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: Why is it the only food we have in this house is parrot food? I mean, we don't *have* a parrot. Tennessee Steinmetz
: Eat that! That's good. That's pressed kelp. That aerates your liver.
[Tenessee's car is gone
] Jim Douglas
: Where's the beast? You didn't cut up the Edsel!
[the Edsel grill is hanging on a rack with many cut up car parts
] Tennessee Steinmetz
: Came over me all of a sudden. Seemed like the only decent thing do. Believe me, Jim, it'll be happier up there.
[Jim suddenly bursts into laughter
: You don't understand what happens, do you? They make ten thousand cars, they make them exactly the same way, and one or two of 'em turn out to be something special. Nobody knows why. Tennessee Steinmetz
: I know why.
: Good evening. Tennessee Steinmetz
: Sorry, the other rats are out for the evening!
: What part of Ireland did you say your mother came from? Tennessee Steinmetz
: Coney, Ireland.
: Good sir, would you say this is a compact car?... You do not answer. Well, let me tell you that you've never heard of a compact car until you see what I'm going to do with this. Mr. Douglas, I have a friend with a claw-and-hook auto-wrecking company in San Francisco, and he's going to work on your car. Maybe he'll transform it into a birdbath. Or what about a nice doormat, so I can wipe my feet on it every day. It's too bad this thing doesn't have the gumption to get up to the starting line this morning. I should have enjoyed beating it.
[kicks Herbie again
] Tennessee Steinmetz
: [croaking, grunting
: [holding a pot full of coffee while using a welding iron to fire it up, and wearing big gloves
] The trick is always remember to have asbestos gloves when you make coffee this way.
: Jim, it's happening right under our noses and we can't see it. We take machines and we stuff 'em with information until they're smarter than we are. Take a car. Most guys spread more love and time and money on their car in a week than they do on their wife and kids in a year. Pretty soon, you know what? The machine starts to think it *is* somebody.
: Herbie's all right. Jim Douglas
: Who's Herbie? Tennessee Steinmetz
: This little car. Named after my Uncle Herb. He used to box middleweight. Preliminary, mostly. Gradually, his nose got shaped more and more like to remind me of this little car. Do you mind? Jim Douglas
: [laughing with him
] Whatever you say, Tennessee.
: I'm not saying a mechanical thing, can't be a friend. Like when, I was broke one summer, and there was this giant claw-machine in the Sutro amusement park, and it would grab cameras and watches and drop 'em down a hole to me, and I would hock 'em and buy lunch. You followin' me? Jim Douglas
: Yeah, yeah... I think you were up on that mountaintop too long. Tennessee Steinmetz
: Contrariwise, the traffic light down the street hates my guts. I don't know why, but in the last six months, I haven't caught anything but a stop signal. And it makes me wait SIX SECONDS LONGER than anybody else; I timed it! 'Course, those things like that happen to lots of other people, too, but the other people, they don't tell no other people, because the other people, they'd say, "Hey-ey-ey-ey-ey." Jim Douglas
: Tennessee, that traffic light is a lot of nuts and bolts. This little car, a lot of nuts and bolts. Everything explains itself one way or the other.
: [Thorndyke's car blares by, with a bear sitting in Havershaw's place in the passenger seat
] Who's the guy in the fur-coat?
: [to Jim, about the not-yet-named "Herbie" white VW bug
] Forgive me for pointing, but have you ever seen that car before? Jim Douglas
: No. No, I haven't. Tennessee Steinmetz
: Hey, he's a cute little fellow. Jim Douglas
: [takes another look
] Hey, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I think I saw that car at an agency yesterday. Detective
: Now, permit me to inform you of the following: first, say nothing that would jeopardize your constitutional rights. And second, the minute that you get downtown, I would advise that you find a good lawyer. Shall we go? Jim Douglas
: Go? What for? Detective
: On suspicion of grand theft. Jim Douglas
: Now wait a minute, there's something cockeyed about this. How did that little car get here? Detective
: I share your curiosity. Shall we go?
[Thorndyke's car nudged Herbie so that one of its wheels comes off
] Tennessee Steinmetz
: [seeing wheel
] Hey! Where'd that wheel come from?
: It's a matter of talking their language. You have a little feel for tradition and some courtesy, you'd be surprised, you can unscrew the "unscrutable".