Remembering car dealer mogul and TV ad icon Cal Worthington

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Cal Worthington(1920-2013)

Cal Worthington, best known for his wacky 1970s and ’80s TV spots advertising his car dealership, has died. He was 92. The LA Times reports that he died “while watching football at his home on the Big W Ranch near Orland, Calif.” He was a folksy salesman, who had his own “go see Cal” jingle and always included his “dog Spot” in his ads. (Dog Spot was never a dog and always an exotic animal.)

Worthington built a fortune from his dealerships and became a TV fixture thanks to his offbeat ads. Like many Californians, KCRW’s Eric Roy spent a lifetime watching those commercials, and watching Cal expand his automotive empire. He spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about Worthington’s TV legacy.

At its peak, the Worthington Dealership Group had 29 dealerships across the West and Southwest. Perhaps it’s best to remember him by taking the few minutes to watch this 1981 commercial: