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|Written by||Larz Bourne
|Directed by||William Hanna
|Voices of||Daws Butler
|Narrated by||Dave Willock|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||17 (34 segments)|
|Running time||20 minutes|
|Distributor||Taft Broadcasting (1968–86)|
|Original run||September 14, 1968– September 5, 1970|
|Followed by||The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (1969–1971)
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1969–1971)
|Related shows||Yogi's Space Race (1978–1979)
Yogi's Treasure Hunt (1985–1986)
Wacky Races is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera. The series, inspired by the 1965 slapstick comedy film The Great Race, features 11 different cars racing against each other in various road rallies throughout North America, with each driver hoping to win the title of the "World's Wackiest Racer." Wacky Races ran on CBS from September 14, 1968, to January 4, 1969. Seventeen episodes were produced, with each episode featuring two different races.
The cartoon had an unusually large number of regular characters, with twenty-three people and animals spread among the 11 race cars. Reruns of the series currently air several times a day on Cartoon Network's classic animation network Boomerang.
One of the unused plans for the series was that the races would be part of a live-action quiz show made by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley Productions in which contestants would bet on which Wacky Racer would cross the finish line first. Although the game show concept was eventually scrapped, the series still retained a Hanna-Barbera/Heatter-Quigley dual production credit.
It is one of the few Heatter-Quigley series not currently owned by successor company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio where the Hanna-Barbera team got its start with Puss Gets the Boot. In 1988, a made-for-TV movie, Around the World with the Wacky Racers, was planned as part of Hanna-Barbera's Superstars 10 series of TV movies, but it never got past the concept stage.
Characters and vehicles 
Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine #00 (The Double Zero) 
The villains of the series, in a purple, rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly. Dastardly (voiced by Paul Winchell, in a manner that Winchell would use several years later to portray the Smurfs' nemesis Gargamel) is an archetypal mustache-twirling villain; Muttley (voiced by Don Messick) is his trademark wheezily snickering, anthropomorphic dog henchman. Dastardly concocts plans and traps in order to maintain a lead, but most of his plans backfire, causing him to finish in last place.
Because of this, Dastardly has never won a Wacky Race or even officially finished in the top three. In fact, he has only crossed the line five times: thrice in last place, once in fifth place (beating the Surplus Special) and even once in first place (but in the replay was "disqualified for stretching a point"). He is often foiled by the finishing line itself, where he makes a sprint at the end to gain the lead but while sneering and looking behind him at the other competitors fails to notice that parts protruding from the Mean Machine (often sails or rockets) are too big to get under the finish banner and he subsequently crashes into it. Dick Dastardly and Muttley would also appear in Fender Bender 500, racing against characters like Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. In this series they were actually able to pull off a win.
The Mean Machine appears to have been by far the fastest vehicle, providing Dastardly with a theoretically unbeatable advantage. But in every episode, after blazing far ahead of the others, Dastardly would stop to set up various booby traps for the other racers and this would eventually cost him the race. It never seems to occur to him to race fairly even though he would presumably triumph every time.
Whenever Dick Dastardly's evil schemes failed, he angrily exclaimed: "Drat!!! Drat!!! And double drat!!!" This was followed by Muttley's snickering.
The Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile #1 
Rock and Gravel Slag (voiced by Daws Butler and Don Messick) are Cavemen driving a wheeled boulder. The Slag Brothers sometimes reconstruct their car from scratch just by using their clubs on any large boulder that is available. The Slag Brothers can summon up a Pteranodon to help them. They accelerate by hitting the car (or at times, each other) with their clubs. Often they directly attack other drivers with their clubs and various rock attacks. The Slag Brothers' character design was re-used for Captain Caveman.
The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe #2 
Big Gruesome (a lurching, huge humanoid character voiced by Daws Butler) and Little Gruesome (a purple-skinned vampire voiced by Don Messick) are monsters driving a hearse-like car with a belfry which houses a dragon, ghosts, serpents, and other horror-themed characters as well as storm clouds. The Gruesomes can summon these creatures to either help them along in the race or fend off other drivers. The Gruesome Twosome are often prone to foul play and use their range of creatures to scare off or sabotage the other competitors. Little Gruesome acts as the brains of the duo while Big Gruesome acts as the muscle.
Professor Pat Pending in the Convert-a-Car #3 
A scientist (voiced by Don Messick) in a boat-shaped airplane-like car which can change into just about anything that moves, from mundane vehicles (such as a motorcycle) to outlandish ones (such as a giant bowling ball). He often uses his car's multitude of gadgets to help out the other drivers if they all get caught in the same trap. His alliterative name is a pun on the phrase "patent pending". Most of his gadgets seem to be defensive as opposed to Dastardly's offensive devices.
The Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer #4 
An air ace (voiced by Daws Butler) whose name is a combination of the Red Baron and the Blue Max, in a car/plane hybrid that is capable of limited flight, usually just enough to leapfrog over racers or obstacles in its path. The Haybailer has a mounted machine gun which is used sporadically. The machine gun can fire bullets, pepper, and other substances. The Haybailer's transformation from plane to car seems to have significantly weakened its flying ability, and Max often has to bail out when the Haybailer breaks down. The character and name of his vehicle are partially derived from the barnstorming stuntmen of the 1920s.
Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat #5 
Penelope Pitstop (voiced by Janet Waldo) is the lone female among the Wacky Racers. She is a Southern belle dressed in a 1930s racing costume. The Compact Pussycat is a fancy pink convertible fitted out with all manner of girlie beauty supplies—effectively, a beauty parlor on wheels. Penelope often takes time during the race to maintain her appearance, which causes the other racers to lose ground when her gadgets malfunction. The other male racers are very chivalrous towards her, and rarely attack her car, sometimes even allowing her to pass them. Turbo Terrific driver Peter Perfect is particularly fond of her, frequently calling her "Pretty Penny". Penelope also had her own cartoon, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, which featured the Ant Hill Mob.
Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special #6 
Two soldiers, one a sergeant (voiced by Daws Butler) and the other a private (voiced by Paul Winchell), racing in an army tank/jeep hybrid with a small steamroller‘s wheel attached to the front. The Army Surplus Special makes use of its tank facilities while racing, including its cannon, which can spin around to face forward or back, and the hatch, where Sergeant Blast rides. The Surplus Special is equipped with a supply of land mines and back-mounted thrusters. The Surplus Special fires its gun backwards to propel itself forwards for extra speed. As their names suggest, Private Meekly is very meek and merely follows orders without question, while Sergeant Blast "blasts" orders in a stereotypical drill-sergeant voice.
The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb #7 
The Bulletproof Bomb (occasionally referred to as the "Roaring Plenties") is a 1920s limousine sedan, driven by a group of seven pint-sized gangsters all of whom sit in the front seat: leader Clyde (voiced by Paul Winchell), Ring-A-Ding (voiced by Don Messick), and five others. Clyde is a pastiche of Edward G. Robinson's character in the film Little Caesar and of the male half of Bonnie and Clyde. Their usual method of improving the speed of their car is "Getaway Power", which is achieved by extending their feet through the floor of the car and running, much like Fred Flinstone's method of propelling his "cave car" in his own series. On occasion the Ant Hill Mob would use their tommy guns against the other racers.
The Ant Hill Mob reappeared in the spin-off series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, with Clyde in a silver outfit and his wingmen, with new names, wearing blue outfits and riding in a living car, Chugga-Boom. The Mob were the protagonists in this series, along with Penelope herself, and were constantly rushing to her rescue.
Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chuggabug #8 
Luke (voiced by John Stephenson) is a hillbilly who tends to drive steering with his feet while half-asleep, in one episode he refers to himself as Dog-Nosed Luke; Blubber (also voiced by Stephenson) is his timid pet bear, clad in a scarf and early aviator's helmet with goggles. The Chuggabug is constructed of wood and is powered by a coal-fired pot-bellied stove in the rear of the vehicle. The stove can be prone to exploding, usually if another competitor blocks the exhaust. Luke tends to use low-tech means of improving the performance of his car. He pours various liquors into the stove for a quick speed boost (but the stove would often explode afterward). He has also been shown using various balloons and gum type traps.
Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific #9 
A gentleman driver (voiced by Daws Butler) driving a dragster. The Turbo Terrific, despite its name and Peter's adulation, is highly unreliable; it often falls to pieces in the middle of a race, usually after Peter praises it for how well it is doing. Peter Perfect has a crush on Penelope "Pretty Penny" Pitstop, who often returns his affections. The Turbo Terrific seems to be able to sprout an additional four rear wheels, giving eight wheels in total, for extra speed.
Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzzwagon #10 
Rufus Ruffcut (again, voiced by Daws Butler) is a tough, muscle-bound lumberjack, while Sawtooth (voiced by Paul Winchell) is his anthropomorphic pet beaver. The Buzzwagon is a wagon made of logs, with buzzsaws for wheels, hence its name. The buzzsaws gave the car the ability to cut through almost anything, destroying the object in the process. For instance, in one race through a densely wooded area with a route full of long curves, Ruffcut is able to temporarily take the lead by carving straight line shortcuts through the foliage.
The Narrator 
Every episode is introduced and commented on by an unseen Narrator (voice by Dave Willock), who often communicates with the racers as they drive. The racers respond by speaking to the audience, breaking the fourth wall. Dick Dastardly has oddly nicknamed the Narrator 'Boopsie', used as a female character's nickname in Doonesbury shortly thereafter.
The other characters seem to get on with each other, they are often seen (especially Pat Pending and usually Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop) helping each other out of traps set by Dastardly. They also at times use "dirty tricks" on each other (Army Surplus shooting other cars or Gruesome Twosome using their Dragon). Some of these tricks are as bad as Dastardly's, but they seem to get away with them.
Voice cast 
- Daws Butler – Rock Slag, Big Gruesome, Red Max, Sergeant Blast, Peter Perfect, Rufus Ruffcut
- Don Messick – Muttley, Gravel Slag, Little Gruesome, Professor Pat Pending, Ring-a-Ding,
- John Stephenson – Luke and Blubber Bear
- Janet Waldo – Penelope Pitstop
- Paul Winchell – Dick Dastardly, Private Meekly, Clyde, Sawtooth
- Dave Willock – Narrator
|Episode #||Episode title||Original airdate|
|WR-1||See-Saw to Arkansas (35–1)
Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist (35–2)
|WR-2||Why Oh Why Wyoming (35–3)||9/21/1968|
|WR-3||Mish-Mash Missouri Dash (35–6)||9/28/1968|
|WR-4||Baja-Ha-Ha Race (35–11)
Real Gone Ape (35–8)
|WR-5||Scout Scatter (35–7)
Free Wheeling to Wheeling (35–10)
|WR-6||By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs (35–9)
The Speedy Arkansas Traveler (35–12)
|WR-7||The Zippy Mississippi Race (35–15)
Traffic Jambalaya (35–17)
|WR-8||Hot Race at Chillicothe (35–16)
The Wrong Lumber Race (35–18)
|WR-9||Rhode Island Road Race (35–19)
The Great Cold Rush Race (35–13)
|WR-10||Wacky Race to Ripsaw (35–20)
Oils Well That Ends Well (35–21)
|WR-11||Whizzin' to Washington (35–22)
The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby (35–24)
|WR-12||Eeny, Miny Missouri Go! (35–14)
The Super Silly Swamp Sprint (35–23)
|WR-13||The Dopey Dakota Derby (35–27)
Dash to Delaware (35–26)
|WR-14||Speeding for Smogland (35–28)
Race Rally to Raleigh (35–25)
|WR-15||Ballpoint, Penn. or Bust! (35–30)
Fast Track to Hackensack (35–29)
|WR-16||The Ski Resort Road Race (35–33)
Overseas Hi-Way Race (35–34)
|WR-17||Race to Racine (35–31)
The Carlsbad or Bust Bash (35–32)
Spin-offs and similar series 
Penelope Pitstop and the Ant Hill Mob were spun off into another cartoon series in 1969 titled The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. In the same year, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were given a spin-off series titled Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. The series is sometimes mistakenly known as Stop The Pigeon, after the show's working title and theme song. Both series ran for two seasons.
The basic ideas behind Wacky Races and some of the characters were used again by Hanna-Barbera in later years:
- The new character of Mumbly (star of the 1976 The Mumbly Cartoon Show) bears a strong resemblance to Muttley.
- The new character of Captain Caveman (star of the 1977 Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels series) bears a strong resemblance to the Slag Brothers.
- In 1977, Mumbly (who, in contrast to his role as a detective on his solo series, is now depicted as a villain) and Dread Baron (who strongly resembles Dick Dastardly) became the leaders of the Really Rottens team on the Laff-A-Lympics cartoon, which featured three teams of Hanna-Barbera characters (including Mumbly's villainous "Really Rottens" team, Yogi Bear's "Yogi Yahooeys" team that consisted of many of his friends from Yogi's Gang, and Scooby Doo's "Scooby Doobies" team that included many of the crime-solving characters from that era, including Captain Caveman) competing in races and competitions around the world. However, in the Latin American version of Laff-A-Lympics, Mumbly was credited as Muttley.
- The 1978 series Yogi's Space Race featured Hanna-Barbera stalwarts such as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and others racing against each other throughout outer space while fending off a tall, thin villain (Phantom Phink) and his snickering dog (Sinister Sludge).
- Dick Dastardly and Muttley returned in the 1985 series Yogi's Treasure Hunt as they competed in a treasure hunt against Yogi Bear and many of his prior "Yogi Yahooeys" teammates. Instead of driving the Mean Machine, Dastardly piloted a submarine called The SS Dirty Tricks and a World War I biplane in this series.
- Dread Baron and Mumbly (once again replacing Dick Dastardly and Muttley) return to antagonize Yogi and many of his "Yogi Yahooeys" teammates in the 1987 film Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose.
- Blubber Bear appeared in The New Yogi Bear Show in 1988.
- The 1990 syndicated series Wake, Rattle and Roll featured a segment called Fender Bender 500. It featured Dick Dastardly and Muttley (and a revamped "Mean Machine" that is renamed "Dirty Truckster") racing against Yogi Bear, Winsome Witch, Quick Draw McGraw, and other Hanna-Barbera stars.
- In 1991, teenage versions of Dick Dastardly and Muttley appeared on the Yo Yogi! series with Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo Bear, Cindy Bear, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound.
- In 2006, the pilot for a spin-off series titled Wacky Races Forever was produced for Cartoon Network. The series depicted a roster of both new and returning racers competing against each other. Penelope Pitstop and Peter Perfect had married and created Perfect Industries, the corporate sponsor of the new Wacky Races, whereas their children Parker and Piper competed in the race. Other characters included the Slag Brothers, Professor Pat Pending, a teenage version of the Gruesome Twosome, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley (working for a new villain named Mr. Viceroy, who sought to steal Perfect Industries). This series was not picked up by Cartoon Network.
Video games 
A Wacky Races video game was produced in 1991 for the NES, in which the player took the role of Muttley, sent on missions from Dick Dastardly to defeat the other racers. Another game based on the series was also released for the IBM PC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 in 1991. A Mega Drive/Sega Genesis game was also developed, but cancelled before release.
A Wacky Races game was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. This game featured all the characters from the series playable with their vehicles. This game had a variety of modes such as Arcade Mode, Adventure mode, and Battle Arena. This game allowed multi-player for up to four people. Voices for the video games' renditions of the characters included Jim Cummings as Dick Dastardly, Clyde, Private Meekly, Big Gruesome, Rock Slag, and Gravel Slag; Billy West as Muttley and Little Gruesome, Janet Waldo reprising her TV role as Penelope Pitstop, John Stephenson reprising his TV role as Luke, Scott Innes as Professor Pat Pending, Gregg Berger as the narrator, and the late Greg Burson as the Red Max, Sergeant Blast, Peter Perfect and Rufus Ruffcut. An expanded version of the game entitled Wacky Races Starring Dastardly and Muttley was later released on the PlayStation 2.
Later in 2007, another game called Wacky Races: Mad Motors for the PlayStation 2 was released by Blast on June 12. A new video game for the Wii and Nintendo DS consoles titled Wacky Races: Crash and Dash was released on June 27, 2008. This game was developed by Eidos.
Home media releases 
A three-disc DVD release of the complete series was made available in Japan on August 10, 2001, and had both English and Japanese audio. In Britain Warner released a three-disc set with no extra features, which was only available in Virgin Megastores. The complete box set of Wacky Races was released on July 31, 2006 as an HMV exclusive but is essentially the standard Volumes 1–3 with no extras.In Australia they got Volume 1 and 2 in 2005 and Volume 3 in 2007
Warner Home Video released the entire series, with commentaries and other extras, in a DVD box set on October 26, 2004. A two and a half hour VHS video was made available in the 1996. All 34 episodes can be purchased on the iTunes Store. Many Hanna-Barbara series can be purchased.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Wacky Races- The Complete Series||34||October 19, 2004||
Race results 
The show gave the results of each race at the end of each episode, (the first, second, and third placings are given by the narrator, and we sometimes saw some or all of the other cars cross the finish line). The show never indicated a particular scoring system or way to determine who won the Wacky Races as a whole. However, based on FIA's 1961-90 Formula One point-scoring system in use when the show first aired (9 points for 1st place, 6 for 2nd and 4 for 3rd), the Slag Brothers would finish with 87 points, followed by Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth with 79, and then The Ant Hill Mob with 74. Based on this, the cumulative totals for first, second, and third place finishes for each contestant are presented below:
|Contestants||Car Name||Car #||1st||2nd||3rd||Top 3||Points|
|The Slag Brothers||The Boulder Mobile||1||3||8||3||14||87|
|Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth||The Buzzwagon||10||3||6||4||13||79|
|The Ant Hill Mob||The Bulletproof Bomb||7||4||5||2||11||74|
|The Gruesome Twosome||The Creepy Coupe||2||3||3||6||12||69|
|Penelope Pitstop||The Compact Pussycat||5||4||2||5||11||68|
|The Red Max||The Crimson Haybailer||4||3||4||3||10||63|
|Professor Pat Pending||The Convert-A-Car||3||3||2||5||10||59|
|Luke and Blubber Bear||The Arkansas Chugabug||8||4||1||4||9||58|
|Peter Perfect||The Turbo Terrific||9||4||2||2||8||56|
|Sergeant Blast and Private Meekley||The Army Surplus Special||6||3||1||0||4||33|
|Dick Dastardly and Muttley||The Mean Machine||00||0||0||0||0||0|
To win, one did not actually need to be in one's assigned vehicle; apparently all that was necessary was for the driver to cross the finish line in a conveyance of some sort (a flying carpet or a giant ice cube would do), although racers were apparently prohibited from simply walking across. Oddly, however, disqualification would result if a driver crossed the finish line "in the wrong vehicle."
The Ant Hill Mob in The Bulletproof Bomb, Luke and Blubber Bear in The Arkansas Chugabug, Peter Perfect in The Turbo Terrific, and Penelope Pitstop in The Compact Pussycat, hold a joint record for the most wins, each finishing first four times, although one of Pitstop's wins was a result of Dastardly being disqualified for cheating.
The records for the most second place and Top 3 finishes are both held by The Slag Brothers in The Boulder Mobile, with 8 and 14 respectively, while Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzzwagon have done so 6 and 13 times. The Gruesome Twosome in The Creepy Coupe hold the record for the most third place finishes, with 6.
Cultural references 
- Life-size working replicas of the vehicles have been built in the UK and appear annually at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, with new additions each year. 2008 sees the last of the cars (the Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb 07) added to the collection thereby becoming the complete set.
- The English adult comic Viz had a one-off parody strip called "Wacky Racists" with David Irving as Dick Dastardly, Unity Mitford as Penelope Pitstop and comedian Bernard Manning as Muttley.
- A story arc in the online game City of Heroes has villains named after Wacky Races characters (Rufus of Perez, Slag of Skywyay, etc.).
- In 2013, car manufacturer Peugeot launched a tv commercial for the Brazilian market, featuring the cartoon characters in a real-life universe. The video became an instant hit in Youtube, with more than 2 million views.
Non-English language titles 
- Brazil: Corrida Maluca (Crazy Races)
- Croatia: Uvrnute trke (Whirlpool races)
- France: les Fous du volant (The madmen of the steering wheel)
- Germany: Autorennen Total (Total car race)
- Hungary: Flúgos futam (Wacky race)
- Italy: Le Corse Pazze (The Crazy Races)
- Japan: チキチキマシン猛レース - Chikichikimashin mō rēsu
- Poland: Odlotowe wyścigi (Wacky Races)
- Portugal: A Corrida Mais Louca do Mundo (The World's Craziest Race)
- Romania: Curse Trăsnite (Crazy racing)
- Serbia: Уврнуте трке (Whirlpool races)
- Spain: Los autos locos (The mad cars)
- Galcian: Os autos tolos (The crazy cars)
- Catalan: Els cotxes esbojarrats (The crazed cars)
See also 
- "Wacky Races – The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Only three of the 34 rallies took place outside the Contiguous United States: one entirely within Baja California; one across a substantial portion of Canada evidently along or near the Trans-Canada Highway; and one across the Canada-US border from Saskatchewan to Oregon.
- Wacky Races Forever - Unaired Pilot
- "Wacky Races: Crash and Dash". Computerandvideogames.com. 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Complete List of Wacky Races Cars and Drivers". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- "VIDEO: Wacky Races take over at Goodwood". Chichester Today. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "Wacky Racists". Retrieved 2010-08-26.
|Look up Appendix:Hanna-Barbera in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- It's the Wacky Races!
- Wacky Races at the Internet Movie Database
- Wacky Races at TV.com
- Cartoon Network: DOC – Wacky Races – cached copy from Internet Archives
- The Cartoon Scrapbook – Profile on Wacky Races