The Love Bug (1969) was the first of a series of movies made by Walt Disney Productions that starred a white [[Volkswagen] Beetle named Herbie; a 'bug' with a mind of its own. The movie follows the adventures of Herbie, Herbie's driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), and Jim's love interest, Carole (Michele Lee). It also featured Buddy Hackett as Jim's enlightened friend, Tennessee Steinmetz, who created 'art' from used car parts. British actor David Tomlinson portrayed the devilishly evil Peter Thorndyke, the man who sells Herbie to Jim and eventually becomes his racing rival. The movie itself inspired a franchise that is still popular even today. The movie also pushed along the Volkswagen Beetle craze, as people began to identify with the strange, rounded car that just seemed a bit different from most things on the road.
Four theatrical sequels followed: Herbie Rides Again (1974), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), and Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005). A five-episode TV series ran on CBS in the US in the spring of 1982. In 1997, there was a made-for-television remake of "The Love Bug" which did include a Dean Jones cameo, but the lead role went to Bruce Campbell. Also, this movie introduced an evil black Herbie named Horace "the hate bug." Herbie's most recent film , Herbie: Fully Loaded was released on June 22, 2005 by Walt Disney Pictures.
At Walt Disney World's All-Star Movies Resort in Orlando, Florida, a hotel complex is dedicated to Herbie and his first film The Love Bug.
Many original screen used Herbies survive and can be found on the International Love Bug Registry.
Design Quirks and Oddities
According to Answers.com, The Love Bug was the highest-grossing film of 1969.