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Q: As I was growing up, I would often watch "The Dick Van Dyke Show" along with my mom and dad. In recent weeks, a local TV station ran the entire series, and I found what I believe was the pilot of the series ... called "Head of the Family." Carl Reiner, Barbara Britton and Gary Morgan were the stars. Was this really the pilot, and why did other actors portray the Petries in the series?

-- Donald Kupferschmidt, Menomonee Falls, Wis.

A: Yes, "Head of the Family" was the original pilot episode, shown as part of a CBS summer anthology called "The Comedy Spot" in 1960. Reiner would have starred in the series as well as produced it if that pilot had gone over well -- which it didn't. It then was executive producer Sheldon Leonard's idea to enlist Van Dyke for a revised version, with Reiner placed in the supporting part of television personality Alan Brady (named "Alan Sturdy" in "Head of the Family"). The hirings of Mary Tyler Moore and Larry Mathews as Laura and Ritchie Petrie came along with the decision to use Van Dyke.

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Q: I'm wondering if "Trauma" will be back on NBC in the fall. -- Tom Manusos, Arlington Heights, Ill.

A: It won't. It was "one season and out" for that NBC show. A DVD set containing the existing "Trauma" episodes is scheduled for release later this summer (specifically, Aug. 10).

Send questions of general interest via e-mail to tvpipeline@tribune.com. Writers must include their names, cities and states.

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