The Love Bug is one of the most adorable, memorable films released by Walt Disney. Unfortunately, the inventive Disney did not live to see the success of the movie, but I am sure he would have been pleased with the legacy of the lovable Volkswagon named Herbie.
As a child, I certainly fell in love the car. Back in those days, Bugs as they were called, were everywhere. They were economical vehicles that had character to them. We used to play a game when traveling where the object to find and yell out whenever you saw a VW Bug. Those were the days.
Disney tried out different car models before deciding on the Volkswagon, but once they did, it was obvious they had a winner. This movie stars Dean Jones, Michele Lee, Buddy Hackett, David Tomlinson, Joe Flynn, and Benson Fong. These talents worked great alongside a car. They were quite believable as they learned to deal with the cute little car.
I have a few favorite bits. Throughout the movie, Herbie shows his displeasure with Tomlinson’s character by squirting oil on his leg. It is just a perfect reaction to the villain of the piece.
The big race has the car finishing 1st and 3rd, as crazy as that sounds. It is funny and only happens in the movies.
The most tender moment for me, and truly, there are tears in the eyes, is when a dejected and hurt Herbie essentially runs away from home and attempts suicide. Jones comes along and it is just a wonderful moment. This all happens on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. It is delightful, in a poignant sort of way.
The film’s music and sound effects really drive the success of Herbie. The car’s horn shows off his emotions and the lightness of the theme relays his happiness. This brings Herbie to life and makes me smile when I watch.
Jones and Lee work well together, and their romance is perfect as can only exist in the magic of a Disney film. Hackett loves the little car, and we can feel that, too.
The Love Bug remains a classic, decades after its release.