Wacky Races (1968 TV series)

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Wacky Races
Wacky Races Logo.jpg
Title card
Created by
Written by
Directed by
Voices of
Narrated byDave Willock
Composer(s)Hoyt Curtin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17 (34 segments)
Production
Producer(s)
Editor(s)
Running time20 minutes (10 minutes per segment)
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCBS
Audio formatMono
Original releaseSeptember 14, 1968 (1968-09-14) –
January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)
Chronology
Followed by
Related showsWacky Races (2017)

Wacky Races is a 1968 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 all of the drivers hoping to win the title of the "World's Wackiest Racer".[3] The show was inspired by the 1965 comedy The Great Race.[4]

The cartoon had many 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. Seventeen 20-minute episodes were produced, with each of them featuring two 10-minute segments.

In 2017, the series was remade for the reboot, airing on Boomerang.

Plot[edit]

The cartoon revolves around several racers with various themes who are each allowed to use strange gimmicks to compete against other racers in many races across the United States.

Racers include:

  • Dick Dastardly, an archetypal mustache-twirling villain and his wheezily snickering dog, Muttley, in the Mean Machine (00); their sinister vehicle is a purple, rocket-powered car with an abundance of concealed weapons and the ability to fly. 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 is the only racer who not only never wins, but never even finishes in the top three in any race. In the opening title sequence, Dastardly attempts to stall the racers by tying their cars to a tree, but then he accidentally shifts his car into reverse, bumps into the tree, and frees the others as the race begins.
  • The Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel, in a caveman-themed race car called the Boulder Mobile (1); their car is made out of rock and the brothers (who talk in caveman-like gibberish but with occasional intelligible words) power it up by hitting it on both sides with their clubs and are also able to re-build it from bare rock, always using their clubs.
  • The Gruesome Twosome, Tiny "Big" and Bella "Little", who are monsters, in the Creepy Coupe (2); their horror-themed car includes a small bell tower inhabited by a fire-breathing dragon, bats and other creatures.
  • Professor Pat Pending, an inventor, in the Convert-a-Car (3); he can transform his car into pretty much anything that moves.
  • The Red Max, a Manfred von Richthofen-styled aviator who speaks with a German accent, in a car/plane hybrid called the Crimson Haybailer (4); his vehicle is able to fly, although only for short distances.
  • Penelope Pitstop, the lone female, in a 1930s racing costume in the Compact Pussycat (5); a Southern belle, Penelope is more concerned with her looks than with racing and often gets herself into trouble.
  • Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in an armored car/tank hybrid called the Army Surplus Special (6); the Sergeant uses "fire power" (i.e. shooting cannonballs from his turret) to power up the car.
  • The Ant Hill Mob, a group of dwarf gangsters led by Clyde and is composed of him, Ring-A-Ding, Rug Bug Benny, Mac, Danny, Kirby and Willy, in the Bulletproof Bomb (7); they are sometimes preoccupied with getting caught by the police and are able to use "getaway power", which involves all the gangsters (except for Clyde) extending their legs through the bottom of the car and running.
  • Lazy Luke, a hillbilly, and Blubber Bear, a timid, crying bear, in the Arkansas Chuggabug (8); Luke maneuvers the steering wheel with his bare feet and his car is steam-powered from an old rickety boiler.
  • Peter Perfect, a gentlemanly racer, in the Turbo Terrific (9); Peter is extremely strong but also very vain, and he often boasts about the virtues of his high-tech race car - which regularly falls to pieces seconds after he praises it. He is fond of Penelope and often helps her out.
  • Rufus Ruffcut, a lumberjack, and his companion Sawtooth, a beaver, in the Buzz Wagon (10); their car, entirely made of wood, features four circular saw blades as wheels, and Sawtooth is able to cut through obstacles (such as trees and other objects) at super high speed.

Production[edit]

One of the unused plans for the series was that the races would be part of a live-action game show produced by Heatter-Quigley Productions (known for The Hollywood Squares), in which contestants would bet on which Wacky Racer would cross the finish line first. Although the game show concept was scrapped, the series was still produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, in association with Heatter-Quigley Productions.

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 never got past the concept stage.

It has been said that the 1965 feature film The Great Race was an influence towards three characters in this series: Peter Perfect (after Leslie Gallant III, played by Tony Curtis), Penelope Pitstop (after Maggie Dubois, played by Natalie Wood), and Dick Dastardly (after Professor Fate, played by Jack Lemmon.)

Voice cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleOriginal air dateProd.
code
1a"See-Saw to Arkansas"September 14, 1968 (1968-09-14)35–1
The Wacky Racers undertake a grueling zig-zag race to Mustard, Ark. Also, The Ant Hill Mob escapes a pursuing policeman by donning disguises as the Seven Dwarfs.
1b"Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist"September 14, 1968 (1968-09-14)35–2
The Wacky Racers encounter ghosts in the abandoned town of Spookane.
2a"Why Oh Why Wyoming"September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)35–3
The Wacky Racers roar across the desert, dashing toward Rock Springs, Wyo. Meanwhile, Dick Dastardly teams up with Indian chief Crazy Buffalo in an attempt to stop the racers in their tracks.
2b"Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock"September 21, 1968 (1968-09-21)35–4
At Yellow Rock Park, Dastardly attempts to disguise the Old Unfaithful geyser as part of the road, and later ensures that Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear do not leave the park.
3a"Mish-Mash Missouri Dash"September 28, 1968 (1968-09-28)35–6
Dastardly discovers an irate hillbilly determined to protect his land from trespassers—including the Wacky Racers!
3b"Idaho a Go-Go"September 28, 1968 (1968-09-28)35–5
The racers embark on a lap to a little town in Idaho, while Dastardly tries to entrap Penelope Pitstop with a "Little Red Riding Hood" ploy.
4a"The Baja-Ha-Ha Race""October 5, 1968 (1968-10-05)35–11
In Mexico, Dick Dastardly and Muttley try to slow the other drivers by using a herd of cow-shaped balloons to block the road.
4b"Real Gone Ape"October 5, 1968 (1968-10-05)35–8
Dick Dastardly hypnotizes a giant gorilla in an attempt to win the race.
5a"Scout Scatter""October 12, 1968 (1968-10-12)35–7
The Ant Hill Mob escapes the police by posing as Wood Scouts.
5b"Free Wheeling to Wheeling"October 12, 1968 (1968-10-12)35–10
Dick Dastardly makes use of heavy machinery to stop the Wacky Racers.
6a"By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs"October 19, 1968 (1968-10-19)35–9
The Wacky Racers travel by roller coaster when Dick Dastardly diverts them into a closed amusement park.
6b"The Speedy Arkansas Traveler"October 19, 1968 (1968-10-19)35–12
Racing to Noah's, Arkansas, Dastardly and Muttley hilariously pose as army officers to harass the Army Surplus Special, but find themselves scrambling from actual army officers!
7a"The Zippy Mississippi Race"October 26, 1968 (1968-10-26)35–15
Dastardly diverts the rest of the racers onto a Mississippi riverboat.
7b"Traffic Jambalaya"October 26, 1968 (1968-10-26)35–17
Dastardly tricks several racers into searching for a "harmless" gorilla, who is actually Dastardly in disguise, at a wild animal park.
8a"Hot Race at Chillicothe"November 2, 1968 (1968-11-02)35–16
Dishonest Dick Dastardly steals a police car and chases the Ant Hill Mob into a boys' baseball game.
8b"The Wrong Lumber Race"November 2, 1968 (1968-11-02)35–18
In Oregon's rugged lumber country, Dick Dastardly tries to use falling trees and spinning saw blades to stop the racers.
9a"Rhode Island Road Race"November 9, 1968 (1968-11-09)35–19
Devious Dick Dastardly diverts the Boulder Mobile onto a construction site and the other racers follow it up the girders of a skyscraper.
9b"The Great Cold Rush Race"November 9, 1968 (1968-11-09)35–13
On a trans-Canadian race, Dastardly disguises himself as an Abominable Snowman.
10a"Wacky Race to Ripsaw"November 16, 1968 (1968-11-16)35–20
To prevent Penelope from coming in first place, Dastardly creates a roadside beauty parlor to lure her into stopping and later literally jacks up the Army Surplus Special after diverting them into a garage.
10b"Oils Well That Ends Well"November 16, 1968 (1968-11-16)35–21
The Wacky Racers are once again beset by Dick Dastardly's deviously dirty tricks as they race across oil drilling country.
11a"Whizzin' to Washington"November 23, 1968 (1968-11-23)35–22
When the Ant Hill Mob zooms past Dick Dastardly, he directs a police officer to chase them.
11b"The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby"November 23, 1968 (1968-11-23)35–24
Dick Dastardly finds a genie in a bottle and tries to use his powers to win the race.
12a"Eeny, Miny Missouri Go!""November 30, 1968 (1968-11-30)35–14
Dick Dastardly plots to have an aquarium whale swallow the rest of the contestants!
12b"The Super Silly Swamp Sprint"November 30, 1968 (1968-11-30)35–23
Dastardly and Muttley unleash a squadron of mechanical mosquitoes to wreak havoc on the other cars.
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 the narrative sometimes saw some or all of the other cars cross the finish line) as well as what happened with Dick Dastardly after his last scheme's failure. 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:[5]

Contestants Car Name Car No. 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 Haybaler 4 3 4 3 10
Professor Pat Pending The Convert-A-Car 3 3 2 5 10
Lazy 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

Standings[edit]

1. The Boulder Mobile 2. The Creepy Coupe 3. The Convert-A-Car 4. The Crimson Haybaler 5. The Compact Pussycat 6. The Army Surplus Special 7. The Bulletproof Bomb 8. The Arkansas Chuggabug 9. The Turbo Terrific 10. The Buzzwagon 00. The Mean Machine
1a Arkansas See-Saw to Arkansas 2nd 1st 3rd
1b Nevada Trip to Lemon Twist 2nd 1st 3rd DSQ
2a Wyoming Why Oh Why Wyoming 2nd 1st 8th 7th 6th 5th 10th 3rd 9th 4th 11th
2b Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock 5th 3rd 7th 10th 9th 6th 4th 1st 8th 2nd
3a Missouri Mish-Mash Missouri Bash 3rd 1st 4th 2nd
3b Idaho Idaho a Go-Go 1st 3rd 2nd
4a Coat of Arms Mexicali.pngMexico The Baja-Ha-Ha Race 1st 5th 4th 3rd 7th 6th 2nd 9th 8th 10th 11th
4b Kentucky Real Gone Ape 9th 5th 7th 2nd 6th 1st 4th 10th 8th 3rd
5a Texas Scout Scatter 2nd 4th 3rd 5th 1st
5b West Virginia Free Wheeling to Wheeling 5th 4th 6th 3rd 7th 1st 2nd
6a New Jersey By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs 2nd 1st 3rd
6b Arkansas The Speedy Arkansas Traveller 1st 4th 2nd 3rd
7a Mississippi The Zippy Mississippi Race 7th 6th 5th 8th 3rd 10th 2nd 9th 1st 4th
7b Alabama Louisiana Traffic Jambalaya 3rd 1st 2nd
8a Ohio Hot Race at Chillicothe 3rd 2nd 1st
8b Oregon The Wrong Lumber Race 9th 3rd 6th 8th 7th 4th 2nd 10th 5th 1st
9a Rhode Island Rhode Island Road Race 2nd 1st 3rd
9b Alaska The Great Cold Rush Race 4th 5th 1st 7th 3rd 2nd 6th 8th
10a Ohio Arkansas Wacky Race to Ripsaw 3rd 2nd 1st
10b Oklahoma Texas Oils Well That Ends Well 10th 6th 1st 4th 5th 2nd 9th 7th 8th 3rd 11th
11a Washington (state) Whizzin' to Washington 7th 5th 2nd 6th 4th 3rd 1st
11b California The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby 4th 3rd 5th 1st 2nd
12a Missouri Eeny, Miny Missouri Go! 5th 1st 3rd 2nd 4th
12b Florida The Super Silly Swamp Sprint 5th 4th 3rd 1st 6th 2nd
13a North DakotaSouth Dakota The Dopey Dakota Derby 9th 8th 2nd 3rd 4th 6th 1st 5th 7th 10th
13b Delaware Dash to Delaware 3rd 1st 2nd
14a California Speeding for Smogland 2nd 3rd 1st 4th
14b North Carolina Race Rally to Raleigh 2nd 4th 5th 1st 3rd
15a Pennsylvania Ballpoint, Penn. or Bust! 4th 9th 10th 2nd 1st 8th 3rd 7th 5th 6th
15b New Jersey Fast Track to Hackensack 2nd 3rd 1st
16a Colorado The Ski Resort Road Race 8th 9th 3rd 5th 7th 1st 10th 6th 4th 2nd
16b Florida Overseas Hi-Way Race 2nd 8th 6th 5th 3rd 9th 4th 10th 1st 7th
17a Wisconsin Race to Racine 2nd 1st 3rd 10th 4th 6th 9th 7th 5th 8th
17b New Mexico The Carlsbad or Bust Bash 3rd 6th 2nd 1st 4th 5th

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 a season each.

In 2006, the pilot for a spin-off series titled Wacky Races Forever was produced for Cartoon Network.[6] 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 (depicted here with a mad scientist personality), 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.

In 2016, DC Comics launched a comic series called Wacky Raceland. It was a dark and gritty reimagining of the series set after the Apocalypse in a similar vein to the Mad Max franchise.[7] The comic ran for six issues from May to December 2016.

A reboot—also produced by Hanna-Barbera—was released on Boomerang's SVOD service in 2017.[8] It also aired on the Boomerang channel in June 2017.[9]

Films[edit]

Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe[edit]

Dick Dastardly and Muttley made an appearance in the Scooby-Doo feature film, Scoob!, released on the May 15 2020. Rock Slag and Gravel Slag made cameo appearances during the prehistoric gladiator scene. Various drawings of the Wacky Racers cameo on Dick Dastardly's prison cell on the wall during the credits.

Video games[edit]

Various video games based on the series have been produced.

In 1993, Sega released a medal game based on the series, exclusively in Japan. It was a racing game, but the outcome of the race depended entirely on luck. 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.[10] In 2009, another arcade game was released by Banpresto, which was a more traditional racing game. It ran on the Taito Type X2, and was released internationally by Gamewax.

Home video[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 19, 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 Episode # 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.[11]

Translated language titles[edit]

  • Bosnian: Uvrnute trke (Strange racing)
  • Catalan: Els cotxes esbojarrats (The bumpy cars)
  • Dutch: Hotse-knotse-kneuzen-rally (Wild bumpy loser rally)
  • 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 Fools of the Wheel)
  • German: Autorennen Total (Total car race)
  • Hungarian: Flúgos futam (Wacky 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 #7) added to the collection, making a complete set.[12]

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 snicker.[13]

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, Eugène Terre'Blanche as Lazy Luke, Oswald Mosley as Muttley, and comedian Bernard Manning in the "Fatcuntmobile".[14]

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.[15][16]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wacky Races – The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  2. ^ Only three of the 34 rallies took place outside the Contiguous United States: one entirely in the Baja California peninsula; 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. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part 1: Animated Cartoon Series. Scarecrow Press. pp. 305–306. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 890–891. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^ "Complete List of Wacky Races Cars and Drivers". Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  6. ^ Wacky Races Forever – Unaired Pilot Archived March 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Beedle, Tim. "Hanna-Barbera Beyond: Flintstones, Scooby and More Are Getting Comic Book Reimaginings". dccomics.com.
  8. ^ Spangler, Todd (March 7, 2017). "Turner, Warner Bros. to Launch Boomerang Cartoon Streaming-Subscription Service for $5 Monthly".
  9. ^ "Boomerang sends original OTT toons to global channel".
  10. ^ "Wacky Races: Crash and Dash". Computerandvideogames.com. March 12, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Official Warner Archive Info, Artwork for MOD 'Complete Series' Set". Archived from the original on May 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Joesph, Noah (June 8, 2009). "Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Racers take to the street ahead of Goodwood Festival of Speed". autoblog.com.
  13. ^ "Opel/Vauxhaull Corsa commercial". YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "Wacky Racists". November 3, 2016. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca (90-second version)". YouTube. Young and Rubicam Brasil. May 2, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  16. ^ "Peugeot 208 Corrida Maluca Making of". peugeotbrasil. May 23, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.

External links[edit]