Have You Heard of Cal Worthington (and his Dog Spot)?

Thanks to the internet, you probably have seen Cal Worthington…and Spot!

From TV Host to Car Dealer

Oklahoma native Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington moved to Huntington Beach, California in 1949, after finding modest success as a car salesman in Corpus Christi, Texas. Once there, he established a Hudson Motor Car dealership. After that, he purchased time for a three-hour live country music television show every weekend on Los Angeles’s KTLA, later named Cal’s Corral.  When sponsorship of entire programs became unfeasible, Cal switched to owning a Ford dealership, becoming known for his offbeat (and memorable) advertisements.

Cal Worthington’s Dog Spot

One of Cal Worthington’s rivals in early 1960s Southern California car dealerships was Chick Lambert of Brand Motors Ford City. Lambert always pitched for his the Ford Dealerships he worked for (he was employed by multiple area dealers over many years) with his dog, Storm. Worthington upped the ante of advertising wars by introducing his dog Spot.

Except…Spot was not a dog.

That’s right, Cal Worthington’s pet sidekick was…a gorilla that roared!

(Not the gorilla).

In fact, I’ll give you the truth…Spot was never a dog. However, Spot was many different animals – an elephant, a tiger, a skunk, bear, killer whale from Sea World, a goose, a bull, snakes (EWWW!), a roller-skating chimpanzee, a carabao (Water Buffalo), and a hippopotamus. But never a dog.I’d buy a car from the guy who runs with a leashed tiger and lives!

Now he’s just trying too hard!

Cal Worthington (and his Dog Spot!) commercials were a hit and a staple of Southern California into the 1990s. And that jingle? The stuff of “stuck in your head” earworms!

The jingle (to some extent) still exists in current advertising for Worthington Ford, with his grandson, Nick, as the new “Cal Worthington.”

Upload via Nick Worthington

He tries, but he’s no Cal Worthington…and his dog Spot.

Come on, he didn’t even have a dog Spot in the ad!

Cal Worthington’s Legacy

Worthington’s “His Dog Spot” commercials were legendary on the West Coast, saturating the Los Angeles-area airwaves. In the 1970s, his ads aired on four of the seven Los Angeles stations. Famously enough, they aired mostly in the overnight hours during late movies. The Television Bureau of Advertising said that Worthington is the best known car dealer pitchman in television history.

We didn’t have a Cal Worthington-esque car dealer in the Northeast/New York City market (that I’m aware of), though we did have appliance store Crazy Eddie and his memorable ads, if you like comparisons!

He was INSANE!

Not bad for a man who never owned a car, hated selling them, and only wanted to be a pilot.

Worthington passed away in 2013 (he lived to the ripe old age of 92!), but his legacy of drawing potential buyers in with his catchy advertising lives on in the archives of YouTube.

Wouldn’t you love to see those ads?

Go See Cal, Go See Cal, Go See Cal!

Uploads via lugnutsoldcrap

Upload via Chuck D’s All-New Classic TV Clubhouse

And how about this one from 2007-2008? Yes, that is Cal Worthington!

Upload via CalWorthingtonFord

Upload via Richard Carson, who noted that these ads all aired within a half hour of each other on KTTV during their late movie in 1988.

There’s also a few in this Oddity Archive episode on local advertising (Beginning at 22:58)

Uploaded via OddityArchive

He put a smile on your face, didn’t he?

Scopitone - jukebox

Behold The Beauty Of The Scopitone Jukebox!

Friends, working with the Projectionist, I certainly have developed a love for film itself. As well as a desire to fill the Retroist Vault with all manner of coin-operated amusement machines. The other day while checking out some older gaming magazines I came across a British jukebox. This of course was an 80’s jukebox that played music videos. However this it turns out is not in fact a new idea. Case in point the Scopitone Jukebox!
Scopitone - Tel A Sign - Chicago

I did my very best to try and find some footage of those British video jukeboxes. Sadly I couldn’t find a single video. It did lead me though to a much earlier version of the device. The Scopitone jukebox. A 60’s coin-operated amusement machine that showed music videos, on 16 mm film.
Scopitone - Film Reels

Now to be truthful, it wasn’t just working with the Projectionist all these years that made me fall in love with film. I have obviously mentioned on various podcasts as well as posts that film has always been intriguing to me. The Scopitone jukebox is something entirely different than I’ve ever seen before though!

While the Scopitone jukebox reels can obviously be considered a precursor to what we would call the music video. While being low budget they still managed to attract all manner of popular singers. Neil Sadaka, Nancy Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, and Julie London to name a few. I particularly enjoyed the 16 mm reel featuring The Exciters singing Tell Him while visiting…a local zoo?

[Via] History Comes To Life

Now when a patron inserted their quarter into the Scopitone jukebox and selected which song they desired. Within the machine a rotating mechanism would spin to the correct 16 mm film selection. Then an arm would swing down with the projection mechanism, the light would be bounced off a mirror to be displayed on the screen.
Scopiton - Jukebox Playing

Ready to see the Scopitone jukebox in action?


The 16 mm film reel that is displayed in the video is of Joi Lansing, singing Web of Love!

[Via] JimVid 1

You want even more fantastic Scopitone jukebox musical entertainment? Then how about Bobby Vee’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes?

[Via] Lucy Huto