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Herbie Goes Bananas (Disney 1980, Charles Martin Smith)

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Herbie, the VW bug with a mind of his own, returned for a fourth and final instalment in 1980. Herbie Goes Bananas brought new friends, new enemies and a new continent, but the gas-powered star was as spunky as ever.

Davy Johns (DJ to his friends) and co-driver Pete Stanchek take Herbie down to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the Grand Premio rally. But that wacky Bug is just a little trouble magnet. The gang gets mixed up in a plot to smuggle gold from the ruins of an Incan city, and Herbie makes friends with a young pickpocket named Paco, who nicknames the car “Ocho” (the final scene explains why). Eccentrics Aunt Louise and Captain Blythe join in the misadventures, the most memorable of which is a madcap bullfight with Herbie as matador.

The Herbie franchise shut down after this outing failed to reap the large rewards of its predecessors. The loveable Bug had ruled the 70’s for Disney, but there just wasn’t room in the buttoned-down conservative Reagan Era for a free-spirited scamp like Herbie. Herbie rode again, briefly, on a 1982 primetime series titled Herbie, the Love Bug, but the glory days were past for poor number 53.

production details
USA / Disney / 110 minutes / 1980

Script: Don Tait
Director: Vincent McEveety

cast
Vito Scotti as Armando Moccia
Elyssa Davalos as Melissa Drake
Richard Jaeckel as Shepard
Joaquin Garay, III as Paco
Charles Martin Smith as Davy Johns
Fritz Feld as Chief Steward
Cloris Leachman as Tante Louise Trends
Stephen W. Burns as Pete
Harvey Korman as Capt. Blythe
Alex Rocco as Quinn
John Vernon as Prindle
Jose Gonzales-Gonzales as Garage Owner
Ruben Moreno as Store Owner
Tina Menard as Store Owner’s Wife
Jorge Luis Moreno as Bus Driver

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