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TV

My Mother the Car (NBC 1965-1966, Jerry Van Dyke, Maggie Pierce)

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“Hello Davey, it’s your Mother.”

Sometimes, they come back. And sometimes they come back as the thing they loved most when they were alive. Case in point: fictional TV-land car lover Agnes Crabtree passed away in 1947, and when she came back years later, she came back as a disembodied voice that emanated from a car. A 1928 Porter, to be precise. And there, folks, is the sitcom premise of My Mother The Car.

It could be worse, you know—it could have been that Agnes liked shoes, or fancy cheese, and seeing Jerry Van Dyke talk to any of those things would have been downright uncomfortable. Television devotees love to bash this NBC curiosity, but in its defense, there were plenty of show premises that forced a viewer to scratch his head in the mid-1960’s. Martians, witches, ghosts, angels, and a slew of talking animals turned up on the small screen. So why not a talking car?

When it was time to buy a new car, his family wanted a practical station wagon, but lawyer Dave Crabtree (Van Dyke) couldn’t help himself—there was just something about that old Porter at the used car lot. And when he got in and turned on the radio, he figured out why—the voice of his late mother was transmitting from the radio. When he tried to convince his family that the car wasn’t just a car, they thought he was absolutely nuts, because of course his car/mother only talked when the others weren’t around. Maggie Pierce played Dave’s long-suffering wife Barbara, and the bad guy (because what ‘dead mom is talking from the car again’ sitcom is complete without one?) was automobile aficionado Mancini, who just had to have that Porter for his collection.

My Mother The Car

Plenty of TV pundits are surprised that My Mother the Car lasted a whole season—which meant more than thirty episodes back in those days. But NBC put it in a timeslot where the other networks were running adult dramas, and the goal was to nab the attention of the younger viewers. Suffice it to say, when there’s a show about a mother who is reincarnated as a voice in her grown son’s fixer-upper jalopy, attention definitely is garnered, for better or worse.

production details
USA / NBC – United Artists – Cottage Industries / 30×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 September 1965 – 6 September 1966

cast
Jerry Van Dyke as Dave Crabtree
Maggie Pierce as Barbara Crabtree
Cindy Eilbacher as Cindy Crabtree
Randy Whipple as Randy Crabtree
Avery Schreiber as Captain Manzini
Ann Sothern as Voice of Gladys, Dave’s mother

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29

cast
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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TV

Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.

cast
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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TV

Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.

cast
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989

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