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Classic TV Memory: My Mother The Car

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Jerry Van Dyke has had a very successful television acting career.  He stepped out of the shadow of his talented older brother Dick and fashioned a career that he can be proud of.

He appeared on dozens (perhaps hundreds) of TV shows, from Andy Griffith Show (turning down the opportunity to replace Don Knotts when he left the show) to Mary Tyler Moore Show to Fantasy Island and many, many more.  He’s perhaps best known for his role as the befuddled football assistant coach Luther Van Dam on the hit comedy ‘Coach‘.

One of his, uh, less revered and remembered roles?

That would be as Attorney David Crabtree (don’t remember the name? Yeah, not many people do) on the mega-flop ‘My Mother The Car’.

The series ran for a total of 30 episodes from September 1965 to April 1966.  For you younger folks, yes, TV series once ran more than the 10 or 11 episodes they now run in a ‘season’.

The premise was that Crabtree’s mother passed away and came back as a….well, as a 1928 Porter Touring auto.  Yep, a car.  Now I’ll say this, the car was pretty cool to look at.  As far as the show?  Well….

Suffice to say in 2002 TV Guide has proclaimed it the 2nd worst show of all-time right behind the Jerry Springer Show.  But remember, that was before all the, well, ‘stuff’, that clutters our TV’s now.

Anyway, through the years ‘My Mother The Car’ has become one of those show’s that was so bad that, in a strange way, it’s kind of good.  Or at least, ‘Campy cool’.

By the way, Jerry van Dyke is alive and well at age 82 and lives on a ranch in Arkansas.  Oh, and the voice of his mother (the car) was none other than Ann Sothern a celebrated actress who passed away in 2001 at the age of 92.

Remembering 'Love American Style'


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