Friday, April 5, 2019

Herbie (The Love Bug) Rides Again - 45th Anniversary

Forty-five years ago (in the Summer of 1974), my grandmother took me to see Walt Disney's, Herbie Rides Again. The film was a sequel to The Love Bug, which had been released in 1968.

That same summer, Gold Key Comics' "Walt Disney Showcase" featured a comic book adaptation of the movie.

Sorry, you only get a sampling of the inside, because there are too many pages to scan and the comic book is in "delicate" condition, just from age. However, we will take a look at a few of the ads from inside.

Does anyone remember Disneykins? Many of the "Gold Key" comic books from around this time, contained this advertisement. Disneykin figures were also sold at Disneyland and through mail-in offers from Royal Gelatin.

A few years ago, the blog, "Filmic Light - Snow White Archive," published a great post about Royal Gelatin's Disneykin promotion. That post can be seen here: Disneykin offer from Royal Gelatin.

My brother and I had quite a few of the Disneykin figures when we were kids, and I still have about half a dozen of them. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate them in time for this post. However, a few years ago, my aunt found this "Grumpy" Disneykin at an antique show and she picked it up for me (because I have the coolest aunt in the world!) I placed the penny next to him, to give an idea of just how small these figures are.

Comic books often carried this type of ad for "practical jokes" and other gimmicky items. I'm surprised that "X-ray Glasses" weren't offered here.

While I never had any of the specific gags offered in the ad, I did have a few others that were purchased at a local "Joke and Magic" shop. Here are two of the practical jokes that I still have today.

First, is this package of "snapping" gum. The fake stick of gum inside, had a very small mouse trap-type of mechanism attached to it. When the gum was pulled out of the package, the trap would come down on the person's finger. It was a million laughs, I tell ya!

This box contained a sample-sized glass bottle of what was called "Morning Breeze" perfume. The gimmick was that it smelled like rotten eggs. You could put just one drop anywhere and it would really stink up the place! It was supposed to be even more effective in a small enclosed space, like an elevator. I was never brave enough to use this in a public place, so basically I just handed the bottle to people and said, "Here, smell this perfume!" It was strong enough that the odor would linger in your nose for a while. Again, it was a million laughs. Honest!

These characters kind of remind me of the characters from the "Archie" comics.

The back cover of the comic book, had an advertisement for some blacklight posters, peace sign jewelry, and embroidered patches that "really tell your friends where you're at!" Like groovy, man!

I had only one iron-on patch when I was a kid. My mom put it on a pair of my Sears "Toughskins" jeans and when I outgrew them, I took the patch off and saved it. Here is that patch.

During my childhood, our neighborhood "Lucky's" supermarket had an entire aisle with just toys. After the release of Herbie Rides Again, they carried this stylized "Li'l Herbie" model, made by Revell.

In addition to saving the box all these years, I also saved the assembly instructions:

And I still have the assembled model, but it has seen better days.

The rear bumper fell off, and it is also missing the front turn indicator lights, side-view mirror, front-to-back striping, and number "53" decals.

In 2004, (thirty years after Herbie Rides Again and thirty-six years after the original The Love Bug film), Hallmark made a Christmas ornament, honoring the "Amazing No. 53":

We will end this post today, with nine Herbie Rides Again "lobby cards." Back in the day, these cards were displayed in theaters, to promote current and soon-to-be-released films.

Helen Hayes starred in the film.......

....along with Ken Berry and Stefanie Powers.

In one scene, Herbie is chased in the ocean by a shark. (This was one full year prior to the release of the blockbuster film, Jaws.)

In another scene, Herbie drives through the Garden Court Restaurant of San Francisco's historic Palace Hotel (built in 1909).

After being stolen and locked in a warehouse, Herbie's friends show up to rescue him.

Herbie can jump really high!

Keenan Wynn played the film's villain, Alonzo Hawk.

And they all lived happily ever after!

Happy 45th anniversary, to Herbie Rides Again!

***POST UPDATE*** I've decided to go ahead and scan every page of the comic book, so here it is in it's entirety!


K. Martinez said...

What a cool surprise at the end when I discovered you decided to post the whole comic story. And I read the whole thing too! Thanks for scanning those, TM!.

I remember that firehouse in the movie. It was a pretty cool set. It's too bad that when they decided to do the San Francisco section of DCA they didn't put the firehouse there with Herbie out front and inside have the Trolley and Orchestrion interacting with guests. It would've fit well in the San Francisco section while featuring vintage Disney. Missed opportunities!

I have the Hallmark "Amazing No. 53 "Herbie" ornament and it's a favorite. I always go for the classic Disney live-action merch.

I love the lobby cards. I once that of starting a Disney lobby card collection, but then gave it a second thought as I have so much Disney stuff already.

Most intriguing of all is your Li'l Herbie" Revell model. I have never seen one of those before and didn't even know it existed. That is very different and cool. Great that you saved the box and instructions too. I like it!

Does that "Toughskins" patch character have a name?

Thanks for another awesome post!

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, this post has everything. Plastic models! An entire comic book! Lobby cards! Iron-on patches! Novelty gags! Disneykins!

It’s funny, based on the illustration on the cover of the Revell model, I thought that Christopher Lee must have played the villain. But no, it’s good old Keenan Wynn. Wonder why they made Herbie so stylized? Maybe Big Daddy Roth’s influence had something to do with it.

You might enjoy a book by Kirk Demarais, “Mail Order Mysteries”, it’s super fun. It’s about hundreds of those comic book mail-away gags. . After looking at it I wished I had everything pictured! I would kill to have those 88 mini posters. I know I owned the snapping gum, a nickel that would squirt water, and a little plastic dog that smoked tiny cigarettes.

When I was a kid and went to day camp, one of the other boys put “Morning Breeze” on people’s towels while they were in the pool. Hilarity ensued.

“Margie gets free gifts” was clearly drawn by someone who was trying to be Dan DeCarlo (but failing).

Thanks for scanning the whole comic book, that must have taken forever.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I'm glad that you enjoyed this post. That would have been a really good idea to incorporate Herbie into the San Francisco area of DCA. I know in the seventies, there were plans for a "Herbie Rides Again" attraction in Disneyland, which never materialized. I wonder where that would have gone if they had built it?

That's a good question about the wolf (?) character on that patch. He kind of looks like he could be a mascot for a sports team of some kind. I'm not sure if he is/was though, or if he had a name. I must have just liked the way he looked. I don't remember what other choices were available and I'm really not even sure where it was purchased, although I'm inclined to think it was also at the local Lucky's supermarket where my mom shopped.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that does look a little like Christopher Lee on the model box! I think those cartoon illustrations of Ken Berry, Stefanie Powers and Helen Hayes were done in an interesting style, although none of them really resemble the actors.

Thanks for the info about that book. I'll have to check it out. We never ordered anything directly from the comic books, but we did have a lot of "practical jokes." My brother had the "Fly In an Ice Cube" and a "Whoopee Cushion." I had a Rubber Pencil and fake doggie do-do. I think I remember the nickel that squirted water gag. Remember the nickel that you could nail down to the floor so that people couldn't pick it up with their fingers? Hysterical! Where can kids get that kind of stuff these days? Or are they so busy playing video games and texting, that they don't care to see their friends drink from a "dribble glass"?

Scanning the entire comic book wasn't too bad. I just went ahead and took the staples out to get decent scans of the pages. Then I reassembled everything and carefully put the staples back in. I know, I doing that, I probably reduced it's value by thousands of dollars!


Wow!! Great post!! The first two films I really liked - the later ones got to be a bit much/ but they can still be fun to watch! Growing up out neighbor’s daughter had a VW BUG with the Herbie dealer option - I was about 12 years away from driving but I was so jealous.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, thanks! I agree with you about the first two "Herbie" films, being the better ones. "Herbie Goes Bananas" was almost unwatchable, for me. I think I have only seen it once (in the theater) upon it's initial release and that is it. And I never saw Lindsay Lohan's, "Fully Loaded" version. Hey, I didn't even realize that there was an unintentional joke in that title until I typed it out, just now!

I also didn't realize that there was a Herbie dealer option for the VW Bugs. I would have been jealous too!

Chuck said...

Why am I always late here? Probably because your site is blocked from work (although, oddly, GDB, Daveland, and Passport to Dreams are not) and I'm usually just too tired when I get home to visit the Interwebs.

This takes me back to so many things I never had in 1974, like novelty gags and comic books. But everybody I knew did, so it's still all so familiar.

I have the Scholastic novelizations of the first four Herbie films, the first three of which I read over and over again long before I ever saw any of them. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen Herbie Rides Again, although I know the story. Did they run this on HBO in the pre-Disney Channel days?

Thanks for taking the time to scan the entire comic book.

TokyoMagic! said...

Hey Chuck, that's weird that my blog is blocked at your work, but other blogs aren't!

I remember those Scholastic novelizations of Disney films, but I didn't have any for the "Herbie" movies. And I'm not sure if any of the films turned up on HBO, prior to the start of the Disney Channel. We didn't have cable back then! I know a few years ago, the Turner Classic Movies channel stated showing Disney movies for just one day, every three months or so. Leonard Maltin was even doing the intros for them. I want to say that they showed one or more of the Herbie movies, but I'm not 100 percent sure.

Thanks for commenting on this post! I'll have a new post again, this Friday!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, Ooops! Make that a week from this Friday!

Chuck said...

Missed your second reply. Curses! Foiled again.

See you in a week!

BillyWitchDoctor said...

The "Li'l Herbie" model kit is the work of the late great Dave Deal, and is in fact a white variant of his "Bug Bomb" kit with different tires. One of Dave's last jobs before passing away was character design work for Pixar's Cars, but he was renowned in the '60s and '70s for his crazy funny-car (and funny-aircraft) models with enormous engines and oversize tires.

Some of his kits, such as the Go-Mad Nomad, the Baja Humbug, the Glitter Bug, and the "Trans Um" Tirebird, have been reissued in recent years by Revell; aircraft kits like the WWII Messa-Schnitzel and WWI Der Baron und his Funfdecker Fokker have come back and fallen out of production again and are very hard to find at good prices. Still, plenty of images can be found online just by searching "Dave Deal"!

TokyoMagic! said...

BillyWitchDoctor, Thank you for that information! A few days ago, someone posted a comment on another older blog post of mine, informing me that the Pirates of the Caribbean models from the seventies have also been reissued and that the Haunted Mansion models are about to be reissued. Apparently, they are being reissued with new artwork on the boxes and without any mention of Disney. It made me wonder if there was any chance that this Herbie model would get reissued. Even if they removed the "Herbie" name from the tires and the license plate, I suppose they'd still have to get permission from Volkswagen.

Chromeant said...

Would you sell the lil Herbie?

TokyoMagic! said...

Chromeant, sorry....but the Li'l Herbie model is a childhood item of mine, with very fond memories attached. I really couldn't part with it!