Herbie (franchise)

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Herbie
Based onCar, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford
Release date
1968–2005
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget~$70,000,000 (Cumulative of 6 films)
Box office~$209,639,816 (Cumulative of 6 films)

The Herbie franchise consists of American race car-sport family-comedies, including with five theatrical films, one made-for-television film that was later realesed straight-to-home video, a television series, and other multi-media releases.[1] The overall story, centers around the titular character, an sentient anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own and is capable of driving himself. The vehicle is often times a legitimate contender, though the underdog contestant in competitive races, but to a greater degree assists his human owners in bettering their lives.

The first film, notable for being the final live-action film approved by Walt Disney prior to his death, was released in 1969. Based on a short story titled, "Car, Boy, Girl", the feature proved to be a critical and financial success for Walt Disney Productions. Upon its release, the movie was the second highest grossing motion picture for the company; second only to Mary Poppins. Its performance placed it fourth highest on box office returns, and spawned a franchise.[2][3][4] Each subsequent release were successes in their own right, but none received as much universal praise as the original.

The second film as met with mix-to-moderate critical reception, while it notably to-date is the highest film in the series critically scored.[5][6][7] The third film was met with mild-to-mixed at best reception,[8] while the fourth film was poorly received and is often classified as the weakest Herbie film.[9][10] The television series that followed chronologically, was panned by critics resulting in a cancellation following five episodes, with reviews calling it "domesticated", "mild", and "boring".[11] The fifth film which sought to reveal the titular hero's origin, was met with negative-to-mixed reviews, citing its inferiority to the original.[12] The sixth film was met with mixed-to-good reception, and garnered the highest box office returns out of all of the installments. Though the film was criticized for various aspects including the plot, it was seen as a return to form for the franchise.[13][14]

Origin

In 1961 a short story titled, "Car, Boy, Girl" was written by Gordon Buford. In an interview with a U.S. publication for VW owners title Small World Magazine, Buford stated that the idea for his story came from growing up on a Colorado farm, where he witnessed how his parents treated their vehicles with a similar manner as they did their horses. Though there are no publications currently in circulation, it is believed that the short was presented directly to Walt Disney and/or that The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights of distribution to the story shortly thereafter.[3]

Film

Film U.S.
release date
Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Herbie: The Love Bug March 13, 1969 (1969-03-13) Robert Stevenson Bill Walsh & Don DaGradi Gordon Buford Bill Walsh
Herbie Rides Again June 6, 1974 (1974-06-06) Bill Walsh
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo June 24, 1977 (1977-06-24) Vincent McEveety Arthur Alsberg & Don Nelson Ron Miller
Herbie Goes Bananas June 25, 1980 (1980-06-25) Don Tait Kevin Corcoran, Ron Miller and Don Tait
Disney's The Love Bug November 30, 1997 (1997-11-30) Peyton Reed Ryan Rowe Joan Van Horn and Irwin Marcus
Herbie: Fully Loaded June 22, 2005 (2005-06-22) Angela Robinson Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
and Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Mark Perez
and Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
Robert Simonds

Herbie: The Love Bug (1969)

Main article: The Love Bug

Has-been professional race car driver, Jim Douglas, and his philosophical mechanic, Tennessee Steinmetz find themselves in possession of a white Volkswagen Beetle that seems to have a mind and spirit of its own. Naming the car Herbie, Jim and Tennessee become the talk of the California racing circuit. Sports-car dealer and circuit contestant Peter Thorndyke, tries to use his assistant to come between the friends and their car.[15]

Herbie Rides Again (1974)

Main article: Herbie Rides Again

By not letting him buy her house, Mrs. "Grandma" Steinmetz foils the plans of Alonzo Hawk, a property developer who wants to build a shopping mall in downtown San Francisco. Hawk plots to force her out. While helping his uncle Alonzo, Willoughby Whitfield discovers a special Volkswagen Beetle and falls for Nicole, Mrs. Steinmetz's niece. After they discover Alonzo's plans, it's up to Mrs. Steinmetz and the extraordinary Beetle to save the day.[16]

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

Main article: Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo

Jim Douglas, reunited with Herbie, finds himself once again hitting the roads in a race care event. This time, Jim and Herbie, along with goofy mechanic Wheely Applegate compete in a French competition. Also involved in the automotive adventure are Quincey and Max, a pair of jewel thieves, and Diane Darcy, the beautiful woman who drives Giselle, a sporty female car and Herbie's love interest.[17]

Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

Main article: Herbie Goes Bananas

Peter is excited when he learns he's inherited a car from his uncle. His enthusiasm wanes when he and his friend D.J., travel to Puerta Vallarta and discover the car is a rusty old Volkswagen Beetle. They quickly realize their car has extraordinary abilities and set off on a road trip across Central America to enter the special Beetle in a high-stakes race, encountering pickpockets, counterfeiters and various obstacles along the way.[18]

Disney's The Love Bug (1997)

Main article: The Love Bug (1997 film) Released as a made-for-television movie, as a part of the Magical World of Walt Disney, this installment was marketed as a remake. Events of the film, however reveal it is a direct sequel to the previous films.[19]

Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)

Main article: Herbie: Fully Loaded

Maggie Peyton wants to become a NASCAR driver but her overprotective father, Ray Peyton Sr. won't hear of it. A former racer himself, Ray wants Maggie to take a lucrative television sportscasting job and leave the dangers of driving to her crash-prone brother. When Ray Sr. takes Maggie to a junkyard to pick out a car, she has no idea that the little Volkswagen Beetle, named Herbie, she takes home will change her life.[20]

Television

Live action

All-New Adventures of Herbie the Love Bug (1982)

Main article: Herbie the Love Bug (TV series)

A television series based on, and a continuation of, the film series was developed and released from March 17-April 14, 1981.[21] The series was released as a mid-season replacement to a cancelled show, and was given the 8:00 P.M. times lot. Developed and executive produced by William Robert Yates, the television show was written by Arthur Alsberg, Don Nelson, and Don Tait. The production was produced by Walt Disney Productions, and distributed by Buena Vista Television. The series, which aired on the Columbia Broadcasting System, did not receive a second season.[22]

Episodes
Title U.S.
airdate
Director Written by Producers
1 "Herbie the Matchmaker" March 17, 1982 (1982-03-17) Charles S. Dubin Arthur Alsberg & Don Nelson William Robert Yates and Kevin Corcoran
2 "Herbie to the Rescue" March 24, 1982 (1982-03-24) Vincent McEveety
3 "My House is Your House" March 31, 1982 (1982-03-31) Bill Bixby Don Tait
4 "Herbie, the Best Man" April 7, 1982 (1982-04-07) Vincent McEveety Arthur Alsberg & Don Nelson
5 "Calling Dr. Herbie" April 14, 1982 (1982-04-14) Bill Bixby
Premise

Jim Douglas and his living vehicle named Herbie own and run a driving school. Jim stumbles upon an attempted bank robbery, and with Herbie's help rescues a hostage. Later, the driving school is closed down after Herbie interferes with a motor vehicle inspection. Jim, now divorced from Carole, begins a relationship with a similarly divorced woman named Susan MacLane. Together with her daughter and two sons, Jim and Susan begin to build a family unit, to the disdain and envy of her ex-boyfriend/fiancé Randy.

When the pair become engaged, Randy attempts to sabotage the relationship. Jim's ex-girlfriend shows up to his bachelor party, while Randy kidnaps Herbie and replaces him with a look-alike vehicle. After his plans to ruin the wedding are stopped, with the assistance of Herbie, Jim and Susan are married. Together, they sell her vehicle and purchase a family-sized station wagon. Herbie joyfully gains a larger family, with the new additions of Susan, Julie, Robbie, and Matthew.[23]

The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (1989-1994)
  • In 1990, Herbie made an appearance in the second season of the 1980s/90s revival of The Mickey Mouse Club. The character appears briefly in a spoof skit titled, "Herbie the Love Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup".[24]
  • One of the Disney Parade car versions of Herbie the Love Bug, also briefly appears in the comedy skit titled, "Clown College". The character is redesigned as a clown car for the routine.[25]

Animation

  • Herbie briefly appears in Disney's House of Mouse. During season 2 episode 5, titled "Max's New Car", the character appears with other Disney vehicles. Herbie encourages Goofy Maxamillian "Max" Goof Jr. to talk to his father about buying a car.[26]
  • Herbie has a brief cameo in The Simpsons season 11 episode titled, "Beyond Blunderdome". Released in 1999, the character appears alongside various other famous vehicles in the Movie Car Museum.[27] Though the appearance was originally produced by 20th Century Fox Television, through acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company in 2019, the cameo is currently distributed by the latter company's subsidiary, 20th Television.[28]
  • Herbie has a brief appearance in the American Dad! season 13 episode titled, "Stan Smith as Keanu Reeves as Stanny Utah in Point Breakers". Released in 2016, the character helps Stan escape from a collaborative attack from poachers and wolves. Similar to The Simpsons, American Dad! was originally produced by Fox, before the company was purchased by The Walt Disney Company. The show is currently distributed by its parent-company, Disney.[29]

Main cast and characters

Character Title
Herbie:
The Love Bug
Herbie
Rides Again
Herbie
Goes to Monte Carlo
Herbie
Goes Bananas
All-New Adventures of
Herbie the Love Bug
Disney's
The Love Bug
Herbie:
Fully Loaded
Herbie
The Love Bug
Appeared
Jim Douglas Dean Jones mentioned Dean Jones mentioned Dean Jones mentioned
Tennessee Steinmetz Buddy Hackett mentioned  
Carole Bennet-Douglas Michele Lee  
Peter Thorndyke David Tomlinson  
Havershaw Joe Flynn  
Mrs. "Grandma" Steinmetz   Helen Hayes  
Willoughby Whitfield   Ken Berry  
Nicole Harris-Whitefield   Stefanie Powers  
Alonzo Hawk   Keenan Wynn  
Wheely Applegate   Don Knotts  
Diane Darcy   Julie Sommars  
Giselle   Appeared  
Bruno Von Stickle   Eric Braeden  
Claude Gilbert   Mike Kulcsar  
Inspector Bouchet   Jacques Marin  
Detective Fontenoy   Xavier Saint-Macary  
Pete Stancheck   Stephen W. Burns  
Davy "D.J." Johns   Charles Martin Smith  
Paco   Joaquin Garay III  
Melissa Trends   Elyssa Davalos  
Aunt Louise Trends   Cloris Leachman  
Prindle   John Vernon  
Quinn   Alex Rocco  
Shepard   Richard Jaeckel  
Susan MacLane-Douglas   Patricia Harty  
Julie MacLane   Claudia Wells  
Robbie MacLane   Douglas Emerson  
Matthew MacLane   Nicky Katt  
Bo Phillips   Richard Paul  
Randy Bigelow   Larry Linville  
Hank Cooper   Bruce Campbell  
Roddy Martel   Kevin J. O'Connor  
Alex Davis   Alexandra Wentworth  
Dr. Gustav Stumpfel   Harold Gould  
Simon Moore III   John Hannah  
Rupert   Dana Gould  
Horace
The Hate Bug
  Appeared  
Maggie Peyton   Lindsay Lohan
Ray Peyton, Sr.   Michael Keaton
Ray Peyton, Jr.   Breckin Meyer
Kevin   Justin Long
Trip Murphy   Matt Dillon
Crash   Jimmi Simpson

Additional crew & production details

Film Crew/Detail
Composer(s) Cinematographer(s) Editor(s) Production
companies
Distributing
company
Running time
Herbie: The Love Bug George Bruns Edward Colman Cotton Warburton Walt Disney Productions Buena Vista Distribution 1hr 48mins
Herbie Rides Again Frank Phillips 1hr 28mins
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Frank De Vol 1hr 44mins
Herbie Goes Bananas Gordon D. Brenner Leonard J. South 1hr 38mins
All-New Adventures of
Herbie the Love Bug
Frank De Vol & Tom Worrall Jack A. Whitman Jr.
& Jack Swain
Gordon Brenner,
Marsh Hendry & Ron Honthaner
Buena Vista Television,
Columbia Broadcasting System
2hrs 40mins
Disney's The Love Bug Shirley Walker Russ Alsobrook Chip Masamitsu Walt Disney Television Disney–ABC Domestic Television 1hr 28mins
Herbie: Fully Loaded Mark Mothersbaugh Greg Gardiner Wendy Greene Bricmont Walt Disney Pictures,
Robert Simonds Productions
Buena Vista Pictures 1hr 41mins

Reception

For more details on the reception of each film, see the "Reception" section on each film's article.

Box office & financial performance

Film Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Worldwide
Total income
Ref.
North America Other territories Worldwide All-time
North America
All-time
worldwide
Herbie: The Love Bug $51,264,000 N/A $51,264,000 #1,733 #2,757 $5,000,000 $46,264,000 [30][31][32]
Herbie Rides Again $38,229,000 N/A $38,229,000 #2,689 #3,778 $5,000,000 $33,229,000 [33][34]
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo $29,000,000 N/A $29,000,000 #2,944 #4,092 $5,000,000 $24,000,000 [35][36]
Herbie Goes Bananas $17,000,000 N/A $17,000,000 #4,004 #5,426 $5,000,000 $12,000,000 [37][38]
Disney's The Love Bug N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Information unavailable [lower-alpha 1] Information unavailable [lower-alpha 2]
Herbie: Fully Loaded $66,023,816 $78,123,000 $144,146,816 #1,263 #1,225 $50,000,000 $94,146,816 [39][40]
Totals/Averages $201,516,816 $78,123,000 $279,639,816 x̄ #2,106 x̄ #2,880 ~$70,000,000 [lower-alpha 3] ~$209,639,816 [lower-alpha 4]

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Tomatometer Metascore
Herbie: The Love Bug 76%
(17 critic reviews)
48/100
(7 critic reviews)[41]
N/A
Herbie Rides Again 80%
(5 critic reviews)
49/100
(5 critic reviews)[42]
N/A
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo 60%
(10 critic reviews)
38/100
(4 critic reviews)[43]
N/A
Herbie Goes Bananas 40%
(5 critic reviews)
55/100
(4 critic reviews)[44]
N/A
All-New Adventures of
Herbie the Love Bug
N/A TBD N/A
Disney's The Love Bug N/A N/A N/A
Herbie: Fully Loaded 41%
(143 critic reviews)
47/100
(31 critic reviews)[45]
A[46]

Notes

  1. Disney's The Love Bug (1997) originally debuted on Walt Disney Television, as a made-for television film on Wonderful World of Disney. The figures for the production budget is not publicly available.
  2. Though Disney's The Love Bug (1997) was originally released as a made-for-television film, it was subsequently released direct to video on VHS. The figures for its home video sales are not publicly available.
  3. These figures are calculated without the production budget cost for Disney's The Love Bug (1997), which is not publicly available. Therefore it is an approximate number.
  4. These figure are calculated without the home video sales for each movie, which are not publicly available. Therefore it is an approximate number.

Related films

Further information: Flubber (franchise)

Keenan Wynn appears as the primary antagonist in Herbie Rides Again (1974), named Alonzo P. Hawk. Wynn previously portrayed the same character in The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and Son of Flubber (1963). Hawk is a villainous, dishonest, scheming businessman character in each respective film.[47]

Film U.S.
release date
Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
The Absent-Minded Professor March 16, 1961 (1961-03-16) Robert Stevenson Bill Walsh Samuel W. Taylor Bill Walsh
Son of Flubber January 16, 1963 (1963-01-16) Don DaGradi & Bill Walsh Walt Disney and Bill Walsh

Video games

  • Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005): A racing game developed by Climax Handheld Games, published by Disney Interactive Studios and Buena Vista Games as a Game Boy Advance exclusive release. The game is based loosely based on the 2005 film Herbie: Fully Loaded and features stills from the movie as in-game cut scenes.[48] The player takes the role of Herbie throughout a series of races, though should they fail to place first in any race, they are shown a Game Over screen and booted to the menu to start over.[48] The game was met with mixed reception, while its 3D graphics were widely praised.[48][49][50][48]
  • Disney's Herbie: Rescue Rally (2007): A racing game developed by Climax Handheld games, and published by Disney Interactive Stdios as a Nintendo DS exclusive release. The game is based on the Herbie film series. It earned a positive critical reception with IGN stating: "...Herbie Rescue Rally is a good game. For a system that is seriously lacking in solid racing titles, it's refreshing to find one that is at least worth playing."[51]

Themepark attractions

  • Love Bug Day: An event held at Disneyland to celebrate the financial successes of the first and second films, which took place on two separate days in 1969 and 1974.
    • March 23, 1969 - The event had two main parts. In the first portion park visitors met in the parking lot, where they presented their own custom decorated VW Beetles in a competition to win a new one. During the second part of the occasion, the vehicles paraded from Main Street, U.S.A. town square, to the It's a Small World ride. Dean Jones greeted the contestants, and awarded car keys to the winner.
    • June 30, 1974 - The second "Love Bug Day" followed a similar series of events, while this time Helen Hayes was the film star to welcome and award the guests. This second occurence featured as a part of the aired "Herbie Day at Disneyland" television special.[52][53][54]
  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort: After previously appearing in various Disney Park parades,[55][56] including Disney on Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland, the character now features at a hotel in Walt Disney World. Herbie is featured prominently in the Love Bug-themed section of the resort called Winner's Circle.[57]
  • Lights, Camera, Action!: Extreme Stunt Show (2005-2011): Herbie featured during the half-time show at Disney theme parks from the time the attraction opened on May 25, 2005 to 2011. In 2011 the sequence was replaced with Lightning McQueen.[58] The show was later cancelled on April 2, 2016.[59]
  • Disney World opening "World's Greatest Mom" contest - buddy hackett drives through grand prix raceway
  • Walt Disney World's Backlot tour

Productions

  • Disney on Parade (1969-1973): In 1968 the concept was conceived by Thomas Sarnoff and presented to his father, Robert Sarnoff. Robert had served as President of National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and CEO of Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the prior of which was the network which had aired The Wonderful World of Disney.[60] In developing the stage show, Walt Disney Productions worked with NBC to create a partnership subsidiary company called Nawal Productions. Four seasons of the show traveled, as separate editions. After the financial success of a trial run in Long Beach in 1969, the show evolved and thrived with the addition of producer/director Michel "Mr. G" Grilikhes. The first edition's run at Madison Square Garden made a record in advanced ticket sales with $400,000.00 total; while a run in Salt Lake City booked a total of 77,255 people in nine days (equivalent of 38% of the city's population). It later toured Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America, earning $64 million worldwide.[61][62] Herbie featured during the last three years, in the comedy acts:
    • "Goofy and the Love Bug" (1970-'71): The comedy comedic short, centered around Goofy working in an autobody shop, who comes into contact and contends with Herbie.
    • "Three's a Family" (1972-'73): Goofy once again meets Herbie. The plot featured the latter falling in love with a pink VW, and the pair have their own little Bug of their own.
    • "The Used Car Lot" (1973-'74). During the comedic skit, Goofy visits a used car lot and can't decide if he prefers a Ford Model T or Herbie.[63]
  • Walt Disney's World on Ice: In 1979, Mattel approached The Walt Disney Company to collaborate on an ice show centered around the latter's properties. The precursor to what would later be known as Disney on Ice, the traveling show was developed by Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions. The first series of shows debuted in 1981, while Herbie featured throughout the performances.[64][65] The show eventually evolved into Disney on Ice, with Herbie featuring in various shows.[66]
  • Herbie and Friends Tour: In joint=commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the franchise and Volkswagen Group of America, Walt Disney Pictures in collaboration with VW America sponsored a roadtrip tour, featuring Herbie and various classic VWs. The trek included 25 VW dealership stops, impromptu mini-car shows, as well as promotional stays for the Herbie Fully Loaded film. Starting in San Francisco, California and ended New York City, New York, the event lasted from May 13-31, 2005.[67]

Marketing

Herbie appears in Disneyland's 50th Anniversary television commercial, where he helps Mickey Mouse and Goofy as transportation to get to Disneyland.[68]

In unrelated media

  • Herbie appears in the Forza video game series, as a paint job for the playable 1960s Beetle.
  • Herbie appears along with Maggie Peyton (portrayed by Breckin Meyer) in a segment of Robot Chicken titled "Horny Robot Redux".[69]

References

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  4. IMDb (March 13, 2020). "Herbie 'The Love Bug' Behind-The-Scenes And How A Volkswagen Beetle Won The World's Heart". Groovy History. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
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  16. https://variety.com/1973/film/reviews/herbie-rides-again-1200423226/
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  62. Kober, Jeff (January 22, 2009). "Leading Disney on Parade". Mouse Planet. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  63. Fandom (2018). "Disney on Parade (show)". The Disney Wiki. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  64. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCTStviQVqk
  65. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/lovebugfans/walt-disney-world-on-ice-footage-now-available-t10705.html
  66. http://www.starcarstn.com/Herbie.html
  67. Chief Marketer Staff (March 31, 2005). "Volkswagen and Disney Taking Herbie on the Road". Chief Marketer. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  68. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41MXDwJcnyw
  69. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2Pz3toP3IA&t=52s

External links

This article "Herbie (franchise)" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.