My Mother the Car

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




My Mother the Car is an American fantasy sitcom which aired for a single season on NBC between September 14, 1965 and September 6, 1966. A total of thirty episodes were produced by United Artists Television.

The show follows the exploits of attorney David Crabtree (played by Jerry Van Dyke), who, while shopping at a used car lot for a station wagon to serve as a second family car, instead purchases a dilapidated 1928 "Porter" touring car. Crabtree heard the car call his name in a woman's voice, which later turned out to be that of his deceased mother, Gladys (voiced by Ann Sothern). The car, a valuable antique, is a reincarnation of his mother who talks (only to Crabtree, of course) through the car's radio. The dial light flashed in sync with "Mother's" voice. In an effort to get his family to accept the old, tired car, Crabtree brings it to a custom body shop for a full restoration. The car was originally coveted by a collector named Captain Manzini even before its restoration, but Crabtree purchases and restores the car before Manzini can acquire it.

For the rest of the series, Crabtree is pursued by the avaricious Captain Manzini (Avery Schreiber), who is determined to acquire the valuable automobile from Crabtree. In a running gag characterizing his shifty nature, Manzini (who resembles a 1920s silent film villain) always mistakes Crabtree's name when speaking to him. "Now, then, Crabapple..." "That's Crabtree." "Whatever."

Others in the cast included Maggie Pierce as wife Barbara and Cindy Eilbacher (the sister of Lisa Eilbacher) and Randy Whipple as the kids, Cindy and Randy.

Created by Allan Burns and Chris Hayward

Produced by Rod Amateau

Written by

Allan Burns

James L. Brooks

Phil Davis

Chris Hayward

George Kirgo

Arnold Margolin

Jim Parker


Directed by

Rod Amateau

David Davis

Sidney Miller

Tom Montgomery


Original run: September 14, 1965 – September 6, 1966

Who talked about this show

George Barris

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work on My Mother the Car

James L. Brooks

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James L. Brooks on his big break: getting a rewrite job on My Mother The Car

Allan Burns

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Allan Burns on co-creating My Mother The Car

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