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Go See Cal, Go See Cal, Go See Cal
September 18, 2007 11:23 PM   Subscribe

Did anyone in the history of Used Car Dealerships ever go to greater lengths to get you to go see him than Cal Worthington and his Dog, Spot? Warning: video contains music that cannot be unlistened to & will haunt you to the grave.

The roller coaster ride of Calvin Coolidge Worthington's life, which begin in 1920, may be coming to an end soon, and his empire, which once netted him over $300 million a year (in 1988 dollars) is down to three dealerships, but you can still relive the glory days of the 1970s in Southern (and Northern!) California with a compendium of Cal's greatest ads released by his in-house agency, MyDogSpot Advertising.
posted by jonson (63 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
pussy cow!
posted by geos at 11:37 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


pussy cow!

So I wasn't the only one who always heard that? Cool.
posted by homunculus at 11:48 PM on September 18, 2007


BTW, if you grew up in Southern California in the 1970s, the comments section of this open thread over at Andre (the site that shall not be named) Torrez's blog originally written three years ago has become a living memorial to google-directed nostalgia for the time & place.
posted by jonson at 11:48 PM on September 18, 2007


I heard the Trunk Monkey beat Spot to death with a crowbar.
posted by homunculus at 11:49 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


My god, jonson, but I hate you so much right now and forever. (Born 1973, North Hollywood.) Hate.
posted by cgc373 at 12:02 AM on September 19, 2007


pussy cow!

Thirded.
posted by The Tensor at 12:04 AM on September 19, 2007


Not only did Worthington have loads of dealerships in Southern California, he also, as Wikipedia notes, had a dealership in Alaska.

So I had the dubious pleasure of turning on the TV in Anchorage, Alaska and the first thing that comes on is Cal Worthington and his blasted commercial!

I honestly had to look around twice to make sure I wasn't back home in Southern California...

go see cal, go see cal, go see cal! (just don't buy his cars!)
posted by librarylis at 12:08 AM on September 19, 2007


Until this thread I had no idea it wasn't "pussy cow". I always did wonder what the hell that meant...
posted by equalpants at 12:38 AM on September 19, 2007


wow i was just reminiscing about cal worthington, with a fellow san diego ex-pat - definitely part of growing up in southern california.

because of this post, i've learned that cal has the same birth day (though not year) as jimi hendrix and bruce lee. (and me. hahaha...)
posted by lapolla at 12:49 AM on September 19, 2007


I didn't think anything of this when I heard it as "Go See Cal", but now that I hear "Pussy Cow", it's stuck in my mind. Thanks a bunch.
posted by milnak at 12:56 AM on September 19, 2007


When I was really little and didn't know any English yet I would see his ads and be entertained by the animals on them.

I seem to remember them being on really early sometimes ... like around Scooby-Doo and Romper Room. But I was really little, so who knows.

Anyway, when I began to understand English, his ads really began to confuse me. They always said something like "Cal Worthington and his dog spot" while the screen would show him with a goddamned tiger or seal or something. As if I didn't have enough problems understanding a world where "wrong" was spelled with that useless "w" and so on. I wondered if maybe years before I was born he used to have a dog called Spot in his ads that must have died or something. Then, in order to make everyone feel better, he would walk around exotic animals to call attention away from the missing dog.

While watching TV at a friend's house, I heard my friend saying that "pussy cow" thing. I never heard it myself but I sort of felt sorry for him. He thought "pussy" was such a funny word. This was when I thought "ass" and "dick" were probably the same thing, like "shit" and "fuck" were. I learned eventually.

I think the biggest Cal Worthington trip-out was when I went to college in Santa Cruz. I bonded with all the other Southern Californians about the ads but I was shocked to find out that people from other areas of the state knew about him as well. They knew the song and everything. I couldn't believe it. I felt betrayed.
posted by redteam at 1:04 AM on September 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


It may be later than you think, Pussy Cow.
posted by Flashman at 1:28 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


In Federal Way, the only way.

I grew up in Vancouver, BC but Cal and Spot were still staples of my childhood thanks to Saturday morning cartoons on Seattle station KCPQ (ding, ding), the "the Northwest's own movie channel."
posted by attaboy at 2:19 AM on September 19, 2007


Born ('78) and raised in Northern California, which, every morning, I get up and say a little prayer of thanks for.

Then I take my medicine.

Thanks for the relapse.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:35 AM on September 19, 2007


I don't need a car, but I could be in the market for a friendly, playful tiger.
posted by Coventry at 4:21 AM on September 19, 2007


Lived as a teen in SoCal fro m79-82, and those commercials are forever etched in my brain. I enjoyed them -- whimsical, to be sure. And whenever the movie "Into The Night" comes on cable, I love that one of Cal's commercials is playing on a TV - it gives the movie serious cred.
posted by davidmsc at 4:23 AM on September 19, 2007


No! No! Not that music!

Actually, I always heard it as "goosey cow." Which makes no more sense.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:30 AM on September 19, 2007


"$X Worthington and his dog $Y" is still a catchphrase at my house.
posted by DU at 4:37 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Juicy Cal more like it. I assume the tiger and the bear were de-toothed?
posted by itchylick at 5:27 AM on September 19, 2007


I remember these from my SoCal college years (late '60s). Thanks for the memories!

Actually, I could have sworn this was a double, but it turned out I was just thinking of my own comment in an earlier thread.
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on September 19, 2007


I was in my late teens. I was looking to buy a car. I had seen one of Cal's commercials with a used truck priced at $900. I thought that was a good price. When I arrived I parked towards the back. When I entered I saw the truck, mostly hidden in the back part. Still the $900 price tag. It was a beautiful looking truck. The inside was gutted. A seminal moment in growing up.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:41 AM on September 19, 2007


nthing pussy cow!

and i was raised in arizona (before i moved to babylonia, that is) . . .
posted by deejay jaydee at 6:42 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


and btw . . . did he really stand upon his head til his ears were turning red?

(fyi . . . i have NOT yet followed that link . . . lest i find myself whispering "pussy cow" at work for the next few months)
posted by deejay jaydee at 6:43 AM on September 19, 2007


Hey, show some respect. That guy's going to be President of the Internet someday.
posted by designbot at 6:52 AM on September 19, 2007


because of this post, i've learned that cal has the same birth day (though not year) as jimi hendrix and bruce lee. (and me. hahaha...)

Hah! lapolla, you & I have the same birthday. Also on 11/27: the late Chick Hearn & the drummer from Anthrax.
posted by jonson at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2007


These ads were very much a part of my childhood as well, growing up in Sacramento, California.

Strangely enough, I also now have a good friend who used to date Calvin Worthington, Jr. He had shiny-new cars from the lot to play with on a regular basis, as befits the son of a dealership owner. One night, he had a pull-me-over-red Mustang, forgot his license, and was, of course, speeding like a bat out of hell. He learned the disadvantages of driving a car with dealer plates when he was pulled over for speeding and suspected auto theft.

(It all turned out okay, of course - they called Daddy Cal and he straightened everything out. But it's amusing nonetheless.)
posted by po at 7:30 AM on September 19, 2007


Previously, kinda

(pussy cow, pussy cow)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:37 AM on September 19, 2007


Those commercials were almost as omnipresent as the "Adee do!" plumbing commericals -- at least in LA in the early 80s.
posted by pmbuko at 7:57 AM on September 19, 2007


Nthing "pussy cow"; I used to see these every Sunday on KTLA while I was watching the Little Rascals, Popeye, or Three Stooges. San Diego didn't get its own Worthington dealership until I was in my teens.
posted by LionIndex at 8:23 AM on September 19, 2007


Ah, so the Hot Bagel Bakery that once haunted Tucson stole their jingle. It was "If you want a better bagel, go see Cal." Same tune and all.
posted by azpenguin at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2007


I never heard "pussy cow." You guys are just lame!!!! I wanted a tiger because of him though. And every time I go to LA I'm shocked that he's still on the commercials. I remember singing that song with my grandma.

Anyhow, just one other thing I'd like to say...

Pete Ellis Dodge. Long Beach Freeway. Firestone Exit. Southgate.

Take that.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:04 AM on September 19, 2007


"Sammy Two!" was my catchphrase as a toddler. I spent many a glorious morning hoping hoping hoping for a new "dog spot" to enjoy with my over-sugared cereal.

And Chick Hearn, how I miss him.

pussy cow!
Oh, and redteam, I was living in Texas at the time. Go cable!



posted by lysdexic at 9:15 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey miss lynnster, here you go. How about a jazzy version of that?
posted by redteam at 9:36 AM on September 19, 2007


I'm on record with pussy cow.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:37 AM on September 19, 2007


redteam, but where's the bouncing yellow ball!!!??? There MUST be a bouncing yellow ball. :(
posted by miss lynnster at 9:47 AM on September 19, 2007


claim to fame: went to driving school with Cal Worthington's grandson (yes, Cal the Third).

I always heard pussy cow too. Finding out it was actually "Go See Cal" was the start of my descent into jaded adulthood, where there were no easter bunnies, no santa clauses, and clearly, no tigers that were friends with used car salesmen.
posted by fishfucker at 9:50 AM on September 19, 2007


No santa claus? But you could visit him in the summertime!!
posted by jonson at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2007


the start of my descent into jaded adulthood

For me, that meant admitting that A-L-L (♪ ♫ the stain lifter, that's all ♪ ♫) and "All" were the same detergent.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:01 AM on September 19, 2007


I know, miss lynnster, I'm furious about that. I am, however, pleased that we get to hear the instrumental version of that song for most of the ad. It's kind of like the first time I heard a collection of songs that played in The Price is Right.

jonson: WTF MAN?! That's too much!
posted by redteam at 10:02 AM on September 19, 2007


on posing: omg jonson I know where that link goes: to the hills outside San Bernadino!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:02 AM on September 19, 2007


Yeah, it has always been, and always will be pussy cow.

While we're at it, I might as well admit that to this day, thanks to the sight of a man skiing down a hill of cow shit, I will always be sure that Bandini is the name for fertilizer. The video is proving surprisingly difficult to find though.
posted by lekvar at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2007


Cal had a promotion: buy a car, get a free watch! The watches were watches, but they were not time-keeping devices, in that they did not keep time, or contain any parts which might allow them to keep time.

False advertising = Cal winds up in front of a jury of his peers, including my venerable mother.

I think the whole thing ended up getting thrown out of court, much to my relief. I was, at 9 years old, terrified that it would be MY MOM who sent Pussy Cow to jail.
posted by asspetunia at 10:12 AM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


pussy cow.

My favorite though:

"Take the 605 to South Street, Cerritos Auto Square!"

It's catchy and directions at the same time!
posted by Hicksu at 10:36 AM on September 19, 2007


How about where the 10, 210 and 57 meet in San Dimas? I've never been there, but I know how to get there!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2007


Along with A-de-doo and Cal Worthington, there were the Pete Ellis Dodge commercials in SoCal.

Pete Ellis Dodge
Long Beach Freeway
Firestone Exit
Southgate
posted by eyeballkid at 11:34 AM on September 19, 2007


Jack Stephonovich?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:54 AM on September 19, 2007


No, it's Pete Ellis Dodge, 1095 West El Camino Real, Sunnyvale.
posted by geckoinpdx at 12:17 PM on September 19, 2007


You won't get a lemon at Toyota of Orange!

I had no idea so many SoCal people frequented Mefi.
posted by deborah at 12:35 PM on September 19, 2007


I won't get a lemon!!!!?????
posted by miss lynnster at 1:09 PM on September 19, 2007


STEPHAN. JAAAAACK STEPHAN!
Ahhh, I still remember the cleft in his chin.

And the A-D Do guy looked like Larry Tate to me.

My first foray into jaded adulthood began when I bit into a cake of Imperial Margarine and a) It tasted nothing like yummy butter; b) NO FREAKING CROWN OR REGAL HORNS.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2007


Hey Ambrosia Voyeur, are you talking about Raging Waters?!
posted by redteam at 1:20 PM on September 19, 2007


yeah!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:24 PM on September 19, 2007


I wouldn't'a got'a lemon...

You are right deborah, that is the superior jingle.
posted by Hicksu at 1:59 PM on September 19, 2007


I also heard pussy cow.

Recently, a car dealership in Prince George, BC started ripping off the "Go see Cal" line. (The dealer was named Kal Bassi, I think). His ads enunciated the phrase a bit more. However, I was really bitter, because I think small town commercials get away with a fair bit of copyright infringement because nobody ever notices.

I guess he might have actually had the rights to the "Go see Cal" song, but I doubt it.

It wasn't as bad, though, as the car stereo place that used the guys from Penny Arcade in their advertising. They just took an old comic and pasted in new text. (I think the "punchline" was of them saying "Even your momma's gonna want a new stereo.")

But, anyway. Yes, I totally grew up on "It's Cal Worthington and his dog spot!" Living in Ontario, I'm always dismayed that nobody here knows him.
posted by synecdoche at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2007


Excellent!
posted by redteam at 2:04 PM on September 19, 2007


My first foray into jaded adulthood began when I bit into a cake of Imperial Margarine and a) It tasted nothing like yummy butter; b) NO FREAKING CROWN OR REGAL HORNS.

My Parkay never wanted to get into tautological existential arguments with me.
posted by LionIndex at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2007


My brother and I used to say it as "It's Call Worthington and his dark spot!" whilst hoping that Cal's pants would drop.

Cal and Pete Ellis were my first earworms.
posted by goofyfoot at 2:27 PM on September 19, 2007


Bandini Mountain:

Man dares to go where only COWS have gone before!

*cue ski jumper flying into mound of manure*

*cue sexy female voice*

Bandini is the word for... fertilizer.

*moo in background*


---------------------------

And for the record, yeah, I always heard "Buy a new truck for your wife, she will love you all your life, pussy cow, pussy cow, pussy cow."
posted by chimaera at 3:12 PM on September 19, 2007


I grew up in BC and always thought Cal was from Washington State. Go figure. Or, uh, Go see Cal!
posted by acoutu at 3:55 PM on September 19, 2007


I was out in LA for 3 weeks in '73 and this is one of the big memories. Cal riding an elephant:' If you don't buy a car from me, my dog Spot here will come push your house over'
posted by MtDewd at 6:00 PM on September 19, 2007



I grew up in BC and always thought Cal was from Washington State. Go figure. Or, uh, Go see Cal!


it's ok, i swore he was from Sacramento, even to the point of writing an angry missive last time this came up on mefi, which could've been summarized as "those fucking people from LA think they invented EVERYTHING".

fortunately, my assistant fact-checked it on wikipedia before i made a fool of myself.
posted by fishfucker at 6:21 PM on September 19, 2007


that's right, she discovered that people from LA did in fact invent everything!
posted by fishfucker at 6:22 PM on September 19, 2007


If someone said to me, "Lets play a game of association. Alaska TV commercials?"

My immediate response would be "Cal Worthington!"

Any Alaskan knows these three things to be immutable truths:

1. Sen. Ted Stevens is really powerful.
2. Permanent Fund will never be touched.
3. Cal Worthington is 'open 'til midnight. And bring the family and the kids.'
posted by Juggermatt at 7:52 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


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