Saturday, December 1, 2007

An Orlando Mystery

Every day, thousands of families happily go about their vacations, eating chicken fingers and trying to sneak their 5 year-old kids into Disney for free (believing that if the kiddies can be crammed into strollers, they may pass as 23 month-olds).

All the while, we locals go about our business, sitting in traffic on I-4, trying not to think about THAT one thing… “the subject that shall not be discussed.”

Because we’ve all seen those tacky fabulous Toyota of Orlando commercials – the ones with Tom and Angie and the dog that looks like Spuds MacKenzie.

I like them (especially Tom, in a naughty way), which is why I even address the subject. Something does not look right with the dog lately. Not that you’d expect him to be excited about sitting atop a black Camry when it’s 87 degrees outside and Tom is sweating through his shirt, but I think there's more to it than that. Maybe he’s wishing he could be alongside Mandy fromFord of Clermont or, perhaps his mind is wandering to thoughts of humping Bob Dance’s hot little Bichon Frise, but lately he doesn’t even look up.

So, I decided to get to the bottom of it. After some serious Googling, I was able to find only one article about that happy family. ONE ARTICLE?! The dog has had a longer run than some of our local newscasters and he only gets one article?

Or maybe, just maybe, he hasn’t been around that long, after all…hmm…

The Orlando Weekly did a story on “Mr. Toyota,” - the dog - earlier this year, exposing the well-kept secret that HE was actually a SHE. Apparently, when the bright lights and TV cameras shut down, Mr. Toyota would don a pink rhinestone studded collar and head to Apopka to live as “Lily,” a mild-mannered bull terrier who enjoys long walks on the baseball field.

If the story ended there, that would be great, but it doesn’t, because the Weekly story goes on to say that Tom and Angie aren’t even a couple and they don’t live in Orlando AND Lily replaced the last Mr. Toyota who ran out onto Colonial Drive and got hit by a car.

Eesh. Ick.

I know it’s a lot to absorb and I don’t want to kick you when you’re already down, but I’m going to give it to you straight because there’s more. At the point when I thought I it was all a done deal, I went to Toyota of Orlando’s website to find pictures of Mr. Toyota.

It was only then I realized there is no longer a Mr. Toyota. No mention of Mr. Toyota. No photos. It was like he/she never existed. When I called the dealership and asked for Mr. Toyota, the receptionist said “There’s nobody here by that name” and hung up abruptly.

I called back and said, “Could I please speak to the person who takes calls for Mr. Toyota,” to which she replied, “There is no Mr. Toyota here. Are you looking for Mr. Unbelievable?”

You got it - there’s a Mr. Unbelievable. Unbelievable, as in, “I’m not believing it, sistah!”

She then gave me some B.S. line about Mr. Toyota retiring to a farm in South Carolina where he/she has more room to run, and on occasion Shawn Killinger stops by to see him/her.

There is definitely something fishy going on. I Googled “Mr. Unbelievable,” with (of course) no results. How strange that Mr. Unbelievable has no past - and if history is any indication, there may be no future either.

So, I turn to you now, citizens of Orlando and ask you to help unravel this mystery. What happened to Mr. Toyota?

(pic courtesy of Tom Park's website)


Pop said...

I work at a local canine correctional facility. I do voluntary work ... You know,walking,feeding,watering and cleaning up the "accidents"..
Anyway, what happened to Toyota? it's just another case of inability to handle success. {Please see B. Spears and O. Wilson bios)
For Mr/Ms Toyota,life became an endless banquet of steak and pork chop bones....(hold the chicken please),alcohol, pills and group sex. Tom and Angie knew what was going on but did they try to stop it? Let's just say, guess whose careers came first? The final straw involved an underage Dachshund named Bruno......

No,you won't be seeing "Toyota around for awhile...about 20 years... and dem ain't dog years. By the way, his prison name is Spike.... or Dyke. I can't remember.

Breezy said...

Somewhere around 2000 I moved down to Orlando from the Boston area and the first time I saw those Toyota ads down here, I immediately thought they looked familiar. I don't know what the deal is but for sure this Tom guy and possibly the same dog do the exact same style ads for the Toyota dealership(s) up near Boston. Not sure about Angie being up in Boston too but I definitely remember Tom and the dog. Perhaps they do it for Toyota dealerships around the nation? I mean Orlando and Boston are kind of random from each other. So maybe they film the ads in the same spot but switch out dealer locations. Such a mystery....

Anonymous said...

Tom is all by himself for the last month or so.

What has happened to Angie?

Anonymous said...

The dog is back on the commercials but it does not seem interested in being there. Also, the dog's left eye seems to look a bit odd.

Anonymous said...

It's 2009, and Mr. Unbelievable must be unemployed. He's now a cartoon! I actually enjoy the cartoon dog better. Much more personality. If you see the dog at the unemployment office picking up a check, tell him Palm Coast says "hi.!

Anonymous said...

First they change the dogs name, then they get rid of Angie, and now "Mr Unbelievable" is a cartoon character. Tom Park seems like he wanted the full show in the first place and now he gets it.
Dang, messed up about the "original" Mr. Toyota. Honestly I couldn't tell the difference, I thought Toyota just wanted to not associate their brand name with a Spuds Mckenzie dog!
I wouldn't buy a car from them for various reasons anyway...but I did feel sorry for the dog because you know it was scared being on the hood. As soon as Tom Park started walking, someone immediately off camera had to grab the dog so it wouldn't bolt off the car. Poor dog and now its image is just a silly cartoon and "Mr Unbelievable" doesn't even get a royalty steak (check) cut when that annoying commercial airs!

Anonymous said...

They do the same commercial's here in NC as Orlando with the same people as well. I happen to know the owners of "Mr. Unbelievable" from the Toyota of Lake Norman commercials. I've also been to Orlando and seen those commercials as well with "Mr. Unbelievable's" cousin. The reason they got female dog's for the commercials is because female pit-bull terriers are calmer, as this breed tends to be aggressive. The dog's have been laid off. The company's replaced them with a cartoon. The owner's weren't really informed either; they just stopped receiving calls. Really shady if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Well, my husbands been driving me nuts about the missing dog so I googled it and was shocked by how many people felt the same way. I see alot of posted rumors, but my husband is a retired NYS corrections officer and he used to always say the dog looked drugged, so I guess maybe the guy that works as a jailer deputy dog is probably right.

Joy said...

OK - so now it is April 2010 and suddenly Mr. Toyota is back! We use to live in Florida and now live in NC and Mr. Unbelievable aka Mr. Toyota is both in the Orlando commercials and Charlotte NC commercials! I think 20/20 needs to do an investigative story here folks!!!