Dick Dastardly as seen in Wacky Races
|Created by||William Hanna & Joseph Barbera|
|Voiced by||Paul Winchell (1968–1991)
John Stephenson (Laff-A-Lympics)
Michael Bell (The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera)
Rob Paulsen (in Yo Yogi!)
Jim Cummings (2000)
Chikao Ohtsuka (Japanese)
Richard "Dick" Milhous Dastardly is a fictional character and antagonist who appeared in various animated series by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Dastardly's most famous appearances are as a main character in the series Wacky Races (his initial appearance) and its spin-off, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. He is essentially a caricature of the English actor Terry-Thomas, and of Professor Fate, a comic villain played by Jack Lemmon in the film The Great Race.
The character was voiced originally by Paul Winchell, then by Rob Paulsen and currently by Jim Cummings. Winchell and Cummings have shared another role: Tigger from The Walt Disney Company's Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winchell's facial structures were caricatured in the related character design as well. In various scenes, Dastardly would utter his catchphrases, "Drat, drat and double drat!" or "Triple drat!" and even "Curses, foiled again!" His other main catchphrase was, "Muttley, do something!"
In Wacky Races, Dastardly was one of the drivers who competed in each episode for first place, in a long and hazard-filled cross-country road rally. As his name implies, Dastardly aimed to win solely through cheating and trickery. His race car, "The Mean Machine", featured all sorts of devious traps for him to use against his opponents. As Wacky Races is inspired by the film The Great Race, so was Dastardly derived from the film's chief villain, Professor Fate, played by Jack Lemmon. Dastardly in this series wore old-fashioned racer's gear — a long blue duster overcoat often worn by early motorists, along with long red gloves, and a large striped hat with driving goggles attached, and sporting a handlebar mustache.
Dastardly was aided in his schemes by his sidekick, a scruffy anthropomorphic dog named Muttley who had a distinctive wheezy laugh, heard most often when Dastardly's schemes failed. Despite Dastardly and Muttley's attempts, the "double-dealing do-badders", as the opening narration of Wacky Races describes them, failed to win a single race. Dastardly's plans were always foiled either by his or Muttley's incompetence, the actions of another racer, or sheer bad luck, resulting in Dastardly crossing the finish line last, if at all. On some occasions Dastardly is very close to winning, but he will fail at the final hurdle. Once Dastardly had an opportunity to win legitimately, but he stopped in front of the finish line to pose for his picture as it was a photo finish. Another time, he came close to winning the race, but stopped to sign an autograph for Muttley, ending up in fourth place again. On one occasion, however, Dastardly did cross the finish line in first place, although the judges demanded to see a replay and it showed that Dastardly had extended the nose of his car at the last minute, and so Dastardly was denied the victory in favour of Penelope Pitstop (although in a later episode, another racer used a similar tactic from last place and was declared the winner).
Often it appears that if Dastardly had not bothered to cheat, then he might have won fairly. Upon tasting defeat, Dastardly would utter his catchphrases, "Drat, drat, and double drat!", "Triple drat!" and even "Curses, foiled again!" His other main catchphrase was "Muttley, do something!" Excluding Dastardly and Muttley, each of the other racers won three or four of the Wacky Races.
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines
Dick Dastardly continued his villainous career in the Wacky Races spin-off; Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. The series was inspired by the 1965 film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and Dastardly's appearance is based on the film's villain, Sir Percival Ware-Armitage, played by Terry-Thomas. Dastardly and Muttley with two other pilots; Zilly, a coward who used to hide in his clothes when he was ordered to deploy, and Klunk, the mechanic/inventor, who speaks a language largely composed of strange sounds that only Zilly can understand, comprised the "Vulture Squadron". The squadron constantly attempt to stop a messenger pigeon "Yankee Doodle pigeon" from delivering messages to an opposing army, often with the song "Stop the Pigeon" playing; one typical scene shows the "Vulture Squadron" planes all converging from different directions on "Yankee Doodle Pigeon" but end up crashing into one another-while the bird remains unharmed. As in Wacky Races, Dastardly continued to fail miserably at his mission, only coming near to success on a single occasion. The series is commonly known as 'Catch the Pigeon' or 'Stop the Pigeon', based on the original working title and the series' theme song.
In the TV series Laff-A-Lympics, there was a similar looking (and sounding) character to Dastardly named "The Dread Baron", voiced by John Stephenson. In fact, the similarity caused the translators in Brazil to mistake him for Dastardly (in issue #12 of the Laff-A-Lympics comic book by Marvel Comics, Dread Baron and Dastardly are twin brothers). The character's name, "Dread Baron", is an obvious pun on the name of the infamous World War I fighter pilot, the Red Baron (he also bears some similarities to the Red Max, another character from the Wacky Races series). In this series, the Dread Baron was seen wearing a World War I-era German fighter pilot's uniform. The Dread Baron accompanied Mumbly, a dog that was very similar to Muttley, only with grey fur, and an orange trenchcoat. Mumbly actually had his own series in which he was a detective, and in a role-reversal, Mumbly acted as the team captain of the Really Rottens in Laugh-a-Lympics with the Dread Baron and others serving as team members. The two later appeared in the made-for-TV movie Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose, where the Dread Baron and Mumbly are first seen in Dick Dastardly's plane from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
It is not certain why Dread Baron and especially Mumbly (who was a good guy in his original series) were used in roles that were identical to Dastardly and Muttley, especially for the Yogi Bear movie. Previously, it was assumed that Dread Baron was created as a substitute because Paul Winchell was not available for Laff-a-Lympics, where John Stephenson provided the Baron's voice. However, Winchell was available for the Yogi Bear TV movie, yet voiced the Dread Baron, not Dastardly. It's also been speculated that there were complications in using the characters due to Hanna-Barbera sharing the rights to Dick Dastardly and Muttley with Heatter-Quigley Productions.
Yogi's Treasure Hunt
In later years, Dastardly and Muttley were the nemeses for Yogi Bear and his friends in the 1980s series Yogi's Treasure Hunt. This time, Dick repeatedly failed at discovering hidden treasure before Yogi and his team. It was in this series' episode Yogi's Heroes that Dick's full name was revealed; as the leader of an island named Dicaragua, he introduced himself as Richard Milhous Dastardly (an obvious play on former U.S. President Richard Nixon). One episode shows that Dastardly and Muttley are the greediest creatures in the world.
Fender Bender 500
Dick Dastardly and Muttley were in the "Fender Bender 500" shorts on the early 1990s short-lived series Wake, Rattle, and Roll. In those segments, the duo once again appeared in a suped-up version of the Mean Machine as a monster truck called the Dirty Truckster (a pun on the phrase "dirty trickster"), but raced against such Hanna-Barbera stalwarts as Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. In this series, they were actually able to pull off a win when racing to Russia's 'Red Square'. Unfortunately, their prize was simply a red square of paper, and not the deed to the Russian capital as the title of 'red square' would imply. In another Fender Bender race (The "Hit 'n' Mississippi 500"), he played on Yogi Bear's famous catchphrase of being "smarter than the average bear" by claiming to be "smarter than the average cheat".
Dick Dastardly (alongside Muttley) appeared as a child (known as Dickie) in the short-lived series Yo Yogi! voiced by Rob Paulsen. In the series he rides a bicycle that resembles the Mean Machine and his clothes resemble his ones from Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines. In one episode he frames Yogi so he can be the leader of Lost and Found. Another episode has him kidnapping Magilla Gorilla.
- Universal Studios Florida formerly had a motion simulator ride titled The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera which was a tribute to Hanna-Barbara cartoons; Dastardly (voiced by Michael Bell) kidnaps Elroy Jetson, so Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear have to travel across the various worlds of Hanna-Barbera to rescue him. At the end of the ride Dastardly is arrested and sent to a flying jail cell.
- Dick Dastardly, Muttley, and the Mean Machine returned as a boss car in the 2000 Wacky Races video game voiced by Jim Cummings and Billy West. They are the protagonists in the earlier 1991 version.
- Dick Dastardly made a non-speaking cameo in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Death By Chocolate".
- In the pilot of Wacky Races Forever Dastardly (voiced by Jim Cummings) and Muttley are the main villains, working for the vice-president of Perfect Industries in an attempt to stop the other racers from crossing the finish line. The series was not picked up by the network.
- Dastardly and Muttley were to appear in the series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, where they (especially Dastardly) would have been perfect villains given the tone and the Perils of Pauline references, rather they were imagined to be the bodyguards of a younger brother of Penelope. However, this was only in the first sketches of the series, and the two did not appear in the final work. At one of their encounters, the Hooded Claw did ask Penelope "Who did you expect, Dick Dastardly?" possibly in reference to the above unshot scene.
- Dastardly and Muttley cameo in the Uncle Grandpa episode "Uncle Grandpa Retires" as attendees at the Big Race.
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- In an episode of Canadian CGI television series ReBoot, characters Cyrus and Frisket (a dog) "reboot" in a racing game into homages of Dastardly and Muttley, complete with a Mean Machine; when Cyrus is horrified to find Frisket with him, Frisket does a dead-on impression of Muttley's snicker. Later, Cyrus would pilot a gyroscopic flying machine.
- In 1994, British men's magazine Loaded nominated Dick Dastardly as one of the "Greatest Living Englishmen," despite the fact that the character's nationality was never mentioned.
- An episode of the anime Digimon Frontier, entitled "The Great Trailmon Race" (a homage to Wacky Races), a ShadowWereGarurumon and his Dogmon sidekick attempted to undermine the other racers, as a reference to Dastardly and Muttley, and, at one point in the original Japanese version, ShadowWereGarurumon gives Doggymon a Dick Dastardly-style knock to the head after Doggymon laughs. On a related note, Dogmon's voice actor Michael Sorich made his laughter sound like Muttley's.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dexter's Wacky Races", Mandark replaces Dick Dastardly and his car as the villain with his car "The Dark Man Special".
- Formula1 champion Michael Schumacher is sometimes referred to by journalists and fans as Dick Dastardly.
- Dastardly was portrayed as David Irving in the Viz strip Wacky Racists.
- Philip Reeve's 2005 children's novel Infernal Devices refers briefly to a fictional organization called "Richard D'Astardley's Flying Circus". This group is supposedly a rival to the Flying Ferrets, led by Orla Twombley, which is a team of daredevil aviators that flies a variety of strange flying machines in Reeve's 'retro-futuristic' world.
- A Super Deformed Gundam short parodying the Wacky Races featured villain Yazan Gable as the stand-in for Dastardly. Gemon Bajack, his partner-in-crime from Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, was Muttley, complete with dog costume and wheezing laugh. True to the source material, Gable and Bajack spend most of the race trying to foil the other competitors. But they actually win when their last-ditch attempt turns out to be a rocket engine. Unfortunately, they are unable to stop in the winner's circle when the rocket malfunctions and will not shut off, sending the pair into orbit.
- In a curious decision by Spanish language translators, Dick Dastardly was renamed Pierre Nodoyuna and given a French accent. The Spanish name can be roughly translated as "Pierre I-always-fail".
- In the underground hip-hop song "Accordion" by Madvillain, in which MF Doom mentions the duo in the opening line: "Livin' off borrowed time, the clock tick faster, that'd be the hour they knock the slick blaster Dick Dastardly and Muttley with sick laughter, a gun fight and they come to cut the mixmaster."
- In one of the "1936" animated shorts on the Homestar Runner website, the character of Old-Timey Strong Bad uses Dastardly's catchphrase: "Drat, and double drat!"
- The 2008 series Headcases featured a series of sketches involving a caricature of The Duke of Edinburgh dressed as Dick Dastardly and a Muttley-like Corgi named Poochwater. In a manner similar to Dastardly's attempts to catch the pigeon, each sketch sees the Duke trying to destroy Catherine Middleton, Prince William's girlfriend at the time, so as to prevent a 'commoner' from entering the Royal Family. These slapstick attempts usually fail, and usually cause a series of events which ultimately sees the Duke placed in embarrassing situations right in front of the paparazzi, serving to damage his own image rather than Kate's.
- A UK radio ad for Heinz Salad Cream ran the "Stop the Pigeon" theme song before ending with "Any food tastes supreme with Heinz Salad Cream!", implying Dastardly was intending to eat Yankee Doodle Pigeon.
- In the song "Welcome 2 Hell" by Bad Meets Evil, Eminem refers to himself as the Dick Dastardly of audacity.
- Yankees broadcaster John Sterling mimics the line "Curses, foiled again" as "Curses Zoiled again" in his home run call for rookie phenom Zoilo Almonte.
- The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Tweeg and L.B. are like Dastardly and Muttley. L.B. occasionally laughs like Muttley and Tweeg once used Dastardly's catchphrase.
- A 2014 episode of South Park featured Dastardly and his canine sidekick, Muttley
- In a verse from the song "Form of Intellect", by Gang Starr, Guru raps, "Nastily, as if his name was Dick Dastardly".
- McCann, Graham (December 2011). "5". Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. ISBN 9781845137564. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
Terry-Thomas ... and Eric Sykes ... formed a very effective on-screen double-act, (which ended up inspiring a pair of cartoon alter egos – Dick Dastardly and Muttley – in the popular Hanna-Barbera/Warner Brothers series Wacky Races.
- "Sports Watch: Come back Michael Schumacher – sport needs its Dick Dastardly". London: Times Online. 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2010-03-27. Dickinson, Matt (2010-03-13). "Even at 41, first place is all that matters for Michael Schumacher". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2010-03-27.