoises are not the same thing. Dolphins are the ones that taste great with tuna.
posted by TedW at 6:14 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


JanetLand : When did this happen? Just now? Or years ago? Article is most vague.

That's what I was thinking. Google news turned up a slightly better article on the Toronto Star that is actually better:

Dick Van Dyke says he was once rescued by porpoises.
...
Van Dyke told Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show.
...
Van Dyke didn’t say when the porpoise rescue took place

So, basically, the Guardian has shitty reporters.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:19 AM on November 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


Mary Poppins star...

Ouch.

...feared death after apparently falling asleep on his surfboard...

Um.

...but friendly sea creatures pushed him to shore.

what
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


So long and thanks for all the musicals
posted by Flashman at 6:20 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am kind of hoping I lived in a world where this post could be a double from 2002.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:21 AM on November 11, 2010


Who falls asleep on a surfboard? I mean, really. It might be a sign you're too elderly for that sort of thing.

Actually I think it was an old story he was telling about something that happened when he was much younger. Note he also reputedly had a serious drinking problem back then as well.
posted by aught at 6:23 AM on November 11, 2010


I am kind of hoping I lived in a world where this post could be a double from 2002 1974.
posted by aught at 6:24 AM on November 11, 2010


Apparently chim-chimminee-chim-chimminee-chim-chim-charee is porpoisian for "Please save my ass."
posted by Decimask at 6:34 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, the new explanation makes a lot more sense. I found the idea of an 84-year-old on a surfboard harder to swallow than the whole porpoise thing.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 6:43 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah clearly this took place before Diagnosis: Murder or the porpoises would have killed him out of pity.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:48 AM on November 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Google news turned up a slightly better article on the Toronto Star that is actually better

Mmmmm, that line was so well-written - perhaps I should apply as a Guardian reporter.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:52 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


*click*click*whistle*click* We're lettin' you go, Van Dyke. But you're gonna deliver a message for us. *whistle*click*whistle* You tell Maury Amsterdam if he ever sets foot in the ocean again, he's a dead man! A DEAD MAN!
posted by PlusDistance at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2010


He fell asleep while surfing? Is that common?
posted by ReWayne at 7:01 AM on November 11, 2010


There was a Science Fiction story about that once, where dolphins were at least as smart as humans, had a language and culture they kept separate from humans. And yes, when no one was around, they'd kill humans.

The Simpsons?
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:01 AM on November 11, 2010


Oh, Ro-ob!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading depictions of porpoise/dolphin human interaction makes me think about the traditional depiction of faeries. Not the fluttery pixie kind, but the dangerous inscrutable kind that are just as likely to help you to shore as they are to drown you or rape you to death.

Amazon River Dolphins are still used to explain away sudden pregnancies in places, just as faeries were.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which is just silly; it's pretty obviously the Invisible Man.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:13 AM on November 11, 2010


Intercourse with a porpoise is a dream for me
Hell-bent on inventing a new species

- Anthony Kiedis

Welcome to the orgy, Mr. Dick Van Dyke.
posted by studentbaker at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2010


Yeah clearly this took place before Diagnosis: Murder or the porpoises would have killed him out of pity.

No, in that event, they would have killed him out of ire.
posted by orange swan at 7:34 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were they saving his life or just getting him the fuck out of their ocean?
posted by pracowity at 7:56 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are we sure porpoises are really trying to be helpful and kind when they tow flailing swimmers to shore? Maybe they're giving us the bum's rush before we foul their water.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:02 AM on November 11, 2010


Van Dyke's espionage work in the special services in World War II (singing-- right). Day of the Dolphins. Limpet mines. The Incredible Mr. Limpet--(fiction, or documentary?) It's all starting to make sense now.
posted by mecran01 at 8:12 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was a Science Fiction story about that once, where dolphins were at least as smart as humans, had a language and culture they kept separate from humans. And yes, when no one was around, they'd kill humans.

It's not Dominic Green's 'Blue Water, Grey Death' is it?
posted by SyntacticSugar at 8:24 AM on November 11, 2010


Why this reminds me of the "Simpsons" dolphin episode I don't know. But, it does.
posted by blucevalo at 8:27 AM on November 11, 2010


the actor strode onto the sand and promptly tripped over an ottoman.

What was a Turk doing on that beach?? Highly suspicious.
posted by spicynuts at 8:32 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, between this post and Marilyn Monroe's "secret stuffing recipe," it's like Literal Headlines That Should Be Euphemisms Day around here or something.

"Ever been rescued by a porpoise? Know what I mean? Eh? Nudge-nudge. Ever revealed your secret stuffing recipe? Eh? Eh? Nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat!"
posted by gompa at 8:37 AM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sounds like he had a whale of a time out there.
posted by grouse at 8:50 AM on November 11, 2010


Jokes aside, this story really has to do with a remembered, anecdotal incident that an 84-year-old actor had at some time in his past. Which kind of seems like weak post material. I mean, the article even uses stock ("not reportage") photos. Old'n Busted is basically correct, the Guardian's reporter (Xan Brooks) was lazy on this one. My guess is the ultimate source for the article was a press release from Dick Van Dyke's publicist.

(Not that I don't think that D.V.D. isn't great, but c'mon.)
posted by JHarris at 9:09 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


An 84 year old actor who has stated repeatedly that he was dead drunk for most of Mary Poppins and other movies and doesn't remember most of the filming. For all we know, he could have fallen asleep in his bathtub and been rescued by his Labrador Retriever.
posted by spicynuts at 9:20 AM on November 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Dick Van Dyke... Surfing and Dozing... porpoises... rescuing...

Sometime I think that reality is deliberately trying to mess with my head.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:38 AM on November 11, 2010


This reminds me of the story where Dennis Hopper was rescued in the desert by Gila Monsters.



I made that up
posted by Xoebe at 10:06 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every time I start to think life has no porpoise, I'll try to remember this uplifting story.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2010


IN SOVIET RUSSIA, DICK VAN DYKE RESCUE PORPOISE.
posted by spicynuts at 10:50 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The porpoises were unavailable for comment.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahah.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:59 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: raped by a fairy.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah! An excuse to post a picture of me swimming with wild dolphins off the coase of Delaware.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:33 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course he'd need to quickly learn their clicking language and adapt to a raw fish diet. But if anyone can do it...

Dick learned their pop-click language and was soon accustomed to eating raw fish. He was saddened though, and later quite disgusted as he found the porpoise language dominated with curse words. Almost every other word was their equivalent of fuck, bitch, shit, whore, or cocksucker. Dick was really fucking pissed.
posted by uraniumwilly at 12:15 PM on November 11, 2010


Almost every other word was their equivalent of fuck, bitch, shit, whore, or cocksucker.

Which is why they were so psyched to rescue a human whose name was "dick." Plus, Dick was too sleepy and drunk to notice when the nuzzled him inappropriately during the rescue. Win-win, really.
posted by aught at 1:00 PM on November 11, 2010


Had he tried to speak in his cockney accident, they would have deliberately drowned him.

It doesn't help that his voice coach for Mary Poppins was Irish.
posted by Evilspork at 1:04 PM on November 11, 2010


Also, remember that dolphins and porpoises are not the same thing

Indeed. If you confuse the two, you end up talking at cross-porpoises.
posted by John Shaft at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


My guess is the ultimate source for the article was a press release from Dick Van Dyke's publicist.

One of the articles mentioned an appearance on the Craig Ferguson show. A quick search reveals the actual anecdote here, at 8:50.
posted by aught at 1:11 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


spicynuts: "the actor strode onto the sand and promptly tripped over an ottoman.

What was a Turk doing on that beach?? Highly suspicious
"

Stranger things have happened.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2010


Plausible? Dick used to, and may still, live in Coronado which has notoriously small waves during parts of the summer. Sometimes it looks like a lake. It would be really easy to paddle out on a long board and get lulled to sleep. The porpoise pods there often interact with surfers and swimmers. I've heard stories of porpoises pushing sharks out of the "lineup" where surfers wait for swells.
posted by snsranch at 4:16 PM on November 11, 2010


Implausible. The actress who played Millie Helper on the Dick Van Dyke show graduated in 1946 from Milwaukee's Juneau High School with future Apollo 13 Commander James Lovell. A number of years later Oprah Winfrey graduated from that same high school. Connect the dots, motherfuckers.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:50 PM on November 11, 2010


That has to be a relatively recent episode of Ferguson. The harmonica thing is a newish habit of his.
posted by axiom at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2010


One of the articles mentioned an appearance on the Craig Ferguson show. A quick search reveals the actual anecdote here, at 8:50.

That would be worse. What would we think about this reporter if his source was revealed to be a guest appearance on a late night talk show?
posted by JHarris at 2:10 AM on November 12, 2010


No.
posted by porpoise at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who falls asleep on a surfboard? I mean, really. It might be a sign you're too elderly for that sort of thing.
RedEmma, since that is the a plot device in 10 by which Bo Derek ends up naked in bed with Dudley Moore, - and I say this having been pubescent & not technically old enough to see the movie when it came out - SOD OFF!

(Her husband fell asleep, and drifted out to see. Dudley saw him drifting away, briefly considered letting him die, but then decided to save him. She boffed him as a "thank you".) (Damned polite girl, if you ask me!)
posted by IAmBroom at 12:03 PM on November 12, 2010


I mean, the article even uses stock ("not reportage") photos.

I'm just glad we live in a world with stock photos of Dick Van Dyke being rescued by dolphins. It just makes everything a little more (Philip K.) Dickensian.
posted by mecran01 at 3:22 PM on November 12, 2010


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