March 13, 1969 – The Love Bug debuts

The Love Bug movie made its official debut on this day in 1969. Starring a pearl white 1963 Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie, the movie follows the adventures of Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), a racing driver who can’t catch a break. When Jim finds himself in need of a new car he heads into town and is caught off guard by an attractive mechanic and sales associate, Carole Bennett (Michelle Lee), working inside a European auto showroom. 

Herbie the Love Bug replica. By Brian Corey

There he also meets the showroom owner, Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson), who is rude to Herbie. After defending the car it winds up in Jim’s driveway the next morning, seemingly without the help of anyone. To prevent Thorndyke from pressing charges against him, Jim agrees to buy it. He soon discovers the car has a mind of its own. Herbie sets out to win the big race and help Jim land the lady. The movie took home $51,264,000 at the box office.

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