- Mater: "My name's Mater."
Lightning McQueen: "Mater?"
Mater: "Yeah, like "tuh-mater," but without the "tuh"."
- —Mater introduces himself to Lightning McQueen
Tow Mater, better known by his surname Mater (also known as "Sir Tow Mater"), is the deuteragonist in 2006's Cars, and the protagonist in its 2011 sequel and of his very own series of TV shorts, Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales. His catchphrases are: "Dad-gum!", "If I'm lyin', I'm cryin'!", and "Git-R-Done!" (his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy's signature phrase).
Mater, whose full name is Towbert Larry Mater (or Tow Mater), is a rusty, battered, dented, old, buck toothed tow truck who lives in Radiator Springs, Arizona. He is the fun-loving constant companion of Lightning McQueen, a red race car. He was modeled after a 1951 Haulital Hook'em tow truck (or an International Harvester boom truck). Although his original body color was a light baby blue, it has rusted to the degree that he appears entirely red-brown/cinnamon in color. He speaks with a somewhat high-pitched thick rural southern accent, has a whistle dry lisp to his voice and frequently misspells words and runs the Tow Mater Towing & Salvage Lot, as well as managing the local Impound Center. Although he may seem silly and dim-witted, he has a thorough knowledge of automobiles, engines and towing and is a fiercely loyal friend. He unknowingly bestows wisdom upon others at times. He's beyond funny without realizing it and he is the most believable person of the Cars World. Although he's not the smartest car of Radiator Springs, he makes up for it by his extreme heart and loyalty. He's got the biggest heart more than anyone in town. He is extremely friendly, especially towards, Holley Shiftwell, Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera.
My Disney Experience
- Mater may look rusty, but he's got a heart of gold. He's proud to be Lightning McQueen's best friend. Mater and Holley share a deep unconditional, romantic and spiritual bond for one another.
"Mater's lived in Radiator Springs his whole life. In his younger days, he used to be a real handful around town, playing pranks on everyone, tippin' tractors, saying inappropriate things at the wrong time, but luckily he's matured a lot since then."
"Mater's a good ol' boy with a big heart and the only tow truck in Radiator Springs. He runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage and manages the local impound lot. Though a little rusty, he has the quickest towrope in Carburetor County and is always the first to lend a helping hand. Mater sees the bright side of any situation. He's the heart and soul of Radiator Springs, and he doesn't have a mean bolt in his chassis."
"Keep an eye on Mater, he tends to take things a little too literally."
Mater is a friendly tow truck with buckteeth. He speaks with a thick Southern accent with a dash of hillbilly twang and frequently uses incorrect syntax.
Mater runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage. Mater is one of the first to befriend and support Lightning throughout his adventure in Radiator Springs. During the film, Mater shows Lightning how to do Tractor Tippin' and how to drive backwards without crashing by using rearview mirrors, which Lightning uses to counter Chick Hicks' dirty racing in the Piston Cup race. In the end, Lightning gives Mater an opportunity to fly in a Dinoco helicopter like he always wanted, saying to Sally that Mater is his new best friend.
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."
Mater is the protagonist of his own short.
One night, Mater plays a series of scary yet harmless pranks on his friends until a blue light begins to haunt him. Mater's final prank is his most successful: Lightning 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 from off of the roof of Flo's café, screaming behind Lightning, 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 Lightning for falling for such a trick, and Mater says that Lightning looks like he's seen "the Ghostlight".
Sheriff tells Mater not to mock the Ghostlight, a creature of urban legend amongst the cars of Route 66. The Ghostlight is a big 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/exoskeleton. 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 all by himself in the dark.
As he reaches his garage, he is first frightened and pleads for mercy until he realizes its a "lightning bug" (a tiny flying Volkswagen Beetle with bright headlights). As he relaxes, a bright blue glow suddenly appears behind Mater 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. However, the Ghostlight was revealed to be a glowing blue lantern to Mater's towing cable hung up by Lightning and Guido to scare Mater to get back at him for the pranks he's pulled on them.
The short ends with Mater finally collapsing on the road with the rest of the folks surrounding him, revealing the joke to him as retribution for the pranks he did to them. 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." However, Mater doesn't realize who it is and warns it of the Screamin' Banshee before driving off, bidding the Banshee a good night. Then the Banshee was perplexed.
Mater is the protagonist in his own TV short series.
Each tale begins with Mater telling Lightning something he has done in the past (such as him once being a firefighter, a drift racer, a rockstar, an astronaut, etc.). Lightning usually responds with a sarcastic "What?" or "Huh?" and Mater tells him the story.
In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament. When Lightning 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 Lightning's sudden participation.
The short series end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by other characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might be real.
In the series' shorts, Mater tells about his past jobs. His jobs included:
- Daredevil (Mater the Greater)
- Fire Truck (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Doctor (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Racer in Tokyo (Tokyo Mater)
- UFO (Unidentified Flying Mater)
- Bulldozer Fighter (El Materdor)
- Private Eye (Mater Private Eye)
- Auto-naut (Moon Mater)
- Monster Truck Wrestler (Monster Truck Mater)
- Rock Star (Heavy Metal Mater)
- Plane/Falcon Hawk (Air Mater)
- Time Traveler (Time Travel Mater)
In the sequel, Mater returns, but as the protagonist.
In the now popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Cheerful, honest and loyal to a fault, Mater rushes to his best friend’s defense when Francesco Bernoulli began insulting McQueen on live television. When Mater calls the Mel Dorado show to defend his friend's honor, the more Mater talked, the more Francesco mocked him, which ultimately lands the off-duty Lightning in an international racing exhibition: the World Grand Prix. When Lightning invites Mater to come along as a member of his own pit crew, Mater leaves Carburetor County for the first time ever.
Not long after their arrival in Tokyo, Mater learns that the world outside of Radiator Springs is decidedly different and its newfangled ways may take some getting used to. While collecting drinks for McQueen, Mater mistakes wasabi for pistachio ice cream and takes an entire box-full/baseball scoop, only to get a bad flavor blast from it. His mouth on fire, Mater desperately drove up the waterfall on stage where Miles Axlerod was introducing McQueen to wash out the taste in his mouth. He then noticed an oil leak between him and Axlerod and everyone assumes Mater did it. Despite his protests that he didn't leak, McQueen sends him away to the bathroom to clean up.
Entering the bathroom stall, Mater gets horribly tortured by a Japanese washing contraption, unaware of a brawl fight between an American secret agent and two Lemon cars, Acer and Grem, outside. By the time he gets out, the American agent secretly slips a device underneath his bumper/undercarriage. The device's GPS results in British agent Holley Shiftwell mistaking Mater for a spy. After answering her countersign correcting, Mater starts babbling on before mistakenly assuming that Holley wanted to ask him out on a date, and agreed to meet the next day. He then returned to his friends to tell them of this development, but Guido doesn't believe him. He then tries calling out to Holley, but she ignores him and drives away, not wanting to blow her cover.
The next day, Mater advises McQueen during the race, enabling him to get ahead of Francesco. Unknown to Mater, the Lemons assumed he was a spy too, and were covertly closing in on him. Holley hacks into his headset, giving him directions to avoid the Lemons hurting him. Mater followed blindly, assuming he was being guided to his date. He later mishears Holley, turning towards a ruckus instead of away from it. He soon witnesses Finn McMissile fighting off the Lemons, which he assumes to be a live karate demonstration. Finn then vanishes, while Holley tells Mater that it's too dangerous to rendezvous, and promises to be in touch.
Mater then returns to the pit, only to learn that while he was talking to Holley, McQueen was hearing him too, assuming he was shouting nonsense. He blames Mater "accidentally" messing up the racecar's moves and causing him to lose the first race. Mater was hurt by his best friend's rejection, and writes a sad farewell note to his friends in upper case poor hand writing before deciding to go home. At the Tokyo airport, Finn disguises himself as an airport security guard and lures Mater to a lounge, where he inquires which American intelligence agency he was affiliated with. Mater claimed to be "triple-A affiliated" and started babbling that he knew some karate. Finn then detects Acer and Grem closing in on them and drags Mater outside. Mater assumed he was getting first class service and was completely oblivious to the danger.
Once aboard the spy jet Siddeley, Mater figures out that Finn and Holley are spies as they extract data from the device embedded on him, which had information on the Lemon boss, showing a picture of a obscure British engine. He identifies it as "the worst engine ever made" but had no clues as to who the identity of the car it belonged to. However, he did point out that the mystery car made use of replacement parts that were factory original and wouldn't be found on open markets. Grateful for Mater's insight, Finn offered to set up an informal taskforce. Though reluctant, Mater agreed to help out the spies when Finn assured him that he would be helping him. Mater then tried pointing out that he's "just a tow truck" but Finn doesn't take him seriously.
Mater joined Finn and Holley as they meet with Finn's black market contact, Tomber. Tomber informed them that the car to whom the engine belonged to only did business over the phone, buying numerous parts to maintain his engine, making Mater suspect that the mystery car was a Lemon. He explained the nature of Lemons to Finn and Holley and identified Gremlins, Pacers, Hugos and Trunkovs as Lemons. Finn takes it from there that the Lemon families were taking orders from the car behind this engine. Tomber reveals that the Lemons were hosting a secret meeting in Porto Corsa, Italy, which is also where the second race will take place, and the Lemon boss will most likely be there.
While taking Stephenson to Italy, Finn and Holley install a holographic cloaking device onto Mater's beacon light and has him disguise himself with voice command as a Lemon tow truck named Ivan. Mater then objects to buffing his dents to ensure a foolproof disguise, declaring their worth of his moments with McQueen. The spies realize he was talking seriously about being friends with McQueen and Finn tells him that friendships are dangerous in spy work. Mater again tries to tell them the truth again but they assume he was joking.
Upon arriving Porto Corsa, Mater begins to have second-thoughts about the missions, but Finn tells him to keep up his "act" of playing "the idiot tow truck." These words deeply affect and hurt Mater, but he had no time to reflect, as Holley had lured away and tased Ivan, prompting him to take the blue tow truck's place. As he is towing Victor Hugo through the casino, he nearly blows his cover by directly talking to Holley over the radio and reading his HUD on Alexander Hugo's wanted status and nicknames. Upon arriving at the Lemon meeting, Mater takes to the sidelines as the Lemon boss calls the meetings via video. Mater soon discovers the Lemon plot, revealing that the Lemons were sabotaging the race by igniting the Allinol in the racecars' tanks. As Finn and Holley are captured, Mater watches Axlerod on TV declaring a suspension of Allinol for the final race in London. However, McQueen announces that he will use Allinol for the race and admits how guilty he feels over his fight with Mater. The Lemon boss then calls the meeting, ordering Professor Z to kill McQueen and fully discredit Allinol. Mater then accidentally breaks his hologram disguise and allowing the Lemons to identify him, but the tow truck escapes after tearing up the place with his gatling gun and activates his parachute and flies off to warn McQueen about the Lemons' evil plot only to be captured and sent to London (the final race's setting) where he, along with Finn and Holley are all tied to the gears of Big Bentley to be crushed to death. Mater then confesses to Finn and Holley that he's not a spy and this time they believe him.
Mater then learns from Grem and Acer, two of the Lemons inside the clock tower that they have installed a bomb in Lightning McQueen's pit that will kill McQueen upon his arrival (due to their EMP cannon being disabled as a result of Sarge switching the Allinol with Fillmore's fuel). As soon as the Lemons had left, Mater activated his gatling guns to cut through the ropes binding him and races to the track to warn McQueen about the bomb. But when he gets there, Finn calls him on the radio, revealing that the Lemons tricked him, and that the bomb in question was instead inside Mater's air filter! As McQueen returns to the pit and spots Mater, Mater desperately drives backwards to avoid killing his friend, but McQueen chases after him. Mater's attempts to warn about the bomb go misunderstood. As McQueen grabs his hook, Mater accidentally activates his rockets, sending them blasting out of range of Professor Z's detonator. When they come to a stop, Holley reveals the bomb to McQueen as Finn arrives with a captive Zündapp. The Professor admits that the bomb is voice activated, but neglected to mention that it could only be disarmed by the one who activated it under Mater attempts to deactivate it himself, starting a five minute timer. Holley threatens Zündapp, only to learn that he wasn't the one who armed the bomb, shaving off another minute. After Holley tases Zündapp, the foursome are surrounded by the Lemons, intending to watch the bomb go off. Mater attempts to reason with them, stating that he understands what it's like to be ridiculed and abused but becoming rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams isn't going to make them feel better. When that failed, the Radiator Springs townsfolk come to their rescue. In the subsequent fight, Mater defends McQueen against the Lemons with karate chopping some six or seven of the lemons.
Guido then attempted to remove the bomb off Mater but none of his wrenches fit the bolts that hold it in place. With only two and half minutes left, Mater has an epiphany, but he hesitates to act on it, as he acknowledges to McQueen that people don't take him seriously and they aren't in Radiator Springs. However, with some encouragement from his best friend, Mater proceeds to drag his friend all the way to Buckingham Palace, where he tells everyone that he knows who was sabotaging the race. But when he takes a moment to respectfully bow to the Queen, everyone spots the bomb and go into a panic. Finn intervenes before the royal guard could open fire, informing them that they can't disarm the bomb, and orders Mater to stand down. After remarking that London is nothing like home, he is soon reminded by McQueen to get back on topic. He then accuses Axlerod of being the head Lemon behind all this. His reasoning was that the bolts on the bomb are the same ones from the Lemon engine on Holley's photo; he also realized that Axlerod didn't convert from a combustion engine to an electric one, hence how he leaked oil back in Japan, blaming it on Mater, and he'd probably still have it under his hood. Though Finn and Holley were a bit skeptical, Mater stated that Axlerod wanted Allinol discredited to turn the world against alternative fuels and go back to using oil, so he could profit off the huge untapped oil field Finn found. With his bomb only down to the last ten seconds, Axlerod, realizing that his villainy has been exposed and fearing for his life, is immediately forced to deactivate the bomb and is then arrested on the spot. Just right as the police is about to take Axlerod away, Mater opens the Lemon's hood revealing the exact same engine as seen in Holley's photos. As Axlerod was left perplexed as to how a tow truck figured him out, McQueen tells Mater that he's coming to all his races from now on.
Subsequently, the Queen of England knights Mater for his bravery and catching and outsmarting the evil lemon boss. Afterwards, Mater and his friends return to Radiator Springs, where he tells everyone a tall tale like story of his adventure. Though Van doesn't believe a word of it, Finn and Holley show up to prove it. Mater then introduces Finn to everyone. He tries to introduce his friends to Holley but Holley cuts him off, announcing herself as Mater's girlfriend (to Guido's shock). Mater was then pleased to see that Holley receives a dent from their London adventure and decide to emulate him by keeping it.
While watching the unofficial Radiator Springs Grand Prix, Finn and Holley reveal that they want to recruit Mater for another mission, but he declines, preferring to stay home. The spy cars respect his decision. Finn says that Mater is the smartest most honest chap that they ever met. Then Holley said, don't forget, massively charming. Holley promises to come back and take him out for their first date and Finn offers to give Mater any favour he asks. Mater cashes in on that favour as he receives his rocket boosters back and joins the race.
During the credits, Mater joins McQueen on a world tour before eventually coming home.
Mater makes his first appearance in Cars: The Video Game as the announcer of the Radiator Springs Grand Prix, which later turns out to be a dream by McQueen. In the Tractor Tipping minigame, McQueen asks Mater to go tractor tipping, which he agrees, surprised that McQueen would want to go tractor tipping because he thought that McQueen was frightened of Frank. He is then controlled by the player in the minigame.
He later teaches McQueen how to drive backwards, by setting out a course, where McQueen has to turn around and drive backwards at the same time as him on certain straights. After the lesson, Mater congratulates McQueen, and calls him "Mr. Gintil", which he was trying to spell his name backwards, only to be corrected by McQueen that it is "Litnig" forwards.
In Ornament Valley, Mater prepares for a race at the Rustbucket Stadium, by banging into a wall on purpose. McQueen comes along, telling him that most cars do not bang into walls on purpose, making Mater explain about the Rustbucket Race-O-Rama. One of his cousins, Tommy Joe, then appears, banging into McQueen, angering him before Mater explains that it is just Tommy's way of greeting. He asks McQueen to help out in the race, only to be saddened when McQueen decides to sit it out. After winning the race, Mater receives a boost tank, which he gives to McQueen.
In the final chapter of the game, he is one of the announcers of the races in Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley and Tailfin Pass, alongside Darrell Cartrip. After McQueen wins the Piston Cup, Mater joins him and Sally on a drive along the road outside of Radiator Springs.
Mater appears in several of the activities in Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures. In Fill `Er Up, he is one of the customers who come to Flo's V8 Cafe. Tow the Line has him towing his cousins around his yard without bumping into the line and fences. He suggests to McQueen to go tractor tipping in Tractor Roundup, which both of them are controlled in different levels as the player has to make them tip tractors. In Chopper-Hopper, he takes a ride in Rotor Turbosky, the Dinoco helicopter. He is also one of the characters who can be raced against in Legends Race mode.
- Zero to 60: 10 seconds
- Engine: V-8 with two-barrel carburetor
- Horsepower: 200
- Top speed: 90 mph (144 km/h)
- Species: 1951 Haulital Hook'em/Haunted Hook
- Hometown: Radiator Springs
Weaponry and Gadgets
In Cars 2, since Mater plays a role in a spy affair, he is added several gadgets, however not as spectacular as those of Finn McMissile or Holley Shiftwell. Since Mater is not familiar with his gadgets, they are activated by voice commands.
- Deployable machine guns: One on each side. Deployed when Mater uses his catchphrase "Dad-gum."
- Twin rockets: Give Mater a powerful boost, and can serve to direct himself when gliding.
- Deployable paraglider: Of an orange color, it permits Mater to glide in the air. When used with his rockets, this gadget permits Mater to direct himself more precisely.
- Deployable holographic disguise emitter: Disguised as the flashing light on the roof. The device instantaneously makes a disguise all around Mater, and may even simulate supplementary volume or hide some.
- Heads-up Display: Installed into his eyes, Mater's HUD allows him to predict the probabilities of a casino's games and identify criminal cars' names, nicknames and wanted status. This display is completely invisible from the outside.
At the end of Cars 2, it appears Mater was removed of all his gadgets. However, he obtained the favor to keep his twin rockets.
Mater appears in Disney's Hollywood Studios along with McQueen, both as "drive-around" characters and in a sequence added to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show to tie-in with Cars 2. Mater also appears in some Disney on Ice shows. Mater hosts Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and appears in Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, A figure of Mater also appears at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Paris and the Cars Race Rally attraction watching over the action.
- Mater shares the same personality as Dory from Finding Nemo, as they are both loyal, forgetful and funny.
- Mater's license plate is A113, a recurring joke in Pixar films.
- Mater, along with other countless versions of him, have been released in the Cars, Cars Toons and Cars 2 Die-Cast Lines.
- Mater is also very similar to Raymond in the movie Rain Man because just like Raymond, Mater is a high functioning autistic/idiot-savant, as John Lasseter has said so in many Cars 2 interviews.
- John Lasseter has said that Mater is the modern-day Goofy character because he's so down right funny and lovable.
- John Lasseter has also said that Mater is the greatest best friend that anybody could ever have.
- Mater and Ivan are the only characters in Cars 2 that are tow trucks.
- During the credits' roll of Cars 2, Mater's passport scrolls past. His birth date is listed on it. It turns out to be the same as John Lasseter's: January 12, 1957.
- During the last section of the World Grand Prix, Mater is described as the world's greatest backwards driver.
- His first or given name is 'Towbert' or Tow and his last or surname is 'Mater'. Although it is still unknown as to why he just calls himself by his last name, 'Mater', all the time.
- It is revealed in Time Travel Mater that he always cries at weddings. This is probably due to having a very emotional and sensitive personality.
- In the credits, it is shown that he is knighted on Tuesday, July 15, 2011. However, July 15, 2011, was not on Tuesday in real life, it was on Friday.
- In the subtitles for the audio commentary on Cars 2, John Lasseter describes Mater with "two miniguns" but the subtitles say "two many guns".
- 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.
- In Spanish and Portuguese, he is called "Mate".
- In French, he is called "Martin".
- In Polish, Mater is called "Złomek" (z-wom-eh-k).
- In German, he is called "Hook".
- In Dutch, he is called "Takel".
- In Italian, he is called "Cricchetto".
- In Swedish, he is called "Bärgarn", which suits him since he is a tow truck.
- In Japanese, he is called "メーター" (me-ta-).
- In Mandarin (Taiwan), he is called "拖線".
- In Mandarin (China), he is called "板牙".
- In Cantonese, he is called "哨牙嘜".
- In Danish, he is called "Bumle".
- According to the Cars 2 DVD commentary, Lasseter wanted Mater to be the only one to know that Miles Axlerod was behind the conspiracy to sabotage the World Grand Prix so everyone could see him go from being to the dumbest guy in the world to the most brilliant.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Car Finder" (supplementary material on Blu-ray Disc release of Cars). 2007. Blu-ray Disc. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.
- ↑ Michael Wallis with Suzanne Fitzgerald (2006). The art of Cars. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 160. ISBN 978-0811849005.
- ↑ Meet the Mater
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