The Love Bug (Special Edition)

Starring:
Dean Jones as Jim Douglas
Michele Lee as Carole
David Tomlinson as Thorndyke
Buddy Hackett as Tennessee Steinmetz
Joe Flynn as Havershaw
Benson Fong as Mr. Wu
Andy Granatelli as Association President
Joe E. Ross as Detective
Iris Adrian as Carhop

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary With Dean Jones, Michele Lee, and Buddy Hackett
- Cartoon: “Susie – The Little Blue Coupe”
- That Lovable Bug
- The Many Lives Of Herbie
- Herbie Mania
- Lost Treasures: Searching For Herbie
- 1969 Disney Studio Album
- Production Gallery
- Behind-The-Scenes Promo
- Love Bug Day At Disneyland
- The Man Who Gave Herbie His Voice
- Deleted Scenes: “Used Car Lot” & “Playground”
- Theatrical Trailer
- DVD Credits
- Radio Spots
- Sound Studio 1: “Herbie On The Rocks”
- Sound Studio 2: “Thorndyke And The Bear”
- Production Stills: Production Photos, Concept Art, Storyboards
- Comic Book
- Biographies: Dean Jones, Michele Lee, Buddy Hackett, David Tomlinson, Robert Stevenson
- Advertising: Publicity, Posters, Merchandise, Press Book
- Documents
- Screenplay Excerpt: “Herbie Goes Over The Edge”

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.75:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
Running Time: 108 Minutes

Synopsis:
Jim Douglas is a down and out racecar driver looking for some cheap, new transportation. He happens by a car dealership run by Mr. Thorndyke. Initially rebuffed, Thorndyke’s beautiful saleswoman Carole talks Jim into buying a 1963 VW Beetle. Little does either of them realize, but the car is alive with a feisty personality of its own.

It doesn’t take Jim long to realize that there’s something different about the car. His eccentric mechanic Tennessee Steinmetz believes it is a living thing and he names it Herbie. Jim doesn’t believe it at first, but soon even he can’t deny that Herbie is alive. He also discovers that Herbie is incredibly fast.

Herbie and Jim hit the racing circuit and begin racking up wins. However, their toughest competition in the races comes from Mr. Thorndyke himself. As Jim and Thorndyke battle things out, Herbie has a plan to make a love bug connection between Carole and Jim.

The Love Bug is rated G.

The Movie:
I really enjoyed The Love Bug when I was a kid and it’s great to see it on DVD again. I remember watching this film in elementary school on rainy days. We had a videotape of it that my sisters and I watched repeatedly. Now my kids enjoyed it to. My daughter loves VW beetles and my son saw Herbie on TV and yelled out, “Car! Car!” It’s cool to see this film span the generations and entertain young and old. That’s truly a rare thing for a movie to do.

Despite a somewhat dated setting, the story is classic. Herbie still comes across as a living, breathing character thanks to a wonderful cast and fun special effects. It’s quite an accomplishment to turn an inanimate object into a character people care about, but I guess it’s the same as how Keanu Reeves got a career. (Just kidding!) The comedy in the film is also classic. I had forgotten just how clever it was. There are things that I find amusing now as an adult that I missed upon viewing it as a child. That’s the kind of thing that makes it worth revisiting.

Dean Jones is a Disney favorite, and he shows why in this movie. He’s a lovable hero, but he also plays a stubborn jerk well, too. His transformation from a guy fighting with Herbie to friends was entirely believable. Jones even has an unrecognizable cameo in the film as a hippie. Watch closely or you’ll miss it. Michele Lee is beautiful and intelligent as Carole. How often do you see the leading lady crawl under the hood and work on an engine? David Tomlinson is the perfect comedic villain as Thorndyke. His temper tantrums are cinematic legend and really make his character memorable. Buddy Hackett is about as close as you can come to a living cartoon character. As Tennessee Steinmetz, he provides a voice for Herbie when needed. His facial expressions are truly hilarious and he helps round out the wonderful cast.

If you don’t find yourself humming the Love Bug theme after watching this, you might want to clean out your ears. The music in this movie is really fun and it sticks with you. The car chases are not only exciting but they are funny, too. Many movies today don’t even match the choreography that these cars display.

Overall, The Love Bug is a funny movie that’s well worth revisiting for adults as well as being entertaining for first time viewers. That alone makes it worthy of being called a Disney Classic.

The Extras:
These Disney Special Editions of their classic films really end up having some fantastic DVD extras. If you’re a Disney enthusiast or a film history buff, you really couldn’t ask for anything more. These extras are so thorough you should find yourself entertained for hours with them.

Some well animated menus that look like you’re digging in the Disney Archives guide you through the extras. (They are the same menus as on the other Special Edition DVDs.) Here are a few of the highlights that you’ll find:

Audio Commentary With Dean Jones, Michele Lee, and Buddy Hackett – Hackett and Jones obviously recorded their commentary at a separate time from Lee. While it would have been more fun to have all three of them together, that doesn’t make what they have to say any less interesting. Hackett cracks jokes throughout the film. Lee talks extensively about her acting, the tricks Herbie did, and her co-stars. Jones talks a lot about the crew and more. It seems like this is the first time some of them have seen the film in a while. The commentary is great to listen to and a rare treat for fans of The Love Bug.

Cartoon: “Susie – The Little Blue Coupe” – This cartoon has nothing to do with The Love Bug other than the premise. Susie is a little blue coupe who is alive. She’s bought, used for a number of years, and then cast aside. Eventually, though, she’s bought and restored by a teen that races her around town. Herbie fans should see a lot of similarities between this story and the Love Bug.

That Lovable Bug – This is the main “Making Of” documentary on the film. At a bit over a half hour long, it features all of the surviving members of the cast including Dean Jones, Michele Lee (who still looks fantastic thanks to good genes or tons of plastic surgery), and Buddy Hackett. Hackett keeps things light and mentions all of the deceased crew with the disclaimer, “He’s dead now so I can say what I want about him”. (OK, it’s funnier in the documentary when he says it.) You learn about how the script was developed (originally called “Boy, Girl, Car”), how the cast was chosen, how they did all of the effects, and more. It’s a fantastic look at the making of the film and everyone has really fun stories about making it. If you’re any fan of The Love Bug, this is a must-see.

The Many Lives Of Herbie – Herbie enthusiast and Disney historian Hugh Chitwood (no relation!) discusses all of the Love Bug sequels that appeared throughout the years. He talks about the different settings, plots, and more. We’re treated to the highlights and lowlights of all the sequels. Don Knotts, who appeared in the 3rd film, even shows up to talk about filming with the lovable car. Chitwood’s enthusiasm rubs off on the viewer and you finding yourself looking nostalgically at the sequels and even the brief TV series.

Herbie Mania – Two super-fans of Herbie show off their custom made Love Bugs. It’s quite interesting to see how they restored some old VW’s and customized them into exact replicas of Herbie. If you ever wanted to do this, these guys tell you how. A Disneyland hotel with a Love Bug theme is also shown.

Lost Treasures: Searching For Herbie – In this feature, Hugh Chitwood walks us through all the different incarnations of Herbie. He explains in fine detail the subtle differences between the cars in each Herbie sequel. He also talks about where you can find the original cars today. You may not be surprised to find out that Dean Jones owns one of the originals.

1969 Disney Studio Album – This simply shows all of the Disney movies, cartoons, and projects from 1969 in a series of clips.

Production Gallery – This video shows a series of production paintings, storyboards, and stills set to music from the film. It’s a little bit better way to see the images rather than clicking through image after image.

Behind-The-Scenes Promo – Dean Jones, Michele Lee, and Herbie star in this brief film from 1969 that promotes the movie. We see Dean Jones lamenting about the fact that everyone is fawning over Herbie.

Love Bug Day At Disneyland – To promote the release of The Love Bug in 1969, Disneyland had people in California decorate the VW Beetles for a parade through the park. The designs are quite amusing and they remind me of the Art Car Parade that takes place in Houston. Many of the designs are imaginative and it’s fun to see them all in this video. It’s also quite funny to see all the 60′s clothes people were wearing. The winner is also shown receiving the keys to a real Herbie car from Dean Jones.

The Man Who Gave Herbie His Voice – This is a feature about the lead sound effects man at Disney. Though he’s now deceased, they show lots of archival footage of him making the sound effects for the film. Unfortunately, they don’t show much of him doing sound effects for The Love Bug.

Deleted Scenes: “Used Car Lot” & “Playground” – The “Used Car Lot” deleted scene showed Dean Jones looking for a new car at the beginning of the film. The scene was filmed, but the footage was lost. All that was left was a still and a bit from the script and that is what is shown. The “Playground” scene takes place at the end of the film. As Jim and Carole leave for their honeymoon, they call Herbie away from a playground where he’s playing with some kids. This was apparently never filmed, but you are shown the storyboards and script pages for it.

Audio Highlights – Just to show you how complete these DVD extras are, check out some of the audio highlights from the film. First off, you have Radio Spots that were aired to promote the movie. Then you have two Sound Studio features. This allows you to watch two scenes with and without the sound effects. It’s quite a dramatic difference and it makes you appreciate the efforts put into the sound effects.

Comic Book – Apparently there was a comic strip made based on the movie. All of the comics are shown here, but the text is not legible on the screen

The Bottom Line:
This is a fun movie with a great set of extras. It’s a good DVD to check out or add to your collection. People of all ages should enjoy it.

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