One of Disney's most famous comedy movies in a series ever made, The Love Bug, struck the hearts of many viewers since the year 1968. Starring in the movie is a cute little pearl-white, fabric sunroofed Bug or the Volkswagen racing Beetle, also known commonly as Herbie. Driving Herbie was Dean Jones, the actor who played the character of Jim Douglas. Dean, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease passed away on September 1st, leaving behind a legacy through his contribution to many Walt Disney movies.
Born Dean Carroll James in January 25, 1931 in Alabama, Dean began his silver screen journey as a soldier in a movie called 'Somebody Up There Likes Me'. Since then he had won several contracts, worked with leading artists and even got signed for many television shows back then. However, his significant role would be handed to him to play the role of Jim Douglas, the central character in The Love Bug series. Featuring a Volkswagen racing Beetle possessing unique human skills and intelligence, the movie series was able to attract a lot of attention, especially from the younger generation. Quite close to a romantic comedy, the movie was based on a racing background but with a romantic plot within it. The VW Beetle is still fondly remembered as the petite Herbie, even movies being made based on the car with a similar plot in the recent years. Walt Disney's The Love Bug, was originally based on a book 'Car, Boy, Girl' written by Gordon Bufford. Disney then composed it into a movie and was released in 1968.
The Volkswagen Beetle was chosen after a serious round of auditions! Yes, the filmmakers had to think of what car that would fit the role from a lot of Toyotas, TVR, Volvos, MG Rover and the Beetle. In spite of the selection, Disney was never allowed to use the VW brand name, and the badges were accordingly stripped off, however, there are instances of the label being shown in the movie. Also, the ever-so familiar 53 number given to the car was used after the movie's producer took inspiration from a baseball player he liked, who also had a 53 marked jersey. Of the several Beetles that were used in the movie, only a few are known to be still preserved. The 40 horsepower engine did take all of us for a ride. With the death of Dean Jones, he, along with the movie, certainly deserves to be remembered as a legend in the history of films and automobiles, as well.
Dean Jones, the actor who acted as the driver of the VW Beetle passes away at 84
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