As Sally Rogers, “The Dick Van Dyke Show’s” joke-cracking, gum-snapping lone female comedy writer on Alan Brady’s staff, Rose Marie could nail a punchline with the best of them.
Turns out she had a four-decade head-start honing her iconic character, as revealed in “Wait for Your Laugh,” a warm, affectionate smooch of a documentary tribute chronicling “the longest career in showbiz history.”
It began in the 1920s, when Baby Rose Marie, a 3-year-old with the voice of Sophie Tucker, became a singing sensation earning an enthusiastic fan base that would include Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel.
Among the treasure-trove of mementos on display is some rare color home movie footage she took on the “Dick Van Dyke” set, where she was initially under the mistaken impression that the series would focus mainly on the writer’s room rather than Rob Petrie’s home life.
Although the film, narrated by “Hollywood Squares” host Peter Marshall and featuring candid commentary from Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Rose Marie’s daughter, Georgiana Guy Rodrigues, has a weakness for gimmicky black-and-white reenactments, director Jason Wise’s enthusiasm proves undeniably infectious.
Now using a wheelchair but in possession of a razor-sharp memory and an active Twitter account, the 94-year-old woman of honor may have forged a brassy reputation for being one of the boys, but, as handily demonstrated here, Rose Marie remains one of a kind.
‘Wait for Your Laugh’
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Royal, West L.A.; Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino