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My Mother, The Car

This is the story of a small town lawyer, with a wife, two kids, a dog, and a family car that just happens to be his reincarnated mother.

My Mother the Car My Mother the Car is often voted as the worst show ever put on television; that might not be quite true anymore. Over 30 years have passed, and even though this program can still be considered especially brainless, television viewers have been subjected to so much worse over the ensuing decades (witness reality television, Cop Rock, Crossing Over With John Edward, etc., ad nauseum).

This sparkling clinker was created/written by Rod Amateau and Allan Burns. Astoundingly, Mr. Burns survived this disaster and went on to create The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant. Something tells me he didn't exactly hightlight creating this show on his resume.

Popular actress Ann Sothern played Agnes Crabtree, who had died in 1947, long before the events of the show took place. Jerry Van Dyke (later beloved to TV viewers as the simple but likeable Luthor on Coach) played her son Dave. The story begis 17 years after the death of Agnes; Dave and his family shop for a used car. Dave's family wants a late model station wagon. Dave becomes fascinated with a very decrepit-looking 1928 Porter sporting a large sign that reads 'Fixer Upper'. Dave gets into the car, and when he turns on the radio he hears his mother's voice say, "Hello Davey, it's your mother."

Agnes apparently loved cars so much when she was alive that she somehow was reincarnated as a car to help Davey and his family. But just like Mr. Ed, Agnes will only speak to Dave, and only when he is alone. The rest of the Crabtree family, naturally, hates the old jalopy. They can't believe they have to be seen by their friends and neighbors riding around in such an old run-down automobile.

Avery Schreiber also appeared as an easily exasperated and very eccentric antique car collector and the show's main villain. The stories revolved around his character's attempts at getting the car and of Dave's constant struggle to conceal the fact that the car is really his back-from-the-afterlife mother.

NBC kept My Mother the Car running for an entire season. Unlike today when a whole television season might mean 18 new episodes, back in 1965 they made over 30 episodes of this type of clunker in a single season.

My Mother the Car is one of the stranger sitcoms in TV history, but it somehow appears less strange when put up against all of television's talking horses, monkeys, cats, and dogs, as well as the angels, ghosts, genies, witches, aliens and other sitcom weirdoes.

(Note: the title of the show is a play on that of an immensely popular comedy album of the time, My Son, The Folk Singer, by Allan Sherman. For some time after Sherman's success, pop culture was inundated with My Son, The... titles.)

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