VERNAL, Utah — Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke recorded a special video message to announce Uintah High School’s production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, and he did so while sitting in a replica of the car from the hit movie.
Christopher Piner, a teacher at Uintah High, said he met Van Dyke and his wife a year ago and began a friendship. When Uintah High School settled on “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” for their next play, he reached out to the couple to see if Van Dyke would record an announcement.
Van Dyke played the role of Caractacus Pott in the 1968 film adaption of the story.
Piner said the Van Dykes often get requests of this nature and must decline, but he said in this case they were gracious enough to accept. The star was in Danville, Illinois to raise money for his foundation, and it happened that Tony Garafalo of New York was also in town for the event along with his replica of the car from the film.
Piner said Dick Van Dyke recorded the message while sitting in the replica, and Piner added some graphics to the footage before posting it online. He got a laugh out of Van Dyke’s pronunciation of their school.
“Yes, It is true the star added a unique pronunciation to ‘Uintah’ saying ‘You-ni-tah’ instead, but one does not correct Dick Van Dyke, in fact I might just adopt his way!” Piner wrote in a message to FOX 13 News.
Piner said Dick Van Dyke has long been an idol of his, so he was honored to have the star announce the school’s production of the play. Piner said Uintah High was recognized earlier this year at the Utah High School Musical Awards, where their run of “The Little Mermaid” won Best Musical in the state along with Best Costumes and Best Cameo Performer (Aidan Piner as Scuttle).