The Gnome-Mobile – Hickory Corners, MI

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The Gnome-Mobile is a 1930 Rolls-Royce Sedanca Deville automobile used in the Walt Disney Film “The Gnome-mobile” (1967). It is currently housed in the Gilmore Car Museum at 6865 Hickory Road in Hickory Corners, Michigan 49060.

Donald Gilmore, the founder of the car museum was a good friend of Walt Disney and after production of “The Gnome-Mobile” film ended, Gilmore purchased the Rolls-Royce used in the movie from Disney Studios.

In addition, Walt Disney gave the original movie set, a four-times-larger-than-life recreation of the back seat of the Rolls-Royce, as a gift after visiting the Gilmore Car Museum in person before its public opening.

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The Disney film is based on a 1936 book “The Gnome-Mobile” written by Upton Sinclair about a kindly, but eccentric lumber baron named D.J. Mulrooney (Walter Brennan) who takes a trip to Seattle in his vintage Rolls Royce with his two grandchildren (Matthew Garber, Karen Dotrice). As they proceed on their trip, D.J. Mulrooney recalls another vehicle he once owned and sings this song verse.

In Me Jauntin’ Car, Me Jauntin’ Car, Joggin’
along in me Jauntin’ Car,
I’m the handsomest sight by far,
joggin’ along in me jauntin’ car.
Oh, the seats are leather and face to face,
the wheels go round at a merry pace,
and given a horse who loves to race, I bet
I’ll win the steeplechase. In Me Jauntin’
Car, Me Jauntin’ Car, Joggin’ along in me
Jauntin’ Car, I’m the hadsomest sight by far,
joggin’ along in me jauntin’ car. I called on
Jennifer Jane McGee to come along on the jaunt with me,
traveling merrily near and far, she fell in love with me
jauntin’ car. In Me Jauntin’ Car,
Me Jauntin’ Car, Joggin’ along in me
Jauntin’ Car, I’m the hadsomest sight by far,
joggin’ along in me jauntin’ car. In Me Jauntin’
Car, Me Jauntin’ Car, Joggin’ along in me
Jauntin’ Car, I’m the hadsomest sight by far,
joggin’ along in me jauntin’ car.

Stopping for a picnic in a patch of Redwood trees named “Mulrooney Grove,” DJ’s granddaughter befriends a couple of wayward gnomes: Knobby, an irascible 900-year-old gnome (Walter Brennan in a dual role) and Knobby’s own grandson Jasper (Tom Lowell) who has been desperately searching for a suitable bride. D.J. Mulrooney promises to help the gnomes on their quest to find more of their kind so that Jasper can find a bride.

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As the Mulrooney’s, Knobby and Jasper travel to their destination in the Rolls Royce, which is now nicknamed “The Gnome-Mobile, they sing these lyrics.

The Gnome-Mobile, The Gnome-Mobile,
Hunting for Gnomes in the Gnome-Mobile,
Sooner or later we feel
that we’ll find where they are in the
Gnome-Mobile. In the Gnome-Mobile,
the Gnome-Mobile, Hunting for Gnomes in the
Gnome-Mobile, Sooner or later we feel that
we’ll find where they are in the Gnome-Mobile.
As we ride along in the countryside,
we’re keeping our peepers open wide,
looking to find where she may hide,
the beautiful bride for Jasper’s bride.
In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile,
we’re hunting for Gnomes in the
Gnome-Mobile, sooner or later we feel
that we’ll find she is in the Gnome-Mobile.
Oh, the Gnome-Mobile is a grand machine,
the like I which I have never seen,
but you’re not goin’ too fast you big doo-deen,
when I look where I’m going, that’s where I’ve been.
In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Moblie,
we’re hunting for Gnomes in the Gnome-Mobile,
sooner or later we feel that we’ll find
where they roam in the Gnome-Mobile.
In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile,
we’re the hunting for Gnomes in the
Gnome-Mobie, sooner or later we feel that
we’ll find where they roam in the Gnome-Mobile.

Trouble ensues when the owner of a traveling Freak Show (Sean McClory) kidnaps the gnomes for a Freak Show attraction. Meanwhile, Mulrooney’s business associate (Richard Deacon) believes the tycoon is losing his mind when he begins to speak of gnomes and has Mulrooney committed to an asylum.

In the end, DJ’s grandchildren rescue their grandfather from the asylum, Knobby and Jasper are retrieved from the hands of the enterprising showman and then all continue on their journey where Knobby and Jasper are finally reunited with more of their kind.

After meeting the King of the Gnomes (Ed Wynn) and participating in a mating ritual where all the eligible gnomettes vie for Jasper in a free-for-all bachelor hunt, Jasper marries gnomette Shy Violet (Cami Sebring), and D.J. Mulrooney donates a 50,000 acre redwood forest for a new home for all the gnomes to live.

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In the last scene of the film, D.J. Mulrooney offers to transport the gnomes to their new home. As they drive away in the Gnome-Mobile, everyone sings the final verse of the movie’s theme song.

In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile,
we’re rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile,
oh what a wonderful way to feel,
rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile.
In years to come, I guarantee,
a dozen grandchildren at your knee,
and every one of them proud to claim,
‘Mulrooney is me middle name.
In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile,
we’re rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile,
oh what a wonderful way to feel,
rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile.
In the Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile,
we’re rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile,
oh what a wonderful way to feel, rolling along in the Gnome-Mobile.

NOTE: The term “doo-deen” is used by the gnomes to describe a human being.

The lyrics for “The Gnome-Mobile” song were written by the Sherman Brothers.

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The movie was filmed in Northern California at Boulder Creek in Santa Cruz County; Big Basin Redwoods State Park; Guerneville in Sonoma County Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County. More redwood scenes were shot on the 33-mile road Avenue of the Giants, located off Highway 101 at Phillipsville and going north to Pepperwood.

Gilmore Car Museum
6865 Hickory Road
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Gilmore Car Museum (Website)
Scene from “The Gnomemobile” (Video)
Gnomemobile Theme Song – End of Movie (Video)
Film Footage from “The Gnomemobile” (Video)
“The Gnomemobile” Trailer (Video)

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About

Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Movies, Museums

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