The Virginian-Pilot (MCT)
NORFOLK, Va. — Mothers have been portrayed in many ways, but rarely with pistons and overhead valves.
Pretend, for a moment, that it's September 1965 and you've tune to NBC for a night of TV viewing. It's 7:30 p.m.
Time for "My Mother, The Car," voted the second-worst TV show of all time by TV Guide in 2002. ("The Jerry Springer Show" garnered the top spot.)
Watch a clip from the show, with the theme song, free from youtube.com. The show revolved around David Crabtree, his wife, Barbara, and their children, Cindy and Randy.
The show's premise involved the aftermath of Mr. Crabtree's purchase of an antique car. The car in question, a 1928 Porter, turned out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother. She spoke to her son through the car's radio.
In an era where a witch lived in the suburbs ("Bewitched") or a hillbilly could become a petrochemical millionaire ("The Beverly Hillbillies"), this TV show's premise seemed positively normal.
Mr. Crabtree was played by Jerry Van Dyke, who turned down the role of Gilligan in "Gilligan's Island" for this show, which lasted one year.
The mother's voice was originally to have been supplied by movie star Jean Arthur, but Ann Sothern landed the plum part instead.
As you might expect, there is no such car as a 1928 Porter, although a car named the Porter was built from 1919 through 1922; none had radios.
Two cars were used in the show, built from an amalgamation of Chevrolet, Ford, Hudson and Maxwell parts and powered by a Chevrolet V8. The Porter was built by Barris Kustom Industries, which created cars for TV shows from "The Dukes of Hazard" to "The Munsters."
To make it seem as though the car was driving itself, a driver was placed in the rear floor of the car and piloted the vehicle using mirrors.
The premise falls apart when you consider the show was produced in 1965 and the car was a 1928, meaning Mom would have been pushing up daisies before David Crabtree was born.
Of course, if it's true that you can come back in another life as a car, I pity those reincarnated as a Pontiac Aztek.
Mothers, you were warned.
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