Cal Worthington dies at 92

9:39:00 AM


If you grew up in Southern California you know who Cal Worthington and his "dog Spot" are. "Spot" was almost always a bull, lion, tiger, and once a whale. Cal Worthington changed the way cars were sold all over the country and inspired caricatures like (my personal favorite) "Crazy Ernie" in the film UHF. The jingle that accompanied every commercial "Go see Cal, Go see Cal, Go see Cal" (it did sound like "Pussy Cow") was burned into your memory along with images of Cal riding a cow or playing with a big cat that was perched on the hood of a used car. 

Worthington died on Sunday September 8th while watching football at his ranch north of Sacramento, according to his attorney, Larry Miles.


Official Obituary via the LA Times:

Calvin Coolidge Worthington was born in Bly, Okla., on Nov. 27, 1920, and grew up in the poverty of the Dust Bowl, the seventh of nine children. His home had no running water and was heated by a wood stove. His father, a man who, Worthington once remarked, "couldn't sell eyes to a blind man," was a common laborer.
When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces and at 21 became a B-17 pilot. He was among the first bomber pilots to lead daytime raids over Berlin. In all, he flew 29 missions with the Army's 390th Bomber Group, including raids over Hamburg and Frankfurt, and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross. 
Worthington quit school at age 13 to help support his family and worked as a dollar-a-day cowboy. He also worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
After the war, he applied to be a pilot with the major commercial airlines but was rejected because he lacked a college degree. With little idea of what to do next, Worthington, who then lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, paid $500 for a gas station lease. He'd raised the money in 30 minutes by selling his 1936 Hudson Terraplane automobile.
The gas station didn't work out, but his knack for selling cars did. He began buying cars, fixing them up and then selling them from a dirt parking lot near the local post office. After a few months of sales success, he knew he would be a car salesman.
By 1950, Worthington had made enough money to buy a car dealership in Huntington Park. His business continued to expand as he organized and sponsored country-western music shows called "Cal's Corral." The three-hour live shows featured such acts as Buck Owens, Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash before they became big names.
The shows, while successful, didn't make him as famous as Williams or Jones, the auto dealers whose TV shtick included a dog. So in 1971, "I decided I'd mimic them," Worthington recalled in the Los Angeles Times in 2002. With the gorilla snarling in the background as the camera rolled, Worthington said: "Howdy, I'm Cal Worthington and this is my dog Spot. I found this little fella down at the pound, and he's so full of love."
Worthington spoofed the ads for decades, showing viewers his "dog Spot," who was always an entirely different beast, sometimes even an elephant or a hippo. It was during this time, too, that he aired the famous 26-stanza jingle titled "Go See Cal."
Borrowing its melody from the children's song "If You're Happy and You Know It," it wormed its way into popular culture.

You can still by a car at Worthing Ford CLICK HERE to visit their site.

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