Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch

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Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch
Wheelie.jpg
Intertitle for Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch.
Genre Animation
Written by Larz Bourne, Len Janson and Chuck Menville, Robert Ogle, Dalton Sandifer
Directed by Charles A. Nichols
Voices of Frank Welker
Don Messick
Lennie Weinrib
Paul Winchell
Judy Strangis
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13 (39 segments)
Production
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Iwao Takamoto
Running time 30 minutes (6 minutes per segment)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 7, 1974 – August 30, 1975

Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch is a 30-minute cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera which aired for one season on NBC from September 7, 1974 to August 30, 1975. It aired on Saturday morning from 8:30-9:00 am, opposite the popular The Bugs Bunny Show. 39 six-minute installments of the show were made (3 aired per show). In the 80s, repeats were shown on USA Cartoon Express and later resurfaced on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Since the show aired on NBC, Wheelie sometimes "imitated" the network's trademark "chimes". This was the first and only Hanna-Barbera series that has no humans and animals in it.

Plot[edit]

The series focuses on Wheelie, a red Volkswagen Beetle, and his girlfriend Rota Ree (a pun on the "rotary engine"). Wheelie made his living as a professional- and quite successful- racing and stunt car. Wheelie did not talk, unlike the other characters in the show, but emoted by honking and displaying symbols across his windshield showing his inner thoughts such as a heart for love or a lightbulb for an idea. Wheelie could also produce any form of prop needed from his trunk thru the use of special mechanized hands, much like Inspector Gadget would later. Wheelie's regular nemeses were a 4-member motorcycle gang called the Chopper Bunch which included the leader Chopper (who was jealous of Wheelie and had a spiked motorcycle helmet for a head), Revs (a sputtering three-wheeled motorcycle who often mixed up his words), Hi-Riser (who was tall in body but shorter in brains), and Scrambles (a small minibike who acted more like the good kid caught up in the wrong crowd). Scrambles would constantly try to warn Chopper that his plans were about to backfire only to be rebuffed ("Muffle it, Scrambles!") and end up taunting his sullen leader once they inevitably did:

(SCRAMBLES: "Itoldja! Itoldja!"
CHOPPER: "I know! I KNOW!!")

Two other characters were used on occasion to keep the Chopper Bunch in line. They were Captain Tough a hulking Police car, and Fishtail, who was literally a motorcycle cop.

Comic book[edit]

The show was the subject of a seven-issue comic book from Charlton Comics, published from July 1975 to July 1976. The first five issues featured some of the earliest published artwork of John Byrne(#2-4) and Joe Staton(#1,#5)

Episodes[edit]

Three 6 minute segments per 30 minute episodes

WCB-1. Get a Doctor / A Day at the Beach / Ghost Riders (September 7, 1974)
WCB-2. Double Cross Country / The Stunt Show / Razzle Dazzle Paint Job (September 14, 1974)
WCB-3. The Autolympics / The Delivery Service / The Infiltrator (September 21, 1974)
WCB-4. The Big Bumper / Surprise Party / On the Town (September 28, 1974)
WCB-5. Black Belt Fuji / Our Hero / Wheelie Goes Hawaiian (October 5, 1974)
WCB-6. The Inspection / The Old Timer / The Copter Caper (October 12, 1974)
WCB-7. Dr. Crankenstein / Bulldozer Buddy / Happy Birthday Wheelie (October 19, 1974)
WCB-8. Wheelie, The Super Star / Down on the Farm / Roadeo (October 26, 1974)
WCB-9. Carfucios Says / Mighty Wheelie / Camping With a Go Go (November 2, 1974)
WCB-10. Lenny Van Limousine / Snow Foolin / Wheelie in Paris (November 9, 1974)
WCB-11. Dragster Net / Dragula / Boot Camp (November 16, 1974)
WCB-12. Dr Cykll and Mr. Ryde / Johnny Crash / Wheelie and the Smoke Eater (November 23, 1974)
WCB-13. Friday the Thirteenth / Wings of Wheelie / Wheelie's Clean Sweep (November 30, 1974)

Voices[edit]

DVD release[edit]

Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch was included on Disc #1 of Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Volume 1 released by Warner Home Video on May 26, 2009.

On January 25, 2011, Warner Archive released Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.[1]

Other media[edit]

  • Hi-Riser appeared in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "SPF" voiced by Maurice LaMarche. He appeared as one of the many characters who were victims of cybersquatting.
  • Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch were referenced in the Psych episode "Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds."
  • The series is believed to have been one of the inspirations for Cars, the CGI-animated Pixar/Disney film.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch - Ship Date, Pricing and More for 'The Complete Series'". 

External links[edit]