Herbie 'The Love Bug' Behind-The-Scenes And How A Volkswagen Beetle Won The World's Heart

By | March 11, 2020

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Herbie, the Love Bug. Source: IMDB

In 1969, Herbie the "Love Bug" became Hollywood's first four-wheeled movie star, and the Volkswagen Beetle's popularity persisted through three sequels and two reboots. Herbie was a beloved Disney character, and kids of the late '60s and '70s flocked to theaters to watch his antics in Herbie Rides Again (1974), Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo (1977), and Herbie Goes Bananas (1980). Sure, a VW bug is a cute car -- but how did this one manage to become a celebrity?

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The iconic car. Source: (wikipedia)

The Love Bug opened nationally in March 1969, after a premiere in New York City in December '68. It was one of the last live-action films Walt Disney personally approved and featured some Disney regulars, including Dean Jones and director Robert Stevenson, who also directed Mary Poppins. Dean Jones originally pitched a serious story about the first sports car brought to America. Walt Disney had other ideas though, instead suggesting that they create a movie adaptation of Gordon Buford’s story Car, Boy, Girl. However, there was no actual book by that title, although Disney does own the rights to the story. Buford explained that his inspiration for the story came from his parents who treated their cars like horses.