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Everybody Loves Herbie!

LR Herbie Nose What does Herbie the Love Bug mean to you? Disney debuted Herbie in 1968 in a film called The Love Bug. To many who grew up when the original movies came out, Herbie is an endearing symbol of caring and the “good” in the battle against evil. He cares about his friends and about doing what’s right. It was founder Walt Disney’s last live-action film ever and one of the studio’s most loved films. It inspired three very good sequels and a five-part TV mini-series before closing the doors closed on this franchise... Herbie The Love Bug DVD Cover ...Until 1997. Hollywood has a hard time letting things lie as we all know. Disney came out with a new The Love Bug which failed miserably to live up to it's predecessor. Yet, it didn't stop them from releasing yet another one called Herbie, Fully Loaded in 2005. Although most purists will agree that the last two or three sequels didn't live up to the first four, they did bring Herbie and his message to new generation of kids, and that is something special. Here is the chronology of all the Herbie films for your Netflixing perusal:
  • The Love Bug (1968)
  • Herbie Rides Again (1974)
  • Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
  • Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
  • Herbie, the Love Bug (1982) (TV mini-series)
  • The Love Bug (1997)
  • Herbie, Fully Loaded (2005)
Herbie’s co-stars have included Dean Jones, Buddy Hackett, Don Knotts, Helen Hayes, and Cloris Leachman in earlier versions with Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon, and Michael Keaton appearing in more modern ones. LR Herbie with Tucker 1013 in Back As the name implies, Herbie the “love bug” is a very caring, emotional creature who teaches children that they can be loved under any circumstances. More than any other car I can think of, Herbie is a symbol of hope...and he’s a really cute little VW with millions of fans! Many of them are so obsessed that they buy Beetles and paint them up as tributes to the original Herbie. Some even paint modern Beetles to look like Herbie - because, naturally, it makes them and those around them smile. LR Herbie Hill Climb It is because of the smiles that Herbie brings that, in 2003, Bob Croesus chose to start using his Herbie tribute car for good. Bob formed Operation Herbie®. He used the increasing popularity of Herbie in the media to help focus public attention on the health care needs of children as well as non-profits supporting children with illnesses. LR Operation Herbie 3 Operation Herbie® volunteers visit sick children with their Herbie tribute cars wherever those children live. They spend time with each sick youngster answering questions about their cars, posing for pictures and handing out memorabilia. Herbie has brought a smile to what can sometimes be a very traumatic time, not only for the child concerned but also for the families involved. Donations have been raised through fundraising events for Celiac Disease, The Burn Foundation and other institutions and causes across the country. If you are interested in a visit, or perhaps becoming a volunteer with your own Herbie remake in their nationwide network, visit Operation Herbie Facebook page to connect. LR Herbie Downslope So… what does the real Herbie think of all these tribute cars? We went to the Swigart Museum in Huntingdon, PA where he is on display right next to the Tin Goose (the very first Tucker ever built) to ask him and here’s what he had to say: And well, much to my surprise, he said… nothing. LR Herbie Engine You see… As it turns out, Herbie is a car (a 1960 Beetle with a stock 1500cc engine and Solex carburetor). Fortunate for us, he let us sit inside and take all the pictures we wanted. Enjoy the pictures and don’t forget about the children in need. There is something about being in Herbie’s presence that brings a smile to everyone’s face. LR Herbie Speedo This particular Herbie was a stunt double in the first Herbie film, The Love Bug (where he jumped a ravine, among other stunts), but won the starring role for the sequel, Herbie Rides Again. Although there were about 70 "Herbies" in total used for all the films, the TV series and the Disney on Ice production of the movie, only 20 or so are known to have survived, making this little car extremely special. LR Herbie Interior Check Herbie out at:
The Swigart Auto Museum
12031 William Penn Highway
Huntingdon, PA 16652 (814) 643-0885 There is no time like the present and, fortunately, the Swigart Automotive Museum – America’s oldest car museum – opens this Memorial Day weekend for the 2014 season! While you’re there, don’t forget to congratulate the Tin Goose for having been placed into the National Historical Vehicle Registry earlier this month, along with Old Red, a cousin of Herbie’s who happens to be Bruce Meyers’ (and the world’s) very first fiberglass dune buggy! Thank you to Pat Swigart for allowing Driving Line to come in and learn about their amazing collection during their off-season!
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