1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
30 x 30 minute episodes
This strange NBC sitcom told the tale of Dave Crabtree (Jerry Van Dyke) – a man who buys a car (a red 1928 Porter to be exact) which he then discovers is the reincarnation of his domineering – but dead – mother (voiced by Ann Sothern).
In the series, Captain Bernard Mancini (Avery Schreiber), an antique car collector, will stop at nothing to gain possession of Dave’s car.
Complicating Dave’s life further was his neighbour, Ernie Stewart (Peter Leeds) who believed the Porter was an eyesore and had started a petition drive requesting that Dave get rid of the car.
Mancini, who considered the Porter “Our Vehicle” (referring to himself and Dave), called Dave everything but Crabtree (Crabmaster, Kravitz, Crabmeat, Kragle) and always responded with “Whatever” when Dave corrected him.
Jerry Van Dyke turned down the role of Gilligan in Gilligan’s Island because he thought it was “the worst thing” he’d ever read. Instead, he chose to do My Mother The Car. D’oh!
Cancelled after one season, My Mother The Car earned its place in TV history for all the wrong reasons. TV Guide named it the second-worst show of all time in 2002 (The Jerry Springer Show came in first).
Everybody knows in a second life
We all come back sooner or later
As anything from a pussycat to a man-eating alligator
Well you all may think my story is more fiction than it’s fact
But believe it or not, my mother dear decided she’d come back
As a car, she’s her very own guiding star
A 1928 Porter, that’s my mother dear
She helps me through everything I do
And I’m so glad she’s here
My mother the car, My mother the car
Don’t try too hard to find a 1928 Porter on eBay. No such model ever existed.
Jerry Van Dyke
Gladys Crabtree (voice)
Captain Bernard Mancini