Cal made you a deal, and selling cars was never the same

And then there was the tune. If ever there was an ear worm that could get stuck in your head, Worthington's go-see-Cal jingle was it.

If you need a better car, go see Cal

For the best deal by far, go see Cal

If you want your payments low

If you want to save some dough

Go see Cal

Go see Cal

Go see Cal

It ain't Shakespeare. But then again, Shakespeare wasn't hell-bent on moving inventory off the lot.

TV ads aren't exactly what you'd call sophisticated nowadays, but they've mastered the art of manipulation. Today's commercials set a mood. They attempt in 30 seconds to get you to join a club of like-minded consumers.

Worthington was from a goofier and, I think, purer time when the salesmanship was more transparent and the pitch was more straightforward.

This was when we knew that it's not nice to fool Mother Nature and that Mikey won't eat Life cereal because he hates everything. Who wouldn't want to buy the world a Coke?

Cal Worthington sold cars. That's what he did for a living.

But he was also selling something else: A smile, maybe a chuckle. And the impression that he wouldn't rest until you bought a new car.

Worthington said he'd eat a bug if he couldn't get you into a new set of wheels.

You just knew he meant it.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and follow on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send your tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.

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