Sir Tow Mater, Tow Mater, better known as Mater, is the deuteragonist of the Cars franchise. In the films, he is a major character in Cars, the main protagonist of Cars 2, and a supporting character in Cars 3. He is a recovery vehicle that is the owner and only employee of Tow Mater's Towing & Salvage, located in Radiator Springs, Arizona, United States, where he resides. He is a major character in the entire series overall.
In 2011, he helped United Kingdom intelligence service solve Allinol conspiracy as well as arrest many high-leveled members of The Lemons crime organization including its leader Miles Axlerod. On 15 July 2011, The Queen of United Kingdom knighted him for personal service to the sovereign by inducting him into the Order of the Garter.
He is Lightning McQueen's best friend and loyal sidekick.
He is visually inspired by a 1956–57 International Harvester Tow truck and 1955-1957 Chevrolet Task Force.
Why He Gits-R-Done
- He is friendly, loyal, funny and big-hearted.
- He is the only car in Radiator Springs who never had any animosity towards Lightning (not even after his unintentional mess).
- Much like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants and also Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show, he is dimwitted and even dumb, but in a hilarious way. An example of this is where he drives backwards, and tips tractors.
- He is a great friend of Lightning McQueen and is one of those who changed him for the better.
- Larry the Cable Guy handles his voice perfectly, and Adam Burton makes quite a decent performance as him in Cars 3: Driven to Win.
- He was so popular that he got his own short series titled "Mater's Tall Tales", which included a variety of several episodes. Or otherwise, it was also known as "Cars Toons".
- He has some fun catchphrases, like "Git-R-Done!" (which is actually Larry's own catchphrase), "Shoooooooot...", "That's funny right 'der." and of course, "DAD GUM!".
- Aside from being dimwitted and a simple folk, he has great knowledge on engineering and is skilled with repairing other cars. Even in Cars 2, he was still clever enough to defeat Miles Axelrod in the end of the story.
- He always comes up with fun stuff to do, like Tractor Tippin', and/or backwards driving.
- Similar to other equally amazing comic reliefs, such as Donkey, Mushu and Sid, he manages to occasionally steal the show with his comical disposition.
- For example, in the epilogue of the first film, he finally "found" his lost hood, which he hasn't seen in 20 years.
- More examples are, in the episode "Salt Fever" of Cars on the Road, when he gets his rockets on, he copies McQueen's very iconic lines "I'm faster than fast, and quicker than quick!" and "I am speed!". Another example is, in the currently final episode of the said series, Gettin' Hitched, when he and Mato both do a staring contest at each other, a lightning bug flies on his eye.
- Despite his heavy flanderization in Cars 2, he can still be likable to some fans of the film or just the entire Cars series overall.
- Unfortunately, as said above in WHGRD #11, he was heavily flanderized in the film of Cars 2 where he turned from a hilarious, cuckoo tow truck to an annoyingly foolish and a lot more immature moron. But thankfully, he wasn't all bad there and it was the only case.
- He is not exactly the smartest vehicle in Radiator Springs. It was actually Doc Hudson to be exact.
- His hobby of going Tractor Tippin', while not really entering animal abuse territory, still causes him to get in trouble sometimes (whether with Frank or Sheriff).
- However, the reason why he loves Tractor Tippin' so much is because he is obsessed with fart jokes (this was even mentioned on the trivia of his Fandom page; see #7 pointer).
- Mater's design is based on a 1955-57 Chevrolet Task Force Tow truck once used to lift equipment from mine shafts in Cherokee County, Kansas. The Route 66 Town of Galena is named for the lead sulphite ore galena, to which the series of small mining Towns around Baxter Springs owe their boom and subsequent bust. The original truck is currently based at a former Kan-O-Tex Service Station in Galena; the station was restored as a Route 66 diner and souvenir shop by Four Women on the Route one year after the film's 2006 release.
- Mater is the son of Sarah Frances Dillon and James Conner. Mater's driving skills include a claim to be "the world's best backwards driver," an ability picked up from none other than Dean Walker, a Kansas Historic Route 66 Association president known in Riverton as "Crazy Legs Walker, the Ambassador of Crazy Feet on Route 66" for his ability to twist his feet backward and walk in reverse.
- Mater takes his nickname from construction superintendent and die-hard NASCAR fan Douglas "Mater" Keever, who provides the voice of one of the RV's watching the big race ("Well dip me in axle grease and call me slick!"). The RV's vantage point at the race is modelled on a "Redneck Hill" at Charlotte Motor Speedway favoured by hardcore fans in tents and pop-up campers.
- The character Mater speaks with a hick Southern redneck accent with a dash of hillbilly twang and frequently uses incorrect syntax. The real-life person who was the inspiration for Mater's voice is Harley Russell from Erick, Oklahoma on Route 66. Harley's natural voice has the same sound and same mannerisms as Mater. Mater's final personality was based on his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy, and he uses many of Larry's catchphrases, including "Git-R-Done" during the final race sequence and "I don't care who you are; that's funny right there" during the tractor tipping scene. Larry the Cable Guy spent time with Harley Russell to learn the voice for the character. A Cars "Rev'd Up" DVD released as a 2006 bonus in Target stores describes Mater as inspired by a 1957 Dodge truck.
- Mater's color was originally baby blue as shown in a flashback when he was young; however, over the years he has rusted into a patchwork light brown/orange color with some of the blue still showing through. He is missing his hood and his left headlight. In the short Mater and the Ghostlight, his right headlight fell out as well. During the first Cars movie credits Mater fished his hood from a cliff up in Tailfin Pass, and his hood showed more of its original color than the rest of Mater. But then Mater sneezed, causing the hood to fall back down the cliff. His license plate number is A113, the classroom number used by character animation students at the California Institute of the Arts. Mater is also capable of racing, as well as being the (self-proclaimed) world's best backwards driver. He attributes his skill to his rear-view mirrors and his own philosophy: "Don't need to know where I'm going, just need to know where I've been." He teaches Lightning this skill and is proud when he uses it in the Piston Cup race, proudly telling Chick's stunned pit crew "I taught him that!" This was further noted in Cars 2, when Mater drives backwards away from McQueen (so that he can get the bomb that was strapped in his air filter away from McQueen's reach), he was able to avoid crashing, an act that left Darrell Cartrip saying, "He's gotta be the world's best backwards driver".
- In Cars 2, Mater displays a vast encyclopedic savant like knowledge of automotive parts and engines. He correctly answers a code question concerning the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia asked by British intelligence agent Holley Shiftwell, leading her to mistake him for an American agent she is supposed to meet. Later, when Shiftwell and her partner Finn McMissile show Mater a photograph of a mystery car's engine, he identifies it on sight and points out the spare parts being used to keep it running. His knowledge on car mechanics helps McMissile and Shiftwell apprehend Sir Miles Axlerod, the main villain of this film. Mater is knighted by the Queen, although the conditions of this knighthood are unclear as he is American.
- In Cars, Mater mentions harboring a crush on a girl named Doreen, who he describes as looking like a Jaguar, despite being a truck. Mater would crash into her in effort to make conversation.
- In Cars 2, Mater meets agent Holley Shiftwell at a bathroom entrance before the race in Tokyo. Shiftwell mistakes Mater for an American spy, and arranges a rendezvous. Mater is told by Luigi that a rendezvous is a date, which leads Mater to believe that Shiftwell is his new girlfriend. Later, while Finn McMissile drags Mater along to escape Tokyo, Mater sees Shiftwell again, and calls her his girlfriend, much to her confusion. As the trio work together, Shiftwell begins to understand Mater's behavior more, and takes a liking to him. At the end of the film, Shiftwell comes to Radiator Springs and reveals to all of Mater's friends that she is in fact his girlfriend, much to everyone's awe. Nevertheless, Shiftwell is not seen or mentioned again in later installments of the franchise.
- In Cars on the Road, Mater reveals he has an older sister named Mato, who he has not seen in ages. Their relationship is highly competitive, with both wanting to prove who is better to the other. They eventually reconcile and move on from their differences, with help from Cruz Ramirez.
- Mater runs "Tow Mater Towing & Salvage" and is the first to befriend and support Lightning McQueen throughout his stay in Radiator Springs. During the film, Mater shows Lightning how to do "tractor tipping" and how to drive backwards without crashing, a technique which McQueen uses to counter Chick Hicks' dirty racing in the Piston Cup tiebreaker. Following the race, McQueen asks Tex Dinoco to give Mater an opportunity to fly in a Dinoco helicopter like he always wanted, saying to Sally that Mater is his best friend.
- Mater's friendship with McQueen has grown rather diminished, with a lengthy best-friend handshake to prove it. Mater values every dent made during his adventures with Lightning as symbolic of their friendship. In an attempt to defend his friend against racing rival Francesco Bernoulli, Mater gets McQueen to race in the World Grand Prix. McQueen in turn invites Mater to join him, and they set out from Radiator Springs to Tokyo for the first race. Mater is soon mistaken for an American secret agent and caught up in the world of spies. Agent Holley Shiftwell plays Mater's purported love interest; Mater is mesmerized by her beauty and falls for her immediately. During the first race, while evading capture, Mater accidentally causes a miscommunication that costs McQueen the win, resulting in McQueen lashing out at Mater and telling him that he doesn't need or want his help any more. Feeling dejected, Mater decides to return home, only to be taken back into the spy mission by Shiftwell's partner Finn McMissile. Mater ultimately solves the mystery of the Grand Prix during the third and final race in London, and is granted an honorary knighthood. At the end of the film, he decides to compete in the unofficial Radiator Springs Grand Prix with McQueen after retaining a pair of rocket jets, part of the weapons arsenal he acquired from McMissile and Shiftwell.
- Mater remains McQueen's best friend and supporter, never missing any races to proudly show much support, going as far as wearing over-the-top wearable merchandises. He is also there with Sally to comfort McQueen after he crashes, and is among the rest of the Radiator Springs residents witnessing McQueen ultimately make the decision to keep racing. Later, a downbeat McQueen video calls Mater, and they both have a heart-to-heart conversation. McQueen asks Mater for help after seeing that rival racecar Jackson Storm has a new speed record. In response, Mater suggests that McQueen track down and get some advice from Doc Hudson's mentor, Smokey. During the Florida 500 race, Mater is seen to be aware of Sterling's selfish plans beneath his words, so he buys McQueen some time by distracting Sterling, allowing McQueen to get Cruz Ramirez to replace him during the race. Mater is also seen with everyone in Radiator Springs when McQueen reveals his new paint job, which is a tribute to Hudson. In a post-credits scene, Mater is seen singing and cleaning in his junkyard. He receives a call but accidentally knocks his stand over.
- The short film Mater and the Ghostlight follows Mater's day-to-day activities after things have returned to normal in Radiator Springs. Mater likes to play scary pranks on other characters until a blue light begins haunting him. His final prank is his most successful: Lightning McQueen sees a tow hook hanging from behind a stack of cans and, assuming that Mater is hiding behind it, approaches to foil the prank. Mater then jumps off of the roof of Flo's café, screaming behind McQueen, who then is startled and knocks over the pile of cans, revealing that the hook was actually from the sign of Mater's place of business, thus a decoy. Everyone starts to laugh at McQueen for having fallen for this clever trick, and Mater teases, "Whoa, Buddy. You look like you seen ... the Ghostlight!" Sheriff admonishes him for "mocking the Ghostlight," a character of urban legend amongst the cars. The Ghostlight is described as a "glowing orb of blue, translucent light" that haunts Radiator Springs, and hates nothing more than the sound of clanking metal – a sound frequently made by Mater's rickety shell. Sheriff continues to tell the story of a young couple lost in the area, whose only remains were "two out-of-state license plates." He then concludes with an overly cheerful "Well, g'night." The population of Radiator Springs then leaves within seconds, leaving a very nervous Mater by himself. As he reaches his garage he is first frightened by a "lightning bug" (a tiny flying Volkswagen Beetle with bright headlights). As he relaxes, a bright blue glow suddenly appears behind him and he goes into a blind panic, driving around in a frenzy, first going along the main road, then going through the tractor field, past Frank, then around Willy's Butte, and doing a lock-strafe move after that, until he is exhausted. The Ghostlight however, is just a glowing blue lantern to Mater's towing cable hung up by McQueen and Guido. The short ends with Mater finally collapsing on the road before finally realizing that it's just a blue lantern. It was then the rest of the folks surround him and laugh at him, revealing the joke as retribution for the pranks he did to them (with his best friend Lightning laughing the loudest and throwing in a "Gotcha!"). The credits roll and after them there is a closing shot where the frightened Mater finds he has a huge construction vehicle behind him, snarling and carrying the license plate "Banshee." Mater does not realize who it is though and warns it of the Screaming Banshee before driving off, bidding the confused Banshee good night.
- Mater is the main character in his animated short series, Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales with Larry the Cable Guy reprising his role. Each tale begins with Mater telling a far-fetched story of his past. In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament. When McQueen questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred, Mater responds, "Don't you remember? You was there too!", and continues the story including McQueen's sudden participation. The short series end with Mater leaving the conversation, often followed by characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might have been real.
- In Cars on the Road, the off-season following the events of Cars 3, Mater reveals that he has an older sister, whose name is later revealed to be Mato, living in the eastern United States, much to the awe of McQueen and the other residents of Radiator Springs. Furthermore, he spontaneously announces his decision to drive across the country to attend her wedding. Mater laments that he has not seen Mato in ages and is not looking forward to the trip. To make Mater feel better, McQueen offers to with and make it a road trip; Mater happily accepts. During the trip, Mater is often more open to meeting new cars and trying new things than McQueen, which tends to lead to something unexpected and uncomfortable for McQueen. When Mater and McQueen finally arrive, McQueen tells Mater he looks forward to relaxing on a plane for the trip back home, much to Mater's disappointment, who had actually enjoyed the turbulent ride. They go to Mater's childhood house, where the wedding is held; the enormous size of the house and obvious wealthy upbringing shocks McQueen. Cruz Ramirez is also at the wedding; her cousin, Mateo, is the groom, meaning Mater and Ramirez will become family (upon learning this, Mater mistakenly refers to himself as "Mater Ramirez"). Mater and Mato finally see each other; their appearances and personalities sharply contrast from one another. Mato prods Mater on and reveals their competitive rivalry over who is better, which is why Mater was not looking forward to seeing her in the first place. They initiate several competitions with one another, delaying the wedding. With help from Cruz, Mater and Mato are able to work out their differences, and the wedding proceeds. At the dinner, Mater gives a toast, in which he reveals he wishes to spend more time with; this inspires McQueen to reconsider taking the road back home with Mater. The series ends with Mater and McQueen beginning the drive back to Radiator Springs.
- Mater appears in all Cars video games and with Larry the Cable Guy reprising his role in all video games to date (with the exception of Cars 3: Driven to Win). In the video game Cars, Mater is a playable character in the Arcade Mode, "Tractor Tipping", and "Rustbucket Race-O-Rama" levels. He does commentary for the race in "Radiator Springs Grand Prix" and "Radiator Springs GP". He teaches McQueen how to drive backwards in "Mater's Backwards Lesson". Mater is a playable character in both the Story and Arcade Modes of Cars Mater-National Championship. The Cars Race-O-Rama video game introduces new rivals to Mater: Bubba, Tater and Tater Jr., all of them tow trucks, who challenge Mater to a race for the towing rights to Radiator Springs. However, Tater and Tater Jr. later befriend Mater. Mater also makes an appearance as a playable character and figure in Disney Infinity. He is also a playable character in Cars 3: Driven to Win, as well as an alternate version, Mater the Greater.
- In 2006, Hollywood automotive body customizer Eddie Paul created Lightning, Sally and Mater as the real-life vehicles brought by Mack on a 41-city Cars promotional tour.
- Real life replicas of Mater and Lightning McQueen are shown at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA and Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot (as plants due to the sequel, Cars 2) of Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL. In addition, unofficial replicas have been created by fans of the movie.
- According to his passport in Cars 2, Mater was born on January 12, 1957. This is a reference to John Lasseter, whose birthday is the same as Mater's.
- His passport also states that he was born in Radiator Springs. However, Cars on the Road episode, Gettin' Hitched, states otherwise.
- If you listen to the way Mater talks real closely, you can see that he talks with a lisp to his voice (as he talks, the air kind of whistles through the gap between his buck teeth) and he doesn't say 'this', he usually says, "dis, dat" and among others along with a "z" at the end of a word like "carz" rather than saying "cars".
- Director John Lasseter stated that Mater's pure heart and personality was based on Joe Ranft.
- Mater was the only resident of Radiator Springs who did not initially dislike Lightning McQueen having took a liking to him when he met him in the Impound lot.
- It is noted by John Lasseter that Mater is way too innocent, pure and kind so he can never hurt or harm any soul. He can't even kill a bumblebee without mourning for its life (in fact, this was shown in the Cars teaser trailer).
- Larry the Cable Guy mentioned that Mater isn't self-conscious about how others view him.
- He is obsessed with fart jokes, which is why he loves Tractor Tippin'.
- His favorite ice cream is pistachio ice cream, as shown in Cars 2 when he mistakes wasabi for pistachio ice cream.
- It is noted in the Cars books like Mater's Birthday Surprise and in Mater and the Easter Buggy that his favorite colors are mostly, blue, green, orange, yellow and most defiantly pink and purple (more of the lighter softer colors). He also likes the color red.
- His favorite water park is Kersploosh Mountain (as seen on his blue balloon at the beginning of Cars 2)
- As told by John Lasseter in a Mater and the Ghostlight commentary on Blu-ray (on the Pixar Short Films Collection movie), the inspiration came from Don Knotts.
- During the last section of the World Grand Prix, Mater is described as the World's greatest backwards driver.
- In the credits it is shown that he is knighted on Tuesday, July 15, 2011. However, 15 July in 2011 in reality was not on Tuesday, the truth was it was Friday.
- Head of story and co-director Joe Ranft got the inspiration of Mater after seeing an old abandoned rusty tow truck during a research trip to Route 66. The character was named after and partly based on Douglas "Mater" Keever, a racing fan the Pixar team met during their research trips, and also draws inspiration from several other people the team encountered.
- One of his catchphrases is "Git-R-Done!" his actor, Larry the Cable Guy's signature phrase.
- In the Leapster Cars game, Radiator Springs Racers, and the Disney Infinity series, Mater has a different horn sound. Additionally, some of his quotes are omitted in the Disney Infinity sequels. In the third game, the subtitles do not cover his lines or even some of the 1.0 characters, and a couple of sounds he makes when he side-bashes are omitted.
- Mater is an American, but in real life, only people from the United Kingdom can receive knighthood. However, non-Britishers can receive honorary knighthood, but they cannot be referred to as Sir.
- In Cars 3, Mater has a bunch of flaps that he collects. He has mud flaps, fishing flaps, church flaps, wedding flaps, etc.
- His concept name was Tom.
- He got his name from NASCAR superfan Douglas “Mater” Keever, whom the filmmakers met while on a research trip to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keever has a voice cameo in the film as Doug RM.
- The song that Mater sings to himself, is called "Put it in the Bag," from the Disney's short cartoon series "Humphrey the Bear."
- There was a The Radiator Springs 500½ Off-Road paintjob release of Mater in the die-cast line, despite him not appearing with it in the short.
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