Cal Worthington, 92, longtime Ford dealer in Long Beach and throughout the West, died watching a football game on tv from his ranch near Orland Sunday. If you've seen late night tv in the LA area, you have seen his ads pitching new and used Fords. I saw him in pitching cars in an ad just last week.
His ads with his dog Spot were are legendary. Spot was a different critter every time; from an elephant to a tiger to whatever exotic animal he could find.
Cal was a decorated B-17 pilot. You gotta' read his story, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal_Worthington
Cal flew his own Learjet between his dealerships and his ranches.
His son, Rod, had a Stearman WWII flight trainer at our local airport in the late 1970s. An FAA inspector met Rod to approve a modification on the plane, and as he walked away, he was heard to say, "If I didn't know better, I'd swear those are car tires on that Stearman." They were 6.00x16.
Cal Worthington used to appear frequently in short cameo appearances on Johnny Carson, usually popping up at the most unexpected times. One time he popped out of Johnny's stage prop desk, destroying it in the process. He was quite a character. You can probably find some of these appearances by doing a keyword video search for "Cal Worthington Johnny Carson" on Bing or Google. Jim Patrick
I was just telling a friend about him the other day. I remember those adds well when I was in the Navy back then, he had acres of cars. KB
Folks who weren't around at the time won't know the origin of "My dog Spot". The dog Spot, which was never actually a dog, but rather multiple varieties of exotic animals, was a parody of Chick Lambert's dog, Storm. Lambert was another ubiquitous southern California TV pitchman, first for Brand Motors Ford City, then for giant Ralph Williams Ford (previously Leon Ames Ford). Lambert's commercials often featured Storm, a German shepherd, lounging on the hood of an advertised car, or walking along with Lambert as he moved down a row of cars delivering his pitch. The Worthington "Spot" commercials continued long after Chick Lambert and Storm had moved on to other things.
Remember him well.
Yep, if you need a better car, go see Cal!
When I was a kid he was a Dodge dealer up in South Gate, or somewhere up in that area.
I guess now that Mr. Worthington has passed away "Go see Cal" has taken on a new meaning! :-)
RIP Cal, My wife just sang the theme song every word in rememberance of him. He was an icon on the local tv. Now if she will just stop whistling the tune...
Larry, Yes he was on Firestone Blvd East of the 710 frwy. He flew on his son's Stinson while wing walking. We saw one of his dealerships in Anchorage AK.
I lived in Anchorage when Cal built his
dealership,what a show he put on for the grand opening.
The area he built in was called Slum town
( Bars, prostitution, drugs and cardboard houses)
this was back in the 50's before statehood and OIL.
Didn't Cheech & Chong do a parody of Cal on one of their albums?
I seem to remember a variety show in the 50s that came on after the test pattern on Sunday mornings, that featured a Olds dealer pitchman in Lakewood name Ronnie 'ShooKin' (sp)?
"Hi friends, Ralph Williams, Ralph Williams Ford"
On Ventura in the Valley
You could learn all kinds of neat things about Cal if you followed the wiki link, above.
My mistake: those were not 6.00x16 tires on Rod's Stearman, shown here, but smaller, probably from an Austin Mini.
This was not the plane where Cal did the wing walking commercial. It was Joe Hughes' white Super Stearman, again from our local airport. Joe traveled the US in the summers of the 1970s and 1980s, doing airshows with a wing walker.
I believe it was spelled Schugan. Ronnie Schugan was Ralph Williams' sales manager at his Downey location that sold Chrysler-Plymouth cars. Williams took over that dealership when the Yeakel Bros. sold out. The Oldsmobile dealer was not in Lakewood. It was Nowling's in Downey on Firestone across from Harvey's Broiler.
Do you remember when Chick Lambert's dog, Storm, apparently chomped a youngster at the dealership one weekend and ole' Chick had to put him down? It wasn't long before Chick was back on late-nite T.V. pitching Fords for Ralph Williams' Encino location with his dog "Storm II".
When Cal Worthington moved west to So. Cal., he opened a Hudson Dealership in Huntington Park. The same town where Bob Spreen started selling Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles on Pacific Bl. after buying out Lesley Lumley Cadillac. That was before Spreen bought a strawberry farm from a Japanese farmer on Florence Bl. "Where the Freeways Meet- in Downey".
Thanks for the clarification. I was only maybe 7 or 8 in the late 50s. The name Yeakel Bros. rings a bell too.
Born in Pasa "Hogan"
Raised in Granada Hills