My Mother the Car

NBC (ended 1966)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 1 : Ep 30

    Desperate Minutes

    Aired 4/5/66

  • S 1 : Ep 29

    When You Wish Upon a Car

    Aired 3/29/66

  • S 1 : Ep 28

    The Blabbermouth

    Aired 3/22/66

  • S 1 : Ep 27

    Absorba the Greek

    Aired 3/15/66

  • S 1 : Ep 26

    It Might as Well Be Spring as Not

    Aired 3/8/66

  • Cast & Crew
  • Jerry Van Dyke

    Dave Crabtree

  • Maggie Pierce

    Barbara Crabtree

  • Ann Sothern

    Gladys Crabtree, Mother (voice only)

  • Avery Schreiber

    Captain Bernard Manzini

  • Cindy Eilbacher

    Cindy Crabtree

  • Photos (1)
  • show Description
  • For almost fifty years, My Mother the Car has remained a punchline, easily the most infamous of all the "What idiot thought THIS was a good idea?" sitcoms to hit the air. Just how did a comedy about the spirit of a man's dead mother inhabiting an old automobile get on TV? In hindsight, it had to happen. During the 1960s, the network schedules were overrun with comedies based on completely unrealistic and usually lame-brained premises. There was a talking horse (Mr. Ed), a Martian being passed off as an uncle (My Favorite Martian), a genie servant to an astronaut (I Dream of Jeannie), a playboy with a robot girlfriend (My Living Doll), an average American family made up of movie monsters (The Munsters), another family of creepy oddballs (The Addams Family), and the most unrealistic family of weirdos of them all, the Nelsons (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet). In this context, it's not such a leap for a woman planted six feet under to possess (or repossess) a car. The premise, in a nutshell, is that Dave Crabtree is a lawyer whose momma takes a break from pushing up daisies to return and take over the body of a 1928 Porter. She talks to him through the radio speaker. His wife is Barbara and his two young kids are Randy and Cindy. The wealthy, evil Captain Manzini is always trying to get his hands on Dave's car to complete his automobile collection. As with anything, it's the execution of the idea that matters most. A show such as Bewitched demonstrates how charm, a great cast, and the right "touch" can turn an unbelievable premise into an entertaining series. MMTC, on the other hand, was extremely pedestrian. Despite the lurid hook, it was a rather lame undertaking. None of the characters on the series had any actual character or personality; they were just "types." The only thing that could be said about Dave Crabtree (Jerry Van Dyke), the dutiful son is that he was a trusting and dull dullard. His wife and kids were as generic and forgettable as they come. His arch nemesis, Captain Manzini, would have been more at home as a villain on Batman, but only on the weeks the writers decided he should be. The 1928 Porter, as seen in the series, did not exist. A 1924 Ford T-tub hot rod, built by Norman Grabowski, was modified to turn it into the car seen on the series. A second "effects car" was built by George Barris for the scenes requiring the car to seemingly drive itself, move its headlights, and the like. Despite a universal lambasting by the critics and lousy ratings, MMTC was kept on the air by NBC for a full season opposite Rawhide on CBS and Combat on ABC. It probably is remembered today thanks to Johnny Carson, who made it a frequent punchline for years to come. Legacy:-In 2002, TV Guide named My Mother the Car the second worst show of all time. It was beat only by The Jerry Springer Show.-Ann Sothern, the voice of Mother, readily admitted to the press that she took the job because it was easy money, calling it radio acting with a TV paycheck It is said she soon regretted having done the series.moreless

  • Top Contributor
  • jaynashvil

    User Score: 475


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Notes (2)

    • The series airs on Tuesdays throughout its entire run.

    • In the episode of The Bob Newhart Show titled The Last TV Show, Howard Borden (Bill Daly) tries to reassure Bob Hartley following his disastrous appearance on television. Bob says it was probably the worst program ever on TV. Howard tells him, "No. it wasn't. The fourth episode of My Mother The Car was."
      Bill Daly appeared in the second episode of MMTC, The De-Fenders.

    Trivia (12)

    • The auto painters were named 'A. Schreib', an obvious reference to Avery Schreiber who played Captain Manzini.

    • Dave's father was also a lawyer.

    • Goof: Manzini must be stealing cookware. The bowl containing chilli con carne that he brings over to bribe Dave with is a bowl that already belongs to the Crabtrees. Barbara uses it to hold garbanzo beans a la king in the earlier episode Burned at the Steak.

    • The TV announcer introduces Romeo Frascati as being from Rome, Italy, but there is a French flag (not Italian) on his shirt!

    • The drive-in movie is Surf Beach Drag Strip starring Barrett Carmella, Tommy Bland, and special guest star Sonny Tufts.

    • Dave's dream gift is a combination AM/FM electric shaver with a built-in stereo recording of "The Barber of Seville." It's priced at $99.75.

    • Rather than traveling on their honeymoon, Barbara's mother suggests they walk to a Lawrence Welk festival being held in town.

    • Manzini's U.N.C.L.E. Louie is head of a shady organization called DURC, which is "crud" spelled backwards.

    Show More Trivia

    Allusions (9)

    • Title: Come Honk Your Horn
      The episode title is a take off of the title of the 1963 film Come Blow Your Horn starring Frank Sinatra.

    • Title: "The De-Fenders"
      The episode title is a nod to the TV drama, The Defenders, which had just ended its 4-year run.

    • Title: Lassie, I Mean Mother, Come Home
      The episode title is an obvious reference to the film, Lassie Come Home (1943) and the long-running television series, Lassie.

    • McVey says the commercial will be filmed "in living color." That phrase was the slogan used by NBC to promote their color programming.

    • Title: TV or Not TV
      The episode title is a take off on a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet ("To be or not to be...") It is the opening line of Hamlet's famous soliloquy.

    • "Sonny Tufts?":
      Tufts was a B-movie actor who made a few forgettable films during the 1940s, but became better known later for his rowdy personal life. His frequent displays of public drunkenness were always outrageous and made great tabloid fodder. By the 1960s, the phrase "Sonny Tufts" was shorthand for an untalented drunken actor He had become a punchline; the mere mention of his name by a comedian guaranteed a laugh.

    • And Leave the Drive-In to Us:
      The title of this episode is a spoof on the Greyhound Bus Company's slogan, "Call Greyhound, and Leave the driving to us"

    • Goldporter:
      The title of this episode is a parody of the then-current James Bond movie Goldfinger. It features an Asian henchman who's a takeoff on Oddjob, and an evil-doer who pets a white fluffy cat who sits in his lap.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (9)
  • Summed up perfectly in a Get Smart episode

    By tirebiter2, Aug 09, 2013

  • What's the difference

    By JeffCooper0, Aug 06, 2012

  • Undeserving of all the abuse.

    By tvking1, Jul 20, 2007

  • Pleasantly Surprsed!

    By Shilohbloo, Jul 23, 2010

  • Perhaps this show was so ahead of it's time, no one got it. Let's see what other show had a talking car, oh yes his name was KIT.

    By JohnnyGnote, Jul 13, 2007

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