Wacky Races (1968 TV series)

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Wacky Races
Wacky Races Logo.jpg
Created byLarz Bourne
Written byLarz Bourne
Dalton Sandifer
Tom Dagenais
Michael Maltese
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices ofPaul Winchell
Don Messick
Janet Waldo
Daws Butler
John Stephenson
Dave Willock
Narrated byDave Willock
Composer(s)Hoyt Curtin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes34
Production
Producer(s)William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Editor(s)Richard Allen
Milton Krear
Running time20 minutes
Production company(s)Hanna-Barbera Productions
DistributorTaft, H-B Program Sales
(1976–1977)
Worldvision Enterprises (1979–1992)
Turner Program Services (1992–1996)
Warner Bros. Television Distribution (1996–present)
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1968 (1968-09-14) – January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)
Chronology
Followed byThe Perils of Penelope Pitstop
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines

Wacky Races is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.[1] The series features 11 different cars racing against each other in various road rallies throughout North America,[2] with each driver hoping to win the title of the "World's Wackiest Racer".

The cartoon had a large number of regular characters, with 23 people and animals spread among the 11 race cars. Wacky Races ran on CBS from September 14, 1968, to January 4, 1969, and in syndication from 1976 to 1982. 17 episodes were produced, with each episode featuring two different races.

Plot[edit]

The villain of the series drives The Mean Machine (00), a purple, rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly. Dick Dastardly is an archetypal mustache-twirling villain; Muttley is his wheezily snickering dog henchman. Dastardly's usual race strategy revolves around using the Mean Machine's great speed to get ahead of the other racers, and then setting a trap to stop them and maintain the lead; but most of his plans backfire, causing him to fall back into last place. Dastardly never sees victory.

The other racers include

  • The Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel, in a cavemen-themed racer called The Boulder Mobile (1);
  • The Gruesome Twosome, Big Gruesome and Little Gruesome, who are monsters, in The Creepy Coupe (2);
  • Professor Pat Pending, a scientist, in The Convert-a-Car (3);
  • Red Max in a car/plane hybrid called The Crimson Haybailer (4);
  • Penelope Pitstop, the lone female, in a 1930s racing costume in The Compact Pussycat (5);
  • Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in an tank/jeep hybrid with a small steamroller wheel attached to the front called The Army Surplus Special (6);
  • The Ant Hill Mob, seven dwarf gangsters, in The Bulletproof Bomb (7);
  • Lazy Luke, a hillbilly, and Blubber Bear, in The Arkansas Chugabug (8);
  • Peter Perfect, a gentlemanly racer, in The Turbo Terrific (9);
  • Rufus Ruffcut, a lumberjack, and his companion Sawtooth, a beaver, in The Buzz Wagon (10).

Production[edit]

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.

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.

Voice cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleOriginal air dateProd.
code
1"See-Saw to Arkansas"
"Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist"
September 14, 1968 (1968-09-14)35–1
35–2
2"Why Oh Why Wyoming"
"Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock"
September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)35–3
35–4
3"Mish-Mash Missouri Dash"
"Idaho a Go-Go"
September 28, 1968 (1968-09-28)35–6
35–5
4"The Baja-Ha-Ha Race"
"Real Gone Ape"
October 5, 1968 (1968-10-05)35–11
35–8
5"Scout Scatter"
"Free Wheeling to Wheeling"
October 12, 1968 (1968-10-12)35–7
35–10
6"By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs"
"The Speedy Arkansas Traveler"
October 19, 1968 (1968-10-19)35–9
35–12
7"The Zippy Mississippi Race"
"Traffic Jambalaya"
October 26, 1968 (1968-10-26)35–15
35–17
8"Hot Race at Chillicothe"
"The Wrong Lumber Race"
November 2, 1968 (1968-11-02)35–16
35–18
9"Rhode Island Road Race"
"The Great Cold Rush Race"
November 9, 1968 (1968-11-09)35–19
35–13
10"Wacky Race to Ripsaw"
"Oils Well That Ends Well"
November 16, 1968 (1968-11-16)35–20
35–21
11"Whizzin' to Washington"
"The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby"
November 23, 1968 (1968-11-23)35–22
35–24
12"Eeny, Miny Missouri Go!"
"The Super Silly Swamp Sprint"
November 30, 1968 (1968-11-30)35–14
35–23
13"The Dopey Dakota Derby"
"Dash to Delaware"
December 7, 1968 (1968-12-07)35–27
35–26
14"Speeding for Smogland"
"Race Rally to Raleigh"
December 14, 1968 (1968-12-14)35–28
35–25
15"Ballpoint, Penn. or Bust!"
"Fast Track to Hackensack"
December 21, 1968 (1968-12-21)35–30
35–29
16"The Ski Resort Road Race"
"Overseas Hi-Way Race"
December 28, 1968 (1968-12-28)35–33
35–34
17"Race to Racine"
"The Carlsbad or Bust Bash"
January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)35–31
35–32

Race results[edit]

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. The cumulative totals for first, second, and third-place finishes for each contestant are presented below:[3]

Contestants Car Name Car # 1st 2nd 3rd Top 3
The Slag Brothers The Boulder Mobile 1 3 8 3 14
Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth The Buzzwagon 10 3 6 4 13
The Gruesome Twosome The Creepy Coupe 2 3 3 6 12
The Ant Hill Mob The Bulletproof Bomb 7 4 5 2 11
Penelope Pitstop The Compact Pussycat 5 4 2 5 11
The Red Max The Crimson Haybailer 4 3 4 3 10
Professor Pat Pending The Convert-A-Car 3 3 2 5 10
Luke and Blubber Bear The Arkansas Chuggabug 8 4 1 4 9
Peter Perfect The Turbo Terrific 9 4 2 2 8
Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly The Army Surplus Special 6 3 1 0 4
Dick Dastardly and Muttley The Mean Machine 00 0 0 0 0
Grand Totals 34 34 34 102

Spin-offs and similar series[edit]

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.

In 2006, the pilot for a spin-off series titled Wacky Races Forever was produced for Cartoon Network.[4] 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). The series was not picked up by Cartoon Network for the reasons that the traditional humor the pilot had was not what the newer generation of kids wanted.

In 2016, DC Comics launched a comic series called Wacky Raceland. It is a dark and gritty re-imagining of the series set after the apocalypse in a similar vein to the Mad Max franchise.[5] The comic ran for six issues from May to December 2016.

A remake – also produced by Hanna-Barbera – was released on Boomerang's SVOD service in 2017.[6] It also aired on the Boomerang channel in June 2017.[7]

Wacky Races was also seen in the South Park episode Handicar.

Video games[edit]

Various video games based on the series have been produced.

Later in 2007, another game called Wacky Races: Mad Motors for the PlayStation 2 was released by Blast Entertainment 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.[8]

Home media releases[edit]

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. The Australian release of Volume 1 and 2 was made available in 2005 and Volume 3 released 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 1996.

All 34 episodes can be purchased on the iTunes Store.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Wacky Races – The Complete Series 34 October 19, 2004

On February 14, 2017, Warner Archive re-released Wacky Races: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection as a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release.[9]

Non-English language titles[edit]

  • Bosnian: Uvrnute trke (Strange racing)
  • Catalan: Els cotxes esbojarrats (The bumpy cars)
  • French: Les Fous du volant (The Fools of the Wheel)
  • Frisian: Hotse-knotse-kneuzen-rally (Rally of hot knees)
  • Galician: Os tolos do volante (The crazy people of the steering wheel)
  • German: Autorennen Total (Total car race)
  • Hungarian: Flúgos futam (Flush race)
  • Italian: Le corse pazze (The crazy races)
  • Japanese: チキチキマシン猛レース – Chikichikimashin mō rēsu (Chiki Chiki Racing Machines)
  • Polish: Odlotowe wyścigi (Cool races)
  • Portuguese:
    • Portugal: A Mais Louca Corrida do Mundo (The Craziest Race of the World)
    • Brazil: Corrida Maluca (Crazy Race)
  • Romanian: Curse Trăsnite (Wacky Races)
  • Spanish: Los autos locos (The crazy cars)
  • Serbian: Уврнуте трке (Strange racing)
  • Swedish: Fartdårarna (Speed freaks)

The cars and characters in other media[edit]

Life-size working replicas of the vehicles have been built in the UK (where the show was very popular) and appear annually at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with new additions each year. 2008 saw the last of the cars (the Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb 07) added to the collection, making a complete set.[10]

In 2006, the car manufacturer Vauxhall launched a TV commercial for the British market, parodying Wacky Races with a similar setup featuring Corsa cars. The commercial made several references to the cartoon as well as utilizing the show's theme music and Muttley's iconic laugh.[11]

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.[12]

In 2013, the car manufacturer Peugeot launched a TV commercial for the Brazilian market (and later used in Spain and Turkey), featuring the cartoon characters in a real-life universe.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wacky Races – The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Complete List of Wacky Races Cars and Drivers". Retrieved 2008-02-25.
  4. ^ Wacky Races Forever – Unaired Pilot Archived March 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Beedle, Tim. "Hanna-Barbera Beyond: Flintstones, Scooby and More Are Getting Comic Book Reimaginings". dccomics.com.
  6. ^ https://variety.com/2017/digital/news/boomerang-cartoon-streaming-subscription-time-warner-turner-wb-1202003660/
  7. ^ http://kidscreen.com/2017/03/20/boomerang-takes-ott-content-outside-of-the-us/
  8. ^ "Wacky Races: Crash and Dash". Computerandvideogames.com. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  9. ^ "Official Warner Archive Info, Artwork for MOD 'Complete Series' Set". Archived from the original on May 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Joesph, Noah (June 8, 2009). "Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Racers take to the street ahead of Goodwood Festival of Speed". autoblog.com.
  11. ^ "Opel/Vauxhaull Corsa commercial". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  12. ^ "Wacky Racists". Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  13. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca (90-second version)". Youtube. Young and Rubicam Brasil. May 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  14. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca Making of". peugeotbrasil. May 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-05.

External links[edit]