Unless you’re leafing through vintage magazines, you don’t run across ads for the Chevrolet Corvair. But one turned up on TV recently.
It ran in the middle of the night on Jewish Life Television, amid the cantors, rabbis and news of terrorism from Israel. There, during a break in “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show,” was film of the newly launched 1960 Corvair making the Mobilgas Economy Run from L.A. to Minneapolis and then going out to tackle snowy Pike’s Peak without chains or snow tires.
The announcer narrating was happy he didn’t have to say “Dinah Shore Chevy Show” again — always an accident waiting to happen.
The Corvair featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, which produced unfamiliar handling characteristics. Crashes, lawsuits and vilification by Ralph Nader quickly followed. His 1965 book “Unsafe at Any Speed” harped on the Corvette’s rear suspension, overlooking that other models like the sainted-by-hippies VW Beetle used the same design.
(Liberals always ignore inconvenient facts.)
General Motors discontinued the Corvair in 1969. Mr. Nader, a four-time fringe presidential candidate, continues to protest random things at age 81.
Ms. Shore’s career as a singer and host spanned decades before she passed away in 1994, five days short of her 78th birthday. The episode of her NBC variety show cited here originally aired in April 1960, with guest stars George Burns, Dwayne Hickman, xylophone artist Red Norvo and the mime team of Mata and Hari.
Mr. Hickman (“Dobie Gillis”) did a sketch in which he was a teen in puppy love with his attractive teacher, played by Ms. Shore. Spoiler alert: Mr. Burns got the girl.
All that AND a Corvair commercial? In the same hour? Shhh, don’t tell the PC police.