Laborless Day

I imagine most of you have something fun planned for today, huh? The final cookout of the summer, perhaps, with any friends and family you have left after 18 months of presidential politics.

Or maybe you’ll be driving down from that last camping fling in the hills. (Hint: Leave early! I hear they’re going to require reservations on Highway 55 starting at about noon.)

As for myself, I have nothing special planned. I always like to spend a few moments contemplating the blessings that the efforts of working men and women have contributed to our lives, our nation, and civilization in general. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Ain’t nothing I am or could have ever been without the lifetime of labor you put in to make it possible.

And thank you, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 296 for making it possible for Mom and Dad.

Other than that, I guess I’ll just hang out … kick back … cool it … chill … you know, nothing. Yes, I’ll do nothing for the rest of the day. The lawn can make it another few days without a mow. The shrubs and bushes are in reasonably good shape. The vacuuming can wait, the dishes aren’t that dirty, the garden will live another day without water, and the bird cage doesn’t seem to be bothering the bird any. So, I’m good.

And as far as today’s posting on Mr. Cope’s Cave? … I’m not really in the mood, ya’ know? Just don’t have the feeling … the right vibe … the mojo.

But, of course, I promised you a new post every Monday, and goddamit, I keep my promises. Or if not, I come up with good excuses.

So what I have decided to do today—in lieu of anything substantive, thoughtful, or well written—is run a vintage teevee show marathon. You know, like so many of the cable channels do during these three-day national holidays. Unfortunately, most of the good vintage teevee shows are already spoken for. We dropped cable about a month ago—more on that at a later date—but I’m willing to bet that somewhere in the pay-to-view zone, there’s a marathon of The Twilight Zone going on. And certainly, someone is running The Andy Griffith Show back-to-back. And The Rifleman.

On other cable channels, not so reliant on vintage teevee, I’m relatively sure you can catch 60 or 70 straight hours of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. Mad Men too, probably. Besides, I’m guessing there are some legal and/or copyright restrictions to lifting entire television series out of Youtube or Netflix or Hulu and displaying them on a private blog, so I need to tread softly here, lest I attract the attention of some bored lawyers somewhere.

However, I’m pretty sure I’ve picked a series no one will care about. It’s My Mother the Car from the mid-Sixties, and it is widely regarded as the worst television series, ever. Ever! And believe me, it’s been up against some damn stiff competition for that position.

I have never actually seen an episode of it, myself. It originally ran from the fall of 1965 to the spring of 1966, which happened to coincide with my freshman year in college. I didn’t watch a lot of teevee that year. I lived in a dormitory and there was a television in the common room, but every time I went to the common room, there was some bunch of upper-classmen there looking for someone to haze. F***ing idiots. If I remember correctly, they were all engineering students.

Anyway, as I said, I have never actually seen My Mother the Car, myself, but I Wikipedia-ed it and read pretty much the entire article—which could very probably makes me Meridian’s preeminent expert on My Mother the Car!

Now, I’m not trying to show off here, but let me share a little of what I know.  The series ran only that one season, ’65-’66. Thirty episodes, that’s all they produced. It starred Jerry Van Dyke—Dick’s brother—who went on throughout a long career to constantly prove he was no Dick Van Dyke.

The car was played by veteran television and film actress Ann Southern. I could find no information as to whether she ever appeared in the series as anything but the voice of the old automobile—probably a wise career move, as continued to get acting work until 1987, at which time she retired and moved to Ketchum, Idaho until her death 15 years ago. I guess that would make her an Idaho gal, right?

You know … in the same sense Ernest Hemingway was an Idaho guy.

Now, without further fanfare, let us begin the marathon. But first, I should tell you not to cancel your afternoon plans, because I could only find two full episodes. To pad out my marathon, I’ve added a clip of the opening theme song and closing credits, and two other short clips from the pilot episode in which the Van Dyke character discovers his deceased mom lives on in a used car (a 1928 Porter). So if you’re already curled up in you favorite beanbag chair, ready to binge watch this dog, maybe you shouldn’t get too comfortable. There’s just over an hour total of My Mother the Car here. I suppose you could repeat it again and again until Labor Day is over. But if that is indeed what you decide to do, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Seriously.