Monday, June 23, 2014


"Jim, it's happening right under our noses and we can't see it.
We take machines and stuff 'em with information until they're smarter than we are. 
Take a car. Most guys spread more love and time and money on their car in a week 
than they do on their wife and kids in a year. 
Pretty soon, you know what? 
The machine starts to think it IS somebody."
Tennessee Steinmetz

Since this is the year in which Toobworld Goes To The Movies, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame is once again showcasing two characters better known for their movie appearances.  (Just as Nick Fury and Doc Brown were when they were inducted back in February and March.)


Their story together began in the Cineverse, but ended up in Toobworld (although Herbie went on to have one more adventure without Jim in the theatrical release "Herbie: Fully Loaded".  However, that may be an alternate dimension in the Cineverse.)  Herbie also had two adventures without Jim in the Cineverse: "Herbie Rides Again" and "Herbie Goes Bananas".  

From Wikipedia:
"The Love Bug" (1968), sometimes referred to as "Herbie the Love Bug" is the first in a series of comedy films made by Walt Disney Productions that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. It was based on the 1961 book "Car, Boy, Girl" by Gordon Buford and it was the third highest-grossing movie of 1968.

They also appeared in a comic book, which makes Jim Douglas and Herbie true multiversals, by the way....

In the movie, Jim was a race car driver who had fallen on hard times - competing in demolition derby exhibitions.  He lived with his friend Tennessee Steinmetz (who was something of a Zen Buddhist car mechanic) in a reconverted firehouse.

Through a series of comic situations, Jim ended up in possession of Herbie and they found themselves at odds against Herbie's previous owner.  But in the end, the pair won the day, won the race, and Jim won the heart of a young woman named Carole.

"Herbie Rides Again"
Six years later, the first sequel was released but without Jim, Carole, or Tennessee involved.  I'm assuming Jim and Carole were in Europe (enjoying a second honeymoon) while Tennessee had returned to Tibet to study with the monks.  In the meantime, Herbie was left in the care of Tennessee's grandmother, Mrs. Steinmetz, and they both lived in that reconverted firehouse.

"Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo"

Three years later, Jim and Herbie were reunited, but Carole was no longer in the picture.  I'm going to assume that she passed away, as it is a Disney franchise....  As for Tennessee, he was still in Tibet, so Jim's new mechanic was a twitchy fellow named Wheely Applegate.  Together, the three of them compete in the Trans-France Race from France to Monte Carlo.

"Herbie Goes Bananas"
Another three years passed in the Cineverse, and Jim Douglas left Herbie in the care of a guy named Pete and his buddy D.J.  Again this is just presumption on my part, but I think Jim was once again off on a honeymoon; this time with his new wife, Diane, whom he met during the Trans-France Race.

At this point, Jim Douglas and Herbie the Love Bug crossed over into the TV Universe, bringing those other movies with them.....

'Herbie The Love Bug'
It was 1982, and Jim Douglas regained possession of his old friend Herbie in this five-episode sequel.  In this new decade, the Walt Disney Company seemed to be loosening its moral stance to be more modern, as Jim started dating a divorcee named Susan (much to the consternation of her former boyfriend Randy and his mother.)

I think it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Jim Douglas was also divorced.  I think Diane and her Lancia (who once was in love with Herbie) had gone their separate ways....

The short-lived series came to a natural conclusion with Jim marrying Susan by the fifth episode.

Because Dean Jones returned to the role of Jim Douglas rather than recasting with some other actor, this five-episode series is a legitimate crossover with the previous movies.  And that brings these movies into the Toobworld Dynamic.

"The Love Bug"

A 1997 TV movie that brings it all around the track to begin again: The movie was narrated by Jim Douglas as he told how Herbie came into the possession of a guy named Hank Cooper.  Jim reappeared in their lives to guide Hank in rebuilding the sentient Bug after Herbie's creator (Dr. Gustav Stumpfel) and his new creation - the evil "Hate Bug" known as Horace - destroyed Herbie.  Scenes from the original movie nearly thirty years earlier were incorporated into the storyline as flashbacks, making such a universal crossover official.

The original movie could also be considered linked to two other movies because of the demolition derby footage from the beginning of "The Love Bug".  It came from the movie "Fireball 500" and it's my contention that footage should be considered to be of the same event in both films.  (According to Wikipedia: "Parts of this scene can also be found in a 1966-model year dealer promotional film by Chevrolet, titled Impact '66.")

Also, the villain in "Herbie Rides Again" was Alonzo Hawk played by Keenan Wynn.  Wynn played this blackheart in two other Disney movies - "The Absent-Minded Professor" and "Son Of Flubber".  If there was a Hall of Fame for movie character crossovers, Alonzo Hawk should be considered for membership.

So welcome aboard, Jim Douglas and Herbie!  The Television Crossover Hall Of Fame welcomes you both as its Gemini inductees.


There's no real connection between the two, but today is also my nephew Neil's birthday, so I'm dedicating this post to him.......

No comments: