Dick Van Dyke, Asleep on Surfboard, Saved by Porpoises

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Remember Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? While on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson two weeks ago--at age 84--he revealed the reason he no longer surfs: apparently he once fell asleep on his surfboard and woke up out of sight of land. The only reason he is still with us, he said, is that a pod of dolphins surrounded him and pushed him back to land.

Van Dyke's incredible adventures attract the attention of The New Yorker's Susan Orlean, among others. Comments Orlean:

This is one of those news stories so rich in kookiness that it is nearly impossible to put your finger on what part of it is the kookiest. Is it the fact that Dick Van Dyke surfs? The fact that any eighty-four-year-old surfs? Is it the simple and slightly surprising--and heartening--fact that Dick Van Dyke is still alive? Or just the notion that any sentient creature could fall asleep on a surfboard in open water?"

Actually, we've yet to see a precise historical date for the dolphin-surfboard incident. Van Dyke might have been quite a bit younger. Still--the image lingers. (Relevant part around 9:00.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.