Sunday, March 15, 2009

And We're Back!

LA: A very interesting two weeks that feels like a weekend and 3 months all at the same time. And some great stories, which I thought I would share over the next few days.

Today's: Herbie the Love Bug.



Yes, that's right, Herbie the Love Bug. You know you loved him. And not that cheap imitation from a couple years ago, "Fully Loaded", with what's her name. We're talking Herbie Old School here, the original gangsta.

While I was in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to meet the inspiration for Herbie the Love Bug. (It's just like they say, go to Hollywood and you'll run into celebrities.) It’s not a car, actually – or not only a car. It’s a person, Herbert Hughes, who works today as the specialized equipment manager at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Before coming to USC in the 90s, he worked for over 30 years at Walt Disney, rising all the way to the position of head of lighting on all the Disney Studio films. He knew Walt himself, in fact.

Back when he was working as Disney, the studio had sort of inside joke going with its crew. When designing store front sets for various movies, the last names of various crew members would be used as title. So if you watch a movie like Parent Trap or Freaky Friday, and you see a store called “Rabinowitz’s Dry Goods”, it’s safe to say Saul Rabinowitz was probably one of the guys behind the camera.

On one occasion before he died, Disney and Hughes were talking, and Hughes asked Disney, when are you going to name something after me? Disney assured him, it would happen.

Flash forward a couple years, the movie Herbie the Love Bug comes out. Disney himself has actually died, so who knows whether there’s anything to it, right? Except … it turns out there had been this guy on the lot who had this little VW bug that he had really amped up. People were always stopping him, asking how he got it to go so fast.

And that man – was Herbert Hughes.

And that’s the rest of the story.

3 comments:

Ken said...

Paul Harvey would be so proud of you, Seamus.

Tim said...

I beleive I have something of direct interest here...I have a 1937 Herbert Hoover High School of San Diego year book that has senior Sal Rabinowitz in it, plus, he did some character sketches and signed them on the blank page dividers in the book!!!! I know it's the same guy, as his credits include with his photo "working with Disney!" Tell me something if you can. Tim Beasley 757-589-0903

Tim said...

I believe I have something of direct interest here...I have a 1937 Herbert Hoover High School of San Diego year book that has senior Sal Rabinowitz in it, plus, he did some character sketches and signed them on the blank page dividers in the book!!!! I know it's the same guy, as his credits include with his photo "working with Disney!" Tell me something if you can. Tim Beasley 757-589-0903