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My Mother the Car

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First episode date
14 September 1965


Voices of
My Mother the Car wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners448139p448139

Created by
Allan BurnsChris Hayward

Written by
Allan BurnsJames L. BrooksPhil DavisChris HaywardGeorge KirgoArnold MargolinJim Parker

Directed by
Rod AmateauDavid DavisSidney MillerTom Montgomery

Program creators

My Mother the Car is an American fantasy sitcom which aired for a single season on NBC between September 14, 1965 and April 5, 1966. A total of 30 episodes were produced by United Artists Television.


Critics and adult viewers generally panned the show, often savagely. In 2002, TV Guide proclaimed it to be the second-worst of all time, just behind The Jerry Springer Show. In 2010 The O'Reilly Factor recorded its viewers as listing it as the worst show of all time. In the context of its time, however, My Mother the Car was an original variation on then-popular "gimmick" shows like Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, The Flying Nun, I Dream of Jeannie, and especially Mister Ed, all of which depended on a fantastic, quirky premise for their comedy.

Allan Burns, co-creator of My Mother the Car, went on to create several critically acclaimed shows, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and Lou Grant. Television producer James L. Brooks, who later collaborated with Burns on these series, created, among others, Room 222 and Taxi, and served as executive producer of The Simpsons (which later parodied the show in the "Lovematic Grandpa" segment of "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"), got his start in television sitcoms when he was called upon to rewrite a script for an episode of the series. The other co-creator, Chris Hayward, produced and wrote for Barney Miller during its first several seasons.

The show is currently in syndication in the digital television subchannel Antenna TV.


The show follows the exploits of attorney David Crabtree (played by Jerry Van Dyke), who, while shopping at a used car lot for a station wagon to serve as a second family car, instead purchases a dilapidated 1928 Porter Stanhope touring car. Crabtree hears the car call his name in a woman's voice. The car turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother, Gladys (voiced by Ann Sothern). She talks (only to Crabtree) through the car's radio: the dial light flashes in synchronization with "Mother's" voice. In an effort to get his family to accept the old, tired car, Crabtree brings it to a custom body shop for a full restoration. The car is coveted by a fanatical collector named Captain Manzini (Avery Schreiber), but Crabtree purchases and restores the car before Manzini can acquire it.

For the rest of the series, Crabtree is pursued by the avaricious Captain Manzini, who is determined to acquire the valuable automobile by hook or crook. In a running gag characterizing his shifty nature, Manzini (who resembles a 1920s silent film villain) always mangles Crabtree's name when speaking to him. "Now, then, Crabapple..." "That's Crabtree." "Whatever."

Others in the cast included Maggie Pierce as wife Barbara and Cindy Eilbacher (the sister of Lisa Eilbacher) and Randy Whipple as the kids, Cindy and Randy. Veteran movie and television character actors played supporting roles, including Harold Peary, Byron Foulger, Bob Jellison, Sam Flint, and Willis Bouchey.


  • Jerry Van Dyke as Dave Crabtree
  • Maggie Pierce as Barbara Crabtree
  • Ann Sothern as Mother the 1928 Porter (formerly Gladys Crabtree)
  • Avery Schreiber as Captain Bernard Manzini
  • Cindy Eilbacher as Cindy Crabtree
  • Randy Whipple as Randy Crabtree
  • Availability

    The current owner of the show is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which bought United Artists in 1981. All 30 episodes were available for viewing on

    TGG Direct released a DVD box set of the series on 12 November 2013. It contains the 30 episodes that aired, but not the unaired pilot. The laugh track has been removed for the DVD set.

    Antenna TV began airing episodes of the show on September 19, 2015.


    My Mother the Car Wikipedia

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