Famed Car Dealership Owner Cal Worthington Dead at 92
Famed businessman Cal Worthington's car dealership ads were powerful earworms for generations with their repeated urgings for you to "Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal." Worthington died this weekend at the age of 92 at his ranch in Orland, California.
Worthington, known for featuring "his dog Spot"(never a dog) in his beloved ads, "has sold over a million cars and trucks and has probably sold more cars and trucks than anyone in the world," his website proudly declares. Four dealerships bear the Worthington name, in San Diego and Long Beach in California, and in Phoenix, Arizona and Anchorage, Alaska.
Calvin Coolidge Worthington was born on November 27, 1920 in Shidler, Oklahoma. He served in World War II, and moved to Huntington Park, California in 1949 as a car salesman. By the time he was in business for himself, he made use of the media to get everyone to "go see Cal." From Wiki:
Early on, he entered the nascent field of television advertising, purchasing time for a three-hour live country music TV show every Saturday and Sunday on Los Angeles TV station KTLA, which eventually was entitled Cal's Corral. When television became more established and sponsorship of entire programs subsequently became unfeasible, he became a Ford dealer with 1 minute and 30 second commercials.
By the 1970s, Worthington was saturating the commercial breaks during the overnight hours on four of the seven television stations in Los Angeles, which had agreed to fill their overnight schedules by playing movies. Worthington's commercials could be seen breaking into old movies overnight, from midnight to 6 o'clock.
At its peak, the Worthington chain of dealerships had 29 locations, mostly in the US Southwest region.
The iconic car dealer moved up to his ranch 37 years ago. The Sacramento Bee paid him a visit just this past May to report he was still going strong.
Here are a few of Worthington's TV ads: